Jim's best pranks in The Office include gift-wrapping a desk and hiring an actor.
Jim Halpert is the master of pranks in The Office, with nearly every episode featuring him pulling one over on his overly-serious coworker Dwight Shrute (hilariously portrayed by Rainn Wilson). Here is a list of Jim’s eight best pranks over the show’s nine seasons.
8. The “Bathroom Desk” prank
This is one of the tamer pranks on this list, but the sheer absurdity of it makes it worth mentioning. In the Season 2 episode “The Fight,” Dwight arrives at the Dunder Mifflin office to find his desk gone. After a game of Hot and Cold, he finds his entire desk set up and functioning in the bathroom.
The real humor comes after Jim immediately calls up Dwight and asks him about a discount the company is offering, causing Dwight to instantly revert to work mode and completely forget that he’s working in the bathroom. When Kevin awkwardly exits the restroom stall, Dwight reminds Kevin to wash his hands, apparently having already gotten used to the ridiculous situation.
7. The “Gift-Wrapped Desk” prank
The Office’s Season 5 Christmas episode, “Moroccan Christmas,” features Jim pulling off an ingenious two-part prank against Dwight. When Dwight enters the office, the prank seems straightforward but elaborate: Jim has apparently gift-wrapped Dwight’s chair, desk, and every item on it.
The unimpressed Dwight questions how long it took Jim to pull this prank off. Jim dubiously claims it only took five minutes. Dwight responds by saying he hopes it was worth it, because it will only take him five minutes to unwrap.
When Dwight sits down to begin the unwrapping process, the second part of the prank reveals itself: neither the desk nor the chair is actually there. Dwight collapses on the floor with a look of shock on his face. Jim responds with one of his signature smiles to the camera.
6. The “Wooden Mallard” prank
In The Office’s Season 6 episode “The Lover,” Dwight attempts to sabotage Jim by placing a more-than-obvious listening device inside a wooden mallard, which he then gifts to Jim to congratulate him for his promotion. Jim finds the device almost immediately and comes up with the perfect revenge.
Jim invites Andy into his office and plays a song so loud that Dwight can’t hear the conversation. He then tells Andy that he’s going to be gifting the song to Dwight as a birthday gift, causing Andy to noticeably point to and talk about Dwight within everyone’s view. The result is an absolutely paranoid Dwight (well… moreso than usual) who thinks the office is out to get him.
5. The “Asian Jim” prank
One of Jim’s most memorable moments in The Office, one of the best cold opens in the show’s history, doesn’t involve Jim at all. In the Season Nine episode “Andy’s Ancestry,” the prankster convinces an actor friend of his to show up and pretend to be him. Since the Asian actor (actually named Steve) is obviously not Jim, Dwight confronts him over it, only to have his sense of reality start collapsing all around him.
From Steve having an encyclopedic knowledge of real Jim’s sales work to Jim’s family photo getting replaced with one featuring both Steve and an Asian daughter, Dwight finds himself completely unable to prove that Steve is not the Jim we’ve known every other episode of The Office.
4. The “Pavlov’s Dwight” prank
A famous psychological study by Russian physiologist Ivan Pavlov found that he could get his dogs to salivate simply by ringing a bell. To do this, he rang a bell every time he fed the dogs red meat, making them subconsciously associate the sound of a ringing bell with the process of eating.
In The Office‘s Season 3 episode “Business School,” Dwight performs a similar experiment, using Dwight as the test subject. By offering Dwight a mint every time the Windows startup sound played, he made Dwight desire a mint every time he heard the sound. When Jim eventually plays the sound without offering Dwight a mint, Dwight finds himself confused about why his mouth starts tasting so bad.
3. The “Impersonating Dwight” prank
“Bears. Beets. Battlestar Galactica.” If you’re familiar with this phrase, you’re familiar with this legendary prank from The Office.
It’s the slow reveal that really makes the prank work. Jim walks into the office more stiffly than usual, wearing a similarly-colored shirt and tie. He then checks his beeper (something he’s never worn before) and declares his screen to be blurry before putting on a pair of glasses identical to Dwight’s.
Dwight catches on to what’s happening after Jim starts asking strange questions and making bizarre statements with Dwight’s exact cadence. Dwight pretends to be nonplussed until Jim takes a bobblehead out of his briefcase, causing Dwight to make an outburst about identity theft.
2. The “Matrix” prank
This prank was never part of The Office‘s original run. Rather, it was released to celebrate Season 9 of The Office appearing on NBC’s streaming service Peacock. Regardless, the absurdly-elaborate nature of the prank makes it memorable in its own right.
Jim and Pam go to absurd lengths to recreate elements of the original The Matrix to convince Dwight that he’s part of a simulated reality. This includes having Dwight see the same black cat twice, using a hitherto-unseen twin brother, sending Dwight a cell phone in the mail, and offering him the classic blue pill/red pill choice. Of course, all these plans get derailed after Dwight unexpectedly chooses to swallow the blue pill and not fight against the machine overlords, saying that he’s truly happy with his life.
1. The Ultimate Snowball Battle
This one shouldn’t technically be on the list because it’s a prank done against Jim. However, it’s also one of the most memorable moments in The Office, so it’s hard to leave it off.
After Jim hits Dwight with a snowball, Dwight challenges him to a snowball battle on the first “real” snow of winter. When that day comes, Jim arrives at the Dunder Mifflin office only to find the doors chained shut. Dwight then bursts out of a snowman he was hiding in and pummels Jim with snowball after snowball.
When Jim finally arrives in the office, Dwight reveals that he has even more snowballs, hitting the already-injured Jim over and over again. When the day is done, Jim is afraid to leave… but he finally does at Pam’s insistence, only to find the path to the parking lot absolutely filled with snowmen, just… waiting.