This Character Was Actually the Heart of ‘The Office’

The ceaseless popularity of the American version of The Office is undeniable. Created as a reimagining of Ricky Gervais’ successful British comedy, the series ran for nine seasons on NBC. While it was a big hit during its initial run, its popularity only grew during its years on Netflix. Even though the series ended in 2013, it’s still one of the most watched shows today. We can’t get enough of the over-the-top antics of Michael Scott (Steve Carell) and his assistant to the regional manager, Dwight Schrutte (Rainn Wilson). We know the happy ending, but still we want to watch Jim (John Krasinski) and Pam (Jenna Fischer) fall in love all over again.

We also tune in to watch the well written supporting cast. In other sitcoms, the supporting cast might be used to flesh out the main stars, simply playing the friend or fading into the background. In The Office, however, they are well rounded characters who exist in their own world. There’s Ryan and Kelly, the young couple who are so bad for each other but refuse to stay broken up. There’s Angela, the suppressed cat lady. There’s Oscar, a gay man who thinks he’s smarter than everyone else. The list goes on and on, with Creed, Toby, Phyllis, and Stanley among others, but none of them can match the heart and hilarity of Brian Baumgartner’s Kevin Malone.

Why Was Kevin Malone the Heart of ‘The Office’?

Kevin is a recreation from the original version of The Office. There he is named Keith Bishop, similar to Kevin due to his overweight stature, crass joke making nature, and love for music, but the American version of The Office uses the template and then allows the character to evolve and become his own original creation.

In the early seasons, Kevin’s screen time is limited. He is a great cutaway gag or a thrown in punchline, but still, he always gets the biggest laughs. Kevin Malone is not a smart man. He works at Dunder Mifflin as an accountant and his co-workers are constantly surprised that he’s able to keep his job. Most of his day seems to involve listening to his fellow accountants, Oscar and Angela, bicker while he waits for a way into the conversation, usually involving some bad joke at their expense. More than anything, Kevin wants to laugh. His goofy smile and laugh show us a man whose only aim in life is to be happy.

Kevin is a simple man. He giggles like a child about anything sexual, but he is also a lonely man who wants to find love. His shyness and insecurity is palpable when we nervously see him trying to hit on a woman at the office named Lynn. He starts to blow it, but he doesn’t give up. He tries again and honestly admits that he gets nervous talking to pretty girls. The compliment makes the woman smile ear to ear, and we get that vulnerable smile returned when Kevin gets her email address. It makes the audience smile too. He’s such a good person and we want him to succeed.

Kevin Is Blissfully Unaware of His Ignorance

What also makes Kevin so lovable is that he is completely unaware of how dumb he is. He likes himself and only wants to be liked back, such as when he desperately tries to get Pam and Roy to book his band, Scrantonicity, for their wedding. In a shocking turn of events, it turns out that the Kevin who is given such low expectations is actually a very talented musician. We’re shown more of that in later seasons when he creates a band with Andy and Darryl. He’s not a bad athlete either. When he’s not picked for the office basketball team, we get to see a moment later of him messing around, shooting and making basket after basket. Kevin might be a buffoon, but he’s one who defies expectations.

None of this means Kevin is a saint. He can gossip and start rumors like everyone else. He detests vegetables, to the point that Michael force feeds him broccoli, but hey, who doesn’t. He’s very lazy. In one episode he brags how he spent his weekend watching TV for 14 straight hours. But despite his shortcomings, he believes in himself.

He’s not at all embarrassed when he gets a toupee. Instead, he beams with pride. “No, it’s not Ashton Kutcher! It’s Kevin Malone!” He’ll say that he has very little patience for stupid people, completely unaware of his own lack of intelligence. He is prideful when he thinks he’s being given a vacation, saying, “Sometimes Batman’s gotta take off his cape.”

Kevin’s pride doesn’t turn into an insufferable ego, though. He is a grounded man. His most famous moment sees him in Season 5 bringing in a giant pot of his ‘Kevin’s Famous Chili’ to work. He’s proud of himself and he can’t wait to share his cooking with his friends. When he trips and spills it all over the office floor we can’t help but gasp, then feel so sad to see the heartbroken look on Kevin’s face.

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