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The Office Universe

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Ryan Howard

General Info

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Job TitleTemporary Worker, Sales Representative, Vice President Northeast Sales, Bowling Alley Employee, Receptionist
Birth Date1979-01-01
Birth PlaceScranton, Pennsylvania
Knows aboutSales, Bowling, Business School
Alternate NameThe Temp
Character NameRyan Howard
Member of OrganizationDunder Mifflin Paper Company, Inc.
Ryan Howard played by B.J. Novak is a universal character in the Office universe. Ryan's combination of apathy and ambition, elevated from broadcast status to a corporate job, creates an amusing tension. Known for his trendy fashion sense and lack of sales skills, Ryan is the obvious office hipster. He's maddeningly inconsistent, oscillating between an overconfident pushover and a grumpy, clueless clerk. Despite claiming that he dislikes the day-to-day life of the office, Ryan is constantly drawn to Dunder Mifflin, and his ongoing relationship with Kelly Kapoor adds to his character's unpredictability. Persuasive, annoying, somehow endearing, Ryan is an unforgettable part of the office tour.


Ryan Howard, commonly known as "Temp," initially enters the Dunder Mifflin universe as a cheerful green clerk. But as the series progresses, Ryan's desire to succeed turns into arrogance and devious schemes. This transformation is not sudden, but gradual, potentially shocking to viewers who may have seen Ryan as just another main character on the larger The Office show.
For a low-key starter, Ryan quickly rose through the ranks at Dunder Mifflin, even earning the lofty position of Vice President of Northeast Sales. These ups and downs create a compelling character arc for Ryan that somehow manages to maintain a certain appeal despite his many flaws that keep viewers rooting for him, even with their skeptics. Although Ryan is not the main character of The Office, his decisions and actions have a significant impact on the show's story. He flirts with unethical business practices, exploits the gullibility of his colleagues, and has a number of romantic relationships in the office, most notably with Kelly Kapoor, a chatty customer service agent. Through Ryan's character, the show offers a critique of the modern corporate world, where ambition often trumps ethics and superficial charm can mask deceit. His character is a reminder of how easily power can corrupt and what the consequences can be if ambition is left unscathed.


Ryan Howard, played by BJ Novak, is a character of charm, courage and unexpected humor in the critically acclaimed television series The Office. He began his journey at Dunder Mifflin as a temp, but his ambition led him to a roller-coaster career infused with wit and undeniable charm.
Ryan was originally portrayed as a quiet, ambitious employee who is often the butt of many office pranks. But as he gains more experience at Dunder Mifflin, his ambitions begin to shine as he juggles his way up the corporate ladder. This character evolution continues as he becomes VP of Northeast Sales, highlighting his success in bringing out the darker, more self-centered side of his personality.
But his sudden rise to power comes at a price. Ryan's unexpected death, including the scandal that led to his firing, reveals his flawed character, making him more rounded and relatable.
Falling from grace, Ryan returns to the Scranton branch, working as a salesman before starting his own company. Her character arc subtly presents a cautionary tale about the dangers and consequences of unchecked ambition, as well as the prospects for resilience and starting over.
His complicated relationship with receptionist Kelly Kapoor adds depth and creates comedic gems throughout the series. Ryan's interactions with her, from their tumultuous romance to their unexpected departure together, have a hilarity and drama that really adds to the overall appeal of The Office.
Basically, Ryan Howard is a character that embodies the stereotype of an ambitious young professional, but with a humorous and endearing twist. His journey of growth, ambition, mistakes, and redemption make him one of the most dynamic characters on The Office, and viewers can't wait to see his next move.

Creation and Development

At the beginning of The Office, character Ryan Howard enters the picture as a temp at Dander-Mifflin's Scranton branch. At first he was politically cryptic and only absorbed the eccentricities of his colleagues. However, as the series progresses, we see his character evolve into a multi-faceted individual with many complex storylines.
One of Ryan's major breakthroughs was when he was able to land the position of Vice President of Sales for the Northeast. This quick move from basement to boardroom was the first step in her transformation. His ambitious nature was on display here, showing a very different side to the humble temp we first met.
Unfortunately, Ryan's leap into the corporate world didn't work out. In one of the show's most dramatic moments, Ryan was arrested for fraud, a significant downfall for his character. This event led to the evolution of his personality, where he became more flamboyant and somewhat reckless, which is a stark contrast to his demeanor when we first met him.
Ryan also had a rocky relationship with Kelly Kapoor. This complex dynamic added another layer to her character. Their ongoing relationship was an ongoing storyline that added some spice and sparked conversations among viewers.
It's clear that the creators did a great job in creating Ryan's character. His journey from pace to the corporation's prime, followed by a dramatic fall and eventual return to broadcast position, lends the show a deep realism. Ryan Howard's character is a testament to the show's ability to create complex, evolving characters that keep viewers engaged until the very end.

Character Profile

Ryan Howard, also known as The Temp, is a universal character in The Office universe. Introduced as a temp at Dunder Mifflin, Ryan quickly develops an intense and sometimes volatile relationship with boss Michael Scott, who takes a liking to him almost immediately. Despite being initially intimidated, Ryan soon proved to be ambitious.
Desperate to climb the corporate ladder, Ryan's transformation over the course of the series is impressive and at times disturbing. After graduating from night MBA school, he receives a call to executive management, which catapults him from a low-profile broadcaster to a powerful VP of sales for the Northeast. But the hectic work life proves to be more than he can handle, leading him down an unfortunate path of fraud and eventual drug addiction.
Ryan's romantic life can be described as tumultuous at best: his ongoing relationship with Kelly Kapoor adds chaotic energy to an otherwise fascinating plot. His attempts to distance himself often backfire comically and eventually lead to him being sent back on the roller coaster of their relationship.
Chronicling Ryan's arc throughout the series wouldn't be complete without highlighting his struggles with identity. His constant efforts to reinvent himself, from bowling alley worker to chic manager, from Haight-Ashbury hipster to entrepreneur with his own startup, WUPHF, offer viewers a vivid exploration of a young man struggling with his sense of self in the modern workplace. His extravagant personality, constant reinvention and blatant opportunism make Ryan Howard one of the most dynamic and intriguing characters on The Office.

Story Arc

An ambitious new business school recruit, Ryan Howard impresses from the start. At first it's just Temp, intimidated by the redundant characters that populate Dunder Mifflin. He has a particularly hard time understanding his feelings for his classmate Kelly, who falls in love with him almost immediately.
Ryan's arc takes an unexpected turn when he becomes the head of the company in season four. Here we see a complete transformation of personality from quiet and reserved to arrogant and manipulative. His over-ambition leads him astray and pushes him to achieve unrealistic sales goals and dishonest behavior that eventually leads to his arrest.
After his arrest, Ryan finds himself on a path to redemption, though his understanding of "redemption" is skewed. Now with a number of failed business attempts under his belt, he makes several attempts to climb the corporate ladder, each attempt more desperate than the last. But despite his ambitions, he never manages to escape the Scranton branch for long.
His romantic arc with Kelly is a roller coaster ride of breakups and make-ups. Despite the arranged marriage, Kelly continues to have feelings for Ryan, and he often takes advantage of her feelings. In the final season, Ryan tries to reconnect with Kelly, who is now engaged to another man. However, the season ends with the pair running away together and finally succumbing to their tumultuous but undeniable love for each other.
Ryan's storyline is about a rapid and unsustainable rise, subsequent fall, and ultimately a search for meaning beyond business success. Despite his flawed mannerisms, manipulation, and inability to commit wholeheartedly, Ryan Howard occupies an important place in The Office universe, his character adding overt ambition, morality, and complexity to the show.

Cultural Impact

Ryan Howard, played by actor B.J. Novak has made a significant cultural impact on the Office Universe, always wowing audiences with his intriguing transformation from temp to manager, then temp back, and finally to sales. His vague ambitions and big dreams reflect the modern work culture of the world. It's a symbol of how today's young guns enter the corporate world with visions of making it big overnight, only to get lost and overwhelmed along the way.
His pursuit of quick success and fame makes him arrogant and deceitful, which leads to his downfall every time. It spells out the brutal truth that success cannot be rushed and only comes when you learn to respect the process. Furthermore, Ryan is shown as a dynamic character who tends to reinvent himself regularly, which resonates with the volatile nature of modern society in the professional sphere. It is a mirror image of many young professionals who are confused about their career direction and shows how self-deception and unethical practices ultimately lead to professional failure. Thus, Ryan's character leaves the audience with an essential lesson of authenticity, ethics and patience in professional life.


Ryan Howard, initially a temp at Dunder Mifflin, tries to get to the top by any means necessary. Start by keeping a low profile and focusing on your work. But when he takes on the interim role of VP of Northeast Sales, his business school theories lead to the infamous Dunder Mifflin Infinity project, which ends in disaster. But Ryan's legacy is not based on his professional failures. He leaves a different impression on the audience due to his troubled relationship with Kelly Kapoor and his random business ideas like WUPHF, which, despite its absurdity, displays an unforgettable sense of humor. Additionally, Ryan's journey from temp to manager, bowling alley employee, and aspiring startup entrepreneur adds an unexpected yet compelling element to his character's legacy. While not always the most likable or ethical character, Ryan Howard embodies the fears, dreams and contradictions of today's workplace in his own unique way.