It's easy to say that The Office and Parks and Recreation were two of the best comedies of the 2000s. Both shows had terrific ensembles, sharp-witted comedy that revitalized the work-place comedy, and some dreamy leading men. Picking why you prefer one show probably comes down to personal preference – as well as your tolerance for subpar seasons. Plenty of fans swear Parks and Recreation is better than The Office, while others will live and die for Dunder Mifflin.
But which show has the better love interest? That's where things get more complicated. After all, pitting Parks and Rec's Ben Wyatt against Jim Halpert of The Office is kind of like comparing LeBron to Jordan. But upon closer inspection, you'll start to see how much of a catch man-of-many-jobs Ben Wyatt really was. And maybe, just maybe, Jim wasn't so perfect after all.
Does that mean Jim Halpert is a bad husband? Not necessarily. Does Leslie Knope have a better husband than Pam Beesly? Most definitely, though you're welcome to debate Ben Wyatt vs. Jim Halpert forever.
Leslie's Happiness Is Ben's #1 Job
When their relationship threatens Leslie's job, Ben quits so she can continue. When a new position would take him from Pawnee, Ben turns it down so they can stay together. A successful romantic partnership requires making someone else's happiness a priority, and Ben does just that.
Jim definitely wants to make Pam happy, but he does take that job in Philadelphia. Considering all the problems it causes in their marriage, it wasn't the most selfless decision.
Ben Loves All Of Leslie
Waffles. Scrapbooking. File folders. Presentations. Pawnee. Li'l Sebastian. Her team. Joe Biden. Leslie Knope is a woman of many deep and passionate loves, and Ben appreciates every one of them.
You could say the same thing about Jim's view of Pam, but Ben never tries to get Leslie to change even a little. In his eyes, she's perfect.
Ben Is Willing To Break Up With Leslie To Help Her Career
Season 4 of Parks and Rec puts fans through the ringer. Leslie and Ben are together, but they can't stay that way if Leslie wants to run for office. So, they break up, and Ben gives Leslie a truly heartbreaking parting gift: a "Knope 2012" button.
Taking Sting's "If You Love Somebody, Set Them Free" to heart, Ben pushes Leslie to follow her dream, even if that means (temporarily) saying goodbye to him. Compare that with Jim, who spends years quietly sabotaging Pam's existing relationship, only to become bored once they're actually together.
After Hearing Ben's Vows, You'd Marry Him Too
When Jim tells Pam at their rehearsal dinner that he spent years pining for her, "waiting for his wife," you probably feel a lump in your throat. When Ben describes how he traveled the globe (or at least the Midwest) in search of Leslie, you probably fall in love.