This post contains spoilers about the Netflix Tom Clancy’s Jim Ryan show, or maybe it’s Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan. All I know is, Tom Clancy is somehow involved and I have two pounds of fudge to make before sunup so I’m not looking it up. Anyway, if you don’t like spoilers and haven’t binged this sucker yet, but plan to, go watch it and then come back. You’ve been warned. Either way, you should know he catches the bad guy.

I have not ever read a Tom Clancy novel, but my father blasted through them all. My mother loved this fact because the man was impossible to shop for. Fortunately, Tom Clancy released a new book, each the size of a full set of encyclopedias, every other week, so there was always something to give my father the requisite three times a year.

Then I got married and realized that there would be more Tom Clancy, because Josh The Pilot had also read several of his novels, which is apparently some kind of local ordinance for men and a Constitutional requirement for pilots. So because I have blocked out several percentages of the DVR with Property Brothers, I had to sit and watch the Jim Ryan thing.

As an HSP, I avoid violent media, because I experience enough strong emotion and upsetting imagery trying to get past Clifton on I75. So it was Josh The Pilot’s job to let me know if there was going to be any blood, or shooting, or children in danger, or hostage-taking, or bombs, or punching, here in this adaptation of Tom Clancy novels.

The two remaining minutes of the six hour program were fairly interesting. I hung with it because it was fascinating to watch the guy who was Jim from The Office attempt to portray a completely different person. It validated my suspicion that John Krasinski, who was Jim from The Office, has precisely one character in his arsenal, and that is is Jim from The Office. Here’s Jim from The Office striding around Georgetown. Here’s Jim from The Office typing into a French translator program while communicating with a terrorist because the CIA probably doesn’t have any people who speak conversational Parisian French and Jim from The Office needs to do it all. Here’s Jim from The Office in a comically awkward professional meeting with a girl he likes (it’s Julia from Parenthood, only minus her box of Clairol) in which she finds out that he totally lied to her about his profession, lol, in which Jim from The Office copy-pastes his face from every single Michael Scott conference room scene onto him sitting a CIA briefing room next to Julia from Parenthood.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; I  like Jim from The Office, and it made me feel rather safe amidst all the punching. Every time he hoisted a grenade in the air I kept expecting him to turn to the camera and monologue about what a great prank on Dwight this was going to be.

This all takes place in Washington DC, so what do they do to Jim from The Office to make him not Jim from The Office and definitely not Alec Baldwin on a submarine? He’s a Nationals fan, with a Nationals schedule pinned to his cubicle and advice for the Asian women in his office about their fantasy baseball drafts (this really happened.) So when it comes to mainstreaming and location-grounding a “new” character, what’s Hollywood gonna turn to?  Baseball. The great unifier.

They might have done better in maybe hitting up a ten-second Google search on what Catholics do during funerals, because this show seems to think that what we do is roll with a bunch of priests in cassocks. That’s what the terrorists wore to blend in at a Catholic funeral. Full-on, to-the-floor cassocks which are seen on Halloween at the Vatican and precisely nowhere else.  It’s as if I were trying to hide myself as a doctor at a hospital and ran around with a bag with a big red cross on it and one of those big mirror things on my head. And these were high-class terrorists, mind you, with stolen uniforms and biological weapons, not two idiots shaking baby powder into envelopes.

Jim Ryan’s writers were also completely stumped as to what Catholics do at a Catholic funeral Mass, and it’s just too bad that none of them had ever met single Catholic ever, any of whom could apologize for the fact that we never follow some sort of set formula they could look up or something. At one point I absolutely know that someone in the writer’s room said “Do Catholics say the Our Father? Let’s just show a bunch of people in a church saying the Our Father right off the top. That seems Catholicy.”

These people didn’t research basic religious functions, and they didn’t really didn’t research the way people behave in Metro stations before, during, and after Nationals games. The climax of the series takes place in a DC Metro station, which made me very happy, as I love the DC Metro, which I can say now that I no longer have to take it to work on a daily basis. The Metro even gets a strong cameo and a body count notch when a train on the Green Line wipes out a terrorist (I told you I love the DC Metro.)

In the world of Jim Ryan, people attend regular season Nationals games wearing giant Nationals flags like capes. They also have feisty chants that complete strangers cheerfully join in, and beam at one another while running up and down Metro station steps because Austin Voth is where it’s at, man.

In many ways, this was the most upsetting part of the entire series, and Josh the Pilot said nothing to warn me.

About The Author

Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.

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25 Responses

  1. msanmoore

    I tried (briefly) to watch it, but it just isn’t the Harrison Ford or even Alec Baldwin version I love from the movies. And I never really watched The Office, so there wasn’t even that connection to process.

    Ah, but the unifying nature of baseball … even if it does focus on the blasted ESPN DC Harper’s (who will undoubtedly lose the man anyway). That’s the key to life, my friends. And our MBE has once again used it to unlock another fun Friday.

    Thanks for keeping us safe and warm as we head into a the turbulence and turmoil that will be the Long Winter of our Discontent …

    How many days until pitchers and catchers report to Arizona?

  2. Scott C

    Thanks for the good read. Outside of the Harrison Ford and Alec Baldwin movies I know nothing about Tom Clancy’s novels nor have I ever watched a full episode of the office. I have been on the DC Metro though it is by far the best subway system I have been on. Have never seen Nat fans act like you described though and have been to several Reds games there by and large they are pretty blasé.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I mean who doesn’t want to see such brilliant men-on-bass leaving?!

  3. schneidly whiplash

    Saw the previews for this and couldn’t belive they are using Jim from “The Office”..in an action series…… I couldn’t get past… Thanks for the heads up, because once we start a series on Amazon, my wife insists on watching it all the way through….They would have been better finding a “no name” person to star in this..

  4. Mary Beth Ellis

    Yeah I had to just tell myself in my head that Jim’s startup job in Texas was just a ruse and he actually was joining the CIA and Pam knows nothing about it.

  5. Mike Adams

    Hey, all you people who are amazed that Jim from the Office was cast in that role.

    That was NOTHING (nothing!) compared to the casting of Tom Cruise as Jack Reacher. If one has ever read Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books, Tom Cruise can’t do Jack Reacher. It is a physical limitation thing, not acting skills.

    Almost no novel survives Hollywood screen plays, rewrites, casting and directing.

    In my over fifty years of reading fiction, Josey Wales was the closest movie to the novel I ever saw. Even some of Clint Eastwood’s jokes were not screenplay, they were from the original novel.

    I am missing the Reds already.

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Complete list of times the book was better than the movie:

      -Forrest Gump
      -The Social Network
      -Monument Men

      That’s it.

      • D Ray White

        Gotta respectfully disagree Mary Beth. From the Clancy series, all the books (Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, Sum of all Fears) were better than the movies. Clancy did excellent research, and presented believable scenarios with just enough character embellishment.

        The Robert Ludlum Bourne Trilogy books were better than the movies. Ludlum was an excellent novelist, period.

        The Stieg Larson Girl with a Dragon Tattoo series were better books than movies.

        One obvious movie better than book comparison was No Country For Old Men. The prose in the book was jarring and disjointed. It also had numerous run-on sentences that stretched to run-on paragraphs. I also tried to read The Road. Same author, same issues.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        I was told to watch NCFOM because it was “a Western.” Nope. HORRIFYING. I lost track of the body count and still have nightmares.

      • WVRedlegs

        Those are the 4 Tom Clancy books that I have read. The books are much better than the movies, with the exception of Red October. The movie almost matched the book. Not because of Alec Baldwin though.
        The Office’s Jim though is a better selection for Jack Ryan than what they had in the movie for “The Sum of All Fears”, Ben Affleck. Good book, very bad movie.
        Mary Beth, who would you like to play you and Josh The Pilot in a movie?

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Excellent question. I shall play me. No one else can approach the meness of me.

        Josh The Pilot will be played by Chuck Yeager.

      • lwblogger2

        You mean times the movie was better than the books? If so I’ll add Fight Club… The movie is actually way better… My humble opinion however.

      • Mary Beth Ellis

        Haven’t experienced either, so I’ll take your word for it.

      • greenmtred

        Wow. I almost always think that the book is better than the movie, unless the book is a stinker.

  6. Eric

    Yeah, I saw that scroll by when I was searching through Netflix one evening, and I thought the same thing: Jim from The Office in anything else would be…Jim from The Office Playing Someone Else. Even in the Esurance ads, where you don’t even see his face, he’s still Jim from The Office Selling You Insurance!

    Julia from Parenthood, on the other hand…yeah, that just might make it worth a look-see. 🙂

    But are they ALL Nationals fans, though? Ugh…

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      I’m not sure about Julia and the Nats. She’s too busy wearing weird blouses.

  7. NorMich Red

    I liked the Clancy books, on the whole, in spite of the fact that they are at times ponderously long and tracing out the sidebar plots can make me lose interest in the primary theme(s). But still, none of the books have the creepy Alec Baldwin, so that’s a clear win for the print version! Few contemporary films (and their often annoying dramatis personae) make me want to plunk down a Jackson for a low-value diversion.

    All that said, Ryan books are not an adequate version at present to take away the pain I have when I watch should-have-been-a-Red Christian Yelich still mashing the ball in the post-season. If management dictates another year of Billy, who’s both easy and futile to root for with no hopes of an upside, I fear there will be another season of joy, hope, and ultimately, frustration, come April, no matter who the new dugout boss is.

    As always, the MBE Missive of the Fortnight (TM pending) made a good read. I saw enough of the DC Metro when I had a son working in the District to be that much happier for my lifestyle in the Upper Michigan back woods. (Glad he escaped!)

    • Mary Beth Ellis

      Can we really term Michigan “an escape,” though?

      • NorMich Red

        I’m not in Detroit. 250 miles north, in the woods and water country. I’m in a place where many, including a lot of people south of “the Border,” gladly come to share our little piece of Paradise with we locals…and often leave a representative number of their hard earned dollars. (Ask me again, though, when Spring Training is going on and I’m up to my zots in snow!)

      • NorMich Red

        I grew up in the northern part of OH, but nothing much for me to love north of the Great Miami Valley. Growing up in CleveBurg made it easy to embrace the QC, the Reds, and my alma mater UC. My motto: the only red jerseys worth rooting for in OH play at UC, GABP, and on the ice in Oxford.

      • NorMich Red

        And…Paradise, Michigan itself (pretty little town on the Lake Superior coast) qualifies itself as a special escape! Less than a 2-hour drive from where I sit this morning. (But it’s spitting snowflakes, I think I’ll pass for the moment…)