Most fans of The Office are familiar with the nickname that Andy Bernard gave to Jim Halpert, but not everyone knows how he got it. Why did Andy call Jim “Big Tuna”” The reason was revealed in season 3 when Jim went to work in the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin and it was pretty uninspired, but it stuck.
Jim got a promotion
At the end of season 2 of The Office, Jim had his sights set on a job promotion that required a transfer to the Stamford branch of Dunder Mifflin. Feeling that he had nothing tethering him to Scranton as his crush Pam was getting married, Jim decided to make a career move that would get him out of Scranton.
Interestingly, Jim became the Dwight of the Stamford office, landing a promotion as Assistant Regional Manager. When he got to Stamford, his new officemates were Karen and Andy. Andy immediately gave Jim a nickname, “Big Tuna,” which came about simply enough — he saw Jim eating a tuna fish sandwich.
Jim appeared to be turning over a new leaf
After confessing that he was in love with Pam at the end of season 2, she initially rejected him, but they later kissed. The sweet moment was short-lived, however, as Pam confirmed she would still be marrying Roy. Jim knew that the best thing for him was to leave so that he wouldn’t have the daily reminder of Pam being with another man.
In Stamford, Jim takes his new job seriously and his choice of lunch indicates that he’s switching things up. He had always eaten a ham and cheese sandwich, but he’s trying out something new with tuna, an ill-fated decision as it earns him an annoying nickname.
“Big Tuna is a super ambitious guy, you know?,” Andy says. “Cut-your-throat-to-get-ahead type of guy. But, I mean, I’m not threatened by him. I went to Cornell. Ever heard of it? I graduated in four years, I never studied once, I was drunk the whole time, and I sang in the a capella group, ‘Here Comes Treble.'”
Fans have a theory about why Jim hated the nickname
On Reddit, fans discussed why Jim hated being called Big Tuna and one fan offered up a solid theory. The Redditor brought up the times it was referenced that Jim ate a ham and cheese sandwich every day but on his first day at Stamford he brought a tuna fish sandwich because “he wants to change the habits that tied him to Scranton.”
“Thus, every time Andy calls him Big Tuna (at least in the earlier seasons… maybe not towards the end of the series), Jim is not so much rolling his eyes at Andy as he is being reminded of this horrible time when he tried to scrub Pam from his life,” the Reddit user explained.