I'm an underachiever, not an idiot
Jacob David "Jake" Harper is the tritagonist of Two and a Half Men for the first ten seasons, as well as the "Half" Man in the show's title.
Jake is the son of Alan and Judith Harper, half-brother (or possibly older brother) of Milly Melnick, nephew of Charlie Harper, grandson of Evelyn Harper, cousin of Jenny Harper and ex-step-son of Herb Melnick, Kandi, and Walden. A recurring theme with his character is having really low grades and eating a lot, as he's lazy. He is the butt of many jokes in the show due to his general lack of smarts, understanding of a word, and self-confidence, as well as being oblivious to the fact he is being made fun of.
While Jake is one of the four central characters, he is featured less than Charlie, Alan and Walden (Season 9) and there have been some episodes where he is not in any central storyline and is only heard from briefly. Alan once told a date that his ex-wife Judith has primary custody of Jake, which explains where Jake is when he's not around his father and uncle. As a teenager, Jake called Charlie's house his weekend beach house.
Throughout the sixth season no one knows that Jake found out what happened between Alan and Judith---except Charlie---because Jake wanted to make sure it wasn't the truth but Charlie told him it was. Jake thinks it's cool because he wants to see Judith's reaction if his half sister is his full sister.
Jake can also play the guitar. Originally it was a form of rebellion, but it eventually became a hobby. When he first introduced his guitar skills into the show he wasn't very good, but he has drastically improved as he helped Charlie Harper to write a song for a Japanese kids' T.V. show in exchange for cliff notes for his book report on Lord of the Flies.
Alan's called Jake a Diamond in the rough. Charlie's called him a turd in the punch bowl. Sadly, Charlie's assessment has been closer. Jake, in Season 1 was much different from his personality in the following seasons. He was a healthy weight, kind, charming, and was very similar to a stereotypical American kid. He was also a lot more innocent. Charlie even
began questioning his lifestyle after a few days. Although he disliked Charlie's lifestyle, Alan chose him over Evelyn, not wanting him to turn out like they did. Jake realized his parents were divorcing, but treated it casually.
In Season 2, Jake began to become his lazy, big-headed self. He becomes heavier, becomes lazy, and becomes a little dense.
In Season 3 Jake starts to get a little more rude towards Alan and Judith. In "Weekend in Bangkok with Two Olympic Gymnasts" where Judith told him to watch his mouth. Jake replied," I can't watch it, it's under my nose".
In "Principal Gallagher's Lesbian Lover", Jake gets suspended from school for making fun of a girl with big breasts. In "That Voodoo That I Do Do", he is forced to take ballet lessons just so Charlie can get closer to Mia the instructor. Throughout the season Jake becomes close to Kandi, Alan's girlfriend who he would marry and later get divorced from, going so far as to tell Alan, "if Kandi took a poop it would be [his] step-stool".
In Season 4, Jake starts to spend less and less time with Alan. In "It Never Rains in Hooterville" he hangs posters of women in bikinis in his room and Alan, upon realising Jake is growing up, takes him on a camping trip against his will. Alan starts to worry about Jake's future, in "Corey's Been Dead for an Hour" he has a nightmare where he and Jake in the future are working at a cinema and Jake constantly eats the popcorn. In "Release the Dogs", in which he has problems sleeping, he says about Jake," He's growing up, getting a life of his own. He'll be going off to college soon. I'll only see him on holidays, only hear from him when he needs money... not that I'll have any, I'll still be paying alimony to two ex-wives! And college tuition? That just means selling an organ or turning tricks. And for what? So that he can get a worthless piece of paper that he can then fold into a hat to wear to the fast food job that he will probably get fired from for stealing fries from the customers' bags!"
In Season 5, Jake starts junior high after it was decided that "it was in everyone's best interest that he moves on" from elementary. He cuts school on his first day after Charlie and Alan filled his mind with horrible things to avoid at school, as well as being bought old man shoes and only beige clothing for school. He continues becoming further from Alan. In one episode he refuses to go to the movies with Alan, only suggesting he drops him off. When Alan asks him," So basically, you'll go to the movies with anyone except me". Jake replies," I wouldn't go with Hitler".
The most notable thing about Jake is his change in Season 6. Aside from going through puberty, his voice becomes notably deeper, his hair gets longer and paler, and he become taller and thinner, although retaining his enormous appetite. He also starts to get involved in more mature things such as helping Alan carry a half-naked unconscious woman ("She'll still be dead at half time") and drinking alcohol ("Damn You, Eggs Benedict") and Charlie started to insult him more.
In Season 7, Jake had become quite far away from Alan and Charlie and hardly acted at all like himself in previous seasons, becoming immature and stating, "I'm in the awkward years". At the end of the season, Jake becomes friends with Eldridge, and they sneak out of the beach house and steal Charlie's beer. Alan was very upset with Jake but let it go when he met Eldridge's mom, whom he later began dating, with Jake and Eldridge unaware until later.
Not long ago after Jake made friends with Eldridge, a kid who hates his parents and plays drums, he is always thinking of things to do and they usually get him into trouble. Jake recently found out his dad was dating Eldridge's mom and after he found out told Alan and Charlie he wanted to live with Judith and Herb, Alan however promised Jake he wouldn't keep secrets from him anymore and came to live with him and Charlie again. Alan thought Eldridge was a bad influence on Jake for convincing him to steal beer from Charlie, get drunk, and sneak out when grounded, but lets it slide when he dates Eldridge's divorced mother Lyndsey. The kids don't learn about the relationship until much later. Eldridge and Jake were both against the relationship, especially upon the decision to move in together. Charlie bribes them with money so as to get Alan out of the house. After the house is burnt down, Eldridge, his mom, Alan, and Jake, all move in with Charlie. Eldridge and Lyndsey move out when Chris McElroy, Eldridge's dad, reunites with his mom. A few episodes later, he went over to Charlie's to see Courtney try on dresses with Jake.
In the season 9 premiere, "Nice to Meet You, Walden Schmidt", Jake plays a minor role, and only appeared in 3 scenes, and in each he had little to no dialogue. He did not show much (if any) sorrow about Charlie's death and after Rose uses the term "balloon full of meat" when describing Charlie's death he asked the deeply saddened Alan and Evelyn, "I'm hungry. Anyone else hungry?". However, it can be assumed that Jake was only trying to lighten the shocking moment because he cares more about food than his uncle's death. Jake is absent for the rest of the episode, until the final scene when Judith drops him off at the late Charlie's beach house and they see a naked Walden Schmidt hugging Alan; Alan then introduces him to Judith and Jake and tells them he's buying the house; Judith says she likes him.
In "Big Girls Don't Throw Food", Walden allows Jake to stay at Charlie's beach house as well as Alan but they must share one room, which Jake does not want to sleep in the same room with Alan. Jake gets influenced by Walden to leave school and start his own business, telling Jake he had skipped part of high school and college, starting his internet work, and had made his first million when he was 19. This was Jake's first major appearance of the season due to developing Alan and Walden's relationship. When Judith finds out about Jake dropping out of school, she drops by Charlie's, now Walden's, Malibu Beach House to discuss Walden's influence on Jake about Jake's dropping out of school but ends up kissing him, Not knowing that Jake was filming the whole ordeal. Jake was still planning to quit high school.
In "Those Fancy Japanese Toilets", it is heavily implied that Jake loses his virginity to his chemistry tutor, Megan, due to her becoming extremely horny from looking at Walden. Though it can be believed that they were just making out as shown in the following episode. However Jake was extremely grateful which isn't something Jake would do. Jake later mentions in "Frodo's Headshots", that they have never had sex, after Alan has a nightmare where he dreamed Jake had got Megan pregnant.
While having a heart-to-heart talk with Alan, Jake finally admits that he does love and miss Charlie in "Thank You for the Intercourse". He and Walden were worried about Alan when he was acting like his Uncle Charlie.
In "Not In My Mouth!", Jake has sex with Zoey's slutty neighbor, and tells a friend (presumably, Eldridge) over the phone that he had sex with the woman five times in half an hour. It is unknown if Jake was still a virgin prior to this.
Jake frequently and habitually smoked marijuana with his best friend, Eldridge.
After graduating from high school, he and Eldridge try working in a control room run by Walden and Billy's company, but download too much porn, causing a virus to infect all the hard drives and crash the server. They sign up for the army afterwards, and are seen struggling in army boot-camp. Jake's role has also been partly shared with Eldridge now, and mainly only appears with him now.
In I Changed My Mind About the Milk, Jake and Eldridge have joined the army. Jake dates one of Walden's family friend's daughter, Missi. The two have a casual sex relationship for two episodes but Missi dumps him when he says he wants a serious relationship.
Jake starts dating a 36 year old woman with three kids (one which is older than Jake). Jake and Tammy Sue almost elope in Vegas, but they call it off at the last minute and continue to date. Tammy secretly tells Alan that she never plans to marry Jake which relieves Alan.
Later on, Jake cheats on Tammy with her younger daughter (who's the same age as Jake), leading to the end of their relationship. Jake and Ashley fight to be together, but once Tammy finally gives her blessing, Ashley's former boyfriend comes back and offers her anything she wants to be his wife. Ashley chooses her ex, leaving Jake alone once more.
In the season ten finale, Jake is stationed in Japan for the next year, so he spends a weekend with his dad before leaving.
He does not appear in Season 11, but is mentioned several times. He still keeps in touch with the family, and even mailed them some Japanese marijuana for Christmas, along with some sushi he prepared himself. However, the sushi was spoiled by the time it made it to Malibu as the ice he packed it in had melted. Walden's friend, Barry was mistaken for Jake by Alan, Berta, and Jenny when they met him for the first time.
Since he lives in Japan now, he has yet to meet Charlie's daughter Jenny. More than likely, he may not even know she exists. At the finale, he receives check of 250,000 from Charlie and wins 2.5 million from gambling in Vegas not before leaving his dad and Walden in fear of Charlie's murder intent.
Jake is a nice, sweet, calm, cool, easygoing, loving, and well-meaning kid but is largely unmotivated, underachieving and not incredibly bright. Ultimately, he's the personification of a lost cause. He seems to care very much about other people, such as when he went into a deep depression after he got dumped by Celeste or his father's second divorce (saying "I love you"), though he didn't show at first he admitted missing Charlie. He is also quick to people for a very small price and claims money can buy love. He also seems to be becoming less fond of his father Alan, for growing to be more and more desperate for getting out and buying own place, as well as being overly cheap. However, near the mid-to-end of the tenth season, he does admit that he loves him and wouldn't want anyone else to be his dad.
Despite his simple nature, Jake is very philosophical, understanding that Charlie's lifestyle would not be something good to imitate and how he should strive to be better than he was...and Alan, citing how he doesn't want to end up like either of them. Jake can be surprisingly perceivable at times such as when he was citing over to have a girlfriend just for having a cupcake daily. Charlie tries to explain to his nephew that it was OK for a person to have sex without growing attachment to another person, using cupcakes as a metaphor. After discovering that Jake was able to read between the lines, Charlie was amazed claiming "how about that, the booger-eater got it!".
Growing up, It was quite clear that Jake simply wasn't going to amount to much. Especially with his poor performance at a job Evelyn gave him (Which a monkey proved superior to).
He was dropped twice as a baby, once by Judith's mother and once by Alan, which he admits to before Walden adopts Louis.
Though often stupid, ignorant, slovenly and lazy, Jake has had experience with sex and relationships and is even more experienced than Alan in these regards. In one episode when he was invited to a party with his friends who are "experienced" he was seen mulling over whether to go or not which he ultimately decides to not. In Three Girls and a Guy Named Bud however he actually had a threesome with two of his classmates to the pride of Berta and Charlie.
Jake also has experiences with alcohol which normally end with him throwing up or becoming violently ill. In Damn You, Eggs Benedict he uses Alan's bribe money to buy a six pack and became drunk on Eggnog during Christmas inside Judith and Herb's car. The final time in the series was in Keith Moon Is Vomiting In His Grave where he and Eldridge stole from Charlie, once again vomiting.
- His full name is revealed to be Jacob David Harper in the episode "Ate The Hamburgers, Wearing The Hats".
- In the Theme Song from Seasons 1-8, Jake's singing voice is provided by Elizabeth Daily, who does the voice of Tommy Pickles in the Nickelodeon series Rugrats.
- It is unknown when Jake lost his virginity. It's most likely to be in Season 8 episode 1 with 2 girls Tiffany and Joanne, both girls were caught leaving Jake's room later Jake denied having intercourse with them claiming they were just surf buddies and he slept on the floor while they slept on his bed, later in the episode Charlie sees them leave Judith and Herb's house (which is no where near the beach) thus proving Jake was lying. It could have been his tutor/girlfriend, Megan, who made her first appearance in "Springtime on a Stick", and may have nailed him in "Those Fancy Japanese Toilets".It could have also been with Jennifer, Zoey's slutty neighbor in "Not In My Mouth!".
- After meeting Eldridge, Jake began smoking pot.
- Miley Cyrus appeared as Missi with whom Jake falls in love.
- In the Season 2 episode, "The Price of Healthy Gums Is Eternal Vigilance", a Plank plush toy can be seen on Jake's bed. This could mean Jake likes to watch Ed, Edd n Eddy.
- While Jake would've realistically been disqualified from military service for his substance abuse, the plot-twist of him joining the Army was likely used to reduce Angus T. Jones' screen time as he sought to pursue his religion as a Seventh-day Adventist, openly expressing that he was a "paid hypocrite" because his religious beliefs conflicted with his job as an actor in expressing the show's adult themes.
- Jake might not even be Alan's son as Charlie begins to suspect at the end of Season 6 episode 1 since when Alan and Charlie go to drop off Jake at Judith's many of the handymen around the house resemble Jake.
- This would certainly explain why Jake doesn't show any behavior traits from Alan, such as being cheap, or trying desperately to keep a girlfriend.
- However, he shares some of his father's and uncle's bad luck or drama with women, showing he is a Harper.
- Jake does not make a single appearance in Season 11, but he is mentioned frequently and his picture is seen in the season finale episode "Oh WALD-E, Good Times Ahead".
- In the season 12 episode "Oontz, Oontz, Oontz", Jake makes an uncredited cameo via a tribute montage (compiled of footage from past episodes) where Alan reflects on the years he spent raising Jake.
- Despite being mentioned by both Jenny and Louis, his cousin and adopted brother (respectively), Jake does not meet either of them in the series.
- In the Season 10 Finale, Jake revealed that for years since his parents divorce, he blamed Alan for the divorce. However, after seeing his mom's second marriage fail, realizes that his mom was also to blame for the divorce.