|“||Well, I don't want to argue. If you've made up your mind, then you've made up your mind. I'll tell Mr. Poe to find you another guardian. You children are very dear to me, but I don't have your courage. Your mother always said I wasn't brave enough, and I guess she was right. Good luck, Baudelaires. I think you will need it.||”|
— Jerome Squalor, The Ersatz Elevator
Jerome Squalor is the timid husband of Esmé Squalor and the sixth guardian of the Baudelaire orphans alongside his wife, who was secretly in love and in cahoots with Count Olaf. He makes his first appearance in book the sixth: The Ersatz Elevator.
He is very trusting and kindhearted. For example, he wanted to give money from the In Auction to a family with children who were too poor to afford an apartment after both parents lost their jobs. However, Esmé refused since "if we give money to poor people, then they won't be poor anymore."
He dislikes confrontation, and will not challenge Esmé even when her actions could harm the Baudelaires. Jerome avoids disputes with Esmé, as he hates arguing with her (as well as arguing in general), and follows her instructions. In this sense, Jerome is a pushover and a walking doormat.
When Violet says arguing is sometimes useful and necessary, he replies that he can't think of a single argument that would be useful or necessary. He tells the Baudelaires, "Someday, when you're older, you'll understand." He likely refers to the idea of sacrificing one's own happiness to make someone else happy, although the Baudelaires do not like the idea of him getting the short end of the stick all the time.
He is also far less of a follower of fashion than Esmé, and dislikes the idea of buying superfluous items because they are "in". However, he goes with Esmé's fashionable requests anyway, as she is pushy and he does not want to argue. He wanted to give Violet, Klaus, and Sunny a toolkit, almanac, and bronze square for biting, respectively, but Esmé did not agree because those items were "out" and instead insisted on "in" pinstripe outfits.
He is a very timid man, especially for marrying Esmé after 1 night. He usually never stood up for the Baudelaires, because he couldn't stand arguing. When he found out that Esmé was acting, he simply didn't have any emotions, except for regret.
He was a friend of Jacques Snicket and bought the penthouse apartment in 667 Dark Avenue at his suggestion. Jacques attempted to tell him not to marry Esmé, but the letter he wrote was intercepted by the hook-handed man.
Although Jerome is rich and successful, this position is abused by Esmé to gain access to the Baudelaires.
The Ersatz Elevator
Jerome makes his first appearance in The Ersatz Elevator as the Baudelaire's newest guardian. While he is very kind, he does not believe the orphans about Gunther being Count Olaf and refuses to take any sort of protective action, suggesting that they are probably suffering from xenophobia. The Baudelaires barely spent any time with Jerome and Esmé because their penthouse was so large that it was difficult to find either of them.
While eating dinner at Café Salmonella, Jerome admits he can't stand the taste of salmon but didn't see the point in arguing with Esmé's choice— Jerome believes that arguing is neither useful nor necessary. Violet asserts that it's sometimes useful to argue, and Klaus points out that arguing with Esmé it would have meant he could have had a meal he enjoyed. Jerome dismisses their point of view by saying that "someday, when you're older, you'll understand."
At the end of The Ersatz Elevator, Jerome offers to take the Baudelaire orphans to a place of safety, but they refuse as their friends the Quagmires are still being held captive by Count Olaf. Jerome kisses each Baudelaire on the forehead then walks away, once more leaving them in the care of Arthur Poe.
Between The Ersatz Elevator and The Penultimate Peril
After the events of The Ersatz Elevator, Jerome begins to feel guilty for abandoning the Baudelaires. When he hears about what happened in the Village of Fowl Devotees, he begins to search for them but is unsuccessful.
Inspired by Esmé and all the plots he found while searching for the Baudelaires, he begins reading about injustice. Eventually, he writes his own book about injustice, Odious Lusting After Finance (initials spelling OLAF), which "chronicles the history of greedy villains, treacherous girlfriends, bungling bankers, and all the other people responsible for injustice."
The Penultimate PerilJerome reappears in The Penultimate Peril at the Hotel Denouement with Justice Strauss. He is relieved to see the Baudelaires again and tells them how sorry he is, that he could never forgive himself for leaving them, and informs them what he has been up to. Justice Strauss also apologizes to the Baudelaires. Violet says the two have been "noble enough" and the Baudelaires embrace them both.
Jerome and Esmé cross paths and reunite at the hotel. When Esmé disagrees with Olaf, Jerome thinks she will become a "noble person again," but she replies, "Let's not go overboard. Just because I'm dumping my boyfriend doesn't mean I'm going to be a goody-goody like you. Justice is out. Injustice is in. That's why it's called injustice."
When the Baudelaires are accused of killing Dewey Denouement, he defends them, saying that he is sure they are not murderers and that he has always found them to be polite and kind. During the trial of the Baudelaire children, he submits his book to be used as evidence against Olaf. However, Count Olaf kidnaps Justice Strauss while everyone is blindfolded and uses the book as kindling to set fire to the hotel. Jerome is last seen on the first floor where the Man With a Beard But No Hair has his hand on him. It is unknown if Jerome survived the fire.
His role in the TV series is mostly the same, although in The Penultimate Peril episodes, his role is more of a cameo than a support figure like the book, barely speaking to the Baudelaires. Instead, Justice Strauss takes the lead, and she was the author of Odious Lusting After FInance, although she had some help from Jerome.
During his appearance in The Penultimate Peril, it is heavily hinted that Jerome is bisexual. While pretending to be in a relationship with Babs, Jerome mentions he met the true love of his life at a support group for people who escaped horrible partners, but that his partner is too busy at his lumber mill at that time - implying that he has found love with Charles.
Jerome's bisexuality and relationship with Charles is acknowledged in an interview.
Behind the scenes
He is portrayed by Tony Hale in the TV series.
- He is one of the multiple characters with the initials J.S. The initials were mentioned multiple times in the series, but it was never revealed to which character(s) the initials were actually referring to. 
- Years ago, Geraldine Julienne wrote a letter to Esmé telling her that Jerome was not married and he visited the Veritable French Diner every morning.
|Jerome Squalor||Esmé Squalor||Mr. Spats †||Mrs. Spats †|
|Charles||Jerome Squalor||Esmé Squalor||Mr. Spats †||Mrs. Spats †|
|A Series of Unfortunate Events (Books)|
|1. The Bad Beginning (1999):||Absent||7. The Vile Village (2001):||Mentioned|
|2. The Reptile Room (1999):||Absent||8. The Hostile Hospital (2001):||Mentioned|
|3. The Wide Window (2000):||Absent||9. The Carnivorous Carnival (2002):||Absent|
|4. The Miserable Mill (2000):||Absent||10. The Slippery Slope (2003):||Absent|
|5. The Austere Academy (2000):||Absent||11. The Grim Grotto (2004):||Absent|
|6. The Ersatz Elevator (2001):||Debut||12. The Penultimate Peril (2005):||Appears|
|13. The End (2006):||Absent|
|All the Wrong Questions|
|Who Could That Be at This Hour? (2012):||Absent||Shouldn't You Be in School? (2014):||Absent|
|When Did You See Her Last? (2013):||Absent||Why Is This Night Different from All Other Nights? (2015):||Absent|
|File Under: 13 Suspicious Incidents (2014):||Absent|
|Other Snicket Books|
|Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography (2002):||Appears|
|The Dismal Dinner (2004):||Absent|
|The Beatrice Letters (2006):||Absent|
|The Hero of the Story (2017):||Absent|
- The Ersatz Elevator
- The Vile Village (mentioned)
- The Hostile Hospital (mentioned)
- The Penultimate Peril
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)