|“||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 ex-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 a trusting, generous and kindhearted man. 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. Esmé refused, however, since according to her, "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 Baudelaire children. Jerome avoids disputes with Esmé since 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. In other words, he is extremely cowardly.
When Violet states that arguing is sometimes useful and necessary, he replies that he can't think of a single argument that provides such a purpose. He tells her and her younger siblings, "Someday, when you're older, you'll understand." He likely refers to the idea of sacrificing one's own happiness to satisfy someone else, 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". Regardless, he goes along with Esmé's fashionable requests as she is pushy and he does not want to argue. He wanted to give Violet, Klaus, and Sunny a toolkit, an almanac, and bronze square for biting, respectively, but Esmé did not agree because those items were "out" and insisted on purchasing "in" pinstripe outfits instead.
He is a very timid man, especially for marrying Esmé after 1 night. He usually never stood up for the Baudelaire children, because he couldn't stand arguing. When he found out that Esmé was acting, he simply didn't have any emotions, save for regret.
He was a friend of Jacques Snicket and bought the penthouse apartment in 667 Dark Avenue at his suggestion. Jacques attempted to warn him not to marry Esmé, but the letter he wrote containing that message was intercepted by the hook-handed man. The twosome had only known each other for one day when they got married.
Although Jerome is rich and successful, his position and wealth is abused by Esmé to gain access to the Baudelaire children.
The Ersatz Elevator
Jerome makes his first appearance in The Ersatz Elevator as the Baudelaires' sixth guardian around May 14th. While he was very kind to them, he found it hard to believe that Gunther was actually Count Olaf and refuses to take any sort of protective action, suggesting that they were probably xenophobic. The Baudelaires barely spent any time with Jerome and Esmé because their penthouse was so large that it was difficult to find either one 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. This is because he 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 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." As stated previously, he could be implying that when a person cares about another, they have to think of them before themselves even if it meant sacrificing their own happiness.
At the end of The Ersatz Elevator, when he finally discovered Count Olaf's ruse and Esme's treachery, Jerome offers to take the Baudelaire orphans to a safe place, but they refuse since their friends, the Quagmires, were still being held captive at the time. Jerome kisses each Baudelaire child on the forehead before he walks away, once more leaving them in Mr. Poe's care.
Between The Ersatz Elevator and The Penultimate Peril
After the events of The Ersatz Elevator had taken place, Jerome began to feel remorseful for abandoning the Baudelaire orphans when they needed him most. When he hears about what happened in the Village of Fowl Devotees, he begins to search for them, but he was unsuccessful.
Inspired by Esmé and all of the plots he discovered while searching for the Baudelaires, he began conducting his research about injustice. Eventually, he writes his own book about the subject called 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 Peril
Jerome reappears in The Penultimate Peril at the Hotel Denouement accompanied by Justice Strauss. He was relieved to see the Baudelaire orphans again and tells them how apologetic he was for abandoning them and that he never forgave himself for that. He then informed them about what he had been up to since. Justice Strauss also apologizes to the kids. Violet says the two have been "noble enough" before she and her siblings embraced them both.
Jerome and Esmé crossed paths once again at the hotel. When Esmé disagrees with Olaf, Jerome thinks she will become a "noble person again" until 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 were accused of killing Dewey Denouement, he defends them by saying that he was sure they are not murderers and that he has always found them to be polite and kind. During their trial, he submits his book to be used as evidence against Olaf. However, Count Olaf sneakily kidnaps Justice Strauss while everyone else was blindfolded and uses the book Jerome wrote 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 had 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 in the book since he barely speaks to the Baudelaire orphans. Instead, Justice Strauss takes the lead and she winds up being the author of Odious Lusting After Finance, although she had some help with her research 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 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 †|
- The Ersatz Elevator
- The Vile Village (mentioned)
- The Hostile Hospital (mentioned)
- The Penultimate Peril
- A Series of Unfortunate Events (TV series)