I wouldnt call Neelix a jerk.. Just an annoying little bastard.
Quark was a jerk, but we LOVED him.. The writers totally took the character of Quark (who, lets face it, was a talented hacker, pilot, social engineer, negotiator... he just chose to lead the typical greedy ferengi lifestyle) and used him as a baseline for Neelix. Neelix, is a soldier, survivor, negotiator, talented pilot. He isnt a bad strategist either.
They are by no means the "same" character.. But Id much rather be stuck in the Delta quadrant with Neelix instead of "the son of Keldar"..
I couldnt imagine Voyager without him. He certainly evolves as the series progresses.
(and lets be honest.. Quark could never have scored Kes.. She'd punch him in the Oomaks the first time he opened his mouth)
R. Star wrote:
It's understandable at first, but when he's doing it years later it's just one more way Neelix is a jerk.