For fans of The Office (and if you’re not, what’s wrong with you?), I have recently become aware of some trivia that will blow you mind. Of course, it might not be so mind blowing if you already knew this.
Did you know that the character of Creed Bratton, the creepy, kleptomaniac director of quality assurance at Dunder Mifflin, is played by Creed Bratton, the actor and former member of The Grass Roots, a 1960’s rock band?
The guy has two Wikipedia entries. One for himself and one for his character. I don't even have one yet.
Even more shocking, the character of Creed Bratton is a fictionalized version of the actor and singer himself, with many of the character’s traits and eccentricities merely exaggerated from the real-life Creed Bratton.
Creed, my friends, is Creed.
And Creed’s former band, The Grass Roots, is not to be discounted. They are one of only nine bands to chart twenty-nine hits during their career, and between 1967 and 1972, they set a record for being on the Billboard charts for 307 straight weeks. They have one platinum and three gold records in their discography.
This is Creed, I tell you. Creed.
And how I discovered all this was just as bizarre. In a recent repeat of the episode "A Benihana Christmas," the members of the office were celebrating the holidays with karaoke. In one scene, Creed can be seen singing in the background. While I didn’t recognize the song that he was performing, I liked it and decided to find out the title and artist.
The song is Spinnin’ N Reelin’ by Creed Bratton.
That’s right. Creed was singing his own song.
Since discovering that Creed Bratton is Creed Bratton, I’ve also learned that this symmetry between actor and character has been highlighted in several scenes that never made it to television but have appeared in the deleted scenes section of The Office website (which I cannot recommend enough).
In a scene from the episode "Booze Cruise," Creed’s boss, Michael, borrows the guitar from a cruise ship's band and plays a painfully awful version of Smoke on the Water. Creed then takes the guitar from Michael and proceeds to surprise the rest of the passengers with his excellent playing. The scene then cuts to a confessional, where Bratton talks of his time with The Grass Roots, complete with pictures of the actual band and references to actual tours.
In another deleted scene from the episode "Product Recall," the fictional Scranton Times writer notices that Creed was a member of The Grass Roots.
It’s Easter eggs like these, that shows like The Office, Lost and How I Met Your Mother seem to specialize in, that networks and producers need to more of in order to retain dwindling audiences. Whenever a television show takes me to the Internet, and I am able to spend another thirty minutes of fun online, those writers and producers have won me over and made me a fan for life.
So long as they don’t break up Jim and Pam again.