The Office is one of those shows that just should not work today. Much like All in the Family, it would never make it to air today. Although the show was originally intended to show the most dysfunctional work environment possible, over time the writing softened, the characters developed affection for each other, and the supporting cast grew.
One of the show’s trademarks was giving the supporting characters interesting backstories. These characters’ confessionals broke up the tension of an episode or just added to the humor. Perhaps the best of these minor character was, of course, Creed Bratton.
Take a look for yourself
This compilation of the best of Creed is available on Peacock along with the rest of The Office, but you don’t have to shell out or sit through their commercials to get it. Its creators have also chosen to put it on YouTube.
The genius of Creed Bratton
Unlike the other minor characters, the Creed character is tied so closely to the actor that it’s impossible to know where one ends and one begins. Creed (the character) is played by actor and musician Creed Bratton. That’s not where it stops. The real Creed Bratton was born William Charles Schneider, which is an alias used by Creed in the show (even in one of the featured clips above.) Creed (the character) alludes to a hippie life filled with making music, while Creed (the actor) was a member of ’60s rock group The Grass Roots. It is all done so seamlessly that it’s easy to believe that the real Creed Bratton is not an actor but a paper salesman, toiling in obscurity.
The genius of it
All the characters in The Office share the same conceit, that they are normal and that the tales they say in their “confessionals” are interesting, but not terribly different from anyone else’s lives. This reaches its height of absurdity with Creed, of course, who says things that are barely within the realm of possibility. Yet he says them so matter-of-factly. This only makes them funnier.
Why Creed is one of the best characters ever
The Creed would never have happened on another show. Or worse, he would have evolved into the kind of “Cousin Oliver” character who draws focus from the main characters. The Office managed to avoid that particular trap until its final seasons, when the hole left by Steve Carell’s departure proved simply too large to fill by one person.
Creed’s words don’t annoy us. They serve as a sort of musical motif. They advance the show while giving the audience a welcome pause from the main stories. He is part of the rich tapestry of The Office. This a show which inexplicably soldiers on despite it being incredibly insensitive and inappropriate. It’s impossible to believe our office lives were like that, but somehow they were.