Next week, at the end of The Office‘s opening credits, what do you think new acting manager Creed Bratton will adjust on his desk before the title card appears? A tiny sack of mung beans? A doobie? A cache of stolen goods? Whatever it is, I’ll be happy — choosing Creed to succeed Dwight was inspired, and that decision is bound to pay off big time in the season finale.
For the past several seasons, one of the best things about The Office has been the strategic way the show deploys Creed. He’s always on screen just long enough to drop a spectacular weird bomb before retreating into the background again. This means that so far, Creed has never worn out his welcome — unlike certain other wacky supporting characters on certain other NBC sitcoms (I’m looking at you, Kenneth). Hopefully, this won’t change even now that he’s nominally the boss.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Before we can talk about Creed’s ascension to the corner office, we have to talk about Dwight’s swift managerial rise and fall. After years of wishin’ and hopin’ and schemin’ and butt-kissin’, the bespectacled beet farmer finally got his dearest wish — in the form of a temporary stint as Deangelo’s replacement. Predictably, once he had the title of Acting Manager, Dwight ran with it, enforcing crazy rules (workers had to punch in using an old, dangerous time clock, stagger their lunches to discourage socializing, carry around new, comically large business cards that listed their occupation as “Junior Employee,” etc.) and filling his office with a variety of gleaming weaponry, a desk modeled after Uday Hussein’s, and a “rescued” piranha. There was, however, no mention of Schrute Bucks, which disappointed me a little.
As a result, Dwight was both happier than he’s ever been and happier than he ever would be (as he explained, “I will be at my maximum happiness for the rest of my life”). That euphoria, of course, couldn’t last. Soon enough, Dwight flew too close to the sun and discharged a pistol in the middle of the office, shooting a hole in the carpet (lamented Oscar: “There is a hardwood floor under this carpeting! Why would they do this?“) and bursting Andy’s eardrum in the process. To make matters worse, this happened right before the Scranton office was expecting a visit from Jo, the steely down-home Sabre CEO played by Kathy Bates.
Dwight made every effort to convince his coworkers not to tell on him — though his attempt at a Michael-style character, “Gun Safety Dwight,” didn’t last very long — but in the end, the shooter himself confessed his crime, hoping that his honesty would win him brownie points. It didn’t. So just as suddenly as it had began, Dwight’s reign ceased…and Jo decided to appoint the person with the most seniority as the office’s new acting manager. Enter Creed.
NEXT: Oh yeah, Erin/Andy/Gabe was also a thing.