The Office: Does Creed Bratton Have Anosmia?
Updated: Jul 17, 2020
Disclaimer: This blog post is about the characters as they are portrayed in the TV show “The Office”. Some characters use their real names in the show, but this article is not making claims about the actors, only the characters they play in the show.
I absolutely love the TV show The Office. Well, to be more precise, I absolutely love large parts of The Office and choose to ignore certain characters like Charles Miner and the gradual decline of the show after Michael left. However, I still absolutely adore this show. Ask any one of my previous partners and they will attest that I watch this show way too often. I even fall asleep with it playing in the background many nights.
Personally, I think that good movies and TV shows are still fulfilling to watch multiple times. There are so many tiny worldbuilding elements that are added to movies and TV shows that are usually missed during first watch throughs. In The Office, an example of this is in Season 7 Episode 15 “The Search” where there are two pictures of Creed Bratton on the ‘thief’ wall in the Chinese restaurant. Many people notice the first picture of him, but there is a second where he is wearing a wig in the picture.
That brings us to the subject of this blog post; Creed Bratton.
Creed Bratton is a minor character in The Office played by an actor with the same name, Creed Bratton. The actor Creed Bratton is also a singer and musician and former member of the rock band The Grass Roots. This fact is referenced several times in the show. During Season 3 Episode 10, “Benihana Christmas”, Creed sang karaoke to one of his own songs “Spinnin’ N’ Reelin’” and in Season 7 Episode 14, “The Search”, he shows the passport of “William Charles Schneider” which is the actor's birth name.
Creed is an odd character and most of his interactions with other characters in the show come in the form of slightly out of place one-liners. He doesn’t have any major plot points in the show but adds a dusting of eccentricity to the show that really rounds out the show.
But now, my claim:
Creed has anosmia.
First thing’s first. What is anosmia? Anosmia is the partial or complete loss of the sense of smell. Some individuals with anosmia may also notice a change in the way that certain things smell. One example of this is parosmia, which is where odors smell drastically different from what was remembered. Another is phantosmia which is smelling an odor that isn’t present.
Smell disorders are common in the general population affecting 19% of the general population. Smell disorders also become more prevalent as we age. The loss of sense of smell also can change how food tastes though it can’t quite be precisely determined how much.
So that is what anosmia is, but is there any evidence that Creed has anosmia? There is quite a bit actually. In Season 2 Episode 14 “The Carpet”, someone, later discovered to be Todd Packer, left a “package” in the middle of Michael’s office. The beginning of the episode is focused on the smell of the “package”, and Creed walks in the office and says “Hey guys, somebody making soup?”. His confusing the smell of feces with soup could be a sign of “distorted smells” which often accompanies partial anosmia.
In Season 2 Episode 21 “Conflict Resolution” Ryan complains about Creed’s “old man smell” which Creed says is due to him having mung beans in his drawer. He acknowledges that the mung beans “smell like death” so this may indicate that he can smell, but he may also be able to eat the beans precisely because of a lack of smell.
In Season 3 Episode 20 “Saftey Training”, Jim replaces the apple that Creed was eating with a potato while distracted. Creed then, obliviously, takes a bite out of the potato. Seemingly not noticing that his apple had been replaced. There is an old urban myth that without the sense of smell, it is impossible to tell the difference from biting into a potato and biting into an apple. I can’t find a peer-reviewed article confirming that, but I thought I would mention it.
Anosmia can also often be caused by heavy drug use. Creed’s drug use is reference many times in The Office but in a deleted scene from Season 4 Episodes 18/19 “Goodbye Toby”, Creed admits to getting cocaine from his buddy in Costa Rica calling it “coffee you snort”. Creed also shows his knowledge of meth and cannabis in other episodes as well. It is safe to assume that Creed did a considerable amount of drugs and this could have caused him to have anosmia.
Does Creed have Anosmia? Maybe, but probably not. There are plenty of references where it appears as though he can smell. In the grand scheme of things, even in regards to the show, it doesn’t really matter. It would be a minor characteristic of a minor character. But personally, I really enjoy digging deep into shows and movies and discovering small things or coming up with my own “head-canon”. I like understanding the entire world of a show or movie and fill in the gaps with my own ideas.
I may do blog posts on The Office in the future and maybe for some movies. I have a bunch of head-canon for the movie The Matrix that I may write down at some point. Well, I hope you enjoyed this fun post and are staying healthy.
Images from Wikimedia