If someone can confidently and impressively perform the same act hundreds of times, all within view of millions of people, then it's not out of the realm of understanding that those people will start making unbreakable associations between that person and the act. Just ask Rainn Wilson, whose time on NBC's hit comedy The Office provided him not just super-stardom, but also the extremely singular character Dwight Schrute, whose influence has clearly not run dry. Wilson went off on a hilarious tongue-in-cheek rant recently about fans who actually think he's just like Dwight.
I am not Dwight Schrute, okay? I played a character for 200 episodes, and it was an awesome character, and he was a beet farmer. That doesn't mean you should hand me beets or make beet jokes every time I go into Starbucks and ask if they have like a beet latte or something like that. Don't hand me reams of paper, and don't say 'fact' to me, and don't ask me which is bear is best because I am a human being of service to the women and girls of Haiti and to others in this planet, and I am not a beet farmer. So, fuck you! And...thank you for watching the Emmy-winning show The Office.
Let's once again say that this was a tongue-in-cheek rant, as Rainn Wilson was a guest on the most recent episode of the podcast Lovett or Leave ItI, from former White House speech writer and current screenwriter Jon Lovett. For this part of the installment, Lovett had Wilson take part in the show's big Rant Wheel, which showcases a handful of topics and angles for the guest to use as a verbal springboard. And when Wilson's spin landed on "I'm Not Dwight," the actor was more than willing to settle in for a a minute or so to get real with it.
Well, real to a certain extent. Rainn Wilson was obviously having some fun there, as he wouldn't straight up tell an Office fan "Fuck you!" (Assumedly.) But I can't imagine his post-2005 life has been completely exclusive of wanting to tell that to someone. Or possibly a great many people, since TV fanatics aren't always the most normal and personable human specimens out there. Dwight's entire existence on The Office, from his workplace sycophancy to his home life with Mose, basically served as a meme generator, so Wilson probably doesn't have many fan encounters that serve as normal interactions in any sense. Everybody's gotta make a beet joke.
On the flip side, it's probably not all that hard to field Office references for John Krasinski, since people probably just give him the iconic Jim Stare or ask him about pranks to play on others. Perhaps Paul Lieberstein gets more than his share of uncomfortable fan recognition, considering how horribly Steve Carell's Michael Scott treated him. Still, though, there aren't any Office characters that have provided the variety of eccentric conversation starters than ol' wishy washy Dwight Schrute.
While The Office is no longer around giving people new reasons to inquire about Rainn Wilson's agricultural habits, you can catch all nine seasons currently streaming on Netflix, and be sure to look out for Wilson's entrance into the Star Trek universe for CBS All Access' Star Trek: Discovery, which premieres on Sunday, September 24. To see when all the other new and returning shows are hitting the small screen in the coming months, head to our summer premiere schedule.