It’s rare for someone to play two different and unrelated characters on the same TV show, but one actor did wound up with two separate roles on The Office. With Dunder Mifflin Scranton being such a small office and operation, it would be difficult for an actor to pop in and out as different characters without audiences recognizing them, yet over the course of nine seasons, one person pulled double duty and mostly went unnoticed.
On The Office, Michael Scott had many alter-egos, as he enjoyed improvising and playing different characters to make his day more entertaining. Among the characters he’d transform into, there was Prison Mike, Ping, and Michael Scarn, all of them used to get himself out of his current reality. However, it wasn’t Steve Carell who showed up as two entirely different characters on the show; it was an actor who appeared separately in seasons 4 and 6.
Nelson Franklin Played Graphic Design Guy & Nick
Nelson Franklin appeared on The Office season 4, episode 13, “Job Fair,” as a character credited only as Graphic Design Guy. Pam (Jenna Fischer) meets him at a job fair when she is first thinking about life outside of Dunder Mifflin, and he encourages her to go to art school. Franklin reappeared in season 6, episode 15, “Sabre,” this time as a character named Nick — who everyone just calls the IT Guy. Nick didn’t hit it off with the show’s main characters and, after being in just five episodes, he wound up leaving Scranton for good in season 6, episode 26, “Whistleblower.”
Franklin went on The Office Ladies podcast where he discussed how he came to play the two different characters. He said his role in “Job Fair” had been his first-ever acting gig and later the casting director didn’t think people would recognize him in another role. At first, though, Franklin was turned down because showrunner Greg Daniels didn’t think an actor could play “two people on the same show in the same universe.” But then Daniels changed his mind. When Franklin asked about it, Daniels said, “No one’s going to remember that you were the job fair guy.”
What Nelson Franklin Did After The Office
Following his role as Nick, the IT Guy on The Office, Nelson Franklin jumped into other sitcoms. He appeared on the shows Black-ish, Veep, and New Girl and also acted in the movies You People and Being the Ricardos. However, in an interview with Blunt magazine, Franklin admitted he has stepped away from comedy to work on other types of roles: “I’ve started doing a bunch of drama, and it’s been magnificent,” he said. “I love it because I’m not changing who I am, and I still bring levity to those roles. I think it brings realism into a dramatic role – not necessarily every dramatic actor can be funny.”
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