Impeccable Cleaning in the Florida Panhandle is not your classic janitor. Once upon a time (not too long ago), the portrayal of a janitor was biased, often as a figure of ridicule, danger or pity, he became a negatively stereotypical blue collar character in popular culture, many times denoting ignorance, laziness, failure, exploitation or even perversion. Featured widely in film and television, he was portrayed in the same realm of evil as the butler. In real life this is of course not the case, but Hollywood in the 20th century liked to project the Butler and the Janitor as wicked and dangerous, probably as a result of historic Victorian Fear projection.
To support this statement please watch the trailer for the 2007 Demi Moore, Michael Cain Movie “Flawless”.
Yet, even when it comes to the janitors listed below, not all of them share these traits. The list in order of first appearance in movies.
- 1953: Mr. Svenson is a character who works as a custodian at Archie Comics‘ Riverdale High School
- 1964: Leader, working as a janitor in Boise, Idaho is a supervillain character that appears in comic books published by Marvel Comics; in 2009, The Leader was ranked as IGN’s 63rd Greatest Comic Book Villain of All Time
- 1966: Parasite is the name of several characters that appear in Superman comic book stories published by DC Comics; a supervillain who has the ability to temporarily absorb the energy, knowledge and super-powers of another being by touch
- 1973: George Jefferson is a character played by Sherman Hemsley on the American television sitcoms All in the Family (1973–75) and its spin-off The Jeffersons (1975–85)
- 1974: Hong Kong Phooey is a mild-mannered police station janitor in the animated series of the same name
- 1974: OMAC is a superhero comic book created in 1974 by Jack Kirby and published by DC Comics
- 1978: Beauregard and George the Janitor are Muppet characters, who work as janitors
- 1979: Night Raven is a superhero appearing primarily in Marvel UK Comics, a division of Marvel Comics, first appearing in Hulk Comic #1 (March 7)
- 1982: Brian Banner is a villainous character from the Marvel Comics Universe, the abusive father of Bruce Banner (Incredible Hulk), and is featured in the 2003 film Hulk (though renamed David)
- 1984: Freddy Krueger (Robert Englund) is the main antagonist of the A Nightmare on Elm Street film series
- 1985: Philip Martin is a character from the Australian soap opera Neighbours, played by Ian Rawlings (originally played by Christopher Milne)
- 1985: Carl Reed is a janitor in the 1985 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film The Breakfast Club, played by John Kapelos
- 1986: Booster Gold is a DC Comics superhero and a member of the Justice League, initially depicted as a glory-seeking showboat from the future, using knowledge of historical events and futuristic technology to stage high-publicity heroics
- 1986: Forrest Gump is a character who, in the second novel of the series, Gump and Co., works as a janitor in a New Orleans bar
- 1986: Roger Wilco is a janitor and the protagonist of the Space Quest series, introduced in Space Quest: The Sarien Encounter; he was on the 2004 list of “top ten working class heroes”
- 1986: Skeets is an artificial intelligence robot from the future in the DC Comics Universe; usually seen as a companion to Booster Gold, he co-stars in the limited series 52 and the subsequent Booster Gold vol. 2
- 1989: Stanley Spadowski is a dim-witted but excitable janitor in the comedy film UHF, portrayed by Michael Richards
- 1991: Casey Hughes is a fictional character on the soap opera As the World Turns
- 1991: Groundskeeper Willie is a recurring character on the animated comedy series The Simpsons who works as a groundskeeper
- 1997: Gattaca features a janitor (Ethan Hawke) who hides his genetic makeup so that he can apply to become an astronaut
- 2000: Marty Murray is a character from Channel 4 soap Brookside played by Neil Caple from 2000 until 2003
- 2000: The Janitor’s Boy is a children’s book by Andrew Clements about a young boy whose father is a janitor
- 2001: Frazz is a syndicated comic strip by Jef Mallett that, on the surface, is about school custodian Edwin “Frazz” Frazier and the school where he works, but which, according to Mallett, is really about discovery
- 2001: The Janitor is a fictional character, played by actor Neil Flynn in the American comedy-drama Scrubs, who works as a janitor at Sacred Heart
- 2001: Joe Dirt is an American adventure comedy film about a “white trash” young man working as a custodian, Joe Dirt, who at first seems to be a “loser”, a failure, an antihero
- 2001: Thomas Logan is a fictional character in the Marvel Comics universe – the biological father of Wolverine of the X-Men, who works as a groundskeeper
- 2001: Scruffy is an apathetic and perverse janitor on the animated series Futurama, voiced by Billy West
- 2005: Charlie Kelly is a character on the sitcom It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia
- 2006: The film Flags of Our Fathers shows one of the famous Iwo Jima flag raisers who spends the rest of his life as a janitor
- 2006: The Miniature Killer is a fictional character on the CBS crime drama CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, portrayed by Jessica Collins
- 2007: Toussaint Dubois is a character on General Hospital: Night Shift, introduced in the episode “Frayed Anatomies”, working as a janitor at Port Charles General Hospital; portrayed by Billy Dee Williams
- 2008: WALL-E is a robot who has developed sentience, the only robot of his kind shown to be still functioning on Earth, and works diligently to fulfill his directive to clean up the garbage on Earth.
In recent years the janitor has slowly been lifted to a position of guarded prominence as a benevolent character with deep wisdom of life, such as in the movie “Pride” where Bernie Mac plays the grouchy but caring janitor Elston.
In the background of all these “social” stigmas, the profession of janitor has developed however into a solid, science based service, much in demand by smart corporations who value productivity and professional services to keep their work- and client environment pristine.