In Mike and Molly episode “Peggy Gets a Job” (season 2, episode 8), when Peggy, Mike’s mother, gets a job at Molly’s school, she, as a support facilities personell, quickly accustoms herself with all the gossip, while acknowledging that she learned the whole truth about affair that Rebecca (Molly’s young blonde colleague and her prime competitor for vice-principal position) is having with the principal from the janitor.
At the same time, in iconic The Breakfast Club (1985), Carl, a school custodian, has the air of wizardly wise man, who also knows everything about everyone:
I am the eyes and ears of this institution.
Is it a direct reference, or is it a common archetype, a sort of a modern folk character? I have not attended American grade school, and not familiar with it first hand, but is it ubiquitous to think of school custodian this way? Are there other examples? Where did it originate in popular culture (film, literature, etc.)? Is it something that harkens to classic character of a lowly peasant who possesses knowledge and wisdom enough to advise the king?