That a new Netflix show Living With Yourself could land a Tom Brady cameo is surprising enough. The fact that his few seconds on screen could be easily construed as a joke about New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft's massage parlor scandal is magnitudes more surprising.
In the show, which stars Paul Rudd, the comic actor's character pulls up to a strip mall massage parlor, not unlike the one that Kraft allegedly attended. As he contemplates whether or not to enter, Brady exits the building looking extremely relieved, and heads towards the parking lot.
As he's set to enter his SUV, the quarterback asks Rudd's character if it is his first time at the spa, and then says that it was his sixth, a reference to the number of Super Bowls he's won. While there's nothing in the brief Brady-Rudd dialogue that makes direct reference to the Kraft situation, the fact that it is a massage parlor, of all things, is glaring.
Refinery29 interviewed the show's creator and writer Timothy Greenberg about the scene and the cameo. He says that he originally wrote it over four years (and two Patriot Super Bowls) ago, and the scene was just supposed to joke about the amazing life that Brady has had. In the show, the parlor is supposed to have a mysterious service that costs $50,000, and promises to change a client's life for the better.
"We were talking about why Miles would do this, why would he agree to hand over $50,000," Greenberg tells Refinery29 over the phone. "[Kaufman] had the idea, 'Maybe he sees these sports stars on the wall.'" Kaufman's suggestion of which athlete Miles would see, still makes Greenberg laugh. "He’s like, 'I don’t know, Babe Ruth.' Like really, Charlie? Are you such an intellectual that you can’t think of any sportsperson from the last 80 years?"
Luckily, Greenberg, could and once he had written Brady into the script, executive producer Jeff Stern reached out to the football star's agent and his publicist. Brady was interested, but it was football season. "So, we were waiting and waiting and waiting for the Patriots to finish their run and then, sure enough, they won again," Greenberg, a "long-suffering" Jets fans, says of the Patriots 2019 Super Bowl win.
Greenberg admits that he thought that the Kraft scandal would nix the scene, and that he was surprised that it still worked out after that story broke. It is never said that he made Brady aware of what the scene would fully entail, but his doubt certainly insinuates it.
During this waiting period, news also broke that had them convinced they were going to lose Brady. In 2018, Patriots owner Robert Kraft was charged with soliciting a sex worker at a day spa in a strip mall "that looked almost exactly like what we were shooting. Like, I would have used it as a reference photo," Greenberg admits. "So we’re like, 'Alright, this is clearly not going to happen now."
Another sign of Greenberg's good luck? Somehow, like Brady, that joke he wrote four and a half years ago has only gotten better with time. "When I wrote the script, I was like, 'Here’s a guy that seems ageless and he’s still performing so well because he’s 37 years old and he just won his fourth Super Bowl,'" Greenberg says. "Four years later, the guy is now 41 and he’s won six Super Bowls. He just won another Super Bowl!"
It's almost as if Brady only became more perfect for the part after Greenberg wrote it, which has the writer throwing out some conspiracy theories. "Maybe he did it," Greenberg jokes. "Maybe, he really is a clone."
After the scene was released, and went viral for the very obvious reasons, Tom Brady had a pretty strange and defiant response to the situation, saying that the scene was "taken out of context."
According to NFL Network's Michael Giardi, the scene was done with a green screen, and not in front of an actual storefront. That would indicate that Brady may not have actually known the context in which his brief lines were being delivered. If true, you can definitely see where people could suspect some misdirection on the part of the show's creators.
We'll have to wait and see if Greenberg and Netflix have a response to that charge, and whether they say that Brady was aware that the scene was to be in front of a massage parlor. Even if it wasn't intended as a Kraft reference, you can see why he'd be angry with how things turned out, but if Tom Brady was actually aware of the full scene, you have to wonder why he would ever agree to it in the first place. You'd also have to think that Brady's agent, or another representative, would be aware of his planned cameo, and would make sure to have all of the information about the scene well before it was shot, especially given how guarded Brady generally is.