Less Is More
What's that theater saying about the fact that there are no small parts . . .
I've been thinking a lot lately about the actors who can do so much with a part that is not the lead and not even the main supporting character. Look at what Hamish Linklater does as Matthew on "The New Adventures of Old Christine." Rarely is he crucial to the plot but his one line deliveries and deadpan reactions to his sister's absurdity are spot on. He makes the show that much more hilarious.
Who else do I think does a lot with a little?
Mindy Kaling as Kelly on "The Office:" Like ohmigod, "The Office" so totally wrote the policy manual on letting your supporting actors shine. From uptight Angela to cranky Stanley to put-upon Toby, every actor is crucial to the show's overall winning ways. But I have to give a special shout out to Kaling who is absolutely pitch perfect as the overly enthusiastic Kelly.
Rex Lee as Lloyd on "Entourage:" I love him. This is definitely a role that could have been nothing more that a person for Ari to react to and treat badly. But Lee has helped Lloyd come into his own. I delight in Ari and Lloyd's whiplash fast exchanges. On a show that needed no embellishment, Lloyd was a welcome addition.
Liza Weil as Paris Gellar on "Gilmore Girls:" Last week when Paris talked about not getting into Harvard, I thought to myself, "I remember when that happened." It was as if Paris were an old friend and we were reminiscing together. Bold and brash, Paris is always someone I look forward to seeing. And Weil has humanized her without sacrificing any of the qualities we love about Paris.
Who are the actors you think do a lot with a little? Write me at email@example.com and I'll include some of your favorites in next week's column.
Where Have I Seen Them Before?
Aaron was the first reader to recognize this week's most popular familiar face. Marsha Thomason, Nessa on "Las Vegas," is Naomi on "Lost."
Lincoln and Robin were the first readers to be traumatized by Ashley Johnson playing a "pleasure provider" on "CSI." Johnson was little Chrissy Seaver on "Growing Pains." We saw her earlier this season as Susie the maid on "Monk."
Matthew Glave was the groom on "The New Adventures of Old Christine." Among his many TV roles, Glave was hilarious as the dad on FOX's short-lived "Life on a Stick," Dr. Dale Edson on "ER," and Colonel Paul Emerson on "Stargate SG-1." Rachel Harris, currently playing Cooper on "Notes from the Underbelly," was the bride. Harris was Kevyn on "Fat Actress" and we saw her recently on "The Sarah Silverman Program."
Jane Adams was Bonnie, Wilson's ex-wife on "House." She was Dr. Mel Karnofsky on "Frasier" and Karen on "Relativity."
DJ recognized Bryan Callen as the agent Ari couldn't fire on "Entourage." Callen was Peter's dad on "7th Heaven" and Eddie on "Fat Actress,"
Lisa Darr was the client who wouldn't accept Michael's apology on "The Office." Darr was Annie on "Life as We Know It," Jane on "Popular," and Susan on "Strong Medicine."
Well sure we all recognized Mitch Pileggi, Skinner on "The X-Files" and most recently Detective Spivak on "Day Break," as the president of the board on "Grey's Anatomy." But did you catch Mary-Margaret Humes, Dawson's mom on "Dawson's Creek," as his wife?
Jason Gedrick is Rick the chef working and flirting with Lynette on "Desperate Housewives." He was Cameron on "Windfall," Tom on "Boomtown," Neil on "Murder One," and I'll always remember him as David on "Class of '96." Peri Gilpin, Roz on "Frasier," was the pastry chef Susan tried to set up with Mike.
Jonathan Adams, Henry on "American Dreams" and Dr. Daniel Goodman on "Bones," was Peter the man from Department of Justice who forced Karen to fire Bill on "24. "
Quotes of the Week
"You know how Jack Bauer should torture terrorist? Make them go car shopping with their exes." Lorelai to Sookie on "Gilmore Girls."
"Also, he may have scurvy because he keeps asking for lemon." The doctor to Liz Lemon on the season finale of "30 Rock." Thanks to Valerie and Jeff for the quote.
"I'm not getting sucked into the vortex of your insanity again." Wilson to House on "House."
"Actually, my first bypass was 'The Tonight Show.'" David Letterman to Regis Philbin "Live with Regis and Kelly." Thanks to John for the quote.
"I know everything. It's like watching a soap." Jane Doe to Alex about being so close to the nurses' station on "Grey's Anatomy."
Question of the Week
Last summer everyone was abuzz that viewers would stop tuning into serialized dramas if networks kept canceling them after barely giving them a chance. And I thought all the brouhaha was much ado about nothing. My thought was that people would tune in or out based on whether or not the premise and stars appealed to them. But this season has been ridiculous. Shows have been pulled without ever having a chance. The latest victim of this takes no prisoners approach to scheduling is "Drive," which FOX has pulled from the schedule after airing a mere four episodes. "House" will replace "Drive" for the next two weeks and FOX is promising that the remaining two episodes will air this summer.
Here's what I know – I received a ton of email about "Drive" and you guys really liked the show. With the exception of "Friday Night Lights," I actually think I received more mail about "Drive" than I did about any other new show this season. We like a show and before you can say "isn't Nathan Fillion the best," it's gone.
So here's my question – will the way the networks behaved this season stop you from watching new serialized shows? Are you less likely to tune in because you think you'll get hooked on a show and then it will be cancelled? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let me know.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for April 30 – May 6
Bob Barker is the next special guest on "How I Met Your Mother" (Monday, CBS, 8 p.m.). By the way, I've seen the final two episodes of the season and thought they were fantastic and hilarious. Although it did leave me a little concerned about what will happen next season. I'll have more on that as the episodes air.
You when you're in a fight with someone and suddenly you've said all you have to say and you just want to stop fighting. That's kind of how I'm feeling about "24" (Monday, FOX, 9 p.m.) these days. I've said my peace (can't like Milo, disappearing characters, boring romances, and more preposterous than usual plot developments). So sure I could complain about how ridiculous it was that Bill was fired in the middle of the night or the utter inconsistencies that exist in every episode, but I've decided to stop kicking the show while it's down. I'm not going to give the show the silent treatment yet but I may operate under my mother's favorite rule – if I don't have anything nice to say, I'm not going to say anything at all.
"Veronica Mars" finally returns to the schedule this Tuesday at 9 p.m. on the CW. As you know, these episodes will be stand alone mystery episodes. We're still waiting word on whether or not the show will be back next season. Rumors abound that if the show returns Veronica would be an FBI agent next season. As I've long said, I'll take my Veronica in any set up – I just want the show back next season. This week Logan plans a surprise birthday party for Parker. I don't think I want Logan back together with Veronica (way tooo much baggage), but I'm not sure I want him with Parker either. Can't he date a student who is not in the opening credits?
Kim Delaney guest stars on a particularly intense episode of "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" at 10 p.m. on NBC.
You know how I have these moments where I'm convinced that I love TV and TV loves me right back. Well I really think it's very nice of TV to have Tori Spelling with her own reality series, Ian Ziering still competing on "Dancing with the Stars," and Jason Priestly beginning a three episode guest star stint on "Medium" (Wednesday at 10 p.m. on NBC). In fact, "Medium" is partying like it's 1999. Neve Campbell ("Party of Five") also guest stars as Allison's new friend Debra.
So this is the big, two-hour, spin-off episode of "Grey's Anatomy" beginning Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC. It's a guest-starapoolza and we'll get to see Paul Adelstein (who I think you know is my new favorite), Amy Brenneman, Tim Daly, Taye Diggs, Chris Lowell (a favorite) and Merrin Dungey (and what do you know another favorite) as Addison heads to Los Angeles for a much need reprieve from Seattle Grace. And since I'm feeling charitable today, I thought I'd mention that although we all know I've had issues with the show this season, I really love the Jane Doe story line. And, after last week's episode, I'm actually believing the fact that Derek can't take on the responsibility for Meredith's emotional well being to be a legitimate reason they would break up. I still think the show would be better served by less adultery and less sex in the supply closets, but for today I'm accentuating the positive.
So we've talked a lot this season about how we're sick to death of death (I'm even thinking of starting a "Please let President Palmer live" petition), but Laverne's passing on "Scrubs" (Thursday, NBC, 9:19 p.m.) does not fall into this category. We already knew the show could handle the topic deftly – one of the best "Scrubs" ever was when Jordan's brother passed away. The Laverne episodes really showed that after six seasons, "Scrubs" remains as relevant as ever. Next week I'll want to talk about a story line we all thought was long gone on the series that's suddenly returning. So make sure to watch this week as Keri Russell continues her guest star stint as Eliot's friend Melody.
That's all for today. I'll be back next week to talk about the series finale of "7th Heaven," all the shenanigans on "Desperate Housewives," "CSI," and "Supernatural." Have a question, seen a familiar face or want to nominate a quote of the week. Write me at email@example.com