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Peter Rogers's Blog
Artist-in-Residence at Chez Firth

Friday (6/18/10) 12:23am - ... wherein Peter opines about dream guest stars.

I forget how this started.  I think I had a few "Wouldn't it be neat if actor <x> had appeared on show <y>?" ideas kicking around in my head.  Eventually, I figured that with some more material, it might make a good blogpost.  So I made a little text-document 'idea bin', and that's been sitting around for six months or so.

I'll go ahead and write this as a meme, even though the odds are slim-to-none that anybody else would feel like answering it:

Congratulations!  You have a magical time machine and the awesome powers of a network head, allowing you to cast any actor in a guest role on any show, regardless of work conflicts they would have had at the time.  Which five actors do you pick, and which five shows?
Bruce Campbell - Arrested Development
How many shows can match Arrested Development for playful stunt casting?  They tried to get Andy Griffith, for god's sake.[1]  They cast Carl Weathers as (a version of) himself.  They manged to use James Lipton expertly.

Bringing in Bruce Campbell could have been a sop to genre fans of "The Chin," sure.  But I'm convinced Hurwitz et al could have used the guy's comic chops to go beyond just "Hey! it's the guy from The Evil Dead!" stunt casting.  There are a zillion directions they could have gone with a Bruce Campbell character, all of them wonderful.

Charles Grodin - Sports Night
It's one of the real goddamn tragedies of television that, by the time Aaron Sorkin started writing for the medium, Charles Grodin had retired from acting.  Both men exemplify the same sort of unrelenting intelligence and no-nonsense professionalism, so they would be perfectly matched.  Can't you just imagine Grodin as some CSC higher-up who goes toe to toe with Isaac in season one, or with Sam Donovan in season two?

One speech in, and you'd realize, "Crap.  Our guys are in trouble.  Compelling, hilarious trouble."

Michael Hogan - Pushing Daisies
... if for no other reason than 'it would make everyone's head explode.'  Like Michael Emerson on LOST, Michael Hogan had stretches on BSG where the actor has figured, "Well, I guess *I'm* in a comedy," and acted accordingly, adding a streak of dark, dark humor to the Very Serious Drama.  But because it's subsumed into possibly the unhappiest show ever made, I don't think anybody gives him credit for that.

The man could have been funny on Pushing Daisies.  And the actor naturally projects this old-crusty-sailor persona that could easily work in the heightened, candy-color universe that Bryan Fuller created for Daisies.  The show was all about creating sharp, distinct guest characters -- had they cast Michael Hogan, they would have started about five moves ahead.

Wil Wheaton - The Middleman
No one, I repeat no one, anywhere in the history of television, would have had more fun guesting on a show than Wil Wheaton would have had on The Middleman.  I am convinced that the sheer, palpable glee emanating from Mr. Wheaton -- perhaps he could have been a scenery-chewing mad scientist? -- would have made for a glorious episode of that glorious show.

Jennifer Carpenter - LOST
I have a couple reasons for this.

First off, I have yet to see an actor firmly ground a melodrama as well as Jennifer Carpenter does.  You watch her on Dexter, and you forget you're watching a grisly procedural about serial killers, one that could (and, for a short time, did) run on CBS alongside its collection of CSIs.  Even when you're watching the standard-issue "damsel in distress" scene, it's not just another cookie-cutter woman-in-peril scenario, because Ms. Carpenter grounds it emotionally in a very specifically-realized character.

Second, LOST was pretty lame when it came to strong female characters.  If you're a woman on LOST, your options are pretty much either:  (1) get killed; (2) go crazy; or (3) spend year after year feeling soooo soooo torn over which boy you're going to take to the prom.  If you're going to write a lady who's a bit stronger and self-actualized than that, you couldn't go wrong with Ms. Carpenter.

(Honorable mention:  Anna Faris on Freaks and Geeks, largely because Ms. Faris gets too few chances to be hilarious these days, and it would have been really lovely to get her in on the ground floor of the Apatow comedy empire.  In the end, though, she likely would have been way too conventionally-Hollywood-pretty to be on that show.)

[1] "We were not trying to make fun of Andy Griffith.  I cannot stress that enough."

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Date:Friday (6/18/10) 8:06am
Wil Wheaton + The Middleman = genius. ZOMG.

Jennifer Carpenter needs to get more work, in general. She really is amazing.
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Date:Tuesday (6/22/10) 11:32am
*nods emphatically*
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Date:Monday (8/2/10) 12:24pm
Wil Wheaton + The Middleman = genius. ZOMG.

One possibility:  Wil Wheaton plays a children's-show host who is secretly a supervillain.  Y/N?
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