Can ABC Please Dive Deeper into its Guest-star Pool?
Samantha Who? by Randy Holmes/ABC
Coming in fall 2008: a new ABC sitcom starring
as wacky roommates! That's my prediction based on the omnipresence of those two TV journeymen as guest stars for the Alphabet network.
Within the span of a week,
alum Randall reprised his
Men in Trees
role of Annie's loutish brother (in an episode taped last season, I grant you) and also surfaced on
as Addison's would-be (if not for his propensity for probing his posterior...) beau. Cibrian, meanwhile, recently played Karen's ex-husband on
Dirty Sexy Money
, and this week can be seen pitching woo at
In a similar vein, ABC tapped
to play a convenience-store robbing mom-to-be on
vet visited CBS'
Big Bang Theory
. (That was the
episode which went for the sweeps month hat trick: Name Guest Star, Emergency Baby Delivery and Hostage Situation.)
Setting aside my opinions of any of the aforementioned actors (Randall's appeal eludes me, frankly), the point I want to make is that turning to the same faces again and again robs a guest-star role - as well as the actor filling it - of any "specialness." Instead, it comes off as "so-and-so's latest in a series of paychecks." You almost suspect that SAG would go public with a plea that other actors get called upon for work. Much could be learned from, say,
, which draws from this terrific roster of character actors who sometimes you can't even quite place, and yet the casting is
Not to beat up on ABC, but perhaps this season's utterly strangest bit of guest-casting came just days ago on (again)
teen just gave birth, played... a teen who just gave birth. Yes, really. In all of Hollywood, the
young actress ABC could find for that two-scene appearance was one who is in a
story line on one of its
shows. Not to take anything at all away from Ms. Lauren, but it was such an unbelievable casting choice that I had to repeatedly check with my wife: "Is that
the gal who plays Bree's daughter?" Only a knowing wink to the audience could have saved the moment. But it never came.
If only guest-casting was the worst of what ails
- but that's a separate blog entry all together.