You May Not Know You Know…

21 Apr

Mireille Enos! If the photo above still doesn’t jog your memory, because you’re thinking “who is that glam redhead?” you’ll simply have to imagine Mireille with minimal makeup and a sort of hang-dog look on her face.

If you still haven’t guessed, Mireille Enos happens to be the actress giving the most talked-about and critically acclaimed small-screen performance of the year, as the put-upon homicide detective Sarah Linden on AMC’s terrific new drama The Killing. Her subtle, nuanced performance is astounding. She portrays Det. Linden as being empathetic and kind, soft-spoken, and loving to her son and fiance. At the same time, her eyes betray a toughness, intelligence and a logical mistrust of others that make the character more and more intruiging each week.

A lot of people are probably surprised that an unknown actress could tackle such a difficult role and succeed so completely. I’m not one of those people, and that’s because I happen to have immediately recognized Mireille  from her much-smaller but still pivotal role on HBO’s masterful, recently ended (sob) Big Love. Playing fundamentalist Mormon twins Kathy and Jodean Marquart, Mireille Enos was fitted with outfits so dorky and hairstyles so outdated they make Sarah Linden’s wardrobe look like the front-row at Marc Jacobs during New York Fashion Week. But, hey, maybe that helped her get into character, because her performances, particularly as the heartbreakingly doomed Kathy Marquart, were exceptional.

I’m so glad I get to see this talented actress on the small screen again! You go, girl!

You Also May Not Know You Know

Yum. Damn, Michael Trucco is fiiine, right? Sigh. Even those who deny (foolishly) his hotness can’t deny that they might recognize him from the first space-based television show I’ve been into since that tween crush on Wesley Crusher kept me glued to episodes of Star Trek: TNG back in the early 1990’s. Yum. Wesley Crusher. But I digress…back to big Mike: He played the goofy, cocky, (SPOILER!) ultimately a Cylon Sam Anders, who married Kara Thrace to the dismay of teenaged boys everywhere, who was a rebel and an all-around cool guy, and who looked AWESOME without his shirt on.

When Battlestar ended, I thought I’d never see Michael Trucco shirtless again. And I was shattered.

But then, while watching How I Met Your Mother the other night…

Robyn was at the club with the gang. She saw a dude at the bar and told Lily he was her secret crush…he turned around and my Robyn’s heart (and mine!) were all aflutter because it was him: Michael Trucco

Not only was this scene followed by a “meet-cute” cutscene detailing Robyn’s first dealings with the handsome fella, but Robyn ended up talking to him and their chemistry was obvious (until Ted stepped in and broke shit up…oh, Ted!) The ending of the episode suggested that not only will Michael be back, but that he will likely be doing a several episode arc! Yay! Just enough time for him to take his shirt off. Several times.


Finally back…

20 Apr

If you’re not a total dork who’s constantly checking and annoying your friends with useless tidbits of information about what obscure episode of some show “blahblahblah” was on in 2006 this probably isn’t the blog for you. This is my blog devoted to just these types of references to mostly character and bit-part actors who make up the landscape of tv land! If you are that kind of dork for whom this stuff gets the heart palpitating: Welcome!

I know it’s been a while, and I haven’t been a good blogger at ALL, but I’m committed this time…really! So, after more than a year-long hiatus I’ve decided to resume the Showverlaps! blog, and this time it’s for reals, ya’ll! I forgot how much I love this stuff! 

I will be adding some new shows to the ol’ repetoire and, unfortunately, some older favourites (Cold Case, My Boys, Big Love) will no longer be mentioned as much as they’ve been cancelled since last year. However, some cancelled or ended shows (Greek, Life on Mars) will likely still show up, as Greek only ended a month ago, and I only just watched Life on Mars on Netflix.

There are new shows on my radar, too, such as the silly but appealing Pretty Little Liars and the guilty pleasure gymnastics-fest Make It or Break It, both courtesy of ABCFamily. I recently became a disciple of Community and watched the first half of the second season in one day! And Boardwalk Empire? Pretty awesome. HBO is still killing it, for the most part, and I can’t wait for the return of BE and the pulpy True Blood! It’s also been a good year for mini-series…like the sublime Mildred Pierce, the epic Pillars of the Earth, and the down-and-dirty The Borgias

Let’s get back into the swing of things, shall we?

So, like many folks out there I’m LOVING the new AMC series The Killing (showverlap to follow tomorrow)! Wow, AMC is hitting it out of the park these days what with Mega-hits Mad Men and Breaking Bad and the strange-but-lovable The Walking Dead.

Read on for brand new showverlaps, starting with…

You May Not Know You Know…

Ok, so chances are you do know Gretchen Mol, you just might not know from where!

You see, kids, once upon a time in the late ’90’s, Gretchen was plastered onto the cover of Vanity Fair with a headline asking if she was the next It Girl. She wasn’t. However, she has had a successful if non-headlining career on stage, screen, and small screen since then. And she just so happens to have been an instrumental part of my new favourite Netflix show that was cancelled after one season: Life on Mars. She played Annie Norris, the super-cute ’70’s era lady cop with the heart of gold and the brain of steel, and, not for nothing, but her hairdo was completely amazing. I can’t imagine what the show would have been like without her performance, which stood out even in a cast that included the formidable Harvey Keitel and a mustachioed, wise-cracking Michael Imperioli. And her style? I mean, she was just so perfectly suited to the 1973 version of a foxy gal, it was hard to believe she would belong in another era. Except that I already knew our Gretch could pull that off due to a stellar cult-forming performance in The Notorious Bettie Page and because of her totally fabulous work on another one of my fave shows…the wonderful Boardwalk Empire!

Let me just say that Boardwalk Empire is one of those shows that has everything, whether you want Academy Award-calibre actors (Steve Buscemi, etc), boobs and bloody massacres (but not quite up to the ridiculous standards of, say Starz’s Spartacus, which in my house is routinely called “Lords of Cock”), dames with attitude and glamourous wardrobes, or political intrigue. I mean, this show’s for you if you want one or all of the above. Sometimes I refer to it as “Triple B,” standing for Booze, Broads, and Bullets. It’s old-timey gangster but with a finesse and class that’s unparalleled.

In a cast that includes old favourites like former Wire standout Michael K. Williams (Omar!!!!!) and several indie-movie darlings of the not-too-distant past, Gretchen Mol sizzles and surprises every time she’s on the screen as the showgirl, all around classy broad, avid reader, and (very very young) mother to up-and-coming gangstah Jimmy Darmody. She’s one of those rare actresses who can pull off “smart” while wearing a feather headdress: Eat your heart out, Cher/Christina Aguilera/Elizabeth Berkeley! 

Moving on!

We go from two shows with actual, ahem, critical acclaim to two shows that, well, don’t have much of that jazz. But they’re both fun shows, and this man is their common link:

If you recognize him you are either:

a) a fan of SciFi shows/movies by Joss Whedon

b) a 13-year-old girl who considers him a “real adult”

c) me

Like many young women, I have been subjected to Science Fiction television by my boyfriend. It was, at first, against my will. I resisted. But then, one cold winter night, I relented, and allowed him to pop Battlestar Galactica into the dvd player. Not the original one, the one with all the hot guys (more about them tomorrow…there’s a new Battlestar showverlap that made me very happy two nights ago!). In any case, with BSG as a starting point, we eventually worked our way through several other SciFi series. Some were really, really bad (like Caprica, which deserved cancellation). In fact, most space shit made these days is bad (V? It’s sort of a D-). But one show was pretty good. Or at least OK. Or at least a good warm-up for the movie they made after the series was cancelled.

That series was called Firefly. It didn’t make me fall asleep, which was good, mostly because the character development was well done. On the other hand the theme song is the worst piece of crap I’ve ever heard. But that’s neaither here nor there. The point is the show had a character named Dr. Simon Tam and, while he sort of looked like the kind of guy that might put something in your drink at a frat party, he ended up being a lovable nerd…kind of like the Professor on Gilligan’s Island. Dr. Tam was, of course, played by Sean Maher, and he was good. Especially when he was saving someone’s life, or when he had his shirt off. Or both.

I was very surprised to see Sean show up in the most unlikely form of a National Gymnastics Committee (or whatever it’s called on the show) regulator on Make It or Break It. In this role, he’s the heavy, making Emily give up her social life for her spot on the National Team and checking in on her all the time, I mean, it’s, like, so unfaiiiir! Sorry. You don’t care. I have to suspect, however, that his character’s motives for keeping such a close eye are not entirely tied to Emily’s career, and that he might have the hots for her mom, Chloe, who’s the biggest MILF around and with whom he has mad chemistry, such as it is on the show. I only say this because, if there weren’t going to be fireworks, why would they hire such an adorable piece of cheesecake to play a gymnastics paper-pusher? Just saying…

Note: Speaking of Comedy

11 Feb

I’ve said that How I Met Your Mother is my favourite comedy of. all. tiiiiiiime. And it’s true. But I do want to mention a couple of tiny little wee showverlaps involving another fave comedy (that may now be cancelled, I can’t really find the information anywhere online) My Boys. It’s a charming little show starring Jordana Spiro, who no one has ever heard of, as Chicago sports reporter P.J. Franklin, who mostly hangs out at an Irish pub with her best male pals (hence the title), her brother, and her best gal pal. Most people have never heard of this show, because it doesn’t air on one of the big three networks (ABC, CBS, NBC) or on the little brother of the big three (FOX) or even on one of the uber-cool trendy cable networks (HBO, AMC). No, My Boys airs on TBS, a network so lame it can’t even compete with MTV, ABCFamily, The CW,  Bravo, ScyFy, Showtime, or even VH1. TBS has an amazing lack of original programming, kind of the way I assume AMC was before it was overhauled.

Because My Boys languished for so long on a sub-par shitbrick of a network, very few people even knew of its existence. The only time it got any press was when co-star Kyle Howard started dating Lauren Conrad of The Hills. It’s real social commentary that Lauren, who is essentially a talentness and not overly intelligent person (she is engaging and seemingly congenial enough. and pretty, which is really what counts anyway) is way more famous than Kyle, who is funny and a pretty good actor (best known, unfortunately, for his role as a pothead surfer in the Jack Black/Colin Hanks slight-amuse-fest Orange County). But I digress. The point is, the show’s funny and I like the character development and people should check it out.

I think maybe because My Boys has been on hiatus for so, so long, the actors have had loads of time to showverlap. For example, I spotted the deadpannest of deadpanners Jim Gaffigan (who is spit-your-beer-out hilarious as P.J.’s brother Andy on the show) as Murray’s best friend Jim on another one of my (few) comedies Flight of the Conchords. In case you don’t recognize his name, this is what ol’ Jimbo looks like:

If you happen to remember his appearance on FOTC then congratulations! You’re not smoking as much weed as you thought! If you don’t you can find the YouTube video for “Friends” by FOTC to see Jim’s cameo as, well, Jim.

Another crossover is between My Boys and How I Met Your Mother. In an episode also starring Joanna Garcia of Gossip Girl and the brief-but-kinda-cool Privileged we get a short glimpse of Jamie Kaler who plays the idiotic skirt-chaser Mike on My Boys as a less idiotic and only chasing one skirt (Joanna’s character) marine biologist named Jim. Can we not think of other names? Anyway, here’s a picture of Jamie, too. He’s a ginger. Don’t be afraid. Just no sudden movements, ok?

Watch My Boys sometime and you’ll see that it’s quality, even if it’s likely to be off the air for good!

You May Not Know You Know…

11 Feb

Benjamin Koldyke. Here’s an actor that looks to me like Superman after he’s hung up the cape and tights and retired to suburbia. Square jaw? Check! Side-parted black hair? Check! Steely gaze? Check! And yet, instead of looking ready for a fight he looks like a big puppy dog ready to mow the lawn.

The cool thing about Ben, here, is that his showverlaps include the rarest of rareties: The comedy/drama showverlap! And, oh my, what a showverlap it is, too! His characters could not be more different, right on down to their sexual orientations. What’s also kind of extraordinary about this showverlap is that both Ben’s roles are taking place right now, in the current season of the shows in question. And they are…Big Love and How I Met Your Mother! Surprised? I was too!

I first spotted Benjamin in the season opener of this year’s dose of Big Love as the closeted gay man/state appointed Juniper Creek trustee Dale Tomasson: The fact that Tomasson is secretly gay makes him a more interesting character. The fact that he’s secretly gay and doing it with Alby Grant makes him really, really interesting and also a little creepy. I mean, Dale’s hot! He could have his pick of relatively non-threatening and sane handsome dudes. But, no. He chooses Alby for his tryst. I can’t wait to find out how it all plays out for nice guy Dale. I have a feeling it won’t end well. Think bunny boiling.

And then, for a complete 180, there’s Ben’s performance on H.I.M.Y.M. On that show, possibly my favourite comedy of. all. tiiiiiiime, he plays Robin’s co-anchor Don Frank. Don is kind of a jackass and is really jaded by the world of morning news shows having co-anchored about a billion different shows in his career. He refuses to wear pants. He drinks on air. He’s totally hilarious. Robin hates him, but does she looooove him? When Don’s behaviour took a turn for the better last episode (he even put on a pair of chinos!) Robin saw him in a new light. I have a feeling darling Don is going to end up faring better than delusional, doomed Dale.

You May Not Know You Know…

2 Feb

Robert Wisdom is well known to anyone who watched Supernatural last season. He was the decidly non-angelic angel Uriel. He used his deep voice and evil stare to full effect in that role. His douchebaggery was such that I rooted for an untimely demise for Uriel, but it turned out, once he was gone, that I kind of missed Robert Wisdom’s simmering aggression and James Earl Jones-style cadence. Poor me! I was a bit sad…

Until, that is, I became a Johnny-Come-Lately viewer of HBO’s now defunct The Wire. Universally acclaimed as one of the Best. Shows. Ever!! The Wire is chock full of excellent actors. With so many characters involved, and with the cast changing each season, there is of course ample showverlap opportunity. Imagine my happy surprise in beginning the third season and noticing the presence of my old pal Robert Wisdom in the role of Major Howard ‘Bunny’ Colvin, esteemed commanding officer of the South East division and general hard-ass. I haven’t seen too much of Colvin yet, but what I have seen I like. He’s a bit old school and tough, but he also seems intelligent, nuanced, and genuinely interested in helping his community. Kind of like Uriel lite!

Sarah Drew. Probably not a name you’ve heard of unless you were a serious Everwood fan. Are there even serious Everwood fans? I mean, it wasn’t a very good show, was it? Even according to someone who enjoys the old WB style teen dramas. Correct me if I’m wrong, Everwood-ites! In any case, Sarah Drew is an actress who has been on my radar for her appearances in pretty much every show I watch. Cold Case as the daughter of a murdered DJ. Glee as the Mr. Shuester – stalking Suzy Pepper (and, man, did they fuggify her for that one – she was almost unrecognizable!) Supernatural just last week as teen-nerd-witch-turned-briefly-into-demon Nora (who kills one of her best friends while possessed and then acts like it’s no bigs two hours later – hilarious!)

So, basically, this gal gets around. For real, she gets a lot of work. But her real tour-de-force was her stellar turn as Salvatore Romano’s wife beard on Mad Men. That’s her! Kitty Romano! With the 1960’s press and curl hairdo! And the red lips! And all that pent-up sexual frustration! Her work as Kitty was all moist-eyes and “It seems good that my husband is willing to clean up while I relax after supper but it just isn’t normal for 1963! Damnit!” nervous smiles. Her performance, meeting Mad Men standards, is pretty understated, but the audience knows that Kitty’s on to Sal’s light loafers, especially when it becomes painfully clear that when Ken Cosgrove comes over for dinner Salvatore no longer views his wife as the prettiest thing in the room!

You Also May Not Know…

30 Jan

Ah, Aaron Hill. There is a very specific niche filled by actor like him: A niche I like to call “linebacker with a heart of gold”. Now I’m not saying he looks like Moose Mason from Archie Comics. Except that he does! I mean, can’t you almost picture him in an Archie movie sharing a malted with Midge (played by Krysten Ritter, whose own showverlaps I will later explore) at Pop’s and putting the boots to Reggie Mantle (Vincent Kartheiser – an excellent choice as you will soon understand)? He’s just so…adorably large! And blond! And goofy! Like a Minnesota farm boy just off the bus and ready to be manipulated into juicing up by the assistant coach of his Division 2 college football squad!

I first noticed Aaron as the inappropriately named Beaver on ABC Family’s surprisingly witty Greek. Don’t ask me why I decided to give a show about sororities and fraternities on a Midwestern campus a shot, but I’m glad I did because now I’m a little bit addicted. I mean, ABC Family? Moi? But I digress. Beaver is the kind of adorably dumb character you really root for, and the kind who can always surprise with a moment of brilliance you didn’t see coming. He’s always doing stuff like being goofy and crying like a Nancy and running around half naked but, like, for a CAUSE. Aw! He also sometimes offers words of wisdom and makes out with nerdy Engineering majors at parties. Aww! And did I mention the crying? Like a Nancy? It’s pretty dope. Awww, Beaver!

But let’s put aside the Beav, for a minute, and concentrate on why our man Aaron has earned showverlap street cred. Blink and you’ll miss him, but Aaron showed up as an important plot point in the story arc of Peggy Olson on Mad Men. He played Carl Winter, a dude “from the old neighbourhood” that Peggy was forced by her mother to go to dinner with. Peggy was pretty mean to Carl, belittling him and generally being a douche, but Carl stood his nice, normal, regular Joe ground. Sure, Peggy stormed out of the restaurant, but I think we can all agree it was for the best since Peggs was already preggo with Pete Campbell’s (Vincent Kartheiser – see the Moose vs. Reggie brilliance now?!) demon spawn.

Finally, I have a confession to make. Just call me Usher. My confession is that I like Cold Case. There. I said it. I know, I know, I’m not 50 years old. And I’m not the kind of person who reads Judith Krantz novels. I don’t even have a cat. But I like it, OK? And there’s nothing wrong with someone liking a somewhat schmaltzy show about Philadelphia cops trying to solve old murder cases. There are flashbacks, OK? And time-appropriate music! And, OK, so at the end of every episode there’s a slow-motion sequence specifically designed to make you cry. I’m not too cool for Cold Case. And neither are you, bitches! Plus, being that each episode is one stand-alone case, there are plenty of guest stars and therefore plenty of showverlaps. Aaron Hill is one of them. In the episode entitled “Glory Days” Aaron guest starred as Mike “Bad Moon” McShane, fulfilling his destiny as, yes, a college football player!

You may not know…

30 Jan

Julie McNiven is a very cute little redheaded person, which I especially enjoy due to my own status as a cute little redheaded person. If you’re a Supernatural fan (and I’m inclined to believe there are a lot of Supernatural fans creeping around the internet…I mean…it’s kind of a nerdalicious show) you will no doubt recognize Julie as the angelic (literally) Anna. She not only did it with Dean-o in a sex scene strangely derivative of Titanic but she also tends to kick a whole mess of ass all while looking as dewy-eyed and earnest as a Little House on the Prairie extra.

Now, I’m not saying Anna’s not cool. She’s an angel with a conscience and she’s definitely got some balls. But Julie McNiven is, in my opinion, even cooler on one of my other fave shows: Mad Men. Wait, what’s that you say? You didn’t even know she was on Mad Men? Well, I’m not surprised. You’re clearly not as observant as I am. But don’t feel too bad, ’60’s era costume and hair can really throw you off the showverlap trail. But check out one of the billion scenes in which Pete Campbell is being kind of a blowhard and you’ll probably see Julie right there, exasperated by Pete’s shenanigans, as his hard-done-by secretary Hildy. True, the part of Hildy isn’t particularly huge, but she’s important as a sometime foil for ol’ Side Part and his cronies. Except for the ridiculous early misstep of sleeping with spineless sleaze bag Harry Crane in season 1 Hildy is a character marked by her flawless updo, stylish pencil skirts, and excellent manners. Yes, it may seem that Hildy is loyal and faithful to her boss, but look closer and you’ll see an archness in her mannerisms, speech, and facial expressions that would make Jane Austen put down her pen and applaud. Mad Men is a show known for its subtlety (or its slow pace, depending on who you ask) and Julie fits right in. Great job, lady!