DID YOU READ

8 TV Stars Who Were Awesome Twice

ActorsTwice

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By Jeff Finkle

There may never be another drama on TV with a character arc as intensely captivating as Walter White’s on Breaking Bad and Bryan Cranston’s performance was in a word, perfect. If you were a fan of the 2000’s era sitcom Malcolm in the Middle, then you knew just how awesomely funny Cranston was as Malcolm’s lovable father, Hal. Hal and Walter were as different as night and day. Walter liked to wear a pork pie hat, Hal preferred roller skates. Oddly enough, they were both quite comfortable in their tighty whities.

Here are six other actors who were awesome twice and almost as nice as Bryan Cranston.

8. Larry Hagman, I Dream of Jeannie/Dallas

Decades before Bryan Cranston broke out as amazingly bad and unexpectedly awesome with Walter White, Larry Hagman turned J.R. Ewing into the villain everybody loved to hate on Dallas. J.R.’s thirst for black gold was every bit as voracious as Walter’s hunger for the power that his blue crystal meth gave him. Even though Hagman’s affable Tony Nelson was an astronaut on I Dream of Jeannie, he did share one strong similarity to Hal on Malcolm in the Middle. Despite the fact that the beautiful Jeannie was literally his genie in a bottle, she was clearly the one wearing the (Hammer) pants in the family.


7. Neil Patrick Harris, Doogie Howser, M.D./How I Met Your Mother

Neil Patrick Harris, or NPH as Twitter likes to call him, is the rare triple threat star who can sing, dance, and as Barney on HIMYM, he could wait-for-it…make sweet love with over 2,000 bimbos. But for anyone old enough to remember when MTV had videos, Neil made America fall for Doogie Howser, M.D. When the adorable teenage doctor wasn’t saving lives or hanging with his pal Vinnie, he was writing in his computer journal a decade before people knew what a blog was.


6. Ed O’Neill, Married With Children/Modern Family

“Let’s Rock.” This slacker rallying cry was delivered by The Fox network’s first rock star, Al Bundy. There had never been a character like Al Bundy before and a family like The Bundys who cared more about themselves than each other. Though of course they were always up for a “Whoaa Bundy!” chant when it came to getting out of having to do anything besides sitting on the couch. It’s a testament to Ed O’Neill’s acting ability that he could embody two iconic TV dads, decades apart, whose only shared character traits are the ability to be annoyed by their family.


5. Katey Sagal, Married with Children/Sons of Anarchy

The fact that neither Ed O’Neill nor Katey Sagal has won an Emmy in their careers is hard to imagine. Emmy voters are lucky that Sagal’s Gemma is just a character that she played on Sons of Anarchy, or else a SAMCRO beat down might just be in order. It is a credit to Sagal’s acting chops and gravitas that she was such a convincingly conniving, cut-throat Lady Macbeth-esque matriarch to the SAMCRO biker gang. Equally amazing is how she managed to look sexier as a 50-something biker chick than she did as a big-haired, bon bon-eating Peggy Bundy on Married With Children, decades earlier. (If you count Katey’s voiceover role as Leela on Futurama, she’s a three-timer on the awesome scale.)


4. Michael C. Hall, Six Feet Under/Dexter

Despite what anyone thought of Dexter’s (SPOILER ALERT) lumberjack finale, they watched the show for eight years because Michael C. Hall made the complex character his own and became everyone’s favorite closeted serial killer. Hall had established himself a few years earlier on the highly acclaimed HBO series Six Feet Under as David Fisher, the sensitive gay brother in the dysfunctional Fisher clan. Michael C. Hall brought two polar opposite characters to life in equally memorable and often humorous ways.

3. Jeffrey Tambor, The Larry Sanders Show/Arrested Development/Transparent

Hey Now! Twice is nice but thrice is nicer and Jeffrey Tambor has portrayed three classic TV characters that all showed that he is more than just a go-to comedic character actor. Tambor’s Hank Kingsley was the sidekick you hoped Ed McMahon was actually like, and arguably the funniest part of the critically acclaimed The Larry Sanders Show in the ‘90s. He fit perfectly with the hilarious ensemble cast of Arrested Development as George Bluth Sr. (and his twin Oscar) but no TV viewer could have predicted that his performance of a lifetime would be when he got in touch with his feminine side. As Maura Pfefferman on Transparent, he is transfixing as he captures all the right emotions, as well as the humor of what it’s like for a Jewish dad to come out to his family as a transgendered woman.


2. Fred Armisen, Saturday Night Live/Portlandia 

Perhaps we’re biased, but Fred joins the ranks of SNL star who went on to great TV success (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Andy Samberg, etc.) with his role on Portlandia.

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1. Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Seinfeld/Veep

The actress formerly known as Elaine became the only Seinfeld star to shake the show’s dreaded curse when she scored the lead role in the Emmy-winning Veep. If you’ve ever wondered what Elaine would be like as president, you’re in for a treat.

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Inauguration Alternative

Bill Murray On Repeat

It's a movie "Murray-thon" all-day Friday on IFC.

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection, GIFs courtesy of GIPHY

Democrats, Republicans and Millennials agree: 2017 is shaping up to be a spectacle — a spectacle that really kicks into high gear this Friday with the presidential inauguration. Not only will the new POTUS swear in, but all the Country’s highest offices will be filled. It’s a daunting prospect, and to feel a little anxious about it is only normal. But if your anxiety is snowballing into panic, we have a solution:
Bill Murray.

He’s the human embodiment of a mental “Happy Place”, and there’s really no problem he can’t solve. So, with that in mind, how about we all set aside reality for a moment and let Bill take the pain away by imagining a top-shelf White House cabinet filled exclusively by his signature characters. Here are a few hypothetical appointments for your consideration…

Secretary of Defense:
Bill Murray from Stripes

His incompetence is balanced by charm, and dumb luck is inexplicably on his side. America could do worse.

Secretary of State:
Bill Murray from Lost In Translation

A seasoned globetrotter steeped in regional traditions who has the respect of the whole wide world. And he kills Costello in karaoke, which is very important.

Press Secretary:
Bill Murray from Ghostbusters

“Cats and dogs, living together. Mass hysteria.” Dude knows how to brief a room.

Secretary of Health and Human Services:
Bill Murray from What About Bob.

A doctor-approved people person who knows that progress is measured in baby steps.

Secretary of Energy:
Bill Murray from Groundhog Day

Let’s be honest, this world is going to need a lot of do-overs.

Feeling better? Hold on to that bliss. And enjoy a healthy alternative to the inauguration brouhaha with multiple Murrays all Friday long in an IFC movie marathon including Kingpin, Zombieland, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II.

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Home Run

Hank Azaria Gets Thrown A Curve Ball

Brockmire Premieres April 5 at 10P

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Photo Credit: Everett Collection

Unless you’ve somehow missed every episode of the Simpsons since 1989, then surely you know that Hank Azaria is one of the most important character actors of our time. He’s so prolific and his voice is so dynamic that he’s responsible for more iconic personalities than most folks realize. Basically, he’s the great and powerful Oz — except that when you pull back the curtain the truth is actually more impressive. And now Hank is coming to IFC to bring yet another character to the TV pop culture hive mind in the new series Brockmire. Check out the trailer below.

Based on the following Funny or Die short and co-starring Amanda Peet, Brockmire follows the story of imploded major league sportscaster Jim Brockmire as he tries to resurrect his career by calling plays for a floundering minor league team in a podunk town.

The series is written by Joel Church-Cooper (Undateable) and produced by Funny or Die’s Mike Farah and Joe Farrell, meaning that there’s funny in front of the camera, funny behind the camera–funny all around. Sounds like a ball to us.

Brockmire premieres April 5 at 10P on IFC.

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Car Notes

Portlandia On People Who Can’t Park

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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If flagrant bad parking takes nerve, then retaliatory note writing takes neuroses. Watch Fred and Carrie take passive aggression to next level in Car Notes, the new Portlandia web series presented by Subaru. The first episode is yours right here and now, and you can see every installment of Car Notes anytime online, on the IFC app and on demand.

Portlandia returns tonight at 10P on IFC.

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