Proof That Paul Schneider Needs To Be In More Things
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Proof That Paul Schneider Needs To Be In More Things

By Sarah Carlson | Seriously Random Lists | September 6, 2012 | Comments ()


One of my favorite parts of Aaron Sorkin's "The Newsroom," which finished its first season on HBO last week, was the guest role of Paul Schneider as Brian Brenner, journalist and ex-boyfriend of producer Mackenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer). He was around to write a story about lead character Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), the man McHale dated after him, before she went back and cheated on McAvoy with Brenner. Things didn't go well.

The casting was perfect; like most of the characters Schneider plays, Brenner is charming but slightly slimy -- you both like him and don't completely trust him. Schneider is a chameleon, and his resume is filled with flawed, interesting characters, from outlaws to poets. I know he won over many a Pajiban in probably his nicest role as city planner Mark Brendanawicz on "Parks and Recreation." Unfortunately, he left the show in 2010 just as it was really picking up steam, and he only has been in a few films since. (Something called The Babymakers with Olivia Munn? Really?) Schneider routinely delivers honest, thoughtful performances, and his brief work on "The Newsroom" only reminded me how much we are missing not having him on "Parks and Rec."
So, because it's Thursday and I feel like it, I'm declaring it Paul Schneider Day. Here is an actor who deserves to be celebrated -- and we deserve to see more of him. Someone give this man his own show.
Here's a brief rundown of some of his most memorable performances. Keep them coming, Paul. Keep them coming.

All The Real Girls (2003)

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

Bright Star (2009)

"Parks and Recreation" (2009-2010)

And let's never forget: He knows his history.

Sarah Carlson is a TV Critic for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • snapnhiss

    I guess I'm in the minority but I liked him in P&R. The first season was pretty dismal (remember that?) and they really didn't utilize his character as well as they should have but I thought he was cute and likeable, much like Rashida Jones, another under-utilized actor on there until fairly recently.

  • Ty

    I've been leading the Schneider brigade since I saw Lars and the Real Girl about four years ago. I put everything he's been in on my Netflix account and just devoured them all. He's been phenomenal in All the Real Girls, Lars, Bright Star, Away We Go, and The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and he is easily one of the 10 best working actors under 40. Plus I'm putting him in the lead role in the movie I'll be making here in a couple years (fingers crossed).

  • AM

    Not to mention being cute as a button, and having a real North Carolina accent. Reminds of all those KA's I went to school with who were emotionally toxic but completely irresistable.

  • lowercase_ryan

    Mackenzie McHale sucks.

  • Groundloop

    Only when she's being "ZANY". When she's being a talented and committed news-person she's pretty awesome. I really enjoyed The Newsroom overall, but I'm hoping Sorkin starts ignoring the notes he seems to be getting that every 8 pages one of the main female characters has to do something "ZANY".

  • lowercase_ryan

    that's just it, she's BRILLIANT but then she has these huge... I don't know, personality farts? where she forgets who she is and puts on some lame hysterical mask for 30 seconds and I fucking hate it. I don't like how she's portrayed. Sloan Sabbath on the other hand is, IMO, a pretty damn amazing character.

  • Groundloop

    It really is a problem in the writing. And "personality fart" is a great way of putting it. Mac's "farts" aren't just exaggerations of known character traits, they're 180º flips. Maggie's less so because she was established as more insecure from the beginning. Sloan is the most consistent female character, having thus far escaped the ZANY, the WACKY and even the MADCAP, although her exchange with Don in the season finale was (to me) out of deep left field.

    I guess I'm of the age and political temperament such that I'm susceptible to the best of what Sorkin does, but I still found myself groaning at least once an episode because of the forced quirk. I really hope that in season 2 they can settle on a tone for the characters.

  • linnyloo

    Wow. I'd completely forgotten that the Assassination of Jesse James had so many awesome people in it. And holy crap! That's Renner, isn't it?

  • luckypete

    Apparently, that cast snuck up on lots of us today.

  • Margrete

    I was just thinking the same thing. Schneider, Affleck, Pitt, Rockwell, Renner, Dillahunt, Parker. That cast was crazy-good

  • TheOriginalMRod

    Dang I love some Drunk History. Thank you.

    He kind of looks like Steve Martin.

  • AudioSuede


  • PDamian

    He brought an unexpected humor and dignity to a VERY small role in Water for Elephants. I want more.

  • LizLemon

    "Hold the phone... Brad? Brad STEVENSON?!"

  • Fact: No one misses Brendanoquitz. Now, pardon me while I go cry in my cubicle over Bright Star. Again.

  • Snath

    I believe that the horrible Olivia Munn movie has a review up on this very site. I could check...but it's a shitty movie, so I don't care.

  • DocDoom

    No way, man. Bore-danowitz was the worst part of "Parks and Rec".

  • Jen

    I totally agree. In my opinion, the show got good BECAUSE he left.

  • NoPantsMcLane

    Yeah, he was so bland i can't even remember his character anymore. Thank god for Adam Scott.

  • apsutter

    Yea...he sucked on P&R. It's funny cause a friend and I were just discussing that it took both of like a month or two into the third season before we even realized he was gone.

  • zeke_the_pig

    'The casting was perfect; like most of the characters Schneider plays,
    Brenner is charming but slightly slimy — you both like him and don’t
    completely trust him.'
    Absolutely nailed it.
    I loved to hate to love to hate him in All the Real Girls.

  • $27019454

    Same with Lars and the Real Girl. It's like, You Prick. Then it's, I Feel For You, Man. Then again, he's kinda pricky. But man, I feel for him.

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