Sometimes, just sometimes, if a recurring TV character is popular enough, he or she can be made an official member of the cast. Complete with goofy face in the opening credits! “Community” creator Dan Harmon was aces at this, promoting both Ken Jeong’s Señor Chang and Jim Rash’s Dean Pelton to Series Regular status. I’ve got mixed feelings on this because as delightful as both of those men were (are!) in their roles, their schtick wore a little thin. Some things are better in moderation. That being said, here is a list of 10 TV recurring characters we’d like to see more of. What do you think? Would regular appearances ruin their appeal or only make them more lovable?
Carol Burnett—“30 Rock”: Hey, Matt Damon just dropped out of a film project. That means he’s got some extra time on his hands, right? Sure he could spend it in Lake Cuomo with Cloons, but why risk the melanoma? Wouldn’t it be wiser to return to the loving embrace of TV? Honestly, this goes for nearly all the actors Fey has conned into playing her boyfriends including Jon Hamm, Jason Sudeikis, Peter Dinklage and the lovely Michael Sheen. Impressive, non?
Ally Lowen—“Sons Of Anarchy”: This character merits inclusion not because the SAMCRO lawyer has been such a compelling figure. Quite the opposite, she’s mostly been relegated to tense and expository legalese in the parking lot. But “Deadwood” alum Robin Weigert is so damn talented that I hate to see her not being used to her full potential. Instead I choose to believe series creator Kurt Sutter has bigger plans for her. That would be just like him.
Jean Ralphio—“Parks and Recreation”: Here is a character who is, I suppose, deeply in danger of wearing out his welcome. And, truth be told, I wasn’t the biggest fan of Ben Schwartz’s earliest appearances. But he has hit his comedic stride with later Jean Ralphio. (This scene made me laugh-cry.) Odds are we’ll see even less of Jean Ralphio now that Schwartz has joined Showtime’s “House Of Lies” … but a girl can dream.
Mark St. Cyr—“Parenthood”: Given that the central premise of this show is familial interaction, the best way to inject fresh blood is through the romantic partners the single members of the family pursue. Sarah Braverman has dated a few winners including John Corbett, a lesser Baldwin, and Donal Logue. But I don’t think I will ever forgive her if she breaks up with Jason Ritter’s adorable Mr. Cyr. The kid has all kinds of charisma and if he married Sarah and became a series regular, I would be delighted. Unless, of course, he takes screen time from Joel.
Elsbeth Tascioni—“The Good Wife”: There’s precedent on this show for character promotion. Alan Cumming’s fantastic Eli Gold was only supposed to guest star for a few episodes and, as a regular, has since become one of the highlights in an already talented cast. The great Carrie Preston (best known for her enjoyably trashy role on “True Blood”) has only been on four episodes of the show (slated for a fifth), but she is a whirlwind of deceptively ditzy delight. I would love to see her join Lockhart Gardner for good.
Trudy Cambell—“Mad Men”: This isn’t just the “Community” nostalgia talking, Alison Brie is genuinely awesome on “Mad Men.” Though she’s been around since Season One, Trudy fully Charleston-ed her way into our hearts in the “My Old Kentucky Home” episode. She also made just about the cutest enormously pregnant woman I’ve ever seen.
Alex Mercer—“Parenthood”: Yes, yes, this show again. And another Braverman suitor. But Michael B. Jordan plus Jason Katims equals television magic. (“Friday Night Lights” … what do you mean you haven’t watched it?!??!) Though his relationship with Haddie reached a natural-feeling conclusion, I can’t help but wish Alex would return. What can I say, I’m a sucker for atomic fetal weeping.
Badger—“Breaking Bad”: It feels too cheap to call Badger (Matt L. Jones) comic relief, as if he’s some wacky neighbor who just wants to borrow some meth but can’t help getting into scrapes. Yet there’s no denying he’s hilarious, the kind of realistically drawn hanger-on that always shows up in crime stories like these. He’s only rarely a key player in major plot lines, and in the most recent season, he didn’t do much besides party at Jesse’s house. The guy totally deserves to do more, even if it’s slinging Blue Sky or Chili P every few episodes. He’s goofy but heartfelt; he just needs a chance to shine.
Shae—“Game Of Thrones”: You superior “I’ve Read The Books” types may already be clucking your tongues at me. I READ THE FIRST BOOK, YOU VULTURES. So, well, I don’t know what role Shae will play in the subsequent seasons. But, man, she made an amazing impression and not just because she looks phenomenal naked. Turkish actress Sibel Kekilli (who was completely amazing in the German film Head On) nailed the precious few scenes she had, I can’t wait to see what Tyrion has in store for her.
Dickie Bennett—“Justified”: The [SPOILER SPOILER SPOILER FOR LAST SEASON SPOILER] last surviving member of the Bennett clan, it’s possible Dickie’s run on the show may be over. But I have such hopes. Jeremy Davies has long been a favorite of mine and his weaselly performance was largely overshadowed (and rightly so) by Margo Martindale. That being said, I hope we haven’t seen that last of him.
Deputy Tim Gutterson—“Justified”: Hmmm, can you tell I’m excited for the “Justified” premiere? Deputy Tim is a dark horse and definitely deserves a meatier role this season. You may be thinking that the addition of Neal McDonough and Mykelti Williamson will leave no room for more Deputy Tim. Well, that just means someone else has got to go. Winona, love, I’m looking right at you.