It was announced yesterday that CNN Anchor, Campbell Brown, had decided to fall on her sword and resign from her position as host of her nightly prime-time news program. She conceded in a refreshingly honest way that she was quitting simply because her ratings sucked, and that she didn’t have the stomach to compete with her two rivals in that timeslot, Keith Olbermann and Bill O’Reilly. As much as many people won’t admit it, they want edgy, opinionated takes on the news, and Brown offered a “no bias, no bull” approach that simply didn’t attract viewers.
Campbell Brown’s decision to leave CNN got me to thinking: Who else should be selfless enough to leave their own show for the good of the show, because they are the weakest link in an otherwise strong ensemble or because their narratives simply have no where left to go. Paul Schneider, the weakest link in “Parks and Recreation,” has already bowed out of that show to reportedly pursue a movie career (although, given the fact that he has nothing in development at the moment, I suspect that Greg Daniels had a hand in helping Schneider make that decision).
It’s the end of the television season, and as we look ahead to next fall — as we have with the upfront presentations all week — maybe these five actors should consider bowing out of their respective shows to “pursue their movie careers.”
5. Josh Radnor as Ted Mosby in “How I Met Your Mother” — Fine, maybe the show’s premise wouldn’t actually work without Radnor’s Ted, who the show’s series-long story arc is built around. Maybe we could learn that Barney was doing the voiceovers the entire time. Or Ted’s doppelgänger. I dunno. But you have to concede that Ted is the weakest link in this show — the episodes that revolve around him don’t hold up as well as episodes revolving around the rest of the cast, and the show’s series-long question — Who will Ted marry? — has been dragged out for so long now that I actually don’t even care anymore. How many more women can this man date? The best thing that could happen, in fact, is that Ted finally meets his wife, moves to the suburbs, and the rest of the cast continues on in their own spin-off. (I will concede, however, that having the major focus on Ted allows the supporting cast members to remain relatively fresh).
4.Sarah Lancaster as Ellie Bartowski in ” Chuck” — Ellie’s character is cooked. For three seasons, she’s served very little purpose except to be the occasional sounding board for “Chuck” to talk about his relationship with Sarah or as a means to get Awesome more screen time (oh, also: To look gorgeous). In the last few episodes, she’s finally been brought in to move the plot forward, but this mini-arc will inevitably lead to her to the discovery that Chuck is a spy. After both Awesome and Morgan have been brought in to the spy game, there’s no more room left for Ellie. Once she finds out, I suspect much of next season will revolve around her constant worrying. The show doesn’t need that. Ellie needs to go. (Or she need to join The Ring on a more permanent basis).
3. Max Burkholder as Max Braverman in “Parenthood” — We haven’t talked about this show much on the site yet, but it’s increasingly become one of my favorites of the season. There’s a few errant plotlines, but for the most part, “Parenthood” often gets the gist of what it means to be a parent. Admittedly, too, Max Braverman’s Asperger’s was a very effective subplot early on in the season, and it has extracted a lot of great moments, especially out of Peter Krause’s Adam (who is phenomenal, as always) But at this point, there’s not much left to do with Max, except for him to have episodic spells every few weeks, if only to remind us that he’s there. It’s not that Burkholder is a bad actor (he’s actually quite good), it’s that watching the Bravermans deal with his condition for another season or two is going to get old quickly (that said, I’d probably lose my shit if something terrible happened to him on the show).
2. Cory Montieth as Finn in “Glee” — Despite the fact that he was never a particularly convincing jock, I liked where Finn started out in the show, as the uber-masculine, uber-popular quarterback with insecurity issues. But now he’s kind of a whiny sap. The dynamics have changed. Rachel has him under his thumb. He’s got no hand. The jock in the glee club narrative is gone. He’s mopey, and whipped, and now that it’s been revealed that Puck is the father of Quinn’s baby, he’s of no use to that plotline, either. We could watch him puppy-dog after Rachel for another season or two, but why? He’s extraneous, and he also happens to have the weakest voice of the cast. It’s time to move beyond him.
1. Steve Carell as Michael Scott in “The Office” — I think Steve Carrell recognizes more than anyone that “The Office” has exhausted his character. Besides the fact that he actually has a booming film career to leave for, Carrell understands that “The Office,” if it must go on beyond next season, should go on without him. He’s very nearly had every relationship iteration imaginable, he’s lost his job and regained it a couple of times now, and he’s said “That’s what she said,” well over 300 times. What’s left for him? It’s done. Michael Scott began as a caricature, and as the seasons have progressed, he’s become a caricature of a caricature of a caricature. NBC has insisted this week that “The Office” is an ensemble comedy, but week after week, the focus continues to be on Michael Scott and the very rich supporting characters are left to linger at their desks, offering only the occasional line and rarely becoming central participants in an episode’s narrative. Steve Carrell needs to go, and although my dream replacement would be Jane Lynch, I suspect pulling double duty on both “Glee” and “The Office” would wear her character thin, too.