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.