Getty/Warner Bros. via Everett Collection
Every year, people all over the entertainment world pull together their lists of the best performances, actors, directors, film, and shows of the year, making special note of all of the newcomers who managed to breakthrough into the mainstream with exceptional projects in 2013. However, when we were running through out lists of the best breakout actors of the year, we happened to notice that many of our new favorite television characters bore some strong resemblances to some of our favorite characters from classic sitcoms.
With that in mind, we've picked 10 of our favorite breakout television stars of 2013 and cast them in roles from our favorite shows of yesteryear.
Joe Lo Truglio as Barney Fife from The Andy Griffith ShowAs the weird, bumbling, food-obsessed Det. Charles Boyle, Joe Lo Truglio has been stealing scenes week after week on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and we think he could continue to put all of that strange ineptness to use as Barney Fife, the nervous, incompetent deputy to Andy Griffith's Sheriff Andy Taylor. Lo Truglio's proven that he excels at making life more complicated for others, and he would be able to portray the perfect mix of heart and humor.
James Wolk as Wally Cleaver from Leave It to BeaverJames Wolk specializes in characters that are charming, popular and intelligent, which makes him the perfect pick to play the Beaver's charismatic older brother. Sure, he's a lot older than Wally was on the show, but it's hard to think of an actor who would be better at portraying a character described by all of the girls as "the most," because as Zach on The Crazy Ones, Wolk is the most charming, funny and attractive actor on TV right now.
Tatiana Maslany as One of Charlie's AngelsIt's not quite a sitcom, but Charlie's Angels had the right combination of action and comedy that would make it the perfect vehicle for Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany. On the show, she's proven that she can handle whatever twists and turns come her way, as well as being able to hold her own in a fight, but Maslany is also funny and charming enough to handle the show's more humorous moments with ease. Plus, with Maslany at the forefront, this would finally be a Charlie's Angels reboot worth watching.
Andre Braugher as Lou Grant from The Mary Tyler Moore ShowAndre Braugher's been a well-respected television actor for a long time now, but as Captain Ray Holt on Brooklyn Nine-Nine, he proved that he can handle comedy just as well — if not better — than he does drama. We think he'd be perfect to take on the role of Lou Grant, Mary Richards' tough but loving boss on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. He's already got plenty of experience keeping a group of goofballs in line, and it would finally give him the chance to break out and play something other than a cop for a change.
Malin Ackerman as Samantha from BewitchedJust try and put the terrible Nicole Kidman and Will Ferrell film out of your mind for a second, and instead picture Malin Akerman as the loveable witch struggling to balance her magical powers and her role as a normal housewife. Ackerman's honed her comedy chops on the new sitcom Trophy Wife, and her perky-yet-sarcatsic demeanor makes her the perfect choice to take on Samantha. Plus, she's proven that she's great with phsyical comedy, which will come in handy when it's time for her to wiggle her nose.
Nicole Beharie as Agent 99 on Get SmartA beautiful, intelligent, highly skilled agent tasked with balancing both her bumbling, confused sidekick and a top secret mission? It may sound like Nicole Beharie's Sleepy Hollow character Abbie Mills, but it's actually Agent 99 from the sitcom Get Smart, which proves that Beharie would be the ideal choice for the role. She's got the looks, smarts, and comedic chops to take on the slapstick spy comedy, but also has plenty of experience with the more action-intensive elements. On top of all that, she's a compelling actress, who would be able to give the character enough depth to keep her from being a complete caricature. Just add Tom Mison as Maxwell Smart, and you've got yourself a show.
Albert Tsai as Dennis from Dennis the MenaceAt only nine years old, Albert Tsai has become one of the biggest breakout stars of the year through his role as the quirky, hilarious Bert, one of Kate's stepsons on Trophy Wife. When it comes time for Tsai to properly break out, say into feature films or a reboot of a classic sitcom, we think there would be no better vehicle for him than as everyone's favorite troublemaker Dennis the Menace. He's got enough charm to keep Dennis loveable, despite his antics, but would also be able to give the character a much needed dose of weirdness.
Corey Stoll as Fred from I Love LucyAs Rep. Peter Russo on Netflix's House of Cards, Corey Stoll did most of the show's heavy emotional lifting. If he's looking for some lighter fare, we think he'd do a great job as Fred Mertz, the stingy husband of Lucy's best pal Ethel. Since Fred fought in World War I and lived through the Great Depression, it gives Stoll enough gravitas to ground the character, while also giving him plenty of screwball plots and slapstick comedy to keep things light and up-beat — plus, no Kevin Spacey around to manipulate all of his actions. It's a win-win.
Rebel Wilson in Her Own Version of The Carol Burnett ShowRebel Wilson's show Super Fun Night may not have done as well as many were expecting, but she's still had a pretty stellar year. We think that the best way for her to capitalize on that would be her own Carol Burnett-inspired variety show. She's already got plenty of experience writing sketches, and even created and starred in several sketch shows and comedies in Australia. And since she showcased her musical talents in last year's Pitch Perfect, she's become the ideal candidate to bring back the variety show format to a younger generation.
Michael Ealy as Lionel from The JeffersonsThough his new sci-fi drama Almost Human has only just begun airing, Michael Ealy has become one of the most popular new television stars, due to the perfect combination of good looks, charm and talent. We think all of those qualities would serve him well as Lionel Jefferson, the smart, kind, wise-cracking son of George and Louise. Ealy's already proven that he has enough charm to take on the part, but Lionel's complicated relationship with his father and his wife, Jenny, would give him plenty of opportunities to showcase his acting talent. With Ealy on board, there's no doubt that Lionel would become much more than just a funny supporting character.
It's easy to find out who won trophies and who could only speak to what a thrill it was to be nominated. (Oh, what a prescient joke about Jon Hamm losing again in the monologue.) In fact, if you want to know who won, just click here. We already did the work for you. But the hard work is deciding who walked away with the most — and least — love from the TV viewing audience. Don't worry, I'm here to break it down for you. You can disagree with me if you want, but then you will be wrong. How does that feel?
Homeland: Yes, this show won all the awards — Claire Danes wasn't the only person to pick up a trophy. It brought home awards for Outstanding Writing and a shocking victory for Damian Lewis in a very tight field for Outstanding Actor in a Drama, beating out both repetitive winner Bryan Cranston and heavy favorite Jon Hamm. This was the first win for Showtime in the Outstanding Series category, and the pleasant surprise couldn't go to a more deserving show.
Taped Segments: The only funny portion of Jimmy Kimmel's opening was a pre-taped sketch featuring the host crying over his overly Botoxed Real Housewives face in the ladies' room with the Oustanding Actress in a Comedy nominees (with some great cameos by Ellen DeGeneres and others). And then, in another win for pre-planned content, there was also the cute idea of mashing Breaking Bad with The Andy Griffith Show in a sketch that showed poor Barney Fife taking a bullet instead of fiddling with one. And let's not forget Modern Family's cute (but pointless) riff about a demonic child actress on the set and the cast of The Big Bang Theory finally finding at least a moderately amusing way of introducing the accountants who count the votes.
Lucy Liu's Dress: I don't know what it was, but it looked like it was made out of Ryan Lochte's grill. Jeah!
Jon Stewart Calling Out the Emmys: There is nothing better than a 10-time Emmy winner calling the Academy out for how predictable it is and dropping the F-bombzilla while doing so. Didn't keep him from giving up his trophy though. Maybe after 10 he'll finally pull an Oprah and stop entering his show into contention so someone else can win?
Bits: Tracy Morgan (or is it Jordan? I can never remember) showed serious dedication by reclining on the stage for 15 minutes without his nunchucks, even while Hayden Pain Quotidien couldn't figure out what the heck he was doing. (He was trying to help make the Emmys happen on Twitter, which was a bust, because if you paid attention to Twitter at all, you could tell that is all everyone was already talking about.) Amy Poehler pulled off another one of her great comedy moments during the Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Category after winner Julia Louis-Dreyfus began reading from the wrong acceptance speech — Amy's. And Jon Stewart enlisted the help of Jimmy Fallon and Stephen Colbert for a little bit of horseplay that we never would have expected. Where is the GIF of that?
Women: Women didn't win any awards for writing or director or doing anything other than acting while in the possession of a vagina (oh, the male-dominated Hollywood biz), but they still managed to steal the show. Not only did we watch a funnylady-led sketch open the show (I only want to see Lena Dunham naked and eating a cake from now on) and Poehler rock her category without winning, but we also laughed along with Tina Fey's funny gag about reading the Teleprompter without her glasses and Melissa McCarthy cracking up Mindy Kaling by sexually harassing all the Best Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series contestants (nominees, whatever). Who runs the world? Girls.
Louis C.K.: Sure, his Emmys came in the writing category (he's better at that than acting anyway), but if anyone ever deserved top honors, it's this guy. Speaking of which...
Gingers: Between Louis C.K., Damian Lewis, Julianne Moore, the fiery-haired people were on fire last night. Cartman is so pissed right now.
Jimmy Kimmel: Not only did he deliver a snooze of a monologue, but most of his comedy segments during the broadcast were self-involved and uninspired. His "In Memoriam" reel that only featured moments from his own career was the most tediously unfunny moment at an awards show since David Letterman rambled on about Uma and Oprah at the Oscars. Having his parents escorted out by security after he didn't win an Emmy was also pretty darn dumb. He killed it with the videos, but the hosting duties left a lot to be lacking.
Predictability: Yes, Modern Family is a great show, but this is the third year in a row that it has dominated the comedy categories. Snoozeville. And while The Daily Show churns out laughs more consistently than the Duggers have babies, isn't it time to switch things up a bit, Emmys? Give some new people a try. Not only would it make the show more exciting, it would, well, make the show more exciting. That's really what you need. And seriously, stop giving a damn trophy to The Amazing Race. Actually, I think this needs its own subheading.
F**K The Amazing Race: Seriously. F**K it through nine different countries and 14 different cities. It is well past its prime, it is no longer exciting, and whoever wins the first leg of the race always wins the whole show. Spoiler mother-f**king alert. Its year after year win is as boring and predictable as the menu at the retirement home — or, let's face it, the Comedy categories at the Emmys as long as Modern Familiy is in contention. The Amazing Race simply should not win. Voters, do you even watch reality TV? Does everyone with a ballot and a number two pencil think that they can cast a vote for this show and maybe get a free vacation out of it? That's not going to happen. Give it up already. And while you're at it, just give Cat Deeley her damn Emmy too. I mean, Tom Bergeron is nice and all, but he is no Cat Deeley. Admit it, Emmys — we don't care how highbrow you might be, you are still in the same business as the Kardashians.
Ricky Gervais: Sadly, the Brit may have outlived his wit and charm at Awards shows. Not only did he give a tepid performance at the Golden Globes this year, but while presenting two awards Sunday night, he provided barbs with as many teeth as the entire cast of Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. Give it a rest already, Ricky.
Playing People Off: The orchestra revved up and played winners off the stage an alarming number of times. Sure, the director of the show joked about it when he won (for directing the Tonys), but by the time Alex Gansa won for Homeland, so many people heard the fat lady sing that he had to complain about it. Even Steven Levitan heard the harpsichord when Modern Family won for one of the night's two big awards. And the orchestra even played off Julianne Freaking Moore when she won for Best Movie Star to Be on HBO This Year. The only person who didn't get the play-off treatment was Kevin Costner, who pretended it was 1994 again by winning an award again and not wearing a tie. That said, good on the orchestra for cutting off Tom Berenger, who used his acceptance speech to ramble on about garden gnomes and moonshine and rabid racoons or something. Maybe he was talking about what he and Costner were doing in the bathroom during the commercial break.
Maggie Smith: Seriously, lady, you've won two years in a row. I know you're old enough to remember when Betty White still had her original hair color, but can't you show up? How dare you deprive us of what must be the best acceptance speech of the night?
Steve Bu-scemi: When did we change the pronunciation of this Boardwalk Empire actor's last name?
Condescending to Michael J. Fox: It's incredibly brave that he continues to work with Parkinson's Disease, but that doesn't mean he wants the whole crowd to stand up just because he walked out on stage to present an award. He does five episodes a season of The Good Wife — let's applaud him for his work on that!
Tom Hank's Mustache: Yes, the actor's wearing it to play Walt Disney in a movie, but we haven't seen anything that spotty since, well, Jimmy Kimmel's monologue.
Follow Brian Moylan on Twitter @BrianJMoylan
[Photo Credit: ABC]
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WHAT IT’S ABOUT?
For real estate broker Peter Klaven the bride wasn’t hard to land; it’s finding a best man that’s proving the real challenge. After he gets engaged to sweet Zooey he realizes he has no close male friendships so he sets off on a series of “man dates” to rectify the situation until he finally stumbles upon Sydney Fife a care-free bachelor and Peter’s polar opposite. An immediate best-buddy connection is formed as the two bond to Rush music and engage in honest mano et mano conversation. But when the bromance gets a little too intense it causes ripples in his relationship with Zooey and threatens the wedding.
WHO’S IN IT?
With a cast who mainly cut their teeth in TV sitcoms and improv this is can’t-miss comedy providing the best role Paul Rudd has had to date. Playing Peter as the ultimate female-loving straight guy a potential bride’s dream because he likes to cuddle up on the couch and watch chick flicks like Chocolat Rudd is hilarious especially later on as he tries the male-bonding thing with Sydney -- using hip phrases and non-sequiturs he is incapable of uttering with any level of competence. There’s a grounded sweetness to Rudd in this role and he never loses sight of the character. Rudd and Jason Segel (Forgetting Sarah Marshall) are sensationally funny together -- the best movie buddy team in years. That’s largely because Segel also is down-to-earth in a role that could have soared over the top but never does. The two are always believable and that’s key to making the comedy work as well as it does. Rashida Jones is refreshingly likeable and sweetly understanding if frustrated as Peter’s fiancée. As her BFFs are: Jaime Pressly (My Name Is Earl) who is always battling with her hubby (a riotous Jon Favreau) and Sarah Burns as the awkwardly man-hungry Hailey are highly amusing. SNL’s Andy Samberg is surprisingly understated as Peter’s gay brother and there are nice moments from J.K Simmons (Juno) and Jane Curtin as their parents. And watch out for Thomas Lennon who steals his few scenes as Doug a spurned early “man date” of Peter’s. The original Incredible Hulk Lou Ferrigno also turns up as himself in a wryly amusing running gag.
This is a broad comic premise but it’s never allowed to careen out of control allowing everyone to create three-dimensional human beings despite the hijinks going on around them. The bits with Rudd and Segel jamming on Rush songs are great and so is the endless stream of corny catchphrases such as Rudd’s "we’re just chillaxin’" and Segel’s "Dude Von Dudenstein."
Considering the smart instinctual comic chops that writer/director John Hamburg (Along Came Polly) displays here he could have cut back on the raunch which gets piled on a little thick at times for the film’s own good; although compared to last week’s dreadful buddy bomb Miss March this is Disney stuff.
There are too many to name but the Chinese restaurant engagement dinner is a comic knockout particularly when it comes to Segel’s toast -- full of thinly disguised and totally inappropriate sexual innuendo.