Monday, March 20, 2006

collision of two worlds from the television pantheon

You know that feeling when you're watching a movie or a TV show, and suddenly you recognize an actor from another beloved show or movie? That's kinda cool, right? Unfortunately, I tend to be a junkie for such things, sometimes turning into a strange hybrid sitting next to whatever friend happens to whisper "where have I seen him/her before?" in a movie or while watching TV.

It's even more exciting when a character pops up in a current beloved TV show from another beloved TV show of the past, thus creating a golden moment for the geeky viewer (me). For the actor, it's just another job. For me, it's a collision of two worlds, damn it.

Anybody notice who Vice President Hal Gardener is this season on "24"? The actor is Ray Wise, and, that's right.... he's Laura Palmer's dad Leland from "Twin Peaks" (!!!). This isn't exactly new news (his first appearance on "24" was two weeks ago; read the link only if you happen to know "Twin Peaks", because it's too spoiler-y, even if the show's been off the air for 15 years). This guy's performance on "Twin Peaks" was indelible enough (i.e. moving/disturbing enough) in my childhood, having watched the show in awe and fascination and near-terror, that I pick him out in other things he's popped up in.... yes, including an episode of "Star Trek: Voyager" from seven or eight years ago, under strange head makeup. He also had a plum role (and if it were in other years, maybe even oscar-attention-grabbing) as a tortured news anchor in Good Night, and Good Luck (2005). Not that he's taking the Hollywood circuit by storm or anything, but because he had quite a pivotal role on one of the most important television shows ever made, he certainly has a secure place in television history (no matter what kind of geeky history I've conjured up that might be).

I tend to identify "Twin Peaks" alumni in whatever TV/movie media I happen to notice (it's a sickness).... Most recently: Piper Laurie ("I can see your dirty pillows!") played some old chick last year on another indescernible episode of "Cold Case"; as another vice president, Windom Earle channeled Dick Cheney in The Day After Tomorrow (2004); Lara Flynn Boyle got blown off the roof of a casino on "Las Vegas"; Heather Graham got a swift kick in the ass when her "Emily's Reasons [whatever]" sitcom tanked; even Agent Cooper has a lead role (and a lot of hair) on ABC's "In Justice", currently serving in a Friday night wasteland timeslot.


shecanfilmit said...

Agent Cooper also had a significant recurring role on Sex and the City!

is that so wrong? said...

He was in Showgirls too. Whenever I picture that movie I can only see Jessie Spano's painted-blue nipples. I guess that's a career hurdle that isn't so easy to clear.