It's always a challenge for an actor to play a well-known part on TV and then to start over on a new show as someone entirely different. Audiences will always be tempted to see them as that first character, leading to typecasting and premature cancellations of new projects. However, recently, actors like Ray Romano have turned this theory on its head. After nine (nine!) seasons on Everybody Loves Raymond, he's deftly crafted a new persona on Men of a Certain Age that, for all intents and purposes, is the anti-Ray Barone. As the second season comes to a close tonight on TNT (and as we count down to the return of Breaking Bad), we take a look at other performers this summer who moved from a career-defining role to successfully portraying its polar opposite. (Yes, we know Sons of Anarchy isn't really a summer show, but we couldn't resist.)
When I first heard about The Middle, my first thought was, Hey, that sounds kind of like Malcolm in the Middle! That's interesting." Then I saw it, and discovered that it was, in fact, very interesting, because the show -- a single-camera sitcom about a hard-working couple raising three wacky children who get into zany mix-ups while trying to keep the family running and make ends meet -- feels exactly like Malcolm in the Middle. If you haven't seen it yet, you might say, "Well, that's a tenuous connection -- a lot of shows are about that. And besides, there were four kids on Malcolm." Of course, if you have seen it, then you know exactly what I'm talking about, and would even go so far as to agree with me that the oldest son on Malcolm doesn't count because he was at military school a lot of the time.
When it comes to TV, there are way more fabulous and high-profile roles for moms and the poor dads get the short shrift. However, we spent
minutes weeks hunting through Wikipedia and our collective minds the annals of television for the best and worst TV dads that we could remember. Well, at least these are the ones that left an indelible mark on us, and not with wire hangers or anything (though we may not put that past some of the dastardly daddies on our naughty list). So in honor of Father's Day, here's our slapped together long-awaited list in alphabetical order (because we just couldn't decide if Jack Bristow or Keith Mars would be the No. 1 perfect patriarch).