Monday, March 28, 2005

When Casting Changes 

So Friday evening we were watching Thursday's ER, and Sam's abusive, manipulative, slimeball ex, Steve, was back in the picture briefly. I was a little confused, because they were making it seem like this one actor was him, but it so clearly wasn't him, but they really were treating him like he was Steve. The Girl didn't agree with me, but agreed with the rest of the cast and she treated him like he was Steve as well. She said he's just more scraggly looking than the last time we saw him.

I relented, but silently continued thinking to myself that yeah, he's more scraggly, but also has darker hair, straighter hair, is much more slight of build, perhaps shorter, much more submissive and crawly as opposed to domineering and abusive, his voice is different and his southern accent has completely changed regions. But his name's still Steve and he's still Alex's father, so I guess that's enough to gloss over the fact that it's an entirely different person.

This morning I found that Scribe Grrrl, who does the ER recaps over at AfterEllen.com, went through the same thought processes I did, so I took that as a sign that some geeky research was in order. According to IMDB's in depth list of every guest on every episode, this week Steve Curtis was played by Garret Dillahunt, who was born exactly one week after me, by the way. After much searching episode by episode, since prior to this week's appearance Steve also apparently wasn't credited as having a last name (sometimes he's "Steve" and sometimes he's "Alex's Father," I found earlier Steve, who was played by Cole Hauser. This actor is kind of a Matthew McConaughey knock-off, and he was born almost ten years after this week's actor (and me). I stand now geekily vindicated.

I can understand how a show can't always secure the same actor to reprise a guest role as time goes on, but couldn't they have made an effort to get someone who would at least try to portray the same character? Or were they so desperate to make this guy look like a snivelling whiner next to shiny knight Luka? Then again, if Steve had been a snivelling whiner, he likely wouldn't have had such control over Sam and Alex for all those years. Sam could have knocked this guy into next week. Original Steve was formidable.

On the next episode of ER (which won't be next week, as they never can seem to string together two new episodes in a row this season): Parminder Nagra will be on vacation, so the role of Neela Rasgotra, MD will be played by Sarah Michelle Geller. You won't notice a thing.

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Posted by Beth Henderson at 9:59 AM