Friday, November 14, 2008

The Worst Sitcom Replacement Characters Ever

It's no fun when your favorite character leaves a hit show, it's even less fun when a network tries to replace him with a new face. It's always got that substitute teacher thing going on, even if the person is funnier and more interesting, the whole chemistry of the show seems out of place. Sometimes it works, other times it's just TV diarrhea, here is some of that diarrhea:

Roger Phillips (Happy Days) After Ron Howard left Happy Days to pursue some "pie in the sky" fantasy of being a director (whatever), the network shipped him off to Alaska via some shitty phone call gag and beamed in cousin Roger to live with the Cunninghams. Roger was a teacher or something, I can't remember but he was too cheap to rent an apartment.

It's not really actor Ted McGinley's fault his character sucked so much, the show was getting old, the Fonz was no longer cool and they had given up pretending it was set in the 60's. He jumped on board a sinking ship, then he did the exact same when he leapt onto the last season of Love Boat a year after Happy Days died.

Charlie Richardson/Randy Peterson (That 70's Show) :When Topher Grace left "That 70's Show" to go to Africa, it was like pulling the plug on a bathtub, the series started getting sucked down the drain. Fox tried to plug the leak first with the uber lame Charlie at the tail end of season 7, introducing him three episodes before the finale.

Coming to their senses, they killed Charlie off in the first episode of season 8 and added the slick Randy to the cast. Randy immediately went for Donna, which the audience didn't want to see and the show went out with a whimper. Eric returned and claimed Donna in the finale. Season 8 of that 70's show was 12 hours of your life you wanted back.

Raul Garcia (Chico and the Man) - Freddy Prinze's suicide after the third season of his popular hit sitcom "Chico and the Man" should have left the network with one option, a dignified cancellation. "Chico" was hardly an ensemble piece, it was a two man act and all they had left was a straight man in Jack Albertson.

However, networks are greedy and they decided to give it another shot, their solution to the loss of Chico? An adorable little orphan in the form of child actor Gabriel Melgar. Talk about a lot of pressure to put on a kid, fill the void of the series star. Just to make sure the bandaid stuck on the deflating show, Charo joined the cast, woo-ho, that'll fix everything. "Boy" and the Man was given it's walking papers.

Nobody (Laverne and Shirley)- In the final season of Laverne and Shirley, star Cindy Williams was ousted and while the show remained titled "Laverne and Shirely", it simply was Laverne waltzing around on the starting. The resulting episodes are sad as we all began to realize that LaVerne was likely to die alone living with hundreds of smelly cats.


rob! said...

wasn't L&S eventually changed to Laverne & Company, or something like that? or was that only in syndication?

gilligan said...

Ted McGinley gets unfairly shafted as the patron saint of jump the shark, when in fact the shows were already floundering when they brouhgt him on.

The ultimate slap in the face replacement has to be Coy and Vance on Dukes of Hazzard. I learned to live with Dick Sargent as the new Darrin, but was never comfortable when they would replace Ginger (Gilligan's Island) or Jan (The Brady Bunch) on the various spin offs and specials.

I think it'd be interesting to look at a list of replacements that were actually BETTER than the original. None come to mind at the moment.... B.J. was not as good as Trapper, nor was Col. Potter as good as McLean "Hello Larry" Stevenson.

The most bizarre replacement had to be Flo's on "Alice", when they replaced her with the ORIGINAL Flo from the movie the show was loosely based on.

Plaidstallions said...

That was syndication Rob.

Gilligan- Better replacements is something I'm working on, like "New Becky" on Roseanne.

Plaidstallions said...

That was syndication Rob.

Gilligan- Better replacements is something I'm working on, like "New Becky" on Roseanne.

wee67 said...

I'll be very curious to see the "better" list. For the most part, very few come to mind. When they work, its usually because the new character is completely different. I wouldn't say Col. Potter was better, but he was different enough to succeed.

BTW, I'm surprised you've made it this far without a Quark mention.