One inescapable fact of being an actor in demand is that your audience may carry your previous roles with them every time they see you in something new. Sometimes it’s a terrible distraction (HENRY WINKLER) but sometimes it adds a glaze of irony and/or perfection to the new role.
Case in point: Malcolm in the Middle‘s dad, Bryan Cranston, who morphed delightfully into Breaking Bad‘s cancerous badass, will be joining Liz Lemon and friends for season seven of 30 Rock playing Kenneth the page’s mom’s “friend” Ron.
There’s always a tinge of hostility whenever Kenneth has mentioned his mom’s friend Ron (always with that construction — never just Ron — not just to keep reminding us who Ron is but also, I suspect, to keep a psychic buffer between Kenneth and the man who used to come over to his house and take his mother into the bedroom to “sort out their paperwork”). So, yay, one of television’s most aggravated and morally compromised characters is coming up from Stone Mountain to menace studio 6-H. Will Kenneth become so stressed by the visit that he’ll have a donkey spell? Or will he simply revert to his British-sounding alter ego Cranston? Because YES, PLEASE.
Equally great is that fact that SCTV heroine Catherine O’Hara is playing Kenneth’s mom. In past roles O’Hara has excelled at unpredictable passive aggression (Six Feet Under), classic physical comedy (Best In Show), and slowly letting the horrifying truth sink in (Home Alone), all of which will no doubt come in handy in a meeting with Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin). Jack and Kenneth continue to have surprising things in common (including loose-cannon mothers and “extroverted-intuitive-aggressive” Myers-Briggs scores) for two men so far apart on the corporate ladder. I have a feeling someone’s going to need a hug after all this!
As season seven will be 30 Rock’s last, I hope and pray that we either get a terrifying amount of stunt cameos (the entire cast of Parks and Recreation? Barack Obama?) or that every single guest from the last six seasons comes back to buy a beeper from Dennis Duffy. Either way, it’s going to be good, and then it will be syndicated so thoroughly that children will be dressing up as Frank and Twofer for Halloween until well after the Apocaplypse.
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