The Mighty Have Fallen, tv Edition

Tonight I saw an ad on one of the silent tv’s that surround me, which prompted me to search ‘John C. McGinley broke’. I suppose it’s a credit to the robots that bring us information that I got plenty of references to the actor’s performance in Point Break. But that didn’t answer the question, “Why does a guy who had a lead role on tv for years have to do an insurance commercial as an anonymous father figure?”

Interesting note: when I plugged the quoted phrase above into the Google Monster, the top hit was Cher.

My sweetie is a fan of McGinley, and I certainly respect his “I’m an asshole deal with it or go away” persona on Scrubs. To see him in a throwaway role in a thirty-second spot makes me a little queasy. They didn’t cast him for his history or his fame, he’s just a dad in a commercial, a role he might have been excited about before he was in feature films and had a long run on a successful tv show. Now, watching that spot, I have to wonder what happened.

It’s possible, I suppose, that the writers and producers of the ad said, “Yeah! We got Jonh C. McFuckinGinley!” and went on to write a script that utterly failed to harness his charisma or even nod to his previous roles. He might have walked out of the shoot saying to himself “Holy shit that was a disaster,” sensing that everything he had built was about to be torpedoed.

Hoping that the above might explain what happened, I resolve to be more tolerant of actors reputed to be ‘difficult’. (This dispensation does not extend to actors who can’t be bothered to be on set on time.) I wonder if, had McGinley been a little more difficult, if he had insisted on letting his acting chops show, whether he could have forced them to make a better ad.

Alas, I don’t think that’s the case. I think McGinley did this commercial so he could make his next mortgage (or cocaine or whatever the bugaboo is in Hollywood these days) payment. It’s such a career downturn nothing else makes sense. The dude is a seriously good actor, but maybe he did his Scrubs role so well that people aren’t going to let go. Advice to John C.: Bad Guy in a (well-written) psychothriller. Take that ire, compress it, understate it, and slide out evil. Mellow, likable evil, the kind that makes the audience wonder if you’re actually the bad guy.

You could kill that role, Mr. McGinley. And a character like that can buy you several years on tv. After that you won’t have to prostitute yourself in a dumbass commercial ever again.


1 thought on “The Mighty Have Fallen, tv Edition

  1. A friend of mine once explained the 4 stages of an actor’s career:

    1. Who the Hell is Philip Lenkowsky?
    2. Get me Philip Lenkowsky
    3. Get me someone like Philip Lenkowsky
    4. Who the Hell is Philip Lenkowsky?

    Seems your man has made it to number 4.

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