Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Sonya Walger

What is it about Sonya Walger that every network casting person adores? I mean, she’s certainly a very good actress and extremely pretty to look at but she's not the only pretty actress in Hollywood. There have to be at least six others. Yet, Sonya Walger seems to get every part out there.

And sometimes it gets disconcerting. She’s dear sweet Penny on LOST. Her hubby Desmond has gone through hell and earth and time for her love and yet there she is on HBO giving her other husband a handjob on TELL ME YOU LOVE ME. And now she’s married to a third husband on ABC’s FLASH FORWARD. In the pilot she has a vision of the future and being with another man. Maybe it’s Desmond during one of his time travels. My head is exploding.

In past years she was the wife Mike Binder was cheating on in HBO’s MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN (which made no sense at all since she’s far hotter than the trollops he chased after).

Sonya was also in the American version of COUPLING and had recurring roles on SLEEPER CELL, CSI: NEW YORK, and THE SARAH CONNOR CHRONICLES. How does she keep straight which set to show up at each morning?

And again, nothing against Sonya. I wish I were her agent. Every year there seems to be another network darling. This year she's the lucky one. Last year it was Kim Raver. Despite annoying fans on 24 she also was a series regular in THIRD WATCH, NINE, and LIPSTICK JUNGLE.

The queen of course is Paula Marshall. Paula's starred in seven different series and recurred in five others. Someday there will be cloning and she'll be in all twelve at once.

Networks like familiarity. Whenever you see the cast list of pilots, next to the actors’ names in parenthesis are always the last series they were in. Rarely do you see…

“Rachael Needimeyer” (never been in anything but is really good).

The irony of course is that TV makes stars. And when a new show takes off it usually is because it features some exciting newcomer (Jon Hamm anyone?). And it’s not just the broadcast networks who favor familiar faces. The only HBO show Sonya has not been on is JOE BUCK LIVE.

I’m sure Paula, and Kim, and now Sonya test through the roof. They’re attractive, versatile, likeable, and if I were in a focus group and saw Sonya Walger naked giving a handjob I’d give her the highest score too.

But I’d sure love to see Rachael Needimeyer get her shot. Who knows? She could star in a series. Or two. Or seven.

22 comments:

D. McEwan said...

It's an interesting coincidence that Sonya (Who doesn't spell it "Sonja"?) was in the American COUPLING, because that guy she she sees hrself with in the future on FLASHFORWARD is Jack Davenport, from the original British version of COUPLING.

Anonymous said...

You watch a network show, and you see an "actor" with baggage. Taxi and Cheers and the other greats took more chances, but networks nowadays don't seem to learn from this. A big reason The Sopranos and Mad Men are amazing is that you buy into the worlds, because the actors whom we don't associate with anything else become the characters.

Chris Marcil said...

But then sometimes an actor will be in a million shows and then hit. Like George Clooney. And Paula Marshall, who I thought was not quite right on Out Of Practice, is really good on Gary Unmarried, possibly because she can put all the bitterness one accumulates in Hollywood into her character.

Larry said...

I love LOST, but MIND OF THE MARRIED MAN was so bad I still can't stand to look at Walger.

JC said...

It all depends what you watch doesn't it? I only know her as Penny from "Lost" - did not see either of the HBO shows, don't remember her from the nightmare that was the one ep. of Coupling I watched, nor the others.

Whereas I immediately recognized Jon Hamm as the guy the wife from "life as we know it" cheated with, and then the guy the wife from "The Unit" almost cheated with. 5 hours of one, 6 of the other, same number of hours I've watched her on "Lost"

Sarah Paulson is one as well, and not just 'cause she played one of Paula Marshall's parts.

Tim W. said...

I have to say,. I didn't recognize her at all, but that could be because of all the shows you mentioned, the only one I saw was Sarah Connor Chronicles, and I don't remember her.

Paula Marshall, I recognize, but I couldn't tell you where from, since a browse through her credits reveals nothing I've actually watched. Very strange. I guess she's so familiar that even people that have never seen her before recognize her.

Larry said...

I should add that when I see Paula Marshall, all I can think of is she's the woman who thought Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza are a gay couple...not that there's anything wrong with that.

Patrick said...

Still haven't become bored with this blog yet. Mostly because even if I find myself uninterested in several days of content, you just blow me away with lines like the last one in this post. So well said. So many struggling actors who feel that they have something to offer should read your words, if for no other reason, at least they may know that they aren't nuts, or "just bitter". I'll thank you on their behalf.

I think the actress, Marshal, was in Becker, right? (his nusre/technician?) If so, I understand the appeal. The like-ability facter was there.

Thank you again for saying things that many in Hollywood don't have the nads to say. I often wonder why you never hear big hitters in the entertainment industry REALLY speaking their mind when they are being interviewed, etc.. I mean I understand the obvious "don't bite the hand that feeds you" type excuse, but some things just seem so worth saying. Seeing an actress on eight pilots in a row and then seeing eight hundred others with as much appeal and talent get zero work must seem odd to even the oldest and best fed talents in Hollywood.

Anyway, I'm going off way too much on this one, so ...

Thanks again

cb said...

'I think the actress, Marshal, was in Becker, right? (his nusre/technician?)

no...that was Shawnee Smith - who has been working steadily since she was about 8 - but never as Miss Ubiquitous.

and Becker ran 6 Seasons..no series with Ms Marshall has (yet) lasted that long....

Cathy said...

It's funny you mention Paula Marshall and all her series. I've often heard/read about her referred to as "Show Killer."

Bill said...

This morning, some studio exec is going to demand to see a headshot from this "Rachael Needimeyer" that everyone's so high on. She'll get a part in a pilot before anyone knows if such a person exists.

Patrick said...

Thank you cb for setting me straight on the Becker actress. And to Bill, I think that's an interesting take on the post. Sort of like the end to the plot line for HE SAID, SHE SAID.

Tim W. said...

Larry: "I should add that when I see Paula Marshall, all I can think of is she's the woman who thought Jerry Seinfeld and George Costanza are a gay couple."

THAT'S where I know her from! I also noticed she was on the Wonder Years. God, she's been around forever.

Steve the Creep said...

When I saw Walger on Flash Forward it just cemented in my mind how hard they were trying to make the show like Lost. Start with a guy waking up on his back and people screaming around him, throw in a misplaced animal, and get as many cast members you can grab. I'm pretty sure they even used the same fonts for their titles.

Someone on another site pointed out that nearly all the serialized cliff hanger shows that appeared the year after Lost have been cancelled. Just Heroes remaining, and that's on its last legs.

danrydell said...

I've had a crush on Paula Marshall since Chicago Sons, and it continued on Sports Night. She should star in everything. :-)

As for Sonya, that Mind of the Married Man was the stupidest, most pointless, asinine show I think I've ever watched. All I could think of when I'd see it was how stupid all the characters were. Truly awful.

rhl said...

This probably sounds kind of strange, but from the first time I saw Kim Raver on TV there was something about her that I found really off-putting. After thinking about it I realized it was because her nose doesn't look right on her face and it distracted me from her performance.

Anonymous said...

and that's why actors are, you know, actors, and not just "people who kinda act the same way in real life as the character so lets put them on the show".

anyway, from that picture she kinda looks like the brunette biologist from "Defying Gravity".

Brian Doan said...

Then there are those actors you WISH you saw on every show, like Katie Finneran. She was so wonderfully great on the short-lived WONDERFALLS that I wish every show would cast her in a lead or supporting role.

Anonymous said...

i watched "modern family" (MF) simply b/c of this blog but i found it to be predictable/ silly/ boring. next, i checked out "community" but even the first few minutes made me smile/ giggle more than MF did in the 2 episodes combined. but all these pale compared to Larry Gelbart's (playing w/ words) in the first few years of MASH. i still long for such a clever (intellectual) comedy!! fyi, MASH started b4 i was even born!!

Anonymous said...

i'm the anonymous who wrote about L. Gelbart. i'd like to clarify that i meant to say the likes of L. Gelbart b/c if i didn't enjoy Ken's writing, i wudn't be reading his blog.. i definitely enjoyed the rest of MASH as well as CHEERS (i haven't watched FRASIER)..

Garrett said...

Sonya Wolger had a non-speaking cameo at my Thanksgiving dinner at Campanile two years ago.

Talk about overexposure!

Dirk said...

Re Garrett's note -- That's funny; Walger also made a distracting cameo appearance at my wedding anniversary dinner at Grace. My wife kept wondering why I seemed to be looking next to her, instead of at her -- sorry dear.