Welcome to The GBU, a weekly column coming every Monday where I look at the Good, the Bad and the Ugly on TV.
There have been a lot of actors who started with minor commercial roles,
but it's hard to transition being a major commercial spokesperson into
an actual acting career. We might love them in 30-second doses, but
making the movie to actual success on television shows is something not
many can do.
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Here's the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of commercial stars on television.The Good: Isaiah Mustafa
A little over a year ago Isaiah Mustafa burst onto the scene as the manliest man you wish your man was like in a series of wonderfully absurd and brilliant Old Spice commercials. While this kind of instant stardom might shoehorn the actor into being a flash-in-the-pan sensation, he's turned it into the start of an actual career. Already he's landed cool guest appearances on Castle
and Hot in Cleveland
, and I suspect he'll have a nice future of people looking at him, then at someone else, then back at him.The Bad: Fantanas Not on Vampire Shows
In 2004, Katerina Graham (Bonnie the witch from The Vampire Diaries
) was one of the famous Fantanas who sang a little song asking if you "Wanna Fanta?" Another Fantana, K.D. Aubert, played Principal Robin Wood's slayer mom on Buffy
. That's good for them, but there are still plenty of other fruit-flavored soft drink spokeswomen who haven't been so lucky. If those two Fantanas landed such awesome roles on vampire-based shows, I can only imagine how great the world of television would be if all Fantanas were on TV, and I won't be happy until that happens.The Ugly: TV Shows Based on Commercials
While a 30-second ad might be entertaining, there's nothing funny about turning a commercial into an actual TV series. In 2002 CBS turned the talking baby from ads for an Internet provider into the show Baby Bob
, which was a complete disaster. However, TV networks didn't learn the lesson and in 2007 ABC tried turning the GEICO cavemen into a sitcom. Luckily, it lasted less than a month and a half. Hopefully networks will forever stop trying to turn commercials into sitcoms.(Images courtesy of NBC, Coca Cola and ABC)