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.
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)