5. Johnny Galecki Roseanne > The Big Bang Theory
Perhaps Johnny Galecki is best known for his role as Russ in Christmas Vacation, at least in my house, but it is not as if any of the Griswald children went on to have particularly lustrous careers. Galecki, though, also costarred in Roseanne as Darlene’s milquetoast boyfriend. He was sensitive, and sweet, relatively awkward most of the time and generally mocked for his lack of masculinity. He lived with the Connors because he had a deadbeat mom, but his role originated as a one-off guest spot because Roseanne Barr liked him. He was Kevin Healy, Mark’s little brother, and then he was David, series regular. When Roseanne ended, he did the TV guest spot circuit, and some teenage horror flicks, as one expects a generic teen sitcom actor to do. . .and now he is one of the top ten highest paid television stars. Seriously, he makes a million dollars an episode on The Big Bang Theory. I admit, I’m a recent convert to The Big Bang Theory. It always seemed so low brow to me, but TBS insisted that I watch it, night after night, rerun block after rerun block, and then one day I realized I was a fan. I think it takes getting to know the characters to care about the show at all, and Galecki’s character, Dr. Leonard Hofstadter is probably my favorite. It remains to be seen if Galecki will reprise is role as David Healy in the upcoming Roseanne revival, but I hope he does, if for no other reason than to gloat. “Can you believe I AM THE MOST FAMOUS ONE of all of us in 2017??” No. No we can’t, David. Now go do your coloring books.
4.Shia LaBeouf Even Stevens > Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Transformers franchise, tabloid fodder etc.
I guess in all fairness, NO ONE from the cast of Even Stevens gave any indication of future success, though I probably should have predicted that at least one of them would blow up and then crash and burn–I like to use the same metaphors for success and failure—because every Disney Channel show has at least one. Even Stevens had Shia. I legitimately liked this show. I was probably too old to enjoy it, but it was kind of funny, and had the kind of mishaps and shenanigans I appreciated after a taxing day of smoking cigarettes in the high school parking lot. Shia played Louis Stevens, a sort of zany, Screech Powers kind of a kid who was always up to no good. He had a brainy sister and a brawny brother, and he was the family clown. As a huge Indiana Jones fan, I was prepared to hate him in the role of Indy’s long lost son, but I liked him, he’s legitimately talented. I liked Eagle Eye and Disturbia, oh and Holes! Also, he’s extremely good looking. . . it is just really unfortunate that he seems like such a freakshow in real life.
3. Melissa McCarthy Gilmore Girls > Major Motion Pictures
So, I only watched Gilmore Girls a handful of times, but at no point did Sookie St. James stand out to me. As in, I saw the show and if I had to put money on it, I would have guessed that one of Rory Gilmore’s boyfriends would have ended up the hottest thing to come out of Stars Hollow. . . but no, very much no. McCarthy is easily one of the funniest people walking the planet, yet I find myself having absolutely no interest in watching her in Gilmore Girls either because she hadn’t reached her full potential as a comedian yet, or that part just didn’t highlight her talents (to say nothing of Mike & Molly, which is also just not as funny as I would like it to be). I might be speaking out of turn here, but Tammy is one of the funniest movies to come out in the last decade. Ghostbusters was great, Spy is super hilarious, primarily her ad lib lines, Heat, Identity Thief, Bridesmaids: all classics. Also, her latest gig as Spicy on SNL, genius. At any rate, despite caring very little for Gilmore Girls, I am happy that it gave us the surprise treasure that is Melissa McCarthy.
2. Ron Howard The Andy Griffith Show > Big Time Director
Who would have ever looked at Opie Griffith and thought, “Now this kid’s got staying power!! He’ll be in show business forever! A real success that kid will be!” No one. No one ever said that, because even then we expected child stars to even up bankrupt and addicted to pills. Opie was probably no exception: a cute little ginger (though I guess no one knew that until the abomination that was color came to Mayberry) who always looked to his pa for answers. Surely he too would become a victim of child stardom. Instead, he became a Hollywood powerhouse. Not only did he appear in another successful sitcom, Happy Days, he found his true calling as a director, writer, and possibly my favorite role as the narrator on Arrested Development. And for that, we congratulate you, Ronnie.
1. Chris Pratt Parks and Recreation > Hollywood Leading Man
This feels like a safe place to admit that I’ve seen Jurassic World at least a dozen times. Maybe I’m too old for that to be okay; maybe that is sad, but look, I LOVE that movie. Maybe it has something to do with my love for Jurassic Park and how it was the first HUGE blockbuster I remember as a kid. They had corresponding cups at fast food places, and my brother had the pajamas. It was awesome. I also really like Chris Pratt. When Parks & Recreation began, Pratt’s character was hardly my favorite. He played a drunk bro, with low intellect who fell into a giant pit that Leslie (Amy Poehler) wanted to turn into a park. Frankly, his fall was a major plot point, like the one on which the show was created and surrounded. However, his role was obviously minor and short term. . . until it became clear that Pratt was capable of so much more. He soon became one of the funniest characters on a show racked with hilarious characters, and then, one day, he got really good looking, a time that happened to correspond with his appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy. The show glossed over his new physique with a joke in passing about Andy quitting drinking beer. Legitimately happy for all the success that has come Pratt’s way, but even I, a TV connoisseur would never have predicted his super stardom. Please enjoy a favorite scene: