Someone Save Mike O'Malley
How has nobody rescued the one-time 'Yes, Dear' co-star/Time Warner pitchman from an endless string of thankless blue-collar bit parts?
By Kenny Herzog Nov 5, 2009 5:09PM
It's a grueling, strange road to semi-credible celebrity. Hell, Bradley Cooper endured a decade-long climb from a blink-and-you-missed it "Sex and the City" guest appearance to super-stud-dom in "The Hangover" and that unfortunate Sandra Bullock movie where she plays a human irritant. And Paris Hilton has still inexplicably slipped under the radars (if not bed sheets) of influential arthouse casting directors.
And then there's Mike O'Malley, who has witnessed his career rotate in a fully circular vice from his days as backwards-hat-wearing, super-relatable every-dude as "Rick" in a series of popular ESPN commercials to the frontwards-hat-sporting, super-relatable every-adult in a series of oddly grating, mildly provocative mudslinging spots for Time Warner Cable.
During the several years in between, you may have remembered O'Malley as the baseball-cap-reliant average Joe brother-in-law to Anthony Clark on narcoleptic domesti-com "Yes, Dear." Or perhaps for his appearance as effeminate Kurt's flannel-wearing, cap-affixed, football-loving American Dad on a recent episode of "Glee." Or, most ingloriously, his instantly cancelled, eponymous NBC half-hour, in which O'Malley portrayed an even more crassly transgressive interpretation of his likeable schlub shtick. You get the idea.
On the one hand, I can't help but wonder if the guy's like a character-actor alter ego of LL Cool J or Slash, who I used to imagine were hiding hideous cranial abnormalities or portals to alternative universes under their omnipresent skull-covers. And on the flipside, I find myslf unexpectedly sympathetic to O'Malley, despite the oversimplification of his most commonly inhabited persona. It would be like if Paul Reubens had only ever performed as Pee-Wee or Tommy Chong had merely introduced subtle variations on an over-the-hill stoner. Oh, well, nevermind that last one.
Hopefully, a role on the upcoming small-screen adaptation of Ron Howard's '80s suburban drama "Parenthood" will begin to widen the fictional cable-advocate's creative margins a bit. But for the time being, it has to sting that his "O'Malley Show" co-star Will Arnett has gone onto developments in his career—and managed to portray a panalopy of characters—that are significantly less arrested.