overthinking the idiot box

June 13, 2005

Dear John Shannen
Shannen Doherty just can't keep a job

by Justin Winters

This is the best decision I've made all day.

Seriously, Shannen. You're out. I know you must be used to this by now, considering you were just canned from UPN's Love, Inc. months before it's even aired. You're just not really going to fit in with the overall direction that my imaginary show is taking. Yes, I'm developing a show for TV in my head and I figured I would go ahead and start trimmin' the fat. So you're a no go for any role, foreground or background. It's just not working.

There were many factors I mulled over when coming to this (imaginary) conclusion. Surely none of them will be your cup of tea. Hell, you'll probably beat the everloving hell out of me and my entire family when you read this. But, you know, the truth's a bitch. Especially when it's served with a large bowl of Snarky O's.

First of all, Shannen, you're old. Like tired old. It's been awhile since your days as Brenda Walsh on 90210, and it shows. You played the spunky girl next door serviceably for four entire seasons. You made us care about your bangs, your virginity, and that excruciating episode in which you finally passed your driving test (SCORE!!). No, really. Congratulations. But that was 11 years ago, or in numbers you might understand, 400-chicks-you've-beaten-down-on-Sunset-Boulevard ago.

I feel like a pediatrician by saying this, but you're at a difficult age. Being 34, you're in the "tweener phase", in which you obviously can't play college age anymore, but you're probably not going to fool anyone into thinking you're capable of parental roles either. Gary Coleman is stuck in tweener limbo forever, so be grateful it's something you'll grow out of. Until then, I frankly just don't know what to do with you. I'm sure that's exactly what the creators of Charmed were thinking when they first cast you.

"Uhhh...let's just make her a witch."

"Like one of the three main witches?"

"Sure, why not?"

Now we all know "why not." Apparently you're absolutely incapable of keeping a job for more than a few seasons. It's the truth. You're in a constant state of TV Unemplertia.

(TV Unemplertia - the tendency of a TV actress to resist employment; the tendency of an actress to remain unemployed forever until Aaron Spelling makes his requisite 5-year casting oops)

You'll probably get your next job as center square on Hollywood Squares, but quickly lose it an episode into your run after you're forced to cut someone with intense Tic-Tac-Toe'd anger.
I'm not kidding. Take a gander at your IMDB page sometime. I'm sure you have the free time nowadays. Your hours put in on each series have depreciated with every job you stash under your oft-angered belt. Last season's stint on the truly terrible North Shore was for even less than a full season. Keeping this pace up, you'll probably get your next job as center square on Hollywood Squares, but quickly lose it an episode into your run after you're forced to cut someone with intense Tic-Tac-Toe'd anger.

Most importantly, and I'll write this in my inside voice, you're not a very good actress. I know. I know. "Burn people, not bridges" is what you always used to say. But I can't keep deluding myself. Case in point: I will never ever ever forgive you for Hell on Heels: The Battle of Mary Kay. I am not kidding about this. Your accent in that "TV movie" still haunts me. So what does this mean? First, keep every job. That will always help on the ol' resume. Second, maybe you should branch out and take a supporting role in an independent movie or two. Get your street cred back up. I could definitely see you kicking some zombie ass or something like that. Work the anger to your advantage.

And don't give me any of that "I'm just not respected as an actress in this town" nonsense. I know a woman by the name of Gabrielle Carteris who would kill small Cambodian children just to get a three-episode story arc on a UPN show. Come to think of it, besides Jennie Garth, who's blowing up over on the WB, you're the closest thing the original 90210 cast has to a major breadwinner. Let's take a look at the others:

Gabrielle Carteris: See above. She's also 44 years old.

Jason Priestley: He just got married. So long Sideburns.

Luke Perry: This guy was supposed to be HUGE! Am I the only one who thought this? Now he's filling a supporting role in a coming of age story about a teenager working at an extreme sports camp as a dishwasher...with Hilary Duff's sister?! Nooooo!

Ian Ziering and Brian Austin Green: Watch out Shannen! These guys are nipping at your heels. They're in a movie this summer with Keira Knightley AND Mickey Rourke. Of course, they're playing themselves, but any Ziering is a blessing.

Tori Spelling: She's done her requisite 2 TV movies this year. Thus, she will be hibernating in her Swarovski-encrusted cocoon until 2006.

Douglas Emerson: He will never get the chance to play with a loaded gun while wearing a cowboy hat on TV again. Ever. It ruined his once-promising career. RIP Scott.

So, as you can see, the future's not so bright and a lot of your co-stars aren't wearing shades. You and J. Garth are the two most-likely-to-succeeds from a show that many 20-somethings still look at as a generation-defining show. That means that we really do care what happens to you. We don't want you all to go all Different Strokes-cast on us. In a way, if you succeed, we succeed.

This all being said, I hope there are no hard feelings. Hollywood is a forgiving place in which the crappiest of crappy old actresses can still get work on television. Seriously. Just ask Geena Davis. If not, there's always a possible American Gladiators remake. I see you as a perfect Ice.

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Return to Vol. 1, Episode 6.