Everybody gets fired at least once in life. Sometimes you can see it coming, sometimes it seems unfair, sometimes it’s a mutual agreement. The acting profession is not any different, harsher even. In the acting world news, good or bad, spreads like wildfire. It could truncate a career as much as a bad film – wondering about Adam Sandler? Me too, his record-breaking performance in the 32nd Golden Raspberry Awards (2011 Razzies) was more than a “subtle” wakeup call-, it could make difficult to find more work and it could definitely pay a heavy toll on the person.
Let’s see then how did they take it…
If you have not seen the films mentioned, you might find some spoilers ahead…
Special Mention. Rob Morrow – Northern Exposure (1990-1995)
Rob Morrow was never fired but he deserves the doubtful privilege of a special mention because being mercilessly fired might be an actor’s worst nightmare, but being artistically tortured at any possible level is a viewer’s worst nightmare.
TV was different at the beginning of the 90s. Shows were not as popular as they have been for the past ten years. Northern Exposure was new and exciting, a New York Jewish doctor is sent to Cicely, a fictional Alaskan town that just looks like anything but America for the urbanite doctor. Every episode was full of atypical characters and quirky stories that would leave the spectator as shocked as Doctor Fleischman was. It made a connection. Ratings steadily increased from 12.4 in the first season to 16.3 in the third but decreased in the same fashion until reaching 11.2 in the sixth and last season. Rick Du Brow in Los Angeles Times attributed it to CBS giving the “kiss of death” by moving the show from Mondays to Wednesdays. But that is not entirely accurate, is it?
Rob Morrow sympathised with Doctor Fleischman. He too was living far away from family and friends in Seattle after dropping out of high school to pursue an acting career. That is what I call having… determination. After a successful first season Rob Morrow demanded a pay raise. Fair enough. That was the beginning of friction between the actor and the producers of the show. Morrow has admitted to have mishandled negotiations possibly due to his young age and inexperience. He also felt frustrated with the stand stillness of his character, something he discussed more than once with creator and producer Joshua Brand. When Brand resigned and David Chase became executive director, he too did not feel the need to give Doctor Fleischman a new direction and Morrow´s complains continued until writers found an excuse to write him out the series for eight episodes by going into spiritual retreat far up river from Cicely.
The hero’s journey way before the end of the series
In spite of what clearly shows the decline of his character, Rob Morrow was pleased with the change, feeling it was the perfect ending for his hero’s journey by getting what he always wanted: going back to New York. For viewers like me though the series gradually became about any random character’s story that would show up at the beginning of each episode, it felt the show lost Cicely’s backbone. It lacked closure –Joel and Maggie’s rollercoaster story remained unfinished – it felt the journey took you nowhere. The magic from the first three seasons was finally gone leaving a sour taste in your mouth. Not pretty at all.
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