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Gapers Block published from April 22, 2003 to Jan. 1, 2016. The site will remain up in archive form. Please visit Third Coast Review, a new site by several GB alumni.
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Television Wed Aug 24 2011

Fast and Loose with Sitcom Casting: A Countdown

By now, the big TV news has had time to sink in. The drama surrounding Charlie Sheen's real life has faded, but a little fading is nothing compared to his parody life on Two and a Half Men. The world has officially learned that Sheen's fictional counterpart, Charlie Harper, is dead, or will be come this fall. The show will go on without him, however, when a web mogul names Walden Schmidt (Ashton Kutcher, of course) buys Harper's house. Sounds pretty crazy, right? Maybe so, but it's hardly the first time in sitcom history that a popular character has been replaced.

As Fall premiere season nears, let's take a look through the annals of primetime and countdown ten of the biggest cast adjustments in the world of sitcoms.

#10 Saved by the Bell
tori.pngThis may be one of the least important cast change stories in the history of the sitcom, but it still frustrates me to even think about it. When Tori, the butch (but purportedly straight) motorcycle chick, rides into Bayside, she seems like a fun-enough addition to the gang. But wait, something's wrong...where are Kelly and Jessie? They aren't there! And fun though she may be, Tori is no substitute for the two leading Lady Tigers.

The explanation? NBC ordered more episodes for the final season od the show, and Elizabeth Berkley and Tiffani Thiessen didn't sign on. They'd already taped a final season, including a graduation episode, so the Tori senior year episodes, taped later, were aired interspersed with the Jessie and Kelly senior year episodes. And when Jessie and Kelly are gone, no one mentions them. It's surreal. And annoying. 

This Friday, head back here to find out what big sitcom cast change clocks in at #9.

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Architecture Tue Nov 03 2015

Paul Goldberger Describes the "Pragmatism and Poetry" of Frank Gehry's Architecture in His New Book

By Nancy Bishop

Architecture critic Paul Goldberger talks about Frank Gehry's life and work in a new book.
Read this feature »

Steve at the Movies Fri Jan 01 2016

Best Feature Films & Documentaries of 2015

By Steve Prokopy

Read this column »


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