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Old 03-05-2017, 08:15 PM   #1
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Default Most under-utilized character

I mentioned this is a different post and I don't know if there is another thread like this, but is "Tracy Partridge" the most under-utilized character of all time?
She definitely has a major reputation in trivia and TV history as a character who you would wonder why was ever created.

Even "Mrs Beasley" (a doll) from Family Affair was in more episodes in that show, and even had an episode that focused on her.
"Carlton the Doorman" was unique. No episode revolved around him (that I know of) and he was literally never visible ( that I know of) but he was still a major character in Rhoda (and maybe I ought to start a different thread for very unusual characters like that).

I think "Carrie" from Little House On The Prarie also was just a character that was there because the TV show was depicting the household of Laura Ingalls as described in the well-known books, but she was not given anywhere near as many adventures and lines as the two older daughters of the family.

Any other TV shows that had particularly under-utilized characters ?
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Old 03-05-2017, 08:20 PM   #2
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In the first three seasons of Get Smart, Larabee was an extremely minor character. He practically never had lines and only appeared onscreen for a few seconds every episode alongside the Chief. His role was expanded to a regular character at some point in the fourth season.
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Old 03-05-2017, 10:30 PM   #3
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I guess that some of these, like Chuck Cunningham, Spear Chucker on MASH, and Leslie Winkle on Big Bang Theory, were characters who languished for a bit and then were written out because they didn't fit with the story as it developed.

Nurse Ginger Bayliss was introduced in the MASH pilot and was on the show quite a bit in the early years, with I think just one significant story. With occasional exceptions, MASH nurses would just be props, and I think would sometimes be assigned different names in the credits from episode to episode. A handful of enlisted men on F Troop were similarly known but undeveloped.
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Old 03-07-2017, 08:03 AM   #4
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I heard that in "Lost In Space" (not a sitcom) the character of "Judy" was probably the most under-utilized character overall.
The robot was probably one of the major characters in that show next to Will Robinson and Dr Smith.

My brother said that he read that "Judy" once had a part in an episode in which she strictly was shown only waving and saying goodbye to one of the strange space people that the family met while they traveled through space. She literally had only one line in that ep.

The character of Judy was utilized so as to be a romantic attraction to Don the one guy next to Dr Smith who is not related to the Robinson family . It seemed to be an indication that Judy and Don would someday be the ones on whom re-populating another planet would be dependent on.
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Old 04-18-2017, 06:57 PM   #5
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The biggest example in my book is Judy Winslow on "Family Matters". Could it really have hurt the writers to give the poor girl something to do? Obviously yes, because they preferred to fire the young actress and act like the character had never existed in the first place!

"Dr Quinn" had a really pointless character named Emily during its first season. She obviously got lost in the shuffle next to so many other more interesting characters, but they did nothing at all with her. She got married in the last episode of the first season and left town, and nobody missed her or even talked about her again.
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Old 04-18-2017, 07:31 PM   #6
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I think what happens a lot of times is that one character gets very, very popular and it crowds out others. The situation that "um" brought up with Lost in Space is a good example; characters like Judy and Don (and the parents, too) were really diminished when Smith, Will and the robot got so popular. There are only so many lines and up end going to the most popular characters.

It's easy to see why so many of these characters left the show; there just wasn't anything to do with them, at least according to the writers.

I think one could easily adding Yeoman Janice Rand, of Star Trek, to this list.
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Old 05-16-2017, 10:41 PM   #7
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It's interesting you mentioned Star Trek's Janice Rand. I'm thinking Lieutenant Uhura was sorely under used on that show too, she didn't do much of anything but operate her computer communications board and say things like yes captain or yes sir if she was given an order by some other crew member like Spock or Scotty. Yes she was important in that she was a black woman with what was supposed to be an important role in the show and was usually seen in the scenes on the bridge but let's face it Uhura was basically a glorified secretary. Nichele Nichols who played Uhura was so unhappy with the role she was seriously thinking of leaving the series. Until the story goes she met Martin Luther King, Jr. somewhere and he told her that her being a black woman and being seen on the show was important and he was a fan of hers that convinced her to stay. But they never did anything significant with the character anyhow.

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Old 05-16-2017, 10:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward216
It's interesting you mentioned Star Trek's Janice Rand. I'm thinking Lieutenant Uhura was sorely under used on that show too, she didn't do much of anything but operate her computer communications board and say things like yes captain or yes sir if she was given an order by some other crew member like Spock or Scotty. Yes she was important in that she was a black woman with what was supposed to be an important role in the show and was usually seen in the scenes on the bridge but let's face it Uhura was basically a glorified secretary. Nichele Nichols who played Uhura was so unhappy with the role she was seriously thinking of leaving the series. Until the story goes she met Martin Luther King, Jr. somewhere and he told her that her being a black woman and being seen on the show was important and he was a fan of hers that convinced her to stay. But they never did anything significant with the character anyhow.

Ed.

I think you could say the same thing about Sulu and Chekov. We think of them as iconic Star Trek "family" members now, but really, they were pretty much just place holding crew members during the show's run. How much did we really know about either? Chekov liked the ladies and was a bit impetuous, and...that was about it. Sulu was dependable and had a bit of wry humor about him....period.

Add Nurse Chapel to the list.

All of these characters were basically left two-dimensional because the Big Dogs (Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and to a lesser extent, Scotty) were given most of the lines. It's understandable, from a financial standpoint, but still sad.
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Old 05-17-2017, 11:52 PM   #9
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I completely agree with you. With very few exceptions, every episode of Star Trek had Kirk, Spock, or McCoy (sometimes all three of them) as the focus of the plotline.

Ed.
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Old 05-20-2017, 01:23 AM   #10
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what about brandon form step by step? he was in the first seaon but after that he didn't show up!!
chuck on happy days he was richies brother in the first season after that no one mention him!!
boy meets world Stuart Minkus he was in the first seaon then he wasn't in any of the other tv series!! he was in last one when they were graduating high shcool!! I also liked to know happened to harvey he used to pick on cory in high school!! i think i remember them replacing him with this rich guy who kind of sucks up to every one!!
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Old 05-24-2017, 03:31 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward216
It's interesting you mentioned Star Trek's Janice Rand. I'm thinking Lieutenant Uhura was sorely under used on that show too, she didn't do much of anything but operate her computer communications board and say things like yes captain or yes sir if she was given an order by some other crew member like Spock or Scotty. Yes she was important in that she was a black woman with what was supposed to be an important role in the show and was usually seen in the scenes on the bridge but let's face it Uhura was basically a glorified secretary. Nichele Nichols who played Uhura was so unhappy with the role she was seriously thinking of leaving the series. Until the story goes she met Martin Luther King, Jr. somewhere and he told her that her being a black woman and being seen on the show was important and he was a fan of hers that convinced her to stay. But they never did anything significant with the character anyhow.

Ed.

Uhura was a telephone operator. It's ridiculous to make her anything more than that simply because she's a black woman. There was an episode where she was supposed to take command of the ship but it was rewritten because they were afraid of the controversy. Nichelle Nichols threw a fit and that's when she threatened to leave the show. It was ridiculous for her to take command, not because she's a black woman but she's a telephone operator. By the way, the reason Nichelle Nichols got the job on Star Trek was because she and Gene Roddenberry had a long running affair.
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Old 05-24-2017, 08:49 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Edward216
It's interesting you mentioned Star Trek's Janice Rand. I'm thinking Lieutenant Uhura was sorely under used on that show too, she didn't do much of anything but operate her computer communications board and say things like yes captain or yes sir if she was given an order by some other crew member like Spock or Scotty. Yes she was important in that she was a black woman with what was supposed to be an important role in the show and was usually seen in the scenes on the bridge but let's face it Uhura was basically a glorified secretary. Nichele Nichols who played Uhura was so unhappy with the role she was seriously thinking of leaving the series. Until the story goes she met Martin Luther King, Jr. somewhere and he told her that her being a black woman and being seen on the show was important and he was a fan of hers that convinced her to stay. But they never did anything significant with the character anyhow.

Ed.

I think I heard Nichelle relate this story, either on a MeTV promo or a documentary. I don't think it was so much that she was black, but that she was female, causing her to be underutilized. Dr. McCoy wasn't a very interesting character--once you get past lines like, "I'm a doctor not a bricklayer", there wasn't much to the part. So had the show gone on, maybe they could have found a way to promote Uhura so she could be part of landing parties, and downgrade the McCoy part. Maybe they could have left him on that asteroid with his incurable disease.

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Old 05-24-2017, 11:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Babalu
Uhura was a telephone operator. It's ridiculous to make her anything more than that simply because she's a black woman. There was an episode where she was supposed to take command of the ship but it was rewritten because they were afraid of the controversy. Nichelle Nichols threw a fit and that's when she threatened to leave the show. It was ridiculous for her to take command, not because she's a black woman but she's a telephone operator. By the way, the reason Nichelle Nichols got the job on Star Trek was because she and Gene Roddenberry had a long running affair.

Are you trying to say she was a telephone operator?
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Old 05-25-2017, 12:57 AM   #14
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Mary Bradford (Lani O'Grady) on "Eight is Enough". Not only did she get far fewer plotlines than any other child, the few she got were almost entirely serious. Couldn't somebody have written her a light-hearted storyline once in a while?
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Old 05-25-2017, 03:17 AM   #15
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Through the whole run of The Jeffersons, Ralph the doorman remained a minor supporting character and was never given a big story line. But I'm OK with that I never really liked him anyways. He was always sucking up and so smarmy just to get bigger tips.

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