Rainn man: Can Wilson do what most TV actors can't and succeed after success?

01/20/15 by Rennie Detore

Rainn Wilson probably doesn't shy away from the success he had on "The Office," specifically as the Dwight Schrute character that became one of the more memorable in television history.
But now that "The Office" is done, you could argue he might want to move past it.
Wilson is one of many television stars who is attempting to find success after success as he moves past his Dwight Schrute role and into a new vehicle, "Backstrom," which is set to premiere on FOX. In the show, Wilson plays a brooding, frowning detective that isn't afraid to speak his mind, which obviously goes against conventional private eyeing, of course.

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For Wilson, the role obviously is a departure from the Schrute character is many ways, aside from being overly sarcastic with his comments as "Backstrom," most of which will probably sound a lot like the snarky words written for Dwight Schrute.
The bigger issue facing Wilson, aside from comparisons between the "Backstrom" character and Schrute, is trying to move past his role on "The Office" and find something else he can sink his acting teeth into that won't be panned or ignored because, well, it isn't Dwight Schrute.
That's the irony with actors like Wilson, Michael Richards or Matthew Perry. They played such iconic roles on successful television shows that anything they do after that is always going to be met with a tremendous hurdle as far as convincing viewers that the actor behind the characters they love can be more than just that sole on air personality they grew to adore.
Most of the time that just doesn't happen. Richards, who played Kramer on "Seinfeld," gained notoriety and fortune for the role, but everything he did after that bombed (including his ill fated stand up meltdown). Perry struggled after playing Chandler on "Friends," and has had a string of monumental misses in various attempts to return to television. He is set to star in a remake of "The Odd Couple," that honestly has disaster written all over it.
Richards, Perry and Wilson made plenty of millions for their famed roles in their respective shows, so no one is going to feel sorry for them if they can't find another series that matches that kind of success. Truthfully, the goal of these actors isn't so much to equal their previous triumphs but rather continue working and doing the kind of shows that at least keep them relevant in Hollywood.
The news isn't all bad of course. Richards' "Seinfeld" co star Julia Louis Dreyfus has done well for herself with "New Adventures of Old Christine" and in a few movies since "Seinfeld" left the airways. The same can't be said for the series of flops from not only Richards but Jason Alexander ("George").
You can argue that Matt LeBlanc stumbled a bit out of the gate after "Friends" with "Joey," but he is doing well with his new Showtime series, "Episodes," where he plays himself almost perfectly (at least you'd hope he could do that). Courtney Cox and her "Cougar Town" also has done moderately well since finding a home on TBS.
So for Wilson, his "Backstrom" isn't necessarily doomed to fail. It is destined, however, to be compared to what made Wilson famous in the first place.

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