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remember when: CAST of NURSE JACKIE

The uniquely enjoyable gang on Nurse Jackie may be gone for another off-season nine months or so, but it’s time to give the Remember When treatment to the staff at All Saints.  From some of their earliest work in film and television and on stage to the bumbling crew at the Chicago hospital, here are the six core performers…

Before she was the tough-as-nails, drug-addicted Jackie Peyton, and before her regular roles on HBO’s Oz and The Sopranos, Edie Falco was an indie darling in 1990’s Trust, starring the late Adrienne Shelly.

Before playing snarky snob Dr. O’Hara on Jackie, and before her recent supporting turn as the infamous Wallis Simpson in The King’s Speech, Eve Best played the title explorer’s sister Eleanor in the 2002 TV movie Shackleton.

Prior to playing the goofy, eccentric nurse Zoey Barkow on the Showtime hospital comedy, Merritt Wever played one of the competitors in the bloodthirsty competition Series 7: The Contenders, a 2001 film about a murder-happy reality show.

Before playing domineering hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus, and before becoming an in-demand character actress on the likes of Dave, The American President, and The West Wing, Anna Deavere Smith performed her 1992 one-woman show Twilight: Los Angeles.

Before he was playing self-absorbed mamas’ boy Dr. Fitch Cooper on Jackie, Peter Facinelli played pompous jock turned prank victim Mike Dexter in the 1998 teen comedy Can’t Hardly Wait.

Prior to playing Jackie’s pharmacist extra-marital boyfriend, Paul Schulze played loads of bit parts on television and in film, including a brief run in 1998 on HBO’s Oz.

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remember when: CAST of MODERN FAMILY

It’s time to take another trip back.  It’s been a while – then again, everything’s been a while on this here blog – so it’s time to honor television casts with questionable history in the business. Let’s take a look at one of the best casts working currently – those zany adults on Modern Family.

Though he’s still probably best known as lovable lug Al Bundy on Married with Children, before Ed O’Neill was Jay, patriarch of the Pritchetts on Modern Family, he took a little trip south to Florida, for a 1984 episode of Miami Vice.

Julie Bowen had regular roles on Ed and Boston Legal, but before she was neurotic mom Claire, she was part of the melodramatic history of Dawson’s Creek, playing Dawson’s hippie-dippie Aunt Gwen in a 2000 episode.

Sure, he’s had his stints on stage, but before playing Mitchell, uptight lawyer, Jesse Tyler Ferguson had a television role in 2000’s miniseries sudser, Sally Hemings, detailing the sordid affairs of our former president Thomas Jefferson.  He played their love child.

Before Eric Stonestreet graced Modern Family‘s presence with his over-the-top theatrics he had a bit part as a clerk in the 2000 music-biz flick Almost Famous.

Ty Burrell now plays bumbling screwball Phil Dunphy on MF, but he once had a small guest part, like so many others at the time, in a 2001 episode of The West Wing.

Before she became the resident bombshell of the family, Gloria, Sofia Vergara played a housekeeper who falls for Jason Lee in the Tim Allen comedy Big Trouble in 2002.

remember when: CAST of UNITED STATES OF TARA

With the third seasons of Showtime’s all-time best duo (I’m of course referring to the subject of this post, as well as the ingenious Nurse Jackie) fast approaching, it’s time to take a look at the cast of United States of Tara, in some of their earlier, if questionable, work…

Before she was the multi-faceted mind of Tara Gregson on the Showtime series, Toni Collette wowed critics and the world as homely but hopeful Muriel Heslop in the brilliant Australian flick Muriel’s Wedding in 1995.

Before he played understanding husband and father Max on Tara, John Corbett’s pre-Northern Exposure career included a 1988 episode of The Wonder Years, playing sister Karen’s obnoxious hippie boyfriend Louis.

Before becoming snarky, witty young adult daughter Kate, and before that stint striving to become a Disneyfied pop princess in the earlier aughts, one of Brie Larson’s earliest credits was an episode of Touched by an Angel.

Before Keir Gilchrist donned the classy duds of old soul Marshall on USoT, his first screen credit as a child actor was a part in a 2003 episode of Showtime’s (caught him early on!) Queer as Folk.

Before playing self-centered sister Charmaine, and before her critically acclaimed turn in 2008’s Rachel Getting Married, Rosemarie Dewitt got her first screen acting gig, like so many before her, on an episode of Law & Order: SVU.

Before playing hopelessly unlucky-in-love best friend Neil, Patton Oswalt’s pre-stardom roles included a bit part as a video store clerk on a 1994 episode of Seinfeld.

remember when: CAST of BIG LOVE

Amidst all the hoopla of Oscars this, SAGs that, it seems it’s time to take a trip back to normalcy for a bit. Time to return to Remember When, this time starring the cast of Big Love, which just recently premiered its final season (and it’s already better than season four!), namely some former roles you may’ve forgotten about…

Before he was clan leader and Home Plus owner Bill Hendrickson, Bill Paxton did his fair share of roles as ’80s super-jerks, one of them being the infamous Chet in 1985’s Weird Science.

Long before her stint as first wife, casino manager, and now-lost soul Barb, Jeanne Tripplehorn’s big-screen debut was as Dr. Beth Garner in 1992’s Basic Instinct.

Before she was scheming compound escapee and middle wife Nikki Grant (and before she was an Oscar nominee for Boys Don’t Cry), Chloe Sevigny was part of the cast of the controversial teen sex drama Kids in 1995.

Before she was cutesy third wife and jewelry peddler Margene on Big Love, and prior to that string of romantic comedies she’s hitched her wagon to, Ginnifer Goodwin made her acting debut on an episode of Law & Order in 2001.

Before she was staunchly faith-filled, though diabolically masterminded, matriarch Adaleen Grant, Mary Kay Place played Loretta on the cult classic 1970s series Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman.

Long before playing controversial prophet of Juniper Creek Roman Grant, Harry Dean Stanton played dozens of roles in television, including a one-off role in a 1959 episode of the western series The Rifleman.

Before playing the nutty mother and exotic bird smuggler Lois Hendrickson, Grace Zabriskie had a variety of screen roles, including one as one of Sally Field’s fellow workers in 1979’s Norma Rae.

Now-big-name movie star Amanda Seyfried, before her stint as confused daughter Sara on Big Love, got her start on daytime television, including a regular role from 1999 to 2001 on As the World Turns.

Before he played boneheaded but harmless son Ben, Douglas Smith played several roles as a child actor, including performing as a young Brendan Fraser in the 1999 comedy Blast from the Past.

remember when: CAST of PARKS AND RECREATION

It’s been a while since we ventured into Remember When territory, but seeing as though tonight’s big NBC comedy premiere is the long-awaited third season of Parks and Recreation (in fact, it’s airing right as we speak), I figured it was time to take a stroll down memory lane (oh, and I realize I skipped Aziz – he just hasn’t had a whole lot of appearances outside of P&R)…

The eventual SNL go-to and one-time MVP Amy Poehler made a few brief appearances as Andy Richter’s little sister on Late Night with Conan O’Brien before donning Leslie Knope’s power suits.

Mustachioed Ron Swanson portrayer Nick Offerman wasn’t always so stiff-collared – one of his first appearances was as a chain-smoking rocker in the fourth-season opener of ER.

Though Rashida Jones has been around Hollywood since birth thanks to dad Quincy Jones, before her regular role as a teacher on Boston Public, she had a villainous appearance on Freaks and Geeks.

Before the stoic April Ludgate became Aubrey Plaza’s career-making role, she had a one-line bit part on an episode of 30 Rock as a – get this – enthusiastic and perky NBC page.

Though he was discovered while waitering at Bubba Gump by actress Rae Dawn Chong and cast in her movie project, Chris Pratt’s breakout role was on The WB’s Everwood.

Before turning on the funny playing Mark Brandanowitz, Paul Schneider had a penchant for indie dramas, including co-starring with Zooey Deschanel in All the Real Girls.

When she wasn’t working the stand-up comedy circuit, Donna portrayer Retta made her first on-screen appearance as a sassy (surprised?) restaurant hostess on Moesha.

Before becoming the office joke Jerry Gergich, Jim O’Heir had loads of TV appearances, including an early one as a barhound in an episode of 3rd Rock from the Sun.

remember when: CAST of MAD MEN

Well, thanks mostly to a recent viewing of Frosty the Snowman and its much-maligned stepbrother Frosty Returns, I decided it would be awfully fun to glance over the histories of our favorite AMC ad execs and their colleagues and see what early glimmers popped up that some fans may not be privy to.

Our very own Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss), the inspiration for this post, believe it or not voiced the little budding magician Holly to John Goodman’s new-era Frosty in 1992’s Frost Returns.

Though he only had one line, Mr. Don Draper himself (Jon Hamm) encountered his debut performance in a one-line role in the geriatric astronaut romp starring Clint Eastwood and Tommy Lee Jones, Space Cowboys, in 2000.

Our favorite self-involved, self-destructive firm partner Roger Sterling (John Slattery) had an early regular role in the 1988 television series version of the 1967 classic film The Dirty Dozen.

Mommy dearest herself, Betty Draper (January Jones), had some parts in teen comedies, but one of her first on-screen roles was as a student extra in the little-seen thriller The Glass House in 2001.

We all know Pete Campbell (Vincent Kartheiser) as the pompous little snob who’s too big for his britches, but he actually had a few jobs as a child actor, one in the literary adaptation The Indian in the Cupboard (1995).

The curvaceous Joan Holloway’s (Christina Hendricks) sex appeal didn’t start in the hallways of Sterling Cooper; she had a stint on MTV’s late-night teen sex soap Undressed in the late-1990s.

Before he was the gruff older partner Bert Cooper (Robert Morse), he originated the 1961 starring role on Broadway and headlined the film adaptation of How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying.

Before she was Megan (Jessica Pare), the hot new secretary on the block, she starred in the cheeky school-girl teen movie Lost and Delirious in 2001, alongside Piper Perabo and Mischa Barton.