Recurring character

Recurring character

:"For the daytime equivalent, see recurring status."

A recurring character is a fictional character, usually in a prime time TV series, who is a character, that appears in a few episodes, but also appears from time to time during the series' run.cite book |last=Epstein |first=Alex |title=Crafty TV Writing: Thinking Inside the Box |publisher=Macmillan Publishers |year= 2006 |isbn=0805080287 |pages=pp. 27-28] Recurring characters often play major roles in an episode, sometimes being the main focus. The character's return is based on popularity.

Recurring characters usually start out as guest stars in one episode but continue to show up in future episodes if the storylines or actors are compelling enough. Sometimes a recurring character eventually becomes part of the main cast of characters; such a character is sometimes called a breakout character. Some notable examples of main characters who were originally recurring characters are Steve Urkel on "Family Matters", Donna Moss on "The West Wing", [cite news |work=Fresno Bee |date=2000-12-21 |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=FB&p_theme=fb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EAE7E4D786BB2D7&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D |title=Actress joins family at 'The West Wing'] and Michelle Dessler and Chloe O'Brian on "24". In other cases, recurring characters have been given spin-off series of their own, such as Dr. Frasier Crane who originally was a recurring character on "Cheers". [cite news |work=St. Louis Post-Dispatch |date=2001-03-09 |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=SL&p_theme=sl&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB053146AC5BE77&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D |title=Grammer's fame will surpass '15 minutes']

On sketch comedy programs, recurring characters are generally a staple. For example, in the sketch comedy series "Your Show of Shows", Sid Caesar used the concept frequently: [cite book |last=Caesar |first=Sid |authorlink=Sid Caesar |coauthors=Eddy Friedfeld |title=Caesar's Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter |publisher=PublicAffairs |year= 2006 |isbn=1586481525 |pages=p. 180]

quote|As we were building and evolving our sketch comedy, we would look for new typesof sketches that had legs (not caterpillar legs). We liked the idea of recurring characters and themes. It gave us something we could start with and something the audience could connect with.|Sid Caesar|"Caesar's Hours: My Life in Comedy, with Love and Laughter"

Usually they will appear in their own sketch and the sketch itself can become a regular part of the show. Some notable examples would include the Church Ladycite book |last=Harry |first=Lou |authorlink=Lou Harry |coauthors=Sam Stall, Julia Spalding |title=The Encyclopedia of Guilty Pleasures: 1001 Things You Love to Hate |publisher=Quirk Books |year= 2004 |isbn=1931686548 |pages=p. 238] and Hans and Franz [cite news |work=The Denver Post |date=2003-12-28 |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=DP&p_theme=dp&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0FFC38FD449B3CB2&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D |title=Critics' choice - a roundup of recommendations] from "Saturday Night Live", the Gumbys from "Monty Python's Flying Circus", and Bob and Doug McKenzie from "SCTV". [cite news |work=The Philadelphia Inquirer |date=2004-06-09 |url=http://www.accessmylibrary.com/coms2/summary_0286-7096938_ITM |title='SCTV's' NBC episodes are now on DVD for posterity] However, the characters are not always limited to their own sketches. Sometimes, characters from a recurring sketch go on to appear in other sketches, or develop into their own TV shows. For example, when "The Carol Burnett Show" was canceled the central character of a popular recurring sketch called "The Family", Thelma "Mama" Harper, went on to have her own show "Mama's Family". [cite book |last=Whitely |first=Sandy |coauthors=Sandra Whiteley, H. C. Whiteley |title=On This Date: A Day-by-Day Listing of Holidays, Birthdays, and Historic Events, and Special Days, Weeks and Months |publisher=McGraw-Hill Professional |year=2002 |isbn=0071398279 |pages=p. 226] Also, recurring characters in sketch comedy shows can go on to have their own movies. This is especially true with "Saturday Night Live" which has had many recurring characters turn into movies such as Stuart Smalley, Wayne and Garth of "Wayne's World", The Blues Brothers, and "The Ladies Man". Recurring characters may even revisit shows long after the actor who played them has left the cast, for example, the character Mary Katherine Gallagher was portrayed by Molly Shannon when she hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 2007, six years after she left the cast. Sometimes a recurring character from one show will appear on another show, such as when Dave Thomas and Rick Moranis hosted "Saturday Night Live" in 1983 and portrayed Bob and Doug MacKenzie, or when Emily Litella (portrayed by Gilda Radner) from "Saturday Night Live" appeared on "The Muppet Show" in 1978. [cite news |work=Milwaukee Journal Sentinel |date=1991-04-08 |url=http://nl.newsbank.com/nl-search/we/Archives?p_product=MWSB&p_theme=mwsb&p_action=search&p_maxdocs=200&p_topdoc=1&p_text_direct-0=0EB8268337D7C28D&p_field_direct-0=document_id&p_perpage=10&p_sort=YMD_date:D |title=Add life to legacy of Rander's laughs]

Of course, recurring characters are not limited to television. In the early 20th century, the "Saturday Evening Post" frequently had recurring characters in their cover art, such as Baby New Year. [cite book |last=Lorimer |first=George Horace |authorlink=George Horace Lorimer |coauthors=Jan Cohn |title=Creating America: George Horace Lorimer and the Saturday Evening Post |publisher=University of Pittsburgh Press |year=1990 |isbn=0822954389 |pages=pp. 81-85] The Shmoo was a recurring character in the comic strip Li'l Abner, which eventually went on to appear in the TV cartoon series "Fred and Barney Meet the Shmoo" and "The New Shmoo". [cite book |last=Mansour |first=David |title=From Abba to Zoom: A Pop Culture Encyclopedia of the Late 20th Century |publisher=Andrews McMeel Publishing |year=2005 |isbn=0740751182 |pages=p. 418] The Sherlock Holmes series of novels by Arthur Conan Doyle featured well-known recurring characters such as Professor Moriarty, Dr. Watson, and Mrs. Hudson. [cite book |last=Conan Doyle |first=Arthur |authorlink=Arthur Conan Doyle |title=Eight Great Sherlock Holmes Stories |publisher=Courier Dover Publications |year=2001 |isbn=0486417778 |pages=Note]

References


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