Rain, rain, go away...
Give it away, give it away, give it away now...

The facts of life are all about you...

One of the things I take pride in is my ability to observe an actor or actress in a role and identify some previous role they had be it in a movie or on TV. I don't know why this does it for me, why I take such pride in such trivial knowledge. But it does make me happy. Yeah, it doesn't take much, does it?

However, this ability has made me the go-to guy when a friend or family member wants to know why someone looks familiar but they just can't place how they know them. Call it my claim to fame, if you will.

You can imagine my disdain when I can't figure out who an actor is, though. It bugs me to no end. I will sit there throughout a show and, instead of enjoying it, I will mentally labor through who they are. So, while I enjoy this ability, it can also serve as a bit of a curse.

Last night, for example, Katie and I were watching two episodes of Justice. We had one to catch up on from a week ago and then we had last night's episode as well.

If you watch the show, you know that last week's epi was about a guy and his girlfriend who were killed in a small plane he was flying. The not-so-wealthy parents of the girl were suing the insanely wealthy mother of the guy who is also the CEO of a major dot-com. It took us several minutes before Katie (no, not me) identified the mom as being the one who plays Meredith Grey's mother, Ellis (Kate Burton), on Grey's Anatomy.

In the second episode, two dot-commers (must be a theme month) were being investigated by the police for the yacht-borne death of the wife of one of them. We were pretty sure, right off the bat, that the husband was Matt Letscher who costarred in Good Morning, Miami as well as having recurring parts in Joey and The New Adventures of Old Christine, although Katie was more convinced of it than I was (it was him, by the way). But his friend was someone I did not know at all. He reminded me a little bit of Nathan Corddry who plays Tom in Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, but I knew it really wasn't him.

Cue the opening credits...

Katie: I'm pretty sure his first name is Mackenzie.

Me: Who? The friend?

Katie: Yep.

[credits roll the name Mackenzie Astin]

Katie: I knew it!

Me: Mackenzie Astin as in Sean Astin?

Katie: Yep, his little brother.

Me: How'd you know that was him?

Katie: He was in... The Facts of Life.

Me: You've gotta be shitting me. The Facts of Life? Who was he in that?

Katie: He was the little kid.

Me: And you could still tell who he was even though he's like 30 now?!?!

Katie: Yep.

Me: Sick.

Of course I'm just jealous she knew it and I didn't. Dammit!


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Ok, now THERE'S a memory. I haven't thought of Mackenzie Astin in years!!

I used to have tearsheet posters of him hanging in my school locker and in my bedroom and I'd totally make out with them! He was my boy toy!

Now, looking at adult pictures of him, I think he's once again my boy toy.

WOOO WOOOOO!!! Com'ere Astin!

Chase! Again!

Holy crap. This is totally the poster I had in my locker!!!!



Johnny C.

Man, you guys watch a lot of TV. You just named six shows that i've never even watched before.

Granted, I never watch TV.

ms. sizzle

i could spot mackenzie astin from miles away. must be a chick thing. don't be sad dear kevin.

p.s. he looks JUST like his dad, the adams family guy.


Yeah, but does she know who played Pippa? I thought not!

As for the Astin's I was quite partial to Sean myself, especially after The Goonies.


That's so not right. You know, the only thing I've ever heard you say about Katie's job is that it's in "retail." Ya, you know what I think???? "Retail" is you guys's code word for FBI Profile Artisit!!!!

I'm soooooo on to you two.


I actually devloped a total crush on him back in the 90's when he was in a movie with Ione Skye and Jennifer Aniston called "A Dream for an Insomniac" so yeah, I would have known him from a mile away.


I have this gift too. Joe and I like to try and beat each other on figuring out where we've seen the actor before and their name. Good times!


I'm the go-to person in my family too. Swear! Of course I'm much older than you (much) so I can go back and remember shows from even the early 60's (except for the brief period when I was a flower child ... I would tell you when that was but I don't remember most of it).

The other thing I do that's distracting is I always catch when the continuity person is sleeping on the job. For example, an actor may be wearing a watch while talking to another actor and as the camera pans back to him, the watch has disappeared.

Or, I try to figure out (before I watch the DVD Bonus features) how a particular scene was done (special effects). If there is no bonus feature on the DVD, I'll hunt it down until I know.

Damn, I'm so anally retentive!


I am likewise cursed with this gift, and it drives Bret insane. He wants to believe the characters are REAL, not being played by actors whom we've seen in many other roles.

My crowning achievement so far was recognizing Samuel West in Dark Kingdom: The Dragon King (playing King Gunther) as the former child actor who'd played Eddy at age 5 in "Edward The King" back in 1975.


Ooo. Hilly, thanks for the reminder of "A Dream for an Insomniac." I haven't seen that in years. Must head over to Netflix to add it to the list.

Oh, and I am the authority in my family. My mom will call all the way from Mexico just to ask who an actor is and where she has seen him/her previously.


Chase, he was a Tiger Beat pinup boy?

Johnny, you need to watch more. Damn.

Sizzle, I actually can see a bit of his Hobbiton brother in him too.

francesdanger, The Goonies rocked. I was in it for Andie, though. Rowr!

Dustin, shhhhhhh!!!

Hilly, never heard of that one. Where the hell was I during this "craze"?

nicole, it is fun, isn't it?

javajabber, I do that with continuity as well. Or I notice the gaffes like the boom mic that actually showed up in the frame. Stuff like that.

SJ, I've never heard of him nor that film. You are the queen.

Dagny, I've had family and friends call at odd times from odd places to check with me as well. Kinda freaky knowing that everyone else attributes this ability to me as well.


Mackenzie! I saw him in a tv movie with Katharine Heigl about a week ago and instantly knew him! Can't mess with girls of a certain age and the Facts of Life love. I though George Clooney was the hottest when I was about 10, thanks to Facts of Life. 17 years later, I still think so. Thank you Mrs. Garrett and the girls, for blessing me with such good taste. :)


Oh. my. god.


awwww. little mackenzie astin. I used to have such a crush on him...


I must've spent the 80s in a Belinda Carlisle/Elisabeth Shue-fueled daze. I really don't remember Mackenzie Astin being such a big deal. I always thought there was more focus on his brother.

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