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Let’s Not Forget About Chris Pratt’s Wonderful TV Career

It’s no secret that Chris Pratt practically exploded into movie stardom. With huge box office hits such as Guardians of the Galaxy and Jurassic World under his belt within a year of each other, he quickly became one of Hollywood’s leading men. What many may not realize though is that Pratt got his Hollywood feet wet in the TV pool, starring (and scene-stealing) in a few big name television shows.

While his film credits are absolutely stellar, I wanted to take some time to highlight the amazing characters that he was playing on the small screen throughout his career.

So, let’s take a look back on Pratt’s greatest hits in TV!

1. Bright Abbott, Everwood

Many of us were lucky enough to fall for Pratt’s boyish charm back in one of his first acting roles on the critically acclaimed WB hit, Everwood. The series, which ran for 90 episodes, followed big city surgeon Andy Brown who moved his family to the small town of Everwood, Colorado after the death of his wife. It was one of the great family dramas of the early 2000’s and it’s such a shame that it’s not streaming anywhere for your viewing pleasure.

Pratt played Bright Abbott, a goofy high school jock, and Everwood resident, trying to work through the guilt of having put his best friend (and sister’s boyfriend) in a coma after a drunk driving accident. So it’s safe to say there was a lot of material for his character and a lot of feelings. While Bright didn’t necessarily always live up to his namesake in the intelligence department, he certainly charmed his way into our hearts with his whole adorable and bumbling idiot shtick- a Pratt staple.  Over the course of four seasons we watched him deal with the pressures and disappointments of his father, build friendships and relationships ( Bright + Hannah forever, right?!), and really work to find his path in life.

Everwood creator Greg Berlanti had this to say about casting Pratt in an interview with UPROXX:

“We were looking for Bright Abbott for a while, it was the last series regular we cast. Chris walked in and had the part from the start. He just landed from the airport and didn’t have the lines memorized – in fact he’d just looked at them minutes before if I remember correctly. He tossed the pages in the air and started riffing on the scene and had us all in hysterics. I thought… right now it’s just a few lines, but he was the kind of actor you could have built a whole show around.”

Even back then Pratt had all the qualities of a leading man with his ability to tug at your heartstrings in one scene and have you smiling seconds later. Not to mention, he was freaking adorable.

If you love Chris Pratt and you also love a good high school melodrama then definitely hit up Amazon for some Everwood!

2. Che, The O.C.

The O.C. was a TV phenomenon when it hit the small screen in 2003. It was the ultimate high school drama that made you think saying “whoever you want me to be” was an acceptable answer to someone asking your name. However, like many successful high school shows, The O.C. was faced with the challenge of figuring out what to do after their characters graduated. Well, enter Chris Pratt as Che – the eccentric goofball who was going to make you smile, laugh, and try to get you to forget that Summer and Seth were on separate sides of the country.

Che was a passionate activist who befriended Rachel Bilson’s character Summer when she attended Brown University. He was the type of character you wouldn’t expect to have a substantial recurring role, but he stuck around for a good portion of the season and single-handedly saved The O.C.: College Years. While Che certainly had his annoying character flaws, Pratt was able to use that charm of his to make him a fan favorite for the season.

It was often hard for The O.C. to introduce new male characters without making them out to be complete jerks, so Che was a nice and welcomed surprise. He was able to bring new depths to Summer’s character and gave the show some much desired comedic relief, so naturally Pratt  was the perfect guy to play him. He brought charisma and a light to what would end up being the show’s final season after a very dark ending to season 3.

The O.C.’s creator Josh Schwartz had this to say about casting Pratt in an interview with UPROXX: 

Our casting director, Patrick Rush, had also cast Everwood and he first made me aware of Chris. When he became available, we created the role of Che with him in mind. We were looking to inject some real humor back into the show, and Chris was just one of the funniest guys around. He was also super charming and so fun to watch — we kept coming up with reasons to keep him on the show because he was so good. And all the other actors really loved him too.

 Chris Pratt made The O.C. fun, which at the time seemed like an impossible feat heading into season 4. Of course, it is Chris Pratt and that’s what he does.

The entire series of The O.C. is currently streaming on Hulu, so check it out. California here you come!!

3. Andy Dwyer, Parks and Recreation

Parks and Recreation was probably the best thing to happen to Chris Pratt’s career. The show had a quiet start but eventually reached a high caliber of comedy that was comparable to the The Office. Pratt’s sharp humor, which many would discover was mostly improvised, and scene stealing portrayal of goofball Andy Dwyer gave him the big break he and his talent long deserved. What started out as a season 1 guest starring role turned into 125 episodes of pure comedic pleasure.

When we first met Andy, he had broken both of his legs after falling into a huge pit in Pawnee, an event that would set the entire series into motion. Over the years we watched him grow from a bumbling fool on the couch to a bumbling fool at the Parks Department finding his soulmate and singing about said pits, until he ultimately discovered his bumbling kick-ass persona, Johnny Karate.

Going back and watching Pratt on Parks is really something special. He completely nails that adorable idiot he is so apt to play and finds a perfect blend of his previous TV characters. It’s also a joy to watch him hold his own with the comedic queen that is Amy Poehler. He is constantly showing love for his Parks family and didn’t even think twice about not returning to the show when his film career took off prior to it’s final season.

Here’s what P&R creator Mike Schur had to say about casting Pratt in an interview with UPROXX:

“My wife had worked with him on “The O.C.,” and when we were casting she reminded me of how great he’d been in that show. We saw a lot of really funny people for the role of Andy, but Pratt just flat won the part. He did improvisations in the audition, with Rashida, that could’ve just gone into an episode of the show verbatim. He was technically a Guest Star in our first six episodes, but that was a contractual formality — we had begun to recalculate the character and his role in the show before we even shot the pilot, because we knew we couldn’t let him go.”

It’s almost hard to imagine that someone who reached mega movie star status so quickly was playing an adorable goofball on TV at the same time, but that in it’s essence is what Chris Pratt is all about. He can do it all and he does it with such passion and the biggest heart.

Parks and Recreation is currently streaming on Netflix so binge on, people! For an even more special treat, go and watch all of his bloopers on YouTube.

All images courtesy of Warner Bros., Fox, and NBC.

 

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Casey Perriccio

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Casey is a TV junkie currently living in Raleigh, NC. She studied Writing & Media Communication at James Madison University (go dukes!) and currently works in the pharmaceutical field. Constantly wanting to talk about television and learn more about her favorite shows led her to discovering the joy of recaps. From there, she combined her love of TV and writing to become a recapper for FanFest.

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