Bill Murray has always been known as an unpredictable figure, both on the screen and in real life. His flair for the delightful cameo has ranged from his shocking reveal as a fake (then real) walking dead man in Zombieland to popping up in the background of real-life selfies and wedding photos. However, we’ve started to notice a pattern in Bill’s TV drop-ins. He seems to have a passion for showing up in a role for the sole purpose of being replaced by a member of the cast. Here’s three examples of when Bill “Ghostbustin’ Groundhog Day” Murray has done just that, including one starting tonight.
Senator Vernon Smits on Alpha House
The underrated comedy about four mismatched Republican Senators sharing a DC home-away-from-home starts its debut in a memorable way with the best opening string of curses since Four Weddings and a Funeral‘s f-word heavy dash to the first set of nuptials. Murray’s Senator Smits has overslept on the day he’s supposed to turn himself into authorities to be jailed for corruption, leading to his darting up in bed, brushing his teeth, while unleashing a torrent of language most foul, only broken up by aggrieved moans. His sudden exit leaves an open room, filled by Mark Consuelos’ philandering Florida Senator Andy Guzman, which sets the stage for the political 4-way Odd Couple.
Pawnee’s Mayor Walter Gunderson on Parks and Recreation
The idea of Mayor Walter Gunderson, along with his mischievous dog Rufus, was around almost from the start, as were the rumors that Bill Murray would be the one to fill the role. However, it was not until the popular show’s seventh and final season that Gunderson finally made an actual appearance, and even then it was from beyond the grave as Murray read Gunderson’s living will – delivered, of course, in Murray’s trademark deadpan. The open office would eventually grudgingly be filled by Garry (aka Jerry, aka Terry, aka Larry) as interim, a position which he would then hold til his death at 100 in one of the kindest TV program’s sweetest endgame.
Retiring Principal on Vice Principals
On HBO’s Vice Principals, which starts tonight, Bill Murray plays the school functionary whose retirement sets in motion the show’s premise, as his two former deputies (played by Danny McBride and Walton Goggins) engage in a Stripes meets Meatballs style battle of pranks in their quest to thwart Murray’s world-weary principal’s successor.