Actors with No Lines

Silent Actors

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I recently started binge-watching an American comedy show about a branded superstore, along the lines of Target or Walmart in the US or Big C or Tesco in Thailand. The show, called Superstore, is a hilarious and well-written show that I’m glad is now showing on Netflix after it finished its TV network run in the US.

The show focuses on nine or ten characters. But after a while, I noticed a strange thing I’d never seen before. The show also has four characters that have no lines or they rarely utter a word. They have names and are addressed by the speaking characters, but they give non-verbal responses like shrugs or nods. They can go for several episodes just standing in the background.

I looked up the show on, and they’re listed in the cast. But the characters of Heather, Sarah, Brett and Elias don’t speak on camera. Brett was even the subject of one episode where he went missing and was presumed dead during a hurricane when he was gathering shopping carts in the parking lot. The other characters erected a shrine for him. In the following episode, he quietly showed up in the background again, and the other characters did a double-take when they noticed him. He never uttered a word.  

Audition Problems

I originally thought that having no lines would create problems for the actors when the show ended, and they auditioned for other roles. Then I thought that if this show was as popular and successful as it probably was (It ran for six seasons), everyone working in Hollywood could probably recognize their faces and knows their names. 

They may be hounded for autographs when out in public or be able to command the best table at a restaurant. They may inspire yet another category at the Emmy Awards for the best non-verbal actor in a comedy or drama series. If so, I hope the guy playing Brett gets nominated. He portrayed genuine emotion trying to corral those shopping carts.  

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