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Why Mayor Traske From Hocus Pocus 2 Looks So Familiar

Usually, during the handful of weeks leading up to Halloween, spooky-time enthusiasts find themselves giddy about the building excitement as they head towards the annual sugar rush that's to come. However, this year's anticipation has an added layer to it, with the sequel "Hocus Pocus 2" at our doorsteps. The original film, starring Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy, took fans on a supernatural trip to Salem, Massachusetts, to follow a teenage boy who accidentally brought the witch trio back to life.

The first installment of this Halloween classic gained an impressive cult following, resurrecting more and more fans at the end of every October. Now, in between trick-or-treating, bobbing for apples, and every other cliché that could be thought of, fans have a much-anticipated sequel coming to add to the movie playlist. This new chapter, coming to Disney+ on September 30, features the same beloved witches, again played by Midler, Parker, and Najimy. Of course, they will be surrounded by other talented performers, such as the character named Mayor Traske. If his face looks familiar, that's because you may have seen him in one of several comedy hits.

Tony Hale was a Bluth

Speaking of grabbing a cult following, the single-camera sitcom "Arrested Development" aired on Fox in 2003, stretching three seasons before eventually being resurrected on Netflix, a decade later, for two more. This brilliant comedy gem follows the Bluth family, which is held together by Michael (Jason Bateman), who is trying to save his clan's business legacy after it's revealed that his father built it by illegal means. Alongside actors Will Arnett, Portia de Rossi, and the late Jessica Walter, it was no surprise we hadn't seen the last of the Bluth family after its apparent 2003 cancellation.

Right in the center of the Bluth family is Buster (Tony Hale), the attached-at-the-hip son to Lucille (Walter). The role of Buster, which was Hale's first big acting job, instantly popped out at him when he initially read the pilot script. He told Carlos Watson, "The audition for 'Arrested Development' came by and I remember just reading it and thinking, 'Oh, this is funny, this is too good to be true." Throughout the series, Buster continuously attempts to prove to his family — especially his mother — that he is worthy enough to have a serious role in the family business. However, these attempts only lead to side and back steps, which include jumping into the ocean for the very first time only to lose a hand to a vicious seal.

He was sent by headquarters

With yet another example of how a show's fan base can save it from cancellation, NBC's action-comedy "Chuck," although loved by many, found itself on the network chopping block more than once. The series follows the title character, Chuck (Zachary Levi), who is a tech-savvy, regular guy that finds himself suddenly in the middle of top-secret CIA missions. The series was lucky enough to have a unique social media campaign to keep it from being canceled, which included Subway sandwich restaurants. CBR explained that on the day that the Season 2 finale aired, fans flocked to Subway — one of the show's sponsors — to fork over five dollars to help save the show (and get lunch in the process). 

If you're a fan of "Chuck," you may remember Tony Hale showing his face as Emmett Milbarge throughout the majority of season two. Sent by corporate headquarters, Emmett is consistently disliked by the employees of Buy More, the electronics company Chuck works for. Eventually becoming the manager, Emmett runs the business like a totalitarian regime, making his character even more distasteful. Of course, with Hales' hilarious performance, the character becomes the kind you love to hate.

Hale was a weak bad guy in Lemony Snicket

The 2004 movie "Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events," starring Jim Carrey, fell somewhere in between a film for kids and an instructional class for sociopathic parents. But the film was interesting enough to give the story another go, with its own Netflix series debuting in 2017. This time, Neil Patrick Harris takes on the role of evil Count Olaf, and Tony Hale plays Jerome Squalor, husband to Esmé Squalor (Lucy Punch). In addition to working with Neil Patrick Harris, Hale told Looper why the production was such a great experience. When looking back, he said, "That was shot in Vancouver, which is beautiful. And it's also Barry Sonnenfeld [who] directed it. And I just loved the whimsical world that he created, honestly."

Hale embodies the role of Jerome over two seasons of this small-screen nod to the classic book series. Briefly the adopted father of the Baudelaire kids, Jerome eventually ends up focusing on his own mental state, finding himself in a support group of people who have had negative experiences with Esmé. Hale perfectly portrays the inherently funny combination of protagonist and weakling with this character. 

He was also the Veep's right-hand man

If there was only one other production you probably recognize Tony Hale from, it's most likely the hit HBO series, "Veep." The show debuted in April 2012, lasting an impressive seven seasons while scooping up many award nominations and victories. This comedy series follows Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), the Vice President of the United States. In a decade filled with real-life political, cantankerous clashes, this refreshing satire was just what many TV watchers needed.

Contributing to the comedic brilliance of "Veep," Hale's character Gary Walsh is the vice president's personal aid and closest confidant. Proving his loyalty, his character served a multiple-year prison sentence for improperly using the finances of the Meyer Fund, a nonprofit organization founded by the vice president. Hale's depiction of Walsh, which includes dedication mixed with a sweet friendship with Meyer, adds some heart to the otherwise stiff world of fictional politics.

You may have seen Hale pop up in your favorite show

Thanks to "Arrested Development, "Chuck," and "Veep," Tony Hale has certainly established himself as a go-to series regular. However, starting back from before his rise to Hollywood recognition and continuing on today, Hale has also worn the hat of "guest-star" more than a few times. He has popped up as different characters on popular series such as "ER" for two episodes, and the one-time love interest of Detective Olivia Benson in "Law & Order: SVU" (via IMDb). 

Of course, comedy is in Hale's genre wheelhouse, and his guest appearances as a professor in "Community" as well as several important figures in Comedy Central's "Drunk History" may have felt more familiar. Unfortunately, for those who enjoy his facial expressions, these guest appearances seem to have slowed down as of late for Hale, as he's been mainly concentrating on lending his voice to multiple animated series. 

Tony Hale, back to the fantasy

Already proving that he can take on an eccentric literary character as he did in "A Series of Unfortunate Events," Tony Hale seems to fit right in amongst the cast of "The Mysterious Benedict Society," a series on Disney+. With the second season premiering in October 2022, the show is based on the popular children's books by Trenton Lee Stewart. In the series, fans obviously can't get enough of Hale, who takes on two main roles.

The story itself focuses on the recruitment of talented, brilliant children, needed to infiltrate the learning institute for Veritas and Enlightenment (L.I.V.E), run by one of Hale's characters, Dr. Curtain. He also embodies the title character of Mr. Benedict, who has recruited these young, human moles to help him take down Dr. Curtain and save the world. As for what attracted Hale to this role, he told Variety, "I think, honestly, what attracted me the most is: these kids didn't have magical powers — didn't have these crazy superpowers — but they use their intellect, their creativity and their empathy."