Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Times TV Actors Regretted Their Work

Actors have to constantly ponder their next moves. What if a role turns out to be nothing like they thought? Can they speak openly about regret? If they do, will they ever work again? These TV actors regretted some aspect of their work—a scene that went awry, a show they wish had gone differently, a job they wouldn't take if they had it to do over again—and admitted their disappointment later on.

Mary-Louise Parker, Weeds

Mary-Louise Parker has filmed a number of sex scenes during her long career, more than one in her role as Nancy Botwin on Showtime's Weeds (including a particularly notable one with Mark-Paul Gosselaar on a bar). For the 2009 Weeds season finale, though, Parker shot a bathtub scene that she later wished she could take back.

"I didn't think I needed to be naked," she later explained. "I fought with the director about it, and now I'm bitter." She went on to clarify that she didn't mean to make it sound like she was fighting with the crew of Weeds, or that she's not comfortable being naked. "I was talking about that scene as an example of something I didn't love as much when I saw it," she added. "They kept cutting back and I was naked, but they liked the position of it."

The cast of Drunk History

The entire premise of Comedy Central's Drunk History is that the folks reenacting chapters from America's past are...drunk. The show is shot in the actors' homes, so everyone is nice and safe while they're imbibing, but according to creator and host Derek Waters, folks often have serious remorse the day after shooting."I get an apology email, or a very long text that should've been an email," he explained. "'You hate me. You'll never use this.”' Most of the time, though, the material does get used, and if not, actors can look forward to another day of getting drunk and telling stories.

Devon Gummersall, Felicity

Devon Gummersall is arguably best known for playing Brian Krakow, the big-haired, Angela Chase-obsessed nerd on the short-lived '90s drama My So-Called Life. When the show ended in 1995, Gummersall went on to portray Stevie Wolcott on Mad Men, but before he was Peggy Olson's blind date, he played a rapist named Zach on the Keri Russell-led WB serial Felicity.

At the time, Gummersall was into the role because it was such a departure from previous characters. In retrospect, he later told Cosmopolitan, he sees it as a mistake. "I loved being on the show, but in the end, I realized that it was sort of a mistake to do that kind of a storyline," admitted Gummersall. "I would have much rather been on the show more long-term and done something that didn't have to end in such a bad way."

Mandy Patinkin, Criminal Minds

Mandy Patinkin, who played Agent Jason Gideon on CBS's Criminal Minds for two seasons, quit the procedural in 2007 after not attending a table read. Patinkin later said he regretted making the decision to do the show in the first place, due to its graphic and violent nature.

"I never thought they were going to kill and rape all these women every night, every day, week after week, year after year," Patinkin told New York Magazine in 2012. "It was very destructive to my soul and my personality." Patinkin, who now plays Saul Berenson on Showtime's Homeland, explained what he sees as the difference between the two shows. Of Homeland, which itself isn't without violence, Patinkin said, "It asks why there's a need for violence in the first place."

Elle Macpherson, Friends

For five episodes in 1999, Friends saw the addition of Janine, played by Elle Macpherson, who moved into Joey's apartment and briefly became his love interest after Chandler moved across the hall to live with Monica. Most actors would have killed to extend their arc on the wildly popular show, but Macpherson turned down the opportunity to stay around when the network offered her the chance, saying that had she known the show would have such staying power, she wouldn't have taken the job in the first place.

"If I'd known how important it was in the U.S. or how long it would be on TV, I may not have chosen to do it," she told Australia's News.com in 2016. While the show proved career-making for Macpherson's castmates, she's spent the last 20 years reminding people she had a career before—and after—Janine.

Mischa Barton, The O.C.

Barton played Marissa Cooper on Fox's The O.C, a drama about beautiful, wealthy teens that ran for four seasons—although Cooper was written off the show at the end of season 3 after dying in a car accident. Since leaving the show, Barton has been open about her regrets.

"It's something I came so close to not doing," she told the UK's Metro in 2014. "I had a really great thing with film. People say be grateful for what you have but it's certainly not the kind of thing I was expecting it to be...I've kind of seen it all." The O.C. plunged all of its young stars into the spotlight, which Barton particularly resented. "I just like to be seen for the hard-working actress that I am and not for a bunch of extraneous press."

Lena Dunham, Girls

Girls, the HBO drama created by and starring Lena Dunham, was a consistent hit over the course of its critically acclaimed run, but the show's lack of racial diversity drew no small amount of criticism, and in an interview with Nylon, Dunham addressed the whiteness of the show as something she wishes she had dealt with differently. "I wouldn't do another show that starred four white girls," she said. "I thought I was doing the right thing. I was not trying to write the experience of somebody I didn't know, and not trying to stick a black girl in without understanding the nuance of what her experience of hipster Brooklyn was."

Chevy Chase, Community

After being out of the entertainment spotlight for years, Chevy Chase returned to television in 2009 as part of NBC's Community. In 2013, during the critically lauded but perennially ratings-starved show's fourth season, Chase left, calling his decision to join the cast "a big mistake," citing the exhaustion of doing long television hours and calling sitcoms "the lowest form of television." Chase and the show's creator, Dan Harmon, were also engaged in a well-documented feud.