Today marks an incredibly important event in cinematic history; 45 years ago today, at a hospital in Overbrook Park, Pennsylvania, Seth Green was brought into this world by his loving parents, Barbara and Herbert Green. Well, I don’t know for sure that his parents were loving — but it’s safe to assume that they cultivated an environment that enabled young Seth to grow into the talented actor, writer and voice-artist that he is today.
When you hear the name Seth Green, you probably think of his most recent work, like his role in “Family Guy” as Peter Griffin’s idiot son, Chris; or his role as the angsty punk wannabe, Scott Evil, in the “Austin Powers” trilogy. But, believe it or not, Green started his acting career as early as 1984. Granted his film debuts were C-list movies, these minor roles, coupled with a few commercial appearances, jump-started Green’s 35-year career in the industry.
Green made his film debut in Tony Richardson’s 1984 romantic drama “The Hotel New Hampshire” and appeared in Alex Grasshoff’s 1984 comedy “Billions for Boris” as Benjamin ‘Ape-Face’ Andrews soon thereafter. A few years later, in 1987, Green landed the role of Young Joe in Woody Allen’s comedy-drama “Radio Days,” a cinematic look into the golden age of radio. Green’s acting career started like most childhood stars, consisting of bit parts and minor appearances, until he finally got that so-called “big break.”
Through the late 80s and early 90s, Green’s career failed to take off, until he landed the role of Daniel ‘Oz’ Osborune on the supernatural drama series “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” Green acted alongside stars like Sarah Michelle Gellar, Alyson Hannigan and Nicholas Brendon in Joss Whedon’s series, which aired from 1997 to 2003.
While the series is now revered as a cult-classic vampire drama that defies stereotypical roles of women in television, it wasn’t so well received at first. Critics called the show an overly angsty cross between “Clueless” and “Dracula” that got less amusing with every episode. However, Green’s performance as the ironic, smooth and witty werewolf was memorable enough to catch Hollywood’s attention.
Green landed his first major cinematic role in 1997 as the sarcastic, sadistic Scott Evil in the spy comedy “Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.” Scott appeared in all three films of the “Austin Powers” trilogy as Dr. Evil’s all-too-sensitive son, who remains reluctant to take over the family business of world domination.
Green followed his blockbuster success with steady work in ensemble and voice-over roles. His vocal talents as Chris Griffin in Seth MacFarlane’s animated comedy series “Family Guy” started in 1999 and continued even after the show’s first cancellation in 2000 and second bust in 2002. “Family Guy” is currently in its 17th season, airing on FOX, TBS, and Cartoon Network.
Despite quite forgettable roles in 2001’s “America’s Sweethearts,” “Rat Race,” “Knockaround Guys” and a vocal cameo in the 2003 animated series “Aqua Teen Hunger Force,” Green landed both major and minor roles in films spanning several genres. His hilariously nerdy role as museum curator Patrick Wisely in 2004’s “Scooby Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed” was an awesomely unforgettable, yet extremely underrated performance. Sure, it was a bit part with few lines and a cheesy love interest, but the role established Green as a comedic actor in the eyes of the millennial generation.
While some critics have ruled out Seth Green as strictly a TV actor, who peaked in the ‘90s, Green’s smaller roles have worked to his advantage. While he’s never stolen the spotlight, he’s acted next to big names like Mike Myers, Rob Lowe and Ashton Kutcher. By allowing other actors to do the heavy emotional lifting, Green can strengthen his comedic muscles while never being tied down to one project or production company.
He was free to test roles in sitcoms like “That ‘70s Show” and animated series like “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles”(2014-2017). More importantly, he had the freedom to pursue and develop the legendary stop-motion sketch comedy series “Robot Chicken,” an early 2000s Cartoon Network series. Due to its vulgar subject matter, the show was moved to the nightly program “Adult Swim” in 2005.
“Robot Chicken” has won five Primetime Emmy awards, including the 2010, 2012, 2016 and 2018 Emmys for Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program. Green created the series by combining his love of action figures, stop-motion style animation and stellar vocal performances from pop culture icons.
At first watch, the show is slightly jarring and grainy at, but stick with it and you’ll come to appreciate the expert coordination of the sketch writers, animators, and action figure stagers. It’s true that the unconventional style of animation is off-putting compared to the usual smooth CGI that is featured in most animated TV shows, but “Robot Chicken” fans favor the pop culture spoofs over crisp visuals. It’s a sweet combo of nostalgia and relevance, and it works seamlessly.
Although Green stays relatively quiet on social media and hasn’t had any major scandals to date, don’t be so quick to write him off as a simple voice actor. Flying under the radar doesn’t mean he’s not busy — he’s just not broadcasting it like the rest of the world.
Don’t worry — Green’s been working on plenty of content, like his purposefully awkward and hilariously unforgettable appearance in the “Jews on a Plane” episode of “Broad City.” In 2016, he created and produced the animated short-form comedy series “Camp WWE,” which features the WWE roster as little kids at summer camp. Despite staying out of the spotlight, Green’s ability to crank out content left and right makes him a creative mind to keep your eye on.
What is Seth Green doing nowadays? Plenty. He’s voice acting for a comedy series “Star Wars: Detours” picked up by Lucasfilm, and just finished two films that are currently in post-production. The infamous Chris Griffin is still picking his nose, farting on family members and chasing after popular girls on “Family Guy,” and Green isn’t getting recast anytime soon.
Not to mention, he’s, guest appearing on podcasts, recording voice-overs for dozens more animated shows and enjoyed the married life. Rest assured, Green won’t be begging under Hollywood’s table for acting scraps anytime soon; he’s got an impressive vocal resume and creative prospects to last a lifetime.
Happy 45th birthday, Seth Green! Even though you’re as old as my mom, you’re still rockin’ it.
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