I was thinking, as I sat down to write this, what a shame it is that no one really takes advantage of Paul McCrane’s talent as a singer. In Fame, yes; he gets a solo in “I Sing the Body Electric” and also sings the entirety of the sweet “Is It Okay to Call You Mine.” Okay, sure, there wasn’t much place for Robert “Rocket” Romano to burst into song, since ER wasn’t really that kind of show. But surely one of the attempts at reviving musicals would’ve cast him in something, right? And then I discovered that he’d been on Cop Rock.
I mean, not that I’ve ever seen Cop Rock. My fondest memory of it is that the morning radio show I listened to at the time was obsessed with it, with each DJ reporting the next morning on how far they’d gotten into the episode each week. I don’t think either one ever sat through an entire episode. At best, it seems to have been one of the most fascinating failures in TV history. And it seems to me that they must’ve let Paul McCrane sing; I can’t imagine having him on the show and not having him sing.
Really, the contrast between “cute little gay boy,” as I’ve thought of him for years, Montgomery MacNeil from Fame and the incredibly abrasive Romano from ER is impressive. The performances from Fame in general are in my opinion underrated; before I first saw it, I assumed the movie was a ridiculous joke, but it turns out to be a quality film for all that. McCrane alternates between lighthearted and angsty; well, the whole cast does. But he’s got some really great moments in that movie.
As for Romano, well, I stopped watching ER right about the time they dropped the helicopter on him. Because that was so silly and overblown that I just couldn’t take it anymore. His character was obnoxious and petty, and honestly some of his policies were in my opinion bad for the hospital, since they were intended to increase profits. I’m not a fan of for-profit medicine. Romano may’ve been a talented doctor, but that doesn’t fix things.
He has been doing steady work, in the days since ER. He even directs, and he has for years. TV, but there’s no shame in directing for TV. I’ll admit I’m not up on a lot of his work—I haven’t even seen Robocop since a fourth-grade slumber party when I wasn’t paying attention to it—so who knows? Maybe they’re letting him sing again in the shows I’m not watching. It’d be nice, anyway, since he does have a lovely voice.