Imagine, if you will, a universe in which Jerry Seinfeld (the character) was once romantically involved with an Elaine Benes who was played by Rosie O'Donnell. Kind of gives you a fractured perspective on your memories of "Seinfeld," doesn't it? If the idea of Rosie O'Donnell playing Elaine doesn't give you the willies, then perhaps your equilibrium will be undermined by the idea of Megan Mullally looking for sponge-worthy boyfriends, plotting to get rid of her neighbor's dog and taking on the Soup Nazi. Think O'Donnell or Mullally as Elaine Benes would have been weird? Check out these other potential casting disasters -- or miracles.
Michael Richards as Al Bundy
Another "Seinfeld" veteran almost struck fire a little earlier. Very little resemblance seems to exist between Michael Richards and Ed O'Neill so it seems practically impossible to imagine Richards as Bundy. The future Cosmo Kramer just seems too much the hipster doofus to ever play a blue collar schlub like the husband and father on "Married -- with Children."
Racquel Welch as Mary Ann
One of the age-old questions that has plagued mankind since the early 1960s: Ginger or Mary Ann? Those who like their women curvy go for Ginger while Mary Ann has been much more popular ever since the fitness craze somehow transformed being curvy into being fat. How might this age-old question have changed had Racquel Welch been cast as the female part of the "the rest" on "Gilligan's Island." Quite clearly, the producers of "Gilligan's Island" decided to go a different way when they came down to the final decision of casting the part of farm girl Mary Ann. Still, what a far greater ratings success that island would have been with Tina Louise's Ginger going up against Racquel Welch's Mary Ann.
Whitney Houston as Sondra Huxtable
On the very first episode of "The Cosby Show" the question is raised as to why the Huxtables have four kids. The answer: "Because we did not want five." Apparently, they change their mind because just a few episodes later a fifth Huxtable child was introduced: eldest daughter Sondra. Whitney Houston was considered for the role, but the story goes that she wanted to concentrate on her musical career rather than settle into the grind of episodic television. Perhaps if Houston had accepted the TV role, she might not have met Bobby Brown. And musical history would have been changed forever.
Gene Hackman as Mike Brady
Over the course of a long career, Gene Hackman has proven that there is no role he could not play extraordinarily well. Hackman has two Oscars and should have at least two more and is considered one of the greatest film actors of all time. So why on Earth did Sherwood Schwartz ever think that Hackman should waste that talent playing the head of "The Brady Bunch"? That is a mystery that will never be solved and fortunately only in some parallel universe is there a timeline where Gene Hackman spent 1971 making "The Brady Bunch" instead of "The French Connection."
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- Jerry Seinfeld
- Elaine Benes
- Michael Richards