They were two of the most memorable and brutal characters from the awesome show Oz. They were also two of the few original characters to make it all the way to the show's final season.
And thanks to some crafty casting they're both pitchmen for rival insurance companies. Naturally we thought it these two were perfect for the first Friday Face-Off of the year.
Who's better Ryan O'Reily or Vern Schillinger?
I know, I know; you've missed the Friday Face-Off. But don't worry baby, it's back and it'll be just like old times again.
As is tradition we're going to pit these two against each other in three categories; Life Behind Bars, Parole and Current Whereabouts.
Life Behind Bars
Prisoner #92S110. Convicted October 21, 1992 - Aggravated assault in the first degree. Sentence: Eight Years.
Vern Schillinger made Tobias Beecher his prag, used Chris Keller to get revenge on Beecher, raped Cyril O'Reily, supplied his own son with a lethal overdose, has another son kidnap Beecher's kids, rapes various other inmates, has Beecher's father killed.
Prisoner #97P904. Convicted July 12, 1997 - Two counts of vehicular manslaughter, five counts of reckless endangerment, possession of a controlled substance, criminal possession of a weapon and parole violation.
Ryan O'Reily orchestrates Dino Ortolani's death, feeds ground up glass to Nino Shibetta, gets Tobias Beecher hooked on heroin, orchestrates the murder of Dr. Nathan's husband, rigged the boxing tournament and planned to blow up Em City among other things.
While it's difficult to say who was "better" or "worse" during their time in Oz, many of Schillinger's acts were out of revenge and cruelty, while O'Reily seemed to be motivated almost entirely by a hunger for power.
What it really boils down to is who you'd rather be, and I don't know anyone who'd pick Schillinger.
In this category we look at what they did once they got out of Oz, mainly in terms of television and movie roles.
First up is Vern Schillinger. This man has been busy and actually has some quality credits to his name. Two Spider-Man sequels, indie darling Juno, red hot chick procedural The Closer and the longest running Law & Order still on the air, SVU are all impressive feats. Add in comedic roles in I Love You Man and Party Down and you've got a well rounded dude.
Ryan O'Reily's resume doesn't quite measure up. Since Oz, O'Reily's costarred in a series of low budget indies with no acclaim. The shows he's costarred in are usually cancelled, like Life on Mars or Terminator the Sarah Connor Chronicles. He has a pretty prominent role on Rescue Me before getting killed off. But his high point it pretty high; every time Dennis Duffy shows up on 30 Rock, it's golden. "Technology is cyclical." Ha!
Vern takes this one, easily. In addition to having a better post-Oz resume he also has the ability to play different characters. Juno's father is nothing like J. Jonah Jameson and neither of them are Vern Schillinger. Meanwhile Ryan O'Reily is always Ryan O'Reily. Even Dennis Duffy.
|He's also the voice of the Peanut M&M, no bullshit.|
Both the inmates in question are currently starring in ads for insurance companies. But do they have the same effectiveness?
In the Farmers Insurance ads Vern Schillinger plays "Professor Nathaniel Burke," a slightly aloof instructor at University of Farmers.
He teaches the insurance agents how to be Farmers Insurance Agents.
On the other side of things Ryan O'Reily portrays "Mayhem" in Allstate insurance commercials.
In the relatively long running series of commercials Mayhem is everything that can go wrong and might require an insurance claim.
Now again, Schillinger plays a completely unique character in Professor Nathaniel Burke, unfortunately that character is forgettable. Burke isn't making anyone his prag, thus he's boring.
Meanwhile Ryan O'Reily's lack of range actually works in his favor. Mayhem is Ryan O'Reily and that familiarity is what makes those ads riveting. It's like visiting with an old friend, in 30 second increments.
Advantage: Ryan O'Reily
So, there you have it. While Schillinger's got the better resume (and is more talented) O'Reily was better on Oz and has the better insurance gig
Make sure you tune in next week when the Friday Face-Off will answer the question; which Super Bowl winning QB would we rather have our sister date; Ben Rothelisberger vs Brett Favre?