No, you don’t say! Whoever could have seen it coming? Who could have predicted that this guy would end up in some kind of official trouble? What warning signs did we overlook besides all of them? How could we have seen this totally foreseeable mess arriving right on cue? After an entire year of combative interviews and the intimation he was written off his hit show because he’s a total flake, how were we supposed to know that TJ Miller is combative and a total flake? What are we, people who have been alive for the last year? We can’t be expected to know that the guy who embraced his own asshole reputation would turn out to be an asshole!
Seriously, TJ Miller is in some deep, serious sh*t. He was arrested Monday for “intentionally conveying to law enforcement false information about an explosive device on a train traveling to Connecticut”, AKA calling in a bomb threat. It went down in March, when Miller allegedly called 911 and reported a woman on the train had “a bomb in her bag”. An Amtrak train was stopped in Connecticut, everyone was taken off, the train was searched, and it turns out Miller wasn’t even on that train.
Some more details: Miller “appeared intoxicated” when he got on the train, “consumed multiple drinks on the train”, and got into “hostile exchanges” with a woman on the train. He was then “removed in New York owing to his intoxication”. The unsympathetic take is that Miller was drunk, got into an argument with another passenger, and ended up calling in a bomb threat which caused an entirely different train to be stopped and searched. He reportedly argued with a woman on his train, the threat was about a woman with a bomb in her bag. That math ain’t hard.
The sympathetic take is that Miller is going through something and this is a symptom of a more serious issue. Maybe. When Miller started edging into mainstream celebrity awareness, I talked to some comedy friends who didn’t think he could sustain the momentum, that a self-destructive streak would, eventually and inevitably, derail him (no pun intended). This would seem to be that predicted moment. I’m just not sure how much sympathy I’m supposed to have for someone who has made himself so purposefully unsympathetic. Some are calling this karma for those sexual assault allegations, but I think it’s more the kind of thing that just happens to assholes, albeit on the extreme end of the scale. A bomb threat is f*cking serious, and the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force is involved in the investigation. Miller could face years in prison, if found guilty.
And then there is the impact on his career. He’s already lost his Comedy Central show, The Gorburger Show, Mucinex dropped him as a spokesperson, and he hasn’t booked any new roles since those assault allegations came out last fall, but he was still touring as a stand-up. I wonder if this is the moment he becomes too toxic even for comedy clubs and starts losing gigs. And the only movie he has in pre-production is How to Train Your Dragon 3—will they replace him? None of the live-action movies have—though Deadpool 2 could certainly get away with a Christopher Plummer joke if they just decided to cut him out entirely at this point—but a voiceover role would be really easy to replace. (Ready Player One didn’t replace him apparently because of his motion-capture performance as I-R0k, but that doesn’t make a ton of sense because they still could have dubbed over his voice. No one expected RPO to recreate a mo-cap character in a few months, EVERYONE wondered why his voice was left in the film.)
Again, I’m not sure how bad we’re supposed to feel about any of this. Was anyone still rooting for Miller? The situation is so serious it’s hard to gloat, but I also can’t muster up much sympathy. Maybe he’s having a hard time, but he’s also been a total twat in the public sphere, and those sexual assault allegations are absolutely reprehensible. I’m mostly a mix of unsurprised he’s in trouble and surprised by the nature of the trouble he’s in, and reflecting on my friends’ certainty that Miller would eventually self-destruct.
TJ Miller can currently be seen—well, technically, heard—in theaters in Ready Player One, and will next star in Deadpool 2, both productions which declined to replace him after sexual assault allegations emerged last year, decisions which have already aged super well and will only look better over time, I’m sure.