By Jaime Weinman - Tuesday, February 19, 2013 - 0 Comments
I was going to write something about the controversy over the Girls episode “One Man’s Trash,” and specifically the arguments over whether Lena Dunham and Patrick Wilson were a plausible couple. I decided what I wrote didn’t really work, and besides which a) There’s probably enough Girls discussion already, and b) The discussion of these issues tend to turn a writer into Rex Reed or, even worse, John Simon. (If you think people are unpleasant about Melissa McCarthy or Lena Dunham, just read that collection of Simon’s horrifically nasty comments about Liza Minnelli – we have a long way to go before we can match that guy for sheer hate.) So I’ll let that episode go for now.
But the discussion did illuminate something for me about our expectations when it comes to a character’s looks. We all know about the famous sexist double standard for looks in film and television. An ordinary-looking or overweight man is more likely to be paired with a beautiful woman, while the opposite pairing almost never happens. Even a woman with looks that are just unconventional – like Liza Minnelli, see above – will sustain the types of attacks that a Dustin Hoffman, say, doesn’t usually get once he becomes a star. But even though we’re more used to that kind of pairing, it still jars us more in fiction than it would in real life. Jason Alexander is married to a tall, good-looking woman, but it looked silly to us that George Costanza was going out with tall, good-looking women. Woody Allen’s ability to get women on the screen is more puzzling to us than his ability to get those same women in real life. And so on.
The main reason for this is that in real life there are many different reasons why people would get together, beyond looks – which, after all, are subjective. But the actors are often playing characters who Continue…
By Jaime Weinman - Wednesday, July 22, 2009 at 12:55 PM - 2 Comments
Via TV, Eh?, a German publication recently had an interview with Enrico Colantoni to promote Flashpoint‘s German TV premiere. He also says he hasn’t heard anything about the long-rumoured, ever-elusive possibility of a Veronica Mars movie.
As the introduction to the interview makes clear, Colantoni will always be best known (or should be, anyway) as Keith Mars, but I think I appreciated him even more on Just Shoot Me, for one reason: he managed to do well in that part despite being totally miscast. He was the right age, but I remember watching the pilot and wondering why this bald, intense guy was cast as the show’s resident ladies’ man. The part was written like the character was handsome, cocky (cue hilarious double-entendre) extremely successful with women, and displaying hints of romantic tension with the heroine. And Enrico Colantoni was a good actor who looked about 10 years older than he was, and seemed unlikely to be more of a hit with women than even David Spade.
But he was cast because he was a good actor, and available (his last show, Hope and Gloria, had just failed), and the writers worked around his appearance and, if they couldn’t make him a sex symbol, at least didn’t try too hard to convince us that he was one. Which kind of taught me, as a viewer, that casting the right actor is often better than casting the right physical type: the writers can deal with womanizing photographer who looks like a more personable George Costanza, as long as he can act the part. (Veronica Mars is one of many other shows where this lesson played out, because Kristen Bell is a completely different physical type than the one Rob Thomas specified in his original script.)