Tuesday, June 19, 2012

There's A Trope For That - Week Of June 17

This week's trope: Hey, It's That Guy!

"There is a certain class of actor who you may rarely notice but often see. They appear in various works, filling their roles faithfully but when you notice them individually, you remember seeing them before but never where it was and you can never say their name but are forced to just exclaim "Hey, it's that guy!"

For instance, if a middle-aged character actor gets a good rep—there is nothing like personal connections in a crowded, cut-throat business like the Hollywood acting pool—he can appear in numerous movies and TV shows each year. Ronny Cox is a good example among actors always available as white male authority figures, Lou Gossett as black male establishment types of any social class, Mako in any middle-aged male role requiring an Asian (er... while he lived, anyway), and Tim Curry as any evil, bearded bloke who dies in the end.

They never get the lead but that's often best for them. That means that nobody ever blames them if a movie bombs and they never become unaffordable. It means that they'll never grab the headlines or grab your attention but they'll grab the paycheck at the end of the day."


Have you ever had it happen where, over the period of a few weeks or months, the same actor seems to show up in everything you rent and watch?

Well, it happens to me. I call it the Tom Skerritt Syndrome, because there was once a time when I could not seem to get away from that guy. It felt like every other thing I'd watch would have him in it. At first it was kind of funny. Amusing. Then it started to get creepy. Finally, one day I walked into the TV room to find my mom watching Law & Order or something, and there he was again! I literally screamed and fled the room. Overdramatic? Perhaps. But that seemed to do the trick, because Tom Skerritt stayed away after that. Seriously, I've barely seen him in anything since.

Recently Hugh Bonneville seems to have moved into my TV room. I'd enjoyed watching him play Mr. Bennet in Lost In Austen, and then he began to play the father on Downton Abbey. (He likes playing dad to many daughters, apparently.) Recently we rented Miss Austen Regrets, and there he was again. Mansfield Park? More Hugh, only in that he's quite young. (Let's nevermind the fact that 3/4 of these things were Austen-related. It's just a coincidence! I have lots of other interests... I swear!)

And let's not forget Maggie Smith. Is it just me, or has Maggie Smith been 80 years old since the early 90s? She shows up in everything, too... I mean, it's crazy. If she could've somehow weaseled her way in as Mrs. Beaver in Narnia and some kind of elf in the LOTR films, she would be officially entitled to a gold statue on top of Buckingham Palace. Cuz, you know, that's how the Brits roll.

On the other hand, you know Judi Dench is eyeing Maggie Smith, going, "Not so fast, sister. You may have Downton, but I have Cranford. Remember that one? Oh, and Jane Eyre. Yes, that's right. I know there have been 45 version of it, but I was in one of them! And dare we forget Pride & Prejudice? Okay, so it wasn't the Colin Firth one, but so? SO? I was Lady Catherine, dagnabbit! What do you have to compare THAT to?"

Maggie Smith: "Uh... Harry Potter?"

Judi Dench: "Well... James Bond! Haha!"

Maggie Smith: "David Copperfield!"

Judi Dench: "Hamlet!!"

Maggie Smith: "Richard III!!"

Judi Dench: "Miss-us Ber-ROWN!!!"

Maggie Smith: "Gosford PARK!!!"

Judi Dench: "The Importance Of Being Earnest. WITH Colin Firth. COLIN FIRTH!! Double points! I PWN YOU!!!"

Maggie: "Dignified ladies do not say 'pwn'."

Judi: *kick* *punch* *flail*

Maggie: *whack* *biff* *pow*

Can Maggie and Judi overcome their different resumes and become friends? Will an intervention by Colin Firth be the key component to reconciliation? Find out next time on Dame Vs. Dame: Pushing Eighty.


Emily Blair said...

When I was reading the introduction to this post I thought, "Tom Skerritt", because he has always been like that for me, except eventually I learned his name and so it wasn't "Hey, it's that guy again!", it became "Hey, it's Tom Skerritt again. Stay out of my life, Tom Skerritt." So of course I found it hilarious that he was the first one you listed.

And, yes, Maggie Smith has been pushing 80 since the early nineties. Thom and I were just discussing that the other day.

molly said...

I'm glad to know T.S. haunts not just me, but others as well. And no surprise -- the imdb says he has 150+ credits to his name (compared to Judi Dench's 100 and Maggie Smith's 70). What gives him the right to be so prolific? He's not even a dame! (Or British, but still.)