Whatever Happened to Actors?

I miss actors.  Remember in the old days when actors were almost required to be able to dance, sing, and act?  We've got really few "actors" these days.

Star Trek: TNG & DS9 aren't the only old shows I'm currently rewatching.  My mom and I are also huge fans of Frasier (don't judge).

I've noticed that every time an actor gets shirtless on TV or in film these days, they're always buff and waxed.  If they're female, they're extra hungry thin.  They're also often really young.  Um...what's that all about?  Sure; young, buff guys are nice to look at, but just as CGI and 3D have lain waste to written creativity, the prerequisite for pretty has murdered the focus on acting ability.  Think Keanu Reeves.

Where are the Avery Brookses?  The Patrick Stewarts?  The Brent Spiners?  The David Hyde Pierces, Michael Dorns and LeVar Burtons?  Where's the new Kelsey Grammer or the new John Mahoney?  Anybody else miss Siddig el Fadil and Garrett Wang?   God, I miss these guys!

They weren't buff.  They weren't chiseled.  They sho' weren't waxed.  They just were.  Hell, no one took Jonathan Frakes seriously as Commander Riker until he grew a beard, gained some weight, and put some extra bass in his voice.  Remember when he came back in Season 2 of TNG, all new and improved?

These days, the only time it's acceptable for male actors to be chubby or gawky or simply "not buff" is when they're clowning around in a comedy, and are often the butt of the joke - WTF?

I know this exactly isn't a new complaint, but I've noticed how annoyed - literally annoyed - I've become whenever some guy takes his shirt off on TV and is all buff (especially when his character doesn't eat well and never goes to the gym), and does really have exceptional acting ability.  That's when I look at the typically mediocre actor and wonder, "If you weren't spending all your time at the gym and the waxer's, you'd be in an acting class somewhere.  You'd be on stage in your spare time, honing your craft.  You'd be developing other talents, like music or painting or writing...additional artistic expressions to lend you some depth and eloquence.

"But no...you sacrificed all of that just to be buff."

And when I think that, it really sickens me.  You have wonder to if the next W. Morgan Sheppard got passed over for this dime-a-dozen shmuck.  You start to think maybe we won't see the Brock Peters (RIP) of this generation, because he didn't hit the gym enough.

*smdh*

My point?  I'm boycotting.  No more sweaty, buff actors or singers with semi-decent to no talent.  From hereon out, I have a very strict criteria: are you brilliant at what you do?  'Cause if you ain't, kiss my dime goodbye.

Comments

  1. I feel this way about female actors (and playable characters in games) Like where is the realism. Like there was a time where the actress didn't have to be eye candy. Heck Queen Latifah was talented in her own right. Yeah what happend to the role models that children look up too. (As a child I had alot of female role models, which is why Nana Visitor will be the goto actress *looks around* leave me alone) Yeah nowadays is the Bella Swan or the next Eye Candy.

    "I'm boycotting. No more sweaty, buff actors or singers with semi-decent to no talent. From hereon out, I have a very strict criteria: are you brilliant at what you do? 'Cause if you ain't, kiss my dime goodbye."

    *Joins with a sandwich board reading: I'm tired of poor acting*

    ReplyDelete
  2. Whenever I've countered such 'actors' in tv or film, I've wondered if they did a casting couch audition for the part. I'm not even joking. =_=

    Quality is being shafted for Average in everything these days.

    ReplyDelete
  3. "My mom and I are also huge fans of Frasier (don't judge)."

    Actually I couldn't stand Cheers but Frasier was funny as hell.

    "I'm boycotting. No more sweaty, buff actors or singers with semi-decent to no talent. "

    AMEN SISTER! I'M RIGHT THERE WITH YOU GIRL!!!!!


    *Waits until Ankhesen leaves. Rewatches Magic Mike trailer."

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Actually I couldn't stand Cheers but Frasier was funny as hell.

      Tried to rewatch Cheers; couldn't get it into.

      Meanwhile...hooked on Frasier like a junkie. In addition to the acting, that's writing I can genuinely respect. Current TV writers are total shit compared to the writers on Frasier.

      Delete
  4. K

    Thespians are gone. Now we have "movie stars."

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think they are in the same place that the SINGER are, not getting paid while hacks stink up the airwaves...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Brilliance is the chemistry we see between Frasier and his younger brother. You’d think Grammer and David Hyde Pierce were actually siblings. Moreover, Grammer’s Sideshow Bob will leave you in stitches. The comedic timing is flawless; they literally feed off of each other. I don't mind admitting that I watch Frasier religiously. The on-set chemistry rises to the level of Jackie Gleason & Art Carney - Harvey Korman and Tim Conway or Abbott and Costello (I’m going way back now). Even comedic genius Richard Pryor cut his bones in a few notable dramatic roles. Some of the best acting I’ve ever had the pleasure of viewing has come from comedians.

    Jackie Gleason as Minnesota Fats is a classic if you’ve have the pleasure of seeing it. Who cared if he was fat?? George Burns playing opposite Art Carney shined in the 1979 crime caper Going In Style; but most people 25 years and younger have no idea who these men are. These people acted. It was never about physical attractiveness, and when you watched them on the big screen you didn’t give them a second thought because of the suspension of disbelief. The obsession with youth seems to mark this era. Perfect example can be seen in you’re 50’s and 60’s science fiction B-movies.

    In most of these vehicles the protagonist had to consult with a professor of paleontology (or some other discipline) to get background on how to defeat the monster. Usually the practitioner was portrayed as a man of advanced years; a person whose acclaim stems from a lifetime in his profession. Hell even most police officers in these movies were my age. Nowadays what we see are specialists/professionals barely out of college- yet having an expertise beyond their years. These torchbearers of youth have been cast in the role of protagonist, so now they have to be sexy. Every female protagonist has to be white- thin and blonde; while every male paladin has to look like a Chippendale dancer. There aren’t many people my age cast in the role of expert nowadays. One notable exception however is Indiana Jones.

    I miss the physically flawed heroes. I miss Laurel & Hardy; I miss the Three Stooges. People panned the three stooges remake because we forget that the comedians were actually related to each other. They had grown up together in the business; having had years to hone their comedic timing. That’s what’s missing in these movies; a dedication to one’s craft. Again it wasn’t about physical attractiveness, it was about acting. You can’t recreate that kind of magic in one movie.

    The audience of today is made up of a youthful demographic so its easy to throw anything at them and they’ll eat it up. But I miss the acting of my generation. I miss, Joanne Woodward- Betty Davis, Joan Crawford, Richard Burton, Charles Bronson and Paul Newman. I miss Henry Fonda- Ossie & Ruby Davis and Sidney Poitier; Cicely Tyson (in Idlewild) and many others. Naww we don’t see acting like that anymore. At best we get facsimiles and pale imitations. If the plot isn't drenched in kinky sex and violence the academy snubs it. It’s just not the same.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. But your generation is still around and living longer! And you all have the most money! Networks should be bending over backwards to produce quality entertainment with actors in their forties and up!

      Delete
    2. Now now, Ankh. You know the entertainment industry is as ageist as it is every other -ist that can be had. Those over 35, both actors and audience, may as well be taken to pasture and mercy killed.

      Plus, I suspect that the older generation would be less likely to be suckered by commercials into buying what they don't need. Corporate sponsors have no love for discerning viewers, and the current batch of youth may as well be called the "I Need That NOW!" generation.

      Delete
    3. Just finished watching the trailer for, The Magic of Belle Isle starring Morgan Freeman. I’m assuming the romantic comedy is targeted towards a demographic more in keeping with people my age. What bothers me about the narrative is why couldn’t he fall in love with a black woman? Why couldn’t the director keep every element the way it was except for this one caveat?

      Delete
    4. "Now now, Ankh. You know the entertainment industry is as ageist as it is every other -ist that can be had. Those over 35, both actors and audience, may as well be taken to pasture and mercy killed.

      Plus, I suspect that the older generation would be less likely to be suckered by commercials into buying what they don't need. Corporate sponsors have no love for discerning viewers, and the current batch of youth may as well be called the "I Need That NOW!" generation.
      "

      Very well stated. You nailed it!
      Amen... and amen.

      Delete
    5. Discerning viewers, indeed. Discerning viewers don't want commercials, and they want plotlines to bear some semblance to reality (hence the popularity of "Roseanne").

      Rich skinny young people whining is not quality entertainment.

      Delete
  7. "And you all have the most money!""

    Well I must have buried it under the house somewhere and forgot where I hid it. Because I don't have it.

    "Networks should be bending over backwards to produce quality entertainment with actors in their forties and up!"

    I agree, they should; but other then documentaries, I find very little at the box office that appeals to me. Its the very reason I find pleasure in Hulu and YouTube because I can still watch the shows that I grew up with. Basically, I miss the substance of my day over the quantity of work at the box office.

    ReplyDelete
  8. As part of the younger generation and a twenty five year old, I'm sick of the so called variety of actors& actresses.
    I happen to have done to school for acting and trust me and my theatre friends always talk about the lack of good actors on television plus the stupid story lines that writers come up with.

    I know that I want quality television back and having another reality tv show just ain't it.
    I'm not sure where all the good television writers have gone but they are clearly missing in this day and age of network programming. It's sad but I can count on one hand how many American tv shows I watch, all the shows that I enjoy watching are from overseas.

    @M.Gibson I can't speak for others but almost all those actors that you mentioned are the ones me and my friends look up to. They are legends and we always talk about how awesome it would be to work with them.

    The higher ups in Whitewood need to wake up and start realizing that people are losing interest in watching American tv and going online to find something that actually consists of talented people, great story lines and little sexuality to make a riveting show.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When I came up there was little sex in television. I remember the family hour; which spanned from about 7:30 pm to about 9:00 (after which most kids were in bed). My mother was a strict observer of the law, (as we had to get up for school in the morning). As eldest, I was allowed to stay up until 9:00 pm on weekdays. The only sexual references I can recall were in the occasional double entendres in game shows like Match Game - or on variety shows like Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In. I grew up with Peter Gun- Felony squad, Mission Impossible and Walt Disney's Wonderful World of Color. Shows you could sit down with your entire family and watch without a parent needing to change the station because of a Trojan condom/vibrator commercial (forgive me).

      I remember shows with beautiful strong black women like Julia and sitcoms with strong black fathers like Good Times. Innovative shows about our educational system in vehicles like Room 222

      Sex has permeated almost everything we see in media and it won’t be long before hard-core porn goes mainstream. Children have access to it through the cell phones now. When I was young the word porn was likened to the matrix. You had a feeling it existed yes, but rumors of such fare endured only as hearsay and innuendo. It was wrapped in brown paper behind the counter at the local store; but again the owners were mindful to protect the public from such material. Reality programing is an assault on the senses as well the intellect; it has a corroding effect on the spirit of its audience. The creators have simply run out of ideas. People my age can go back to a time when everything was new. Every pitch for a new variety show or cartoon was considered groundbreaking.

      Remember the The Invaders? Voyage to the bottom of the sea? I long for the days of Green acres, Captain Kangaroo and Mr. Terrific. I can recall vividly, The Man from Uncle and its trend-setting counterpart, The Girl from Uncle. Can’t forget Peter Falk in Columbo and my girl Carol Burnett. You have to remember there was no cable back then. You either had a satellite on top of your house or you didn’t. Basically we had three channels on a 20 inch black and white set. Course not much has changed since my youth. In most of these shows you had a few token minorities in a world swimming in whiteness. There was always a fall preview of every new show that came on television; moreover, people paged through their TV guides as if it were the holy bible. We were young then and perhaps a little naïve. The heads of programming never dreamed we’d end up with what we see on the screen today.

      Delete
  9. Which is why the only TV I watch (outside of ESPN, the Science Channel and SyFy cheese)are old TV shows from the 50s, 60s & 70s. Acting was top notch as was the story telling. People looked like people; women portraying women actually looked like women, not young girls. Thought went into scripts and casting. Mofos didn't have to be shirtless or starving; the exact opposite was the case...and I preferred it. TV sucks shit through a straw. I'm already boycotting, so I guess we're sitting in the same seat on the Boycott bus.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. "Which is why the only TV I watch (outside of ESPN, the Science Channel and SyFy cheese)are old TV shows from the 50s, 60s & 70s. Acting was top notch as was the story telling. People looked like people; women portraying women actually looked like women, not young girls. Thought went into scripts and casting. Mofos didn't have to be shirtless or starving; the exact opposite was the case...and I preferred it. TV sucks shit through a straw. I'm already boycotting, so I guess we're sitting in the same seat on the Boycott bus."

      Couldn’t agree with you more; which is why I’m so thankful for YouTube- Hulu and the Newsgroups. You can download entire seasons of your favorite shows and archive them to your hard drive. You can watch Barney Miller- WKRP in Cincinnati and That Girl. Additionally you can watch Hawaii Five-0 and The Mod Squad; just like in the old days. You can go back in the time of your choosing and laugh your butt off to television shows long since cancelled. Television’s catching on with TV Land and AMC.

      TV Land boasts a pretty good line-up of programming from way back and they’re adding more content as popularity increases. The old has become new again. They're doing it right.

      Delete

Post a Comment

This blog is strictly moderated. Everyone is now able to comment again, however, all Anonymous posts will be immediately deleted. Comments on posts more than 30 days old are generally dismissed, so try to stay current with the conversations.