July 23, 2009

Ugly Guy Beds Hot Girl: Only In Hollywood

This past sunday on Entourage, there appeared to be a bit of a running inside-joke stemming from the fact that Jerry Ferrara, the actor who plays Turtle in the show is dating Jamie Lynn Sigler, both in real life and on the show (where she plays herself.)

As last season wrapped up, the guys were in a state of utter disbelief that Turtle could be dating her. So in last weeks episode, the character of Turtle repeatedly expresses disbelief that Katherine Heigl's chracter in Knocked Up would bed Seth Rogen. He simply doesn't buy that a woman that looks like her would sleep with someone as "ugly" as Rogen.

Yesterday on The Aftershow, they talked about this scene. I got into a conversation with one of the shows hosts, Jessi Cruickshank, who actually went to high school with Rogen in Vancouver, about this phenomenon. She was wondering if there are more examples of this in movies, the... less attractive man bedding the beautiful woman. Now, of course there are many cases of this in Hollywood where ancient leading men and their 20-something year old starlet are paired, but when it comes to a man and a woman of the same age, it's much more rare. It really is more of a small screen phenomenon, because lets face it, there are less ugly people on the big screen, especially in leading roles.

In sitcoms, there’s been some absurd pairings for sure. Jerry Seinfeld’s string of girlfriends on Seinfeld were incredibly implausible. Make no mistake, he’s an unfortunate looking man, but episode after episode he was bedding model calibre women. For that matter, the George Constanza character also did way better then reality would dictate. The show King of Queens paired Kevin James with Leah Rimini, not likely, ditto for According to Jim that paired up James Belushi with Courtney Thorne-Smith.

The logic here, I suspect, is that funny, confident men can do well with the ladies … but it’s a bit of a stretch. On the flip side of the gender coin, there’s a school of thought that says casting a less attractive female lead in a romantic story makes the lead “more accessible” to the female audience. I’ve never heard of a straight man that thought Barbra Striesand was even remotely attractive, but she bedded Robert Redford on the big screen.

Hell, she did a ton of movies where she was the romantic lead! This is the same theory that works for Sex and the City. Again, I’ve never heard men say much positive about Sarah Jessica Parker's looks – she is, afterall horse-faced – but in Sex and the City she has all sorts of men interested in her, many of them waaaaaay out of her league. Poor John Corbett, he was stuck as arm candy for Sarah Jessica Parker and Nia Vardalos in My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Corbett even did a second tour of duty, co-starring in another rom/com with Vardalos; the bombed-so-quickly-you've-probably-never-heard-of-it movie I Hate Valentine's. This flick was written and directed by Vardalos. Come to think of it, Steisand also fancies herself a director. Perhaps it's a requirement in order to get better looking co-stars for themselves, straight out of the Woody Allen playbook. I can just picture Nia on the set saying "Okay, then you cross to here and that's when you notice me walking into the room and it's love at first site. You've never seen a more beautiful woman." And Corbett's like "Really? That's how you wanna play it? Shouldn't I maybe look around to see if any of my buddies are around before I decide to come over and talk to you? Maybe I pound a couple of shots and ask the bartender to dim the lights, what do you think?"

The Seth Rogen situation … the “less attractive” male bedding the hot female character is much more rare, simply because less attractive males don’t play those roles. However, there is a mutation of this where the much much much older man beds the hot young co-star on screen. See any Woody Allen film for examples of this. His most recent film has the geriatric Larry David picking up Evan Rachel Wood. Not likely.

People were up in arms when Gwyneth Paltrow was cast as Michael Douglas’ wife in The Perfect Murder despite the fact she was playing a trophy wife. 25+ age gaps from the male lead to the female lead is common in Hollywood.

So what's the moral of the story? Well, maybe that Turtle has a point. But then again, Turtle takes Jamie Lynn Sigler home at the end of the night so maybe it would best if he kept quiet about the whole thing altogether.

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