kunju (innie_darling) wrote,

leading men

Hi, everybody!

I know I owe a million things to a million people, but let's put all of that aside just for a moment, shall we? Let's talk about some (unconventional) leading men instead.

First, like everyone who enjoys smart, interesting, adorable TV shows that are female-centric and have a primarily non-white cast, I'm watching Jane the Virgin. And this week's episode made some very big moves - so please only okay, if you're here, you either saw the episode or don't care about being spoiled. Full disclosure: I've been Team Michael from the beginning, because (a) I really liked the way that the show made the safe, stable, hopelessly besotted guy into a viable option in its initial love triangle and (b) I don't find Rafael attractive. Michael's flaws were mentioned early on (whatever sketchiness his now MIA brother alluded to) and also shown (that jealousy-turning-to-rage that led him to lash out at Raf, ultimately injuring Mateo), but what captivated me was that he was shown to grow. He had every reason to be upset about Jane's pregnancy, but he loved her enough to try to stay with her and then grew to love (the idea of and then the actual baby of) Mateo enough to think of him as his family (equally worthy of his love and protection and care) too. SO WHY DID HE HAVE TO DIE? I get that JtV is a telenovela, but there are other equally dramatic moves the show could have made to get some drama out of its main couple.

There were so many other options, and seeing a happy couple that worked together to be happy was worth so much. They could have chosen to have Jane and Michael decide together to move their having-a-baby timetable up, only to find that they couldn't conceive when they wanted to. That could have given the brogelios something to talk about, since Rogelio was deep in his Darcy Factor babymaking then. Or maybe Jane's fears about whether Michael would treat the new kid differently than he did Mateo? (Will Mateo even remember Michael?) Or what to do when Mateo still needs Rafael time but the new baby doesn't? Or - to focus more on the professional - since we've seen Michael work to help Alba with her immigration issues, something in the political arena, either as a law student or as a protester/organizer? And what happened to that gorgeous dream Jane had of herself and Michael as old fogeys, with grown-up Mateo running around? We're missing out on so much, and that's not even taking into account Michael's dorky sense of humor. (You will be missed, Brett Dier.) if you've already seen it. You can bet I'll be rehashing some of these queries around Yuletide.

Second, who else is watching/has watched Victoria on PBS/ITV? I DVR'd the early episodes simply because I used to teach Victorian literature and am fairly incapable of passing up anything to do with that particular era, and got the pleasantest shock I'd had in a long time to see my darling Rufus Sewell, dashing and lovely as ever, playing Lord Melbourne, the young queen's first and favorite Prime Minister. Man, he has aged well - his face is still as interesting and haunted as ever, which really suits his character's backstory (he's always been turned on by, and loved by, brilliant women - the one he married wrecked him utterly). Still, I couldn't help feeling like I'd seen him do this type of thing before, and it finally hit me that this must be very much like what he was like - nimbly finding that balance between the paternal and the romantic - when he originated the role of Septimus in one of my all-time favorite plays, Tom Stoppard's Arcadia. How I wish I could have seen that production (or at least some recording of it)! Septimus and Thomasina grow up to be Lord Melbourne and Queen Victoria - the parallel's not exact, but it's pretty close. (He's on stage in London right now, and I wish he'd come back to New York.)

Third, I saw Dear Evan Hansen again last night, and I came to the conclusion that the creators of this show might have written something perfect that only works in these particular circumstances, by which I mean with this leading man: Ben Platt (yes, Benji from the Pitch Perfect movies). He is extraordinarily talented. His acting was non-stop; there was not a single moment in which he checked out of all of the anxieties and horrors his character faces, and he had all of the gestures and coping mechanisms down. That probably sounds exhausting to watch, but it wasn't - it just felt real. (Though I'll admit that I was tense the whole way through and had to prevent myself from saying, "oh, honey" more than once.) And he has an astonishingly lovely singing voice that really suits the style of the songs. If you are in New York and/or visiting this year, make every effort to see this show.

This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/461671.html.
Tags: books, jane the virgin, movies, theater, tv

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