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Wed, Jun. 20th, 2007, 01:12 pm
My Man-Crushes, part 2

Yesterday I posted three of my "man-crushes," dudes for which I feel a nonsexual affinity.  Oh, you know what I'm talking about.  Though sociologists have just recently created this headlines-grabbing buzzword, the man-crush is a phenomenon with a rich history, from the connections men have felt on the battlefields of the past to the butt-slapping commoraderie commonly accepted by athletes today, to the admiration of an adversary's strategic savvy to the embrace shared by hopeful President and Vice President candidates.  Me, I have a penchant for celebrities, men that have transcended the entertainment realm to achieve even a modicum of social significance.  Of my first three examples, two, Chris Hansen and Duane "Dog" Chapman," represent high concept law enforcement, while Gordon Ramsey is the epitome of passion and professionalism.  Today I'm delving into the actors' studio, with three equally diverse examples:

Joel McHale
, E!'s The Soup.  You cannot turn on the television, peruse the magazine racks, or even check your e-mail with hearing or seeing some headline about Paris Hilton's plight in prison.  And that's this week.  Who knows what celebrity break-up or blunder will steal the celebrity-centric media of its senses next week, only to become pop culture trivia for some VH1 game show of the future.  While I'm a fan of all of the television shows that make fun of these pseudo-significant events, including Best Week Ever, The Showbiz Show with David Spade, and The Daily Show, Joel McHale is a one-man army of unadulterated sarcasm on E!'s The Soup.  Heck, I remember when Greg Kinnear found his voice on The Soup's predecessor Talk Soup, and I watched faithfully as the hosting reigns were shuffled from John Henson to Hal Sparks to Aisha Tyler, but not until the show expanded its fodder from talk show to the breadth of televised ridiculous need the series truly become a veritable stew of silliness -- in a good way, exposing the emptiness of the entertainment industry while desperately making a living from it.  Enter Joel McHale, whose wit surpasses those one-line wonders from Best Week Ever, and whose confidence towers over David Spade's admittedly snarky persona.  At least Spade shares company with Sandler, Myers, and Dennis Miller, all legitimate talents in their own right; McHale's peers on E! are the braindead-from-the-fumes chicks from Sunset Tan and Hefner's airheaded harem trio.  Still, every Friday night (and now Mondays!), Joel stands his ground against the onslaught of ridiculous reality TV to tell it like it is, and infuse each clip with a quip that makes its initial illicit impression all okay.  If television is sick, surely there is no better cure than some soup, and Joel McHale spoons it out in spades.  (The YouTube clip above is one of my all-time favorites.)

Vincent D'Onofrio, NBC's Law & Order: Criminal Intent.  I swear, if I'm ever mugged, blackmailed, or kidnapped, I want Vincent D'Onofrio on the case.  I know he isn't really a cop and he just plays one on TV, but his intensity as Detective Robert Goren on Law & Order: Criminal Intent must come from somewhere, and if he exudes even half of that in real life, I'm confident he'd find me locked in that trunk in no time.  As a series that initially boasted telling its tale from the criminals' perspective, Dick Wolf and his Law & Order crew were challenged with introducing a protagonist that would successfully assert a sense of contrasting justice, and by infusing Goren as a contemporary Sherlock Holmes type, seasoned with his fair share of mommy issues, his knowledge and passion synthesize into a character that barely contain itself, played by D'Onofrio as a jittery, sometimes stuttering tower of determination, as if his thought process is more than his mind and tongue can convey.  Admittedly, I don't watch Criminal Intent like I used to, especially since D'Onofrio now shares the spotlight with Chris Noth, but one cannot flip past a rerun on TNT or USA without Det. Gorem's intensity giving pause to the finger on the remote control.  The real crime would be avoiding his head-tilted performance.

Mr. T.  I pity the fool that doesn't like Mr. T.  Women want him and men want to be him, plain and simple.  His recent decision to abandon his trademark jewelry because, to quote the Mr. T himself, "I saw all of these celebrities going to New Orleans and doing photo ops. It was disgusting. Those people didn't have nothin'. So the gold is in my heart now," is a tough as it is tender.  I want to make a T-shirt that boasts "What Would Mr. T Do?"  Unfortunately, because the guy is so humble, the first thing he'd do is take off that T-shirt, with all of its prideful jibber-jabber.  I think Mr. T is my only man-crush that can officially crush a man.  So you'd better get on the bandwagon, fool!

Honorable mention: Joey Greco, Cheaters.  Joey Greco's righteous rage on the "real reality show" Cheaters has earned him as much praise as criticism, but I can only assume he is motivated by some dramatic romantic faux pas from his past, some heartbreak that made him a worthy candidate as host starting with Cheaters' season three.  The only element preventing me from granted Greco full crush status is the series' perverted incarnation on the G4 Network.  In its native form, the Cheaters narrator establishes a lofty tone that sets the stage for Greco's emotional meticulousness; on the G4 syndications, the "dude" tone sounds like the kind of jerk that would want to cheat in the first place.  I know the intent is to reach a wider audience, but Cheaters threatens to alienate its core with this shameless extension.  It's effectively cheating on itself.

So, six (and a half?) man-crushes.  Is that natural?  I mean, guys that admire baseball teams are idolizing at least nine guys, so I seem to fall at least two and a half short.  Fortunately, I'm not an avid fan of CBS' Two and a Half Men, or I'd break even with those jocks.  As noble as it seems to admit to one's man-crushes, something tells me this isn't a race I'd want to win.

Wed, Jun. 20th, 2007 08:50 pm (UTC)

Right on with Joel McHale! I never miss The Soup.

Mon, Jul. 9th, 2007 08:29 am (UTC)

I wrote a bit about your comics in my latest blog