In Part 1 I groaned over the plethora of beautiful women on television. Okay, that doesn’t sound right… it’s like complaining that there are too many ice cream stores in town. You’ll have to look up the post, I guess, to see what I really mean.
This time I’m taking on the guys.
Of course there are a lot of good-looking hunks on television. Grey’s Anatomy comes to mind, featuring doctors-who-will-stop-your-heart Derek Shepherd, played by Patrick Dempsey, Eric Dane’s Dr. Mark Sloan, Jesse Williams as Dr. Jackson Avery, and Jason George’s Dr. Ben Warren (not a comprehensive list by any means).
It isn’t just their relentless good looks that gets me. The trope that sets my teeth on edge is that so many male TV stars these days must have signed contracts stipulating that 92% of the time, they would appear on screen stubblicious. Derek Shepherd, top above, is perpetually stubblicious. Mark Sloan is occasionally stubblicious. Any man on Grey’s Anatomy is likely to spontaneous sprout a jawline adorned with presumably-sexy stubble.
And it isn’t just doctors. Stubblicious men come from all walks of life.
Donnie Wahlberg as NY cop Danny Reagan in Blue Bloods is most often stubblicious.
Matt Ryan as the demon fighter John Constantine is continually stubblicious.
Just about every SyFy Channel movie antihero (in this case, Ian Ziering as Sharknado’s Fin Shepard) is stubblicious, not quite growing a beard, not quite clean-shaven, just carelessly or rebelliously hairy.
The issue I have with these rogues isn’t their grooming habits. It’s the fact that their almost-beards never go away and they never get any longer.
If a guy doesn’t shave, his beard keeps growing until he looks like the Duck Dynasty guys:
So how do these busy rebels maintain their three-day growth of beard? Probably with something like this:
It’s a beard trimmer. This one’s from Vidal Sassoon. It keeps your facial hair neatly trimmed to the length of three-day growth. Artfully applied by skilled Hollywood technicians, it gives leading men the stubblicious look women find irresistible. Well, it’s irresistible if the man is a gorgeous neurosurgeon.
On this guy, not so much.
Because a stubblicious three-day growth of beard is as much trouble to maintain as, say, a clean-shaven face, a stubblicious character is actually less likely to be a renegade and more likely to be the beautifully crafted Chris Pine of Star Trek fame.
I say, if a character is going to be stubblicious, you need to build up to it. He has to go on a camping trip and come back all hirsute and virile. Then, after he’s suitably impressed la belle dame (say, the stunningly attractive grease-shoveler at the local rendering plant), he either needs to shave down to the skin or let the beard grow until he looks like a hillbilly or a Hasidic Jew. (Not that there’s anything wrong with either.)
Now here’s another thing that bothers me. It’s John Constantine’s necktie.
I’ve brought this matter up with my pal Mark Verheiden who executive produced six episodes of Constantine, but he ignores my emails (I’ve sent hundreds!) as he would ignore an obsessed fanboy. So here it is:
Constantine’s necktie is always hanging loose. He’s never seen loosening it, tightening it or taking it off. It’s always dangling there as if foreshadowing a plot point, like maybe Constantine’s going to get it caught in a Mixmaster or something. It’s the kind of stylistic mannerism that you’d expect to see in a comic book, not in…
Oh, yeah. Forgot there for a minute.
Anyway, whenever I see it, my mind wanders from the plot and starts asking questions like, “Does he put on his tie every morning and then loosen it? Does he tie it every day, or does he just leave it loose and pull it on over his head? Why does he even bother with a tie–a formal accessory–and then treat it as if he’s wrapped a dish towel around his neck?” It doesn’t make any sense, I tell you!
Heck, even this guy tied his damn tie!
(Peter Falk as Columbo.)
So there they are, the TV tropes of the day. Watch for them and do with them as you will. Ignore them. Laugh at them. Or be like me and let them grind through your skull and into your brain until you have to yank down your necktie and shave your face with a rock to keep from doing something crazy.