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Living Loz
I don't need looks, I have this unholy acting talent... 
3rd-Nov-2009 08:39 pm
Loz Mechanical
This article is about British actors being too ugly for foreign audiences. It includes this quote:

Other British shows that have been glossed up include Seventies-set BBC police drama Life on Mars, starring Jason O'Mara and Harvey Keitel as time-travelling cop Sam Tyler and Gene Hunt.

... because John Simm and Phil Glenister are both so taxing on the eyes, wtf? (I AM SORRY, BUT HARVEY KEITEL IS GLOSSIER THAN THE GLENISTER? FOR SERIOUS, NOW?)

One UK agent who represented British actors abroad said that the lack of looks was not the only problem as the quality of British drama tended to fall below that of shows produced on US cable networks, such as The Wire, True Blood and 6 Feet Under.

I also love the idea that True Blood is higher quality than all British dramas. I admit, I haven't exactly watched True Blood, but those of you who do love it tend to mock it, so I am thinking --- not exactly high quality drama, here. High quality melodrama, maybe? There is a difference.

Call it Nationalism, call it pride, call it personal preference, I don't care, but this entire article has me banging my head against my desk. What are our standards of 'beauty' and 'attractive' if all British casts are 'too ugly' for foreign (read: primarily American) audiences? How do we define quality drama? (The Wire, I shall concede, looks pretty amazing, but Six Feet Under started awesomely and then had a scene so bad it became a Trope-namer.)

I don't need pretty faces for my drama, thanks. Pretty isn't always all that interesting. I want actors who can act, who have expression, and if it so happens that they're hot like a hot thing? BONUS.
3rd-Nov-2009 11:17 am (UTC)

And Jason O'Mara? Irish, anyway.

And what's this about the quality of British drama tended to fall below that of shows produced on US cable networks???

The best of British drama is equal to, if not better than, anything the US can produce. If it wasn't, why would they be stealing our ideas in the first place?

And as to your last paragraph - yes, onethousandandeleventy!!!
3rd-Nov-2009 11:22 am (UTC)
The only US drama I really, really love and think has been top notch all the time is Dexter. Other than that, American drama so rarely has even a smidgen of humour. Or it has too much and I no longer think of it as drama but as dramedy. American productions so rarely get the balance right. Okay, YMMV and all that, but, GOD.
3rd-Nov-2009 11:24 am (UTC)
Steve Carell's hot now? He's almost exactly the same level of looks as Ricky Gervais, I reckon. (HARVEY KEITEL IS TOTAL SEXASS YOU KNOW IT'S TRUE. AND TRUE BLOOD DESERVES AN EMMY.)

They keep saying 'attractive characters' and 'attractive actors'. I think what they're trying not to say is 'attractive women'. >:/ Because British shows cast men AND women in a range from ordinary to gorgeous, whereas only men get to be ordinary on US telly for the most part. Women cast for acting rather than decoration, what is that?
3rd-Nov-2009 11:27 am (UTC)
To be fair, I am someone who thinks Steve Carell's pretty hot. (BUT THIS IS NOT WHY I LIKE HIM, and I don't watch The Office.) I HATE KEITEL, SORRY. NO, ACTUALLY, I AM NOT.

Scarily, you have an amazing point there. That's terrifying. I can think of only a couple of women who are not ridiculously beautiful, and they're not the leads.

Edited at 2009-11-03 11:28 am (UTC)
3rd-Nov-2009 11:26 am (UTC)
Are they kidding? I take men and women with recognisable faces and actual talent over the Barbie and Ken factory any day! And seriously, the perfect whiter than white teeth of sparkly-spark that most American actors have creep me out.
3rd-Nov-2009 11:27 am (UTC)
I also LAUGH WITH ROAR at the mere idea that True Blood is good TV.
3rd-Nov-2009 11:57 am (UTC)
No. No, no, no, no, no, no, no.


(Gah, sorry. I'm functionally illiterate today, but:)

3rd-Nov-2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
I concur!
3rd-Nov-2009 01:42 pm (UTC)
This article makes actually no sense when you consider how many British and Australian actors are working in American television these days. Flashforward is positively crawling with Brits.
3rd-Nov-2009 02:47 pm (UTC)
Doesn't it, though? No sense! At all!
3rd-Nov-2009 01:43 pm (UTC)
Where to start, where to start. If they seriously think True Blood is better than any tv show produced by the UK, ever, then I can't take them seriously. I mean, maybe it got better after I got terribly bored and gave up watching it, but it's definitely not better than the best UK tv. x)

As for the looks thing, that's just silly. Attractiveness in not necessary for entertainment or talent and there are plenty of gorgeous actors in the UK, thanks. Those ultra-straight-ultra-white teeth genuinely freak me out anyway.
3rd-Nov-2009 02:49 pm (UTC)
Dude, the whole article is one fail after another.
3rd-Nov-2009 02:00 pm (UTC)

Wow... I find this truly aspirational. *cough*

They really did mean to write "production values" but that's not what they said.

True Blood is rather glossy and fascinating visually... but damn it when the television version makes the novels its based on look like War and Peace (the books are very simple fun brain candy for planes and beach reading) you know it's made of fail. I suppose the people in it might be considered good looking by some people but bugger me they're wooden, like someone already staked them in an... interesting *cough* location. <--- No Drayce, tell us what you really think.

I also think the examples are hysterical. Keitel? Kirsty Alley? REALLY?

I find an enormous number of American TV actors to be such a standardized version of "good looking" that if you rounded them up in to little herds by type I wouldn't be able to tell them apart. Egads...

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3rd-Nov-2009 02:57 pm (UTC)
The overabundance of conventionally good-looking and too-perfect features are definitely something I've thought about before --- but only if I've felt an actor or actors was/were lacking in the talent department.

But take, for instance, Matt Bomer. The man is ungodly pretty, but he can act. I try not to be too judgemental either way.
3rd-Nov-2009 02:59 pm (UTC)
Someone has probably mentioned this by now but . . . Wire in the Blood *is* shown in the U.S. On BBCAmerica, admittedly, but it is shown.
3rd-Nov-2009 03:01 pm (UTC)
Also, FTR, Robson Greene is quite attractive. I AM JUST SAYING. *coughs*
3rd-Nov-2009 03:28 pm (UTC)
That is hilarious. I love when people use "better-looking" to mean "different-looking in culturally determined ways." It's like when people say "You really have to look past the big nose on David Marciano" as if big noses were somehow OBJECTIVELY unattractive rather than...Italian and Jewish. I find big noses a turn-on and it's not because I'm a rebel!

Also, I watch plenty of American dramas but they are all so BORING-LOOKING! Everything is so fucking glossy and none of the sets look real or naturalistic at all, and no one dresses like normal people. I know that's what executives believe we want but I don't see any evidence that that's actually the case. Plus when I think about British TV shows that were remade for America, the original actors are always hotter (cf. the ENTIRE CAST of Queer as Folk, and okay I know I am taking my life in my hands with this one, but the cast of Hustle? Way hotter than the cast of Leverage)...
3rd-Nov-2009 03:43 pm (UTC)

but the cast of Hustle? Way hotter than the cast of Leverage)... THIS, oh YES THIS!

And that includes the aging gracefully American actor, Robert Vaughn. *g*
3rd-Nov-2009 04:26 pm (UTC)
I call bullshit on that as well since American television is teeming with British talent in leading roles. And now we are stealing David Tennant away to make a pilot for NBC. And I believe the exact opposite regarding the quality of American drama versus British drama. It has only been in the last few years with the migration of more intellegent shows to the cable networks that American drama has begun to improve after 2 decades of producing bland boring programs. And most of those dramas feature UK heavy casts. All the shows they reference are not on the over the air networks which are ad supported so the networks refuse to do anything edgey or adult in fear of upsetting advertisers. Cable networks have more freedom because they are subscriber supported and do not rely solely on commercials to generate revenue. The BBC has been producing dramas for decades that are regarded as some of highest quality television produced.
5th-Nov-2009 07:33 am (UTC)
I call bullshit on that as well since American television is teeming with British talent in leading roles.


The BBC rock with their high quality. High budget? No. LoM was one of the rare series that got a decent budget to begin with. But quality? So yes.

♥ I love you, Ducky.
3rd-Nov-2009 05:37 pm (UTC)
Fuck them. Fuck them up their stupid asses.

I was thinking of a considered response and then I realized that seeing as they didn't consider their article I needn't bother. So.

Fuck them. Fuck them up their stupid asses.
5th-Nov-2009 07:39 am (UTC)

Winner of a response.
3rd-Nov-2009 06:36 pm (UTC)
American entertainment is run by about 6 big corporations. They homogenize everything, and I'm convinced that they also own all the plastic surgery/styling salons/tooth-whitening patents, etc ad nauseam.

Old Hollywood movies used to have realistic-looking people in supporting roles. If you look at TV or films made after about 1970, you start seeing the clone syndrome set in. MEN can be dorky-looking, but they always wind up with an implausibly beautiful "girl." Look at any Bill Murray film. He looks like someone set fire to his face and put it out with an axe, but the female lead? Fantasy for boys. As most Hollywood decision-makers are overgrown adolescent males, this isn't really surprising.

One thing I like about UK TV (besides more intelligent dialog, in the good stuff) is that while you occasionally get a real stunner (hello, Mr Bamber!) you also get ordinary-looking people - ie, the sort you see in a mirror or at the grocery store. Nobody really looks like the Hollywood mannequins - not for more than about half an hour after a major makeover.

Give the bastards another couple of years, they'll all be CGI anyway.

And.. no, I don't think Philip Glenister is attractive at all, Loz -- but you can have my share. And that doesn't have anything to do with him being a marvelous actor.
5th-Nov-2009 07:47 am (UTC)
Fantasy for boys. As most Hollywood decision-makers are overgrown adolescent males, this isn't really surprising.

SO TRUE. God, it's frustrating.

The other great thing about Brit TV is that those ordinary-looking people are often stunning actors --- versatile and brilliant in every way.

One day you're going to fall for Phil Glenister and you will kick yourself ;)
3rd-Nov-2009 06:38 pm (UTC)
Huh? On what planet does that guy live on?
5th-Nov-2009 07:48 am (UTC)
One wonders what planet any of them live on.
3rd-Nov-2009 08:02 pm (UTC) - Oh good grief.
Putting aside the ridiculousness of the examples of attractive and not attractive I prefer my actors to be able to act. It's usually a good start if they haven't had so much plastic surgery their faces still move, they aren't trying to play a down-and-out or 'period drama' with teeth so white they give you snow blindness, and don't look like the just walked off a baseball field where they play for the All American Stereotype Universals. Not that I'm suggesting that looking like an All American Stereotype means they automatically can't act of course. Take everything on its own merits and so forth...

True Blood was interesting because I love the books, even forgiving the changes (which one usually must try to do due to the change of medium), and things that weren't like they were in my head (which definitely can't be helped, this is me after all) I wouldn't say it was high quality drama.

And yes, if our drama is of such bad quality, why does a great big country with so many people in it need to remake things created by peeps in little old Blighty? (And can we all say Red Dwarf remake... oh I think we can)
5th-Nov-2009 07:50 am (UTC)
And yes, if our drama is of such bad quality, why does a great big country with so many people in it need to remake things created by peeps in little old Blighty?

That is an excellent question.
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