Thursday, May 31, 2012

Angst Initiate: Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on Kings (Or T.J. Hammond on Political Animals?)

I have some advice for USA if they want to win the hearts and minds of the 18-34 demographic: More Sebastian Stan

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Seriously - when I heard about USA's new drama, Political Animals, I thought, eh. When I heard that Sebastian Stan was going to be playing the former president's son, "a lost soul who struggles with addiction and the polar opposite of his brother, Douglas" I thought, Huzzah! Prince Jack Benjamin lives again!

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Now, obviously, they aren't really the same character. I don't expect T.J. to have the ambition or malevolence of Jack. And I'm praying his brother Doug has more to him than Jack's saintly sister or equally saintly rival. But both Jack and T.J. are the black sheep of important political families. And who doesn't dig a black sheep?

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
If you weren't one of the twelve people who watched Kings,  you may very well wonder who Prince Jack Bejamin is. Trust me - if you're on this blog, I'm going to assume you like hot, angsty guys. This is one to check out. You don't need to watch the whole season - just his bits.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
First of all, the show opens with him being held captive by the enemy. Don't try to understand who or what the enemy is, just know that the enemy is bad and has taken Sebastian Stan captive. He's rescued. What do you do when you get rescued? You go out, get drunk, and hook up with chicks.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Then Jack's daddy (The King...) invites the golden boy, David, who rescued Jack to the palace. David gets a promotion while Jack gets taken off active duty. Jack is none-to-pleased. Just look at those angry eyes ^^^

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
What follows is my favorite scene in all of Kings. It's too bad the best scene of the whole series in the first episode, but such is life. There are a couple other angsty moments worth discussing later - but unfortunately, none as good as this.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
So, Jack confronts his dad about what he considers to be a demotion. The people won't trust him if his father is locking him away to keep him safe. He doesn't get it. Does The King think the kerfuffle with the enemy was Jack's fault? No. Is he concerned about Jack's partying, womanizing ways? Ahh...

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
No, says The King. If only you were a womanizer. The King is well aware that Prince Jack is actually gay. The BEST part of this scene is that Jack is blindsided by this information. He had zero idea that his father knew the truth. He thought his "ruse of skirt chasing" was doing the trick. But clearly, he was wrong.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
He stands there and takes his father's lecture. According to The King, if Jack was the second son, it wouldn't matter. But as a future king, "It's not possible." The King makes it clear: "We give up what we want when we want power." 

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Basically The King tells Jack to prove that he can stay in the closet. Forever. No hook ups with dudes. No potential to be discovered. If you want to be king, you must bury who you are and keep it buried deep.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Jack listens in silence. He takes the tongue-lashing, still reeling from the fact that his father knows at all. Over the course of the season, Jack morphs into a more villainous character, and this scene is the reason why. He knows he wasn't born what his father wants him to be and what's worse, his father knows too. Tying to be that guy fractures him. He's not about to give up his claim to the throne, and therefore, he's trapped.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
By the end of the episode, Jack is plotting with his uncle to essentially stage a coup. The political workings of Kings can't be examined too carefully because they devolve into silliness rather rapidly if you try. But the point is, Jack is choosing power over freedom. And it's a bad bad choice for one's mental well being.

Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Sebastian Stan as Prince Jack Benjamin on NBC Kings Sebastian Stan Kings Prince Jack Benjamin
Poor Jack. Never a moment of peace. Never a moment to ease up and be who he truly his. (Well... maybe one moment...) He spends his life acting. He needs a hug. Maybe as T.J. Hammond, who as far as I know is not a power-hungry villain, he'll get one.

The cast of USA's Political Animals including sigourney weaver and sebastian stan T.J. Hammond
Check out the trailer for Political Animals below and tell me that couldn't be an inner monologue of Jack.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Gone But Not Forgotten: Angel in Buffy Episode "The Prom"

Re-watching the latter half of season three, I'm still really bummed that Angel leaves town. Plenty of people love Buffy post high school, but I feel like it lost a lot of its magic when the scoobies graduated and Angel went away.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
I say a lot of these episodes are my favorite, but really, the second half of season three is just my favorite Buffy era. The whirlwind of graduation and the chaos of transformation that it brings is depicted in the perfect Whedonesque way. It's the strongest the supernatural metaphor ever gets.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
And this episode. The Prom. That gigantic money-suck of high school frivolity. All Buffy wants is one normal night with her devilishly sexy older boyfriend. But as Buffy says in the beginning of the episode, it's later than they think.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Of course, Buffy's mom picks this moment to show up and remind Angel that this can never work out. Oldest dilemma in the vampire/human book. Buffy's going to grow up, age, want children, want a life in the sun. He's fixed in time and can't give her those things. Unless you're in some other vampire story, you can't have it all. How do you choose? 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Also, this episode contains this little fantasy sequence. Sigh. Let's just imagine for a moment what will never be. Tear :'(

David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel Wedding
David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel Wedding
So Angel does the nobel thing and ends it with Buffy. But a) his timing sucks and b) I'm sort of with Buffy on the why-doesn't-she-get-a-say thing. They chose this episode to really emphasize Buffy's youth so that we'd forgive the adults for making her life decisions for her. But still, it sucks. There's no reason she couldn't have a few years of happiness. Would that really make parting all the more terrible? Eh. That's debatable. It's the whole is it better to have loved and loss quandary. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
"You should be with someone who can take you into the light." ... and also Joss has gotten me this sweet deal where I'll sort of be the star of my own show so yeah... I've got to go. Enjoy Riley.

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
They have this brief post-break up moment where Buffy tells him she's still going to prom - but only to prevent everyone's death. No normal for Buffy. Yeah, Angel. Feel like shit. You deserve it in this moment. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
And then prom. Sigh. Angel shows up. Because he loves her and he realizes that his timing was pretty balls. Buffy gets her night. It still makes me smile. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
Know what else makes me smile? Angel in a tux. Know what else makes me smile? Imagining Angel going to rent a tux. 

David Boreanaz and Sarah Michelle Gellar on Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy and Angel
They dance to Wild Horses and it's all very sweet. This is their calm before the storm. This is basically their last really good moment. Wild horses can't tear them apart, but their inability to have sex without Angel losing his soul can. And will. 

David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy Angel dance
David Boreanaz Sarah Michelle Gellar Buffy the Vampire Slayer The Prom Season Three Buffy Angel dance
Poor them. One of the many Romeo and Juliet couples that television has given us. But also one of the best. Enjoy your dance, kids. Thing are about to get suck-tastic. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Switched at Birth: Emmett and Bay's First Date

Aww, Emmett and Bay. I have to say, both of these characters jumped about 2 million% on the interesting-o-meter when they started hanging around each other.

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
Their initial connection is based on their shared interest in art. That and Bay needs a favor. But meeting someone with Bay's boldness is probably the only way anti-hearing-folk Emmett would ever get pushed outside his comfort zone. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
When they first start out, there really isn't anything angsty about them. They're non-stop cuteness. Like any two people who speak different languages, their first few conversations are confused, adorable heaps of adorableness. As Ursula would say, never underestimate the importance of body language.

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
Emmett manages to do Bay a solid by finding out the location of her birth dad's car. And then, like any chivalrous knight with a motorcycle, he offers to give her a lift.

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
The thing that's so great about this not-date-date is that right away, they're in pretty personal territory. It's not, "Hey, wanna grab a coffee?" it's "Hey, want to help me track down my biological father?" On top of that, the mystery binds them together. They can't stop until they figure it out. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
"I hope that's sign language for, 'Because there's a wizard in there who will make all your dreams come true.'" Oh, Bay, you rascal!

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe and Vanessa Moreno as Bay Kennish on Switched at Birth Season One
And hand holding! Children! Save something for date number two!

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe and Vanessa Moreno as Bay Kennish on Switched at Birth Season One 
Bay has a mini-meltdown when she realizes the car is a bit of a dead end and Emmett gives her great sympathy eyes. Bay tells him he's the best listener she knows. Awwww. These two go well together that way. Bay is all force and fire while Emmett is a chill, let it roll kind of guy. I dig it. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
Then there's another lost in translation conversation where they basically play charades until Bay understands what Emmett is saying. These are my favorite early Emmett/Bay moments. There's something immediately intimate about really having to look at another person in order to understand them. They can't do the coy, awkward dance of first dates. It's an interesting way to watch a connection form. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth
Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth Season One Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe on Switched at Birth 
Which leads to mini-date #2 in which they discover Bay's father's name. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe and Vanessa Moreno as Bay Kennish on Switched at Birth Season One
When you share a moment like that, a bond is formed. These crazy kids have a lot of chemistry, and in my oh so humble opinion, from here on, the Bay/Emmett scenes are the best. 

Sean Berdy as Emmett Bledsoe and Vanessa Moreno as Bay Kennish on Switched at Birth Season One
It's not all sunshine and rainbows in their future. Things do get angsty. But in the beginning, they're just the cutest little ABC Family couple since I don't know when. There are a few more episodes of happy happy joy joy before things take a turn. For now, I shall swim in the pool of blissful ignorance. 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Big Screen Angst: Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot

Ah, The Patriot. Back in the day, Ebert called it, "A summer action movie with a historical gloss." Yep. This is not a movie anyone will watch in their college history class unless it's to play a rousing game of spot the historical inaccuracy. Film students can play spot the blockbuster cliche. Either game would be fun and both allow you the opportunity to see Heath Ledger in one of his few blonde performances. 

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
I'll admit, I was the right age for this movie. (Except... I was technically the wrong age for this movie. It was rated R. I wonder what PG13 movie I bought a ticket to in order to sneak into this one...)  I loved me some epic storytelling and I loved doomed love. I remember very clearly discussing the trailer for The Patriot with friends of mine. "Oooo! It's the guy from 10 Things I Hate About You!" Yeah, we were awesome. 

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Gabriel Martin is an 18 year old son of a farmer. His dad was a big war hero back in the day, but now that he's a single father with seven children, he wears his pacifism like a father of the year badge. Gabriel doesn't get it. He wants to join the cause, fight the incredibly evil Brits, and win America her freedom. Yeah! Freedom! Huzzah!

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Except war sucks. Fighting sucks. Death sucks. Freezing in the cold sucks. Especially in the eighteenth century.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Gabriel gets wounded as he's bringing some dispatches someplace and returns to his family farm. In this scene, he's bloody, sweaty, shirtless and totally using an Australian accent.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Heath Ledger shirtless as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
The following morning, Lucius Malfoy shows up. Turns out he was a Death Eater as far back as 1776. He murders a child and takes Gabriel, saving him to murder later. It is at this point that Benjamin Martin says pacifism be damned, I've got me some British soldiers who need a tomahawk to the face.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
His kids watch on in horror as he slaughters man after man. I remember the controversy surrounding the hatchet-to-the-skull scene back in the day. How far we've come in 12 years.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Anywho... Gabriel manages to find a few minutes to fall in love with the outspoken girl from the town over. Things happened fast back then because after two scenes together, they get married.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Unfortunately, at their wedding, Gabriel's dad gives her The Necklace of Doom. You know, I remember now how I saw this movie. My aunt took me. She leaned over to me while The Necklace of Doom was being placed around Anne's neck and whispered "They're going to find that necklace later when she's killed." I thought my aunt was a regular clearvoyant. Turns out she was just more attuned to movie cliches than I was.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
So yeah. They find the necklace in the ashes of a church and Gabriel goes bonkers.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
He rides off after Captain Hook and does his darndest to run him through. But, wouldn't you know it, he fails.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
And then he dies. I hate that part. And I hate seeing Heath Ledger die on screen. So let's move on.

Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot Heath Ledger as Gabriel Martin in The Patriot
Gabriel's death is the push that Benny needs to single handedly win the war. Just think, without Mel Gibson, we'd still have The Queen's face on all our money. Thank goodness his children we're brutally murdered in front of him. I mean, really. Thank. Goodness. But seriously folks, luckily for us, the real men and women who die fighting for the stars and stripes aren't as stupid as Gabriel Martin.