I am the anti-renaissance man. A childhood moving from various child-minders and libraries while both my parents worked two jobs meant I was as much educated by Nintendo, Hollywood and Dahl than any in the flesh adult role model. An adolescence failing to grasp basic human interaction has left me a socially awkward creature relying on pop culture miscellanea to converse in, and internally rationalise, an increasingly confusing world. Because when the meek eventually do inherit the Earth, it’ll be those with encyclopedic knowledge of 80s movies, and those able to discuss feminist theory using the sitcom “Friends”, who will be elected to positions of power. In short, while you were out doing meaningful things with your life, I was at home, watching TV.
I have a problem with the new TV show “Marvel Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D”. While it has superheroes and all of the familiar Joss Whedon traits that my inner nerd normally laps up, interesting team dynamic with snappy dialogue (with liberal lashings of snark a la Buffy and Firefly), I find myself unable to suspend my disbelief. I find the protagonists are just too pretty. Chloe Bennet, while lovely, is just a bit distracting when I’m trying to believe her as an awkward computer hacker. She’s lacking a bit of what my friends and I term as “fauxtainabilty”.
“Fauxtainabilty.” Someone who ticks all of the Hollywood boxes for “attractive protagonist”, while having just enough for you to believe that they could exist in the real world. Someone who looks like they may experience rotten hangovers, use public transport and opt for basic range supermarket produce. Someone who seemslike they wouldn’t immediately shut you down if you talked to them in the street. Let’s be clear. These people are incredibly attractive successful movie stars. We rationally have no chance with any of them (Thus the “faux”, geddit?). But up * here *, in that weird part of the brain that makes you growl at yourself in the mirror when you have a good body day; the bit that’s responsible for thinking that you could still become an elite athlete; or could one day learn a language or a new musical instrument if you just had the time? That part of the brain? That part thinks one day, you may bump into a “fauxtainable” star and live out the rest of your days in that weird version of reality that’s a bit like a Richard Curtis film.
Angelina Jolie was never fauxtainable. She’s so beautiful she almost seemed alien. Even in your drunkest, most confident moment, you don’t think you have a chance with Kate Upton. These people are beautiful, but are they that attractive? While Megan Fox famously snubbed a teenage fan trying to hand her a flower during her run on the Transformers films (she would later apologise), Jennifer Lawrence is tripping up collecting her Academy Award, flipping off cameramen, photo-bombing everything in sight and forever talking about her love of food. In a Hunger Games film series that will see her spend a lot of time running about the place with a bow and arrow, she brings a heart, vulnerability and believability to what could have ended up like a number of other young adult franchise flops. (See: Mortal Instruments and Beautiful Creatures. Ooooooh the pretty blandness!)
It’s not just Jennifer whose fauxtainabilty is being used as the centre of an entertainment vehicle. Zooey Deschanel is in the middle of a career high point in the sitcom “New Girl” – a look under the hashtags will have you bombarded with tweets from people either saying they either want to be friends with the “adorkable” (adorable and dorky you see) Jess or just on top of her. Seth Rogen has become a Hollywood comedy heavyweight for being your “broke slacker friend with a foul mouth and a heart of gold”. He smokes weed, is constantly in trouble, but somehow manages to make having an infectious laugh and a curly afro; all you need for punching well above your weight with the opposite sex.
These are the people that make you want to believe, and the people that really make you tingle in your special places. We love these stars because they seem like a real person who has made it. The ultimate girls and boys from next door. And as we all get a little older, softer and greyer; as we become less and less likely to pack it all in and go travelling around Asia and South America or whatever else you had planned, it’s reassuring to know there’s someone out there who’s a bit of a klutz but doing well.
So here’s to you J-Law and the rest of the gang; stay fauxtainable, stay delightful.
Enjoy, share, comment and criticise. And if you want to be meaner than the comments below will allow, here’s Carl Anka’s Twitter….