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S06.E24: American Skyper

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Because male actors are never asked to play bullied nerds, unattractive suicidal loners, or homicidal nutjobs.

 

I wrote "And why is it that young male actors never seem to play characters that would make society concerned for their mental well-being?" and so your point is quite correct, they do play less than desirable characters.  However, what I meant, and didn't word well, was "why doesn't society get concerned about young males playing ugly or stupid (or homicidal nutjobs) and the affect that part may have on them?"  

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Who knows maybe Ariel gets a kick out of it, I'm just projecting.

I don't know why Ariel would feel bad about Alex's supposed ugliness compared to Haley when she gets more attention for her looks in real life than Sarah Hyland does.

 

Did anybody else think that Horatio Sanz was giving Alex the thumbs up for a reason that had nothing to do with Mitchell's scrapbook?  It's probably for the best to leave that scene vague if they were indeed going for that.

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I don't care if it was done on other shows -- I thought Ty Burell as robot Phil was absolutely brilliant. I continue to be impressed with the way this show mines technology for comedy (a fitting bookend to the episode done entirely by computer earlier in the year). And his gift for physical comedy was evident, even when it was just his head!

 

This episode belonged to Burell (comedic) and Ariel Winter (dramatic). The conversation between Alex and Claire was sweet and incredibly poignant -- a part of me thought no 17-18 year-old girl would be that self-aware about her mother, but Alex has always been a little ahead of the curve. Beautiful little scene.

 

Robot Phil was a great example of a gag that worked, but Cam with braces was a great example of one that didn't. Unless Eric Stonestreet himself needs braces (if so, I didn't know and I apologize), I didn't find any of Cam's "say it don't spray it" gags funny. The "affair misunderstanding" was a good example of a gag that's been done to death where I thought the show didn't quite make it work.

 

As for Andy and Hayley...at least I now know what the show is trying to do with them. For a while, their relationship (or lack thereof) seemed like a toy they would pick up when they got bored and then would forget existed. Sarah Hyland also had a good episode -- the "everyone thinks she's nice, but she's really crazy!" story has been done to death, but I thought Hyland sold it well. And the hug at the end was understated -- even with robot Phil's mute exclamations in the background.

 

All in all, a solid year -- felt like the back half was stronger than the front half. Will be very curious if they go six-for-six at the Emmys this fall. They certainly have a few episodes where they could make a pretty good case for themselves.

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Normally I don't really care about these type of things since they are all fictional characters, but I have to start to wonder how the actress playing Ariel feels about constantly being the butt of jokes about her appearance.

 

I presume she is secure enough to realize she isn't her character, doesn't take it all that seriously and goes home to swim in her money. 

 

 

Dressing down doesn't make you ugly.

 

I think it can make you look less attractive.  I mean, for example, Valerie Harper is an attractive woman, but they certainly dressed her, for the first few seasons, on Mary Tyler Moore in a way to make her seem heavier and look more unattractive.  It was the same thing for Julie Kavner on Rhoda.  They put her in billowy clothes that made her seem much dumpier than she actually was.   

Edited by txhorns79
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Funny how we ("we" as a society, in general - myself included), get concerned that it could be harmful for a young actress to play a character labeled homely/fat/ugly, but we don't get concerned about a young actress playing a character that is labeled stupid.  Do we think that it is easier to overlook or not internalize being called dumb on a regular basis or do we just think of being dumb as not as horrible as being stupid?  And shouldn't we be more concerned than we are about a young actress who plays a character that is always supposed to be the best looking, and worry that she may go to unhealthy lengths to maintain her beauty (it seems there have been cases of actresses developing eating disorders brought on by them wanting to stay as gorgeous as their character is supposed to be)? And why is it that young male actors never seem to play characters that would make society concerned for their mental well-being?  

I don't think this is the same thing at all though.  When somebody is hired to play dumb, they are essentially doing just what the title suggests.  Playing.  It's acting.  So I'd like to think an actor of all people knows the difference between real and make believe and that they are only stupid due to the words being written on the page for them act out.  So what is there to internalize when they are being called stupid for reading words on a page that were literally written for that purpose?  I'm sure Nolan knows that in real life he is a genius and only Luke is fairly stupid.  Now where it gets uncomfortable is often viewers can't seperate the two so I'm sure Nolan meets people all the time that probably just assume he's stupid in real life and are fairly shocked to find out otherwise.

 

Whereas when you mock a character on a show for being ugly or fat (not that this show has ever gone the fat route), since the actor and character share a face/body, the potshots can be taken personally.  Obviously shows can play down somebody's looks and sometimes people can wear a fatsuit, but generally if a fat joke makes it into a script it's because it's directed at someone who is actually overweight.  To go back to the infamous Growing Pains example, if a young teenage actress gets a script written by a bunch of middle aged men that is constantly filled with fat/ugly jokes directed at her character, who also just happens to share her face/body, of course the actress is going to question her looks and if this is really the way people perceive her in real life.  Your face is your face.  Your body is your body. Also I think if a teenage boy is on the receiving end of constant fat/ugly jokes, then of course we should be concerned about them as well.  Body image issues don't only pertain to females.

 

In this case however, I think Ariel is fine.  Obviously I have no idea for sure, but I'd be more concerned if she were still with her mother, who according to some of the claims against her, used to force Ariel to diet unnecessarily.   But it seems like Ariel found her happiness and a loving family when she finally got out of that situation.  However I remember there were a few jokes lobbed in her direction during the height of her custody situation that mirrored her own life a bit too closely and felt a bit unncessary at the time.

Edited by spanana
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I presume she is secure enough to realize she isn't her character, doesn't take it all that seriously and goes home to swim in her money.

 

Exactly. I really don't understand the handwringing over whether or not an actress/actor is insulted by the things their fictional character gets called. For the amount of money this cast is paid, I'd be willing to have them scream obscenities and fling insults about my looks at me and air it nationwide. I doubt Ariel gives a shit that Alex is the butt of a lot of jokes. Exceptions like the Growing Pains girl are just that, exceptions.

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Because Ariel is a teenager and there is no time in a young woman's life where she is more self conscious about her developing looks, despite the money. I'm sure Tracy Gold realized she wasn't her character either and also went home swimming in money, but the portrayal still apparently took it's toll.

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Because Ariel is a teenager and there is no time in a young woman's life where she is more self conscious about her developing looks, despite the money. I'm sure Tracy Gold realized she wasn't her character either and also went home swimming in money, but the portrayal still apparently took it's toll.

 

Is there any evidence that Ariel suffers from the same issues that Tracey Gold did?   

 

 

Did anybody else think that Horatio Sanz was giving Alex the thumbs up for a reason that had nothing to do with Mitchell's scrapbook?  It's probably for the best to leave that scene vague if they were indeed going for that.

 

The whole character felt like a set up for a joke that never came.  I thought maybe we would learn he understood and spoke English perfectly, or there would just be something beyond what we were given. 

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I think the writers are way more invested in Haley and Andy than the audience is. Will they, won't they does not work unless the audience cares about the outcome for the couple. In this case, I just don't care. Haley had such a good and hilarious match in Dylan. Why did they get rid of him? I really liked that actor. I know the Andy actor is well known and well liked in other shows he's been in but his character in MF just sucks the life out of every scene. He's an exaggerated Phil without any of Ty Burrell's charm. 

Edited by evilmindatwork
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I really like Haley and Andy together, but the lack of progression is frustrating. Posters have mentioned Ross and Rachel, but they did get together (for a short while, granted) midway through the second season. Rachel even discovered Ross' feelings at the end of the first season. Haley and Andy haven't even reached that point yet.

 

I have never loved this show, but I appreciate its consistency. I thought this season was one of the better ones. I think the writers seem to have a better handle now for all the young characters--they were a bit lost earlier in the season.

 

I think MF should be given a lot of credit for really successfully transitioning Haley to a really valuable character post-high school. I think they have the same chance of success with Alex. It helps that Alex's post-HS storylines will be quite different from Haley's.

 

Manny and Luke are still the weakspots, but I do think the writers have improved their handling of them over the season.

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Damn this show for making me like Alex in an episode!  She was, IMO, becoming cartoonish in her "all superiority all the time" mode, this was a nice change.

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Totally agree, ByTor. 

 

I wish they would bring back DeeDee. She wasn't in one episode this season, was she? Hers are some of my favorite episodes. Also, Dylan is comedy gold. I think Luke was a weak spot this season with all his teen horniness. Manny handles it much more tastefully (and gets better results with girls).

 

I like all the other characters a lot. Cam doesn't annoy me. I think all the acting is really good and the show is usually well-written, 

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What I meant, and didn't word well, was "why doesn't society get concerned about young males playing ugly or stupid (or homicidal nutjobs) and the affect that part may have on them?"  

 

I understand your point, but my worry isn't limited to young actresses. There was a good character actor named Vincent Schiavelli (you've seen him a million times) whose whole reason for being cast was to make audiences say, "God DAMN, that man is ugly." I often wondered what it was like to go through life knowing that your career is a function of your ugliness. But maybe he didn't care.

 

http://www.today.com/id/10608095/ns/today-today_entertainment/t/character-actor-vincent-schiavelli-dies/#.VZbYhmDLhvY

 

I also used to wonder about William Atherton's mental well-being, since he made a career of playing assholes (like in Ghostbusters). Did he ever go home at night and wonder, "Hmmm, why is it the world apparently finds it so easy to believe I'm an asshole?"

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