Wednesday, June 25, 2014

more on conduits

I've been watching Boss over the past week or so.  In the first several episodes, I noticed an odd channeling of another actor's style of diction and demeanor.

The guy who plays Ben Zajac (how are you not supposed to imagine Vanna White turning letters when you hear that name?) seems to have channeled the acting of the guy who played Broyles on Fringe.  It's weird at first.  But then as the season progresses you see how Dan Quayle-ish is the Zajac character, and it begins to make sense that he'd just adopt the familiar persona of a TV character who is a well-respected Black man in a position of hush-hush government authority, who has a steely reserve and a tiny bit of the Joe Friday stick-to-the-facts curtness.  It's an inversion referencing Obama as solid in humor as Chappelle's Clayton Bigsby.

He also plays a bit of the Kingfish/Slick Willie, but the driving reference is Broyles.

Kelsey Grammer is good as Kean -- did they intend to give his character the same name as the NJ guy who played a big role in the post-9/11 frenzy of creative distraction and empty analysis?

Kean's daughter is played by a UK actress who can't manage to stay in character, accent-wise.  Watching her preach to her mostly-empty rows of pews or whatever they're called in this fictional (or not) First Presbyterian Church of Chicago, it's almost as painful as watching Will Ferrell try to be funny.  The accent makes me ask a dead-horse question:  why are directors, casting directors or "showrunners" using xenothespians when we seem to have a shit-ton of Americans speaking the dialect and preferred accent and at least 100 of them have to be suitable in every other way for your acting talent and physical presence needs?

I'm guessing it's the SWPL-ish thing of having "exotic" reference points.  "Oh when I was running Pederast Place, I had 2 Aussies, a Scot, an Irish, and a Bangladeshi in my cast of talent.  It was like curating a piece of television history.  Besides, American actors are so boring."

I don't know who cast Kathleen Robertson, but give that person a raise and a bonus.

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