Monday, March 28, 2011

The Downfall of Typecasting

First off, I apologize for no post on Friday. I just wasn't feeling it. I've been spending a bit less time in front of my computer since I finished my game. I guess I just needed a break. I'll try not to let it happen again though (probably more for me than for you, I am sure--you've got better things to do than sit around wondering why Cori didn't post a blog).

Anyhoo, yesterday afternoon I sat down to watch this week's episode of No Ordinary Family (it aired on Saturday night instead of this coming Tuesday for some weird scheduling reason). You can find a review here, but beware of possible spoilers if you haven't seen the episode. It was the next to last episode of the season (and probably the series). I have to say, all in all, it was pretty good. The show has steadily managed to improve over the course of the season and to build a truly interesting mythology as well as to develop some fun and engaging characters.

But I have one glaring problem with the episode, and no, it was not with a certain extremely puzzling (to me) aspect of Stephanie's newly enhanced super abilities. I decided to just let that slide due to the overall well-executed nature of the story.

~*~*~ Beware of spoilers after the jump! ~*~*~

Guard dragon protects the unwitting from spoilers!
(Photo by UnorthodoxY via Flickr, used under Creative Commons License.)

No, my problem was with the casting of Raphael Sbarge as the dirty cop and overall bad guy of the episode. It's not that I don't like the guy. I have no personal problem with him, in fact, I would wager he is probably both a very nice guy and an incredibly talented actor given his long list of credited work. BUT in pretty much everything I have ever seen him guest star in, he has played the villain of the piece. And he pops up in stuff I watch a LOT. And he is always the bad guy. Often, he is not just the bad guy, but the wolf in sheep's clothing (he also played a dirty cop recently on Burn Notice, matter of fact).

But, you say, maybe he likes being the bad guy. Maybe so. He is incredibly good at it. I don't think I will ever forget his stint on Journeyman. In fact, due to the amazing performance he put in on that show, I now actually find him deeply unsettling. This bleeds over into my video game playing as well, believe it or not, because he does a lot of voice work in that industry. Unlike his usual television roles, however, he tends to play the good guy in video games. He is, in fact, the primary romanceable NPC for female characters in two of my favorite video games (he voiced Carth in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic and Kaidan in Mass Effect).

But Cori, you say again, doesn't this just refute your point that he always plays bad guys? Well, not really, because I am talking about his television roles. He is so good as the bad guy on TV that whenever I realize he is voicing a good character in a game I am playing, I get more than a little creeped out, and often start to unjustly suspect that character of having an agenda of some sort.

But all of that is beside the point, because all of that is about me and my reactions to his appearance on my television or computer screens. I don't begrudge him the right to play whatever role he wants to play, I really don't. My problem is this:

Every time I see his name in the opening credits of a television show, or see him pop up on the screen, I immediately say, "Oh, he did it!" And I am usually right. It kind of takes something out of the rest of the episode for me, as well as, I would imagine, it does for anyone else who watches the same shows I do. You see the same face in the same type of role often enough, then when they appear you already know how the story is going to play out.

So here is my open request to Raphael Sbarge and the people who cast him: Can you please find a few honest to goodness good guys for this actor to play? Because I can tell you, no matter what other twists the story has, that alone would be a hell of a surprise and would probably make for some awesome story-telling.

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