The Boyfriend of the Week


April 3, 2000

I'm sure every 13 year old girl swooned as soon as they caught a glimpse of this week's Boyfriend. And who can blame them? They, too, have seen the movie "Ten Things I Hate About You" and have discovered the brilliant acting and heart-palpitating looks of Aussie Heath Ledger!

The strange thing is, Heath has been around for awhile. In fact, not only has he been around, he's been in plain sight. He was in a television show (though it's been cancelled) called "Roar" that I vaguely remember being on not so long ago. I also vaguely remember watching an episode or two, but it simply can't be true. I can't see how I could've seen Heath Ledger before now and not remembered his name and face. (Um, because now they are forever emblazened on my cortex. Where I can whip them out when I need an emotional lift.) After "Roar" turned into a whimper and got the boot, Heath joined the cast of another show (I think it was called "Sweat"). This show, however, was doomed to failure from the get-go, as it was about a bunch of bicyclists. Yawn.

But, apparently, these two shows were considered flops only for people age 20 and above. Everyone younger (not the category I belong in, by the way) was apparently less oblivious than the rest of us when it came to a rather striking young Aussie lad and they quickly began to get a little bit drooly over him. Happily, one of these teenyboppers must've spread the word to a grown-up because, hallelujah!, Heath was finally rescued from obscurity by the hit movie "Ten Things I Hate About You"!

Now, I have to admit, when this movie came out, I thought, "Teenybopper flick. Avoid at all costs." However, last week I ended up sick at Mom's for a few days and we saw a preview for "Ten Things" and ran right out and rented it (well, she ran right out -- I stayed on the couch). Shakespeare makes anything good, was how I looked at it. If "Ten Things" is really based on "The Taming of the Shrew," how bad could it be? And thus my affection for young Australian lads named after candy bars was born.

Heath plays Patrick Verona, the modern-day Petruccio who is pretty much feared by all. When the fair Bianca decides she wants to start dating, her father tells her she can't date until her older sister, Kat, does. The only problem is, Kat is a major shrew! So, Bianca gets a boy with a crush on her to help find a boyfriend for Kat. And who in the entire school might not actually fear her? The dangerous and scary Patrick!

Only, as it turns out, the dangerous and scary Patrick is actually a somewhat-misguided nice-guy. If you read the play, you know what happens from there. But don't let that be enough for you because the movie is absolutely hilarious. It's an intelligent hilarity, too, which is why I'm giving it an enthusiastic thumbs-up (I would even say it's as good or better than the Moonlighting "Taming of the Shrew" episode). It's also tremendously sweet (just wait until you see the scene involving the band or the scene where Kat pukes her guts out while Patrick holds her hair), with most of the thanks for that going directly to Heath himself. He loves her! She hates him! He presses on nevertheless! Underdogs rule!

Now, while I was searching for info on Heath, I came across a LOT of pictures of him with totally different hair (including blond and short). I gotta say, something about the different hair detracted from the overall hubba-hubba effect. I don't even like long hair on boys, typically, but Heath Ledger needs that hair. Grow it back, Heath! For me! But the hair is only a tiny part of what makes me swoon when Heath steps on-screen. He's got an unusual face (which isn't really "handsome" by any traditional definition, but there's something very attractive about it nevertheless) and he's got a voice that could melt something totally unmeltable. It's not just the accent, either (though that helps), it's the tone. And the lips. And the way his adam's apple moves when he laughs.


A little background info on this week's Boy: Heath was born in 1979 (barely missing Boyfriend age cut-off -- I would never date anyone born in the 80's) (okay, I've made a few exceptions to that rule, but hey! Who's in charge here?). Actually, I can say more than 1979 -- he was born April 4th (Happy Birthday, Heath!), 1979, in Perth, Western Australia (so, yes, the accent is real). He's been in a zillion Australian things, including films, tv, and stage stuff. Lucky for us, however, he had the sense to move to America. I think I read somewhere that he's presently living in Los Angeles and may or may not be dating someone named Lisa. Lisa Schmeesa, I say. Who needs her?

Just kidding.

Anyway, it looks like he's slated to appear in two films so far this year -- one called "A Knight's Tale" that is described as being about a peasant squire who takes up the identify of his master when the knight suffers an untimely demise. Hmmm, interesting. The other is called "The Patriot" and stars Mel Gibson (fellow Aussie) and Joely Richardson. As near as I can tell, it's about the American Revolutionary War (yay! one of my favorite topics!) and is due to debut this summer.

So, it looks like Heath is here to stay, and yahoo to that, I say. If you haven't rented "Ten Things," you MUST DO IT. You might be thinking, "Eh, I'm too old for a movie set in a high school." You might be thinking, "Who wants to watch another teenage romance movie?" You might even be thinking, "Ick, that guy Heath is UGLY! What is she thinking?" But all of these thoughts are irrational and wrong, wrong, wrong. You will fall in love with Patrick Verona. I commandeth thee!

MacGyver Factor Score: 98.999%. Points off for not having a theme song (really, all he's lacking).

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