The Boyfriend of the Week

May 17, 2004

Okay, so, here's something disturbing. Over the last couple of months, I've been getting a lot of email from readers complaining that too many of the latest Boyfriends of the Week have been older, more "serious" guys. Sean Bean, Dale Midkiff, and Anthony LaPaglia are all 45 years old. John Travolta's 50, and Chris Cooper -- yikes -- an elderly 55! Nevermind Tyron Leitso (33), Charlie Hunnam (24), or Matt Damon (34), they say, THAT'S JUST NOT GOOD ENOUGH!

Apparently, at least as far as I can tell, they want me to feature preteens. Primarily, I think, because THEY are preteens. However, while I could've chalked the first dozen or so of these messages up to a flukey adolescent maelstrom, after awhile, I started to get the feeling some of you guys were beginning to think I was taking this whole Boyfriend thing seriously. That I like the older men because they're actually better prospects when it comes to long term relationships or something like that. Or that you guys were starting to think I was, like, DEEP or something. Well, hey, I'm here to tell you -- reports of my depth have been greatly exaggerated. I can be just as vacuous and shallow now as I was when I was 13 and only had eyes for Johnny Depp despite the fact he was a big fat jerkface in real life back then. He was CUTE, and that was ALL THAT MATTERED.

So, to prove my vain self to those of you who were starting to think I was getting all old 'n such, I would like to present to you the gorgeous, handsome, cute, hot, young, and, yes, I'll even say it, PHAT Ivan Sergei.

Now, despite the fact the goal of this write-up was to hover as closely to the surface of things as possible -- just to drool and be done -- that didn't mean this was an easy one to put together. I had a number of lengthy discussions with myself over this choice, and some of them got quite heated. First, there was the debate over whether or not to go with Ivan to begin with, because, in reality, "young" is a bit of an exaggeration. The truth is, if you cut Ivan Sergei in half like a redwood, you'd count 31 rings in his middle. That's only one ring more than I have, and it's already been established that I'm totally over the hill. If you really think about this, though, 31 is the perfect age for just about anybody lookin' for a Boyfriend. He's legal, but he's out of that annoyingly self-important 20's phase. For those of you still in your teens, he may be a little too old for you to become (legally) romantically involved with at this point, but at least it's safe for you to say you like him. It's cool to have a crush on a 31 year old when you're 14. Trust me. Your friends will think you're all sophisticated and grown up.

The second self-inflicted debate was whether I ought to go with someone a little more well-known. I mean, if you recognize this guy, raise your hand. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Yeah, see, didn't think there would be too many. Ivan's only been in a handful of movies, mostly in non-starring roles, and on television you'd probably only know him from the short-lived WB show "Jack and Jill" or from "Crossing Jordan," where he joined the cast in 2003.

But, lucky for Ivan and the rest of us, the more I went back and forth on this (duck season! wabbit season!) the more I came to realize that his lack of fame actually makes him absolutely perfect for the Vacuous, Shallow Write-Up (or, as I call it, the VSWU, or "Vish-Woo"). Because, think about it, if you've never really seen him before, you have no idea if he's talented or smart or funny. All you know is what's on the surface. The slightly crooked, twinkly grin. The broad shoulders, messy hair, dimpled chin. The highly kissable kisser. Ooh, and those hands - I love those hands. Ooh, and that butt - I looooov. . . oh, nevermind.

Initially, I thought I'd just leave this at that. But, you know me, I'm a glutton for punishment, and, as such, was unable to avoid the temptation to rent a few of his movies and check them out. I knew this was dangerous - too much information can really wreak havoc on the Vish-Woo, after all. But I gave it a lot of thought and since the last thing I'd seen him in was the made-for-TV earthquake movie "10.5" (which aired two weeks ago and was, in a word, totalandabsolutecrap), I figured it was probably safe. Little chance I'd discover he was actually Lawrence Olivier in a very cute dimpled-chin disguise, and, thus, little chance of this turning into another "deep" write-up about a "serious" actor. Right? Right.

That sounds kind of mean, though, doesn't it? Because, hey, Ivan Sergei IS a very serious actor. That is, one would assume he's very serious. About his career. But the fact of the matter is, he's just. . . well, he's no Lawrence Olivier, that's for darn sure. I watched three movies of his, and he played the same character in all three. Take one (1) troubled young guy. Stir in 1/2 cup "complicated situation." Add 1-2 tablespoons of "authority figure" and wait for ingredients to react. After explosion, bake at 85 degrees, in Los Angeles, until fully tanned and very tall. It's the same role he played in "10.5" and the same role he plays on "Crossing Jordan," too (even though for that role, you have him bake at 30 degrees in a Bostonian winter). It's the role of Teenaged Boy, when you get right down to it, even when, as in the case of "Jordan," it's really the role of "grown up guy who not only went to medical school, but apparently is also done with internships and residencies and even had enough time to get fired a few times, thus making him at least 35 years old, if not older."

Now, the first of the movies I rented was "The Opposite of Sex," starring Christina Ricci as an extremely cranky 16 year old and ex-Boyfriend Martin Donovan as her extremely gorgeous older brother. In this movie, Ivan's character is described by Christina's character as "the beautiful, dumb one," and it's an apt description, no offense. She suckers his character into all kinds of trouble, and he pretty much laps it up because he's so D-U-M he's actually completely smitten with her. Bah ha ha! Dork! It's a good movie - funny and clever - but the most important thing about it is that Ivan spends at least 75% of his time on-screen without a shirt. For this, I give the movie 5 stars out of 5. Because that is an upper body I could really come to consider home. Leave a light on in the window for me, Ivan. I'll be there in half an hour.

The second movie I watched was "Dangerous Minds," a movie I'd been meaning to see ever since it came out, actually, because I'm a sucker for movies about schoolteachers and/or Marines, and this movie is about both. I figured this was a good time to rent it when I read on the web a description of his part that made it sound impressive. In actuality, though, he's only got about five minutes of screen time and maybe four lines of dialogue, most of which consists of sentence fragments. It's not a bad flick, though. I was entertained. Would've been a lot better had they worked in some kind of shirt-removing angle on the storyline, but I suppose that might have been kind of controversial given that the characters are all teachers or students. And, on second thought, yeech.

Now, hold on a sec here, because this is where I paused again in the write-up to debate a new something with myself. The gist of the argument: Do I even want to take the time to describe the third movie I watched to you? Because it was so bad even *I* couldn't watch all of it, and everybody knows I'll watch just about anything ("Jaws 4: The Revenge," anybody? I own it on video, so just c'mon over!). But, maybe I should mention it anyway? I mean, he did have a pretty big part in it, and he was trying really hard to be charming and cute, which all by itself was very charming and cute. Unfortunately, the actress who played opposite him was also trying very hard to be charming and cute, but only succeeding in making me exhale impatiently and reach for the remote control. Perhaps because she didn't look nearly as good without her shirt on. Dunno. But hey, I'll tell you the name of it, anyway, so you'll know not to pick it up yourself - "Playing Mona Lisa." It'll be in the "Total Waste of Perfectly Good Celluloid" section at your local video store. Avoid like plague.

The good news about all this is that since this is a Vish-Woo, whether or not the movies were good is totally beside the point. All that matters is whether or not Ivan was good, by which I mean "good looking," which, by the way, he was. And thus ends the movie review portion of this write-up.

Now that it's time for the biographical section, though, we're entering into much trickier territory. It's hard to remain on the surface when you start digging into someone's history. You may discover that, say, in his spare time he likes to rescue puppies or help little old ladies across busy intersections. You might find out that he lives in a very modest house and sends all his money to charity instead of spending it on cars, salon treatments, and nice shoes. You might find out that he's married with two toddlers and that in his off hours, he likes to write children's books about a cute yellow bear named Pooh. The Vish-Woo can totally go all to heck when you start working on the bio part. And that's why, for your sake and mine, all I'm going to tell you is that Ivan Sergei was born on May 7, 1972 and grew up in New York. He started his professional life out as a newspaper salesman, but moved into acting when he landed that role in "Dangerous Minds." He likes photography. He's not married. And did I mention the cute dimple in his chin?

So, there you have it folks. Portrait of the Artist as a Really Cute Guy, period. But you want to know the best thing about this write-up? It's completely dishonest from start to finish. Because the truth is, every week when I tune into "Crossing Jordan," I mutter a secret hope that this time, they'll finally give his character more to do. More personality. More character. And yes, I'll say it, more depth. Because, to be honest, there's some truth to the fact I'm getting old. When I was 13, hunkazoidal hunkatrons were all it took to make me swoon. But after a decade or so of dating real men, I've come to realize what every trite, cliched writer comes to realize -- looks aren't everything. Smarts, talent, and a good sense of humor -- that's going to get you a lot further in my world. I mean, if your Boyfriend is gorgeous, but he has the brain of a vacuum cleaner (and I mean just a regular upright, not one of those clever little Roomba robots), life for you is gonna get real dull real fast. After all, Boyfriends are only put on this earth for one thing -- entertainment. And while my vacuum cleaner is a lovely red color and has a bright, shiny light on the front of it that I have, upon occasion, described as "captivating," it's about as fun to talk to as, say, A VACUUM CLEANER.

Call me old. Call me deep. Call me a cab. Heck, call me Ishmael. Just don't call me at home Sunday nights at 10pm. I'll be busy watching Ivan grow. At least, I really hope I will.

MacGyver Factor Score: 91.5%. Can't give him too many points, since I just don't know him very well yet. However, despite what I said mere moments ago, looks DO count for something. In fact, on this site, they apparently count for exactly 1.5% above the 90th percentile. And there you have it. The End.

Boyfriend-Related Links
The Original Ivan Sergei Fan Club
Ivan's IMDB Page

NBC's Crossing Jordan page

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