The Boyfriend of the Week

November 21, 2005

As you guys all know, I'm a huge fan of horror movies. I love to be scared. I love to be grossed out. I love thrills and chills. And therefore, it seems only natural that I should also love Halloween. Which I do. Because I am nothing if not superbly natural. Or whatever I mean by that.

This year, I was looking forward to Halloween more than ever before, at least in terms of my adult life. Know why? Because after years and years (and years) of living in apartments, where we got maaaaaybe two trick-or-treaters every October 31st, I was finally living in my own house. In a neighborhood jam-packed with kids. Jam-PACKED, I tell you! I see kids all the time in our area -- kids on bikes, kids on foot, kids with dogs, kids with dads, kids kids kids all the time kids. Dozens of kids. Hundreds of kids. Googles of kids. Gaggles of kids! Everywhere, KIDS!

As a result of this constant kiddage, I was a bit nervous we might not have enough candy if we went too conservative with the shopping. So the day before All Hallow's Eve, I went out and bought seventeen thousand bags of assorted Halloween candy. I exaggerate not. Seventeen thousand. That's a 17 with THREE zeros after it. Like this: 17,000. Do you realize how much candy that is? I had to rent a truck and everything! I mean, there's just nothing worse than running out, and there's certainly nothing better than having too much (because, yum). So why the heck not? Especially when you can those huge mega-bags of assorted mixes for only about five bucks a pop.

But, I'll confess that after all that shopping and driving around in my rental truck, I kind of ran out of time for other traditional stuff this year, like carving a pumpkin or doing much of anything in terms of decorating. Nevertheless, I had uncarved pumpkins sitting on the front porch, and I had lights turned on all over the place, and I had a big bowl of sugar sitting by the front door and I. Was. Ready. Bring on the cast of thousands! Bring 'em on! Because the only thing our house was lacking come 5pm Halloween night was a huge neon sign that flashed, "CANDY HERE!"

After all this, ALL THIS, you can only imagine my disappointment -- nay, my crushing disappointment -- when five o'clock, six o'clock, seven o'clock, eight o'clock, all came and went and nary a single child came to our door. Not a SINGLE ONE! Not one! Not even a really really small one! None!

As I sat by the front door all night, looking forlornly out the window at the street, my husband kept popping into the living room to try to cheer me up. For one thing, he pointed out, it was raining and there weren't really that many kids out in the neighborhood to begin with. For another, our house is located in kind of a funny, off-the-beaten-path spot, and both houses next door to us were inhabited by losery Halloween Scrooges (no porch lights). If you were a kid and you were trying to work out an equation in your head that would allow you to maximize your candy intake while inversely minimizing the amount of time you spent in the rain -- an equation that undoubtedly would contain lots of Greek symbols like μ and π -- you would quickly deduce that it wasn't worth crossing the street to ring our bell. If you were a kid too young to be doing higher math in your head, then you were probably the little boy I saw point at our house and exclaim, "Let's go there!" And your Dad was probably the guy dressed as the Michelin Man who replied with a falsely cheery, "Let's go HOME!"

I pity you, young lad, for your father is a schmoo. And on top of that, this exchange was overheard at 7:30pm when I was so desperate for a trick-or-treater that had you actually knocked at my door, I would've dumped seventeen thousand bags worth of candy into your sack. Seventeen thousand. That's a 17 with THREE ZEROS.

Trick or treat, indeed.

So, there I was, sitting and staring out the window at the empty, rainy streets, making myself sick on little "100 Grand" candy bars (oh man, those are good). And there was my husband, periodically coming up behind me, rubbing my shoulders, and muttering on about how next year we should try doing THIS or next year we might want to try doing THAT and maybe next year we'll get more if it's not raining and next year next year next year NEXT YEAR I AM BUYING THE STUPID NEON SIGN THAT SAYS "CANDY HERE!"

What's the point of all this? I mean, aside from me wanting you to throw me a big pity party, complete with violins and maybe even a piñata? It's that it's what I'm using as an excuse this week for being so amazingly, embarrassingly late with the write-up. It was a bummer of a Halloween, you see? I was so, so very distraught that it took me THIS LONG to recover from the sorrow. It's a cruel world, people. It's a cruel world when a girl like me can't get a single trick-or-treater on Halloween. You can't expect me to just bounce back from something like that. Healing takes time.

Oh, shut up, Meg. You guys know that's all totally bogus. You want to know what the real problem was? The real problem was that I had to make a choice this week, something that I'm notoriously bad at doing, and the choice was so difficult that I kept waffling and changing my mind every two days. I'd get a paragraph done on one fella, and then look up and see the other guy, and the next thing I knew, I was crumpling my paper and starting over with a fresh sheet.

The source of this dilemma? The highly entertaining new TV show "Supernatural."

Now, given my love of horror movies, and of Halloween and all other things spooky, you'd think I would've been more excited at the start of this year's television season when I saw how many ghostly TV shows were on the list of newbies. I try never to miss a ghostly TV show, and that's why back when Matthew Fox was on that series "Haunted," I tuned in faithfully every week. As if that weren't dedication enough to the genre, I also made Matty a Boyfriend of the Week and promoted "Haunted" right there on my web site. Even though I recognized that it wasn't brilliant, it was definitely the first of its kind (at least, that I'd ever seen), and in that respect, I think we should all take a moment to thank it for breaking the trail.

Or, maybe we should take a moment to curse it for breaking the trail. I suppose it depends entirely on whether or not you like Jennifer Love Hewitt. Because, though I should've been doing the Snoopy dance when I saw this year's lineup, all things considered (not only were there going to be THREE (3) creepy alien shows, but we were also going to get two (2) ghost stories), my joy came crashing down upon my head like an anvil in a Bugs Bunny cartoon the moment I heard those three words. Jennifer. Love. Hewitt. She's still getting WORK? Why is she still getting WORK? SHE IS THE ANTICHRIST!

Luckily, before my soul was sucked completely out of my chest by the news, I saw an ad for "Supernatural." Now, granted, the show looked kind of stupid. Most ghost stories ARE kind of stupid. But this show had something "Ghost Whisperer" lacked -- it had two incredibly good looking guys and a very cool car.

Ah, yes, the studly stars of "Supernatural," whose looks alone are enough to make me swallow just about anything they put on my plate. And now it all makes sense, right? The thing I said earlier about my difficult choice? Because, hot diggity are Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki two ridiculously gorgeous young men. Every week I saw the show after deciding to do this write-up, I found it harder and harder to decide what to do. I didn't want to feature them both because I just did a "menage" the size of China when I featured the entire male cast of "Serenity." Been there, done that, gotta think smaller. But the two guys on "Supernatural" are so different that who I was crushing on really depended on the mood I was in at any given moment. If I was in the mood for pensive and brooding, I had a killer crush on Jared. If I was in the mood for trouble, I had a killer crush on Jensen. Jensen. Jared. Jensen. Jared. Jensen. Jared.

There was only one way to make this choice. So, I booted up my computer, navigated to the site, and looked them both up. Whoever had the most interesting movies in their filmography was the one I was going to pick. I wanted to be sure to see them in something other than "Supernatural," of course, and if that something was going to be a BORING something, I wanted no part of it. As each actor's list slowly appeared (I still use dial-up on my laptop, so I should say, "As each actor's list slooooooowly appeared. . ."), the choice became clear.

Jared Padalecki has recently starred in not one, but TWO (2), cheesy horror movies! That did it. I had my Boyfriend.

But wait! Let's go back to talking about "Supernatural" for a minute first.

The interesting thing about this new show is that nobody but NOBODY thought it was gonna succeed. Every critic I encountered rolled their figurative eyes in its general direction, and I myself was pretty sure I wasn't going to be able to get into it. It was going to be walking a very dangerous line -- a line a lot of these types of shows stumble off of like a drunk on a field sobriety test. If you have to be scary in a tame, network-TV kind of way, you absolutely must, must, avoid at all costs taking yourself too seriously. And that goes double if your tame network-TV non-scary scary-show is going to star extremely young, barely post-adolescent, cute actors. You go too serious, and you're a washed up teen soap before you can even say, "life as we know it."

So, I was wary. The pilot episode opens with a very dismal scene in which the two boys as children watch their mother get killed by some demon thingy, and we find out that their father then dedicates his life to tracking down evil in the supernatural world, trying to find out what really happened to his wife. Cut to about ten years later, and both boys are in their early 20's. They've just discovered that good old Dad is missing, and the two team up to try to bring him home. In the process, they themselves will encounter and battle a variety of bad-assed baddies. And that's where the fun has come in. They're two brothers and they act exactly the way two brothers should. They tease, they mock, they snort, they laugh, they step in front of evil spirits to protect each other, they're just generally a lot of fun to be around. Even if the plots are a little hokey at times, it's entertaining to watch the two guys interact with each other. They remind me of my relationship with my siblings -- it's just done very well, very realistically.

But even better is the fact that the plots aren't actually all that hokey. I mean, despite it's network-timidity, it's been fairly successfully creepy. Plus, I'm getting a kick out of how much fun they've been having with some of the oldest urban legend stories in the book. For example, they did a whole episode about the Hookman that was almost as entertaining as its counterpart in the horror movie "Urban Legends." The only reason I liked the movie version better is because it involved the stringing up of Pacey from "Dawson's Creek" and who couldn't love a little of that action?

So, the show is having fun with itself and with its themes, and I just love that. Love it! Plus, the two brothers just make it fun. That's really it in a nutshell -- this show is just plain fun. And given the lameness of "Lost" of late (say that three times fast, I dare you), I have to say I'm enjoying this one all the more for filling in the gaps with a little crazy creativity.

Now, back to those two horror movies from Jared's 2005 lineup. I've only been able to see one of them so far -- the second one, "Cry_Wolf," isn't out on DVD yet. But the first one ended up impressing me a lot more than I expected it too. It's the recent remake of that classic old Vincent Price movie, "House of Wax." Now, I've seen the original, and even though I'm sure I would've found it scary had I'd been alive when it first came out, decades later it really didn't do much more than make me chuckle. But the remake, despite being kind of stupid, actually kind of kept me on the edge of my seat. First of all, it's got a fairly decent cast -- the two stars are Elisha Cuthbert from "24" and Chad Michael Murray from "One Tree Hill," and the supporting actors, including Jared (who plays Elisha's boyfriend), do a pretty bang-up job themselves.

It's got the standard horror movie plot, of course -- a group of teenagers are on a road trip when they pull over to camp for the night. When they wake up, their car won't start, and two of them end up hiking into the nearby town to get help. But there they discover something spooooky -- the entire town is made up of wax people. Not wax figures -- like, wax replicas of people -- actual people who have been killed and then coated in wax. Pretty soon the entire group of kids are on the run for their lives, racing from two deranged brothers, one of whom is (stereotypically) facially deformed and wearing a wax mask himself.

It sounds terrible, right? And it IS kind of terrible. But I usually hate these modern-day horror movies -- the filmmakers often go overboard with the blood and gore thinking that's all it takes to make a movie scary, when in reality, you have to pack an emotional wallop for a film to truly be scary (because, of course, being scared is an emotion -- something a lot of horror movie makers don't seem to understand). In this flick, though, I actually cared about whether or not the remaining teens survived. Something that's very very rare for me and bad horror movies. If a horror movie is horrifically stupid, instead of entertainingly stupid, by the end I'm usually rooting for the serial killer. Here, I wanted Elisha to kick some wax-dude hiney. I was rooting for her. I wanted her to make it out alive. And, happily, when it came to kicking hiney, she passed with major flying colors.

I knew that battle she had with the cougar on "24" would come in handy later in life. Kapow! Whabap! Shazam!

The other thing in Jared's list that intrigued me was the fact that he'd had a repeating role on the show "Gilmore Girls." This is a show I've been meaning to watch for years, but never got around to checking out. So, I figured this was kismet -- finally an actual excuse to give it a try! I got disk one from the first season and settled in to watch all four of its episodes last weekend. And you're all going to hate me for saying this, but to be honest, it totally fell flat for me. I'm going to rent all the other disks in season one to see if it improves as the actors dig into their parts, but in the first four episodes, it just seemed to me like EVERY line was an attempt at being funny, and that every actor was primarily ACTING FUNNY instead of just being their characters. I can't really explain exactly what I mean by that, but it felt very unnatural and forced in a lot of places, and I had a hard time getting comfortable with the characters. This is something that's often true of a new show, though, and I make it a policy, therefore, never to give up on a show until I've seen at least six episodes. It sometimes takes that long for the actors to settle into their parts and really become their characters.

Plus, Jared was only in the first episode, and even though his appearance was pretty short, he was darn cute in it and I was definitely intrigued enough to want to continue and see if he'll have more to do later on. I just really like this guy. If he's going to play the "boy next door" type character in everything he does, I'm afraid I'm going to fall madly in love with him and be unable to do anything else with my days except dream about what our children would look like. Yes, yes, I realize he's much too young for me. But he sure does look good, and even better, he's a decently talented guy. Plus, horror movies and scary TV shows! It's like he was put on this world just for me.

Okay, time for a quick, quick bio on Jared, and if you want to learn more, don't forget to check out the Boyfriend-Related Links below. Jared Tristan Padalecki was born in, get this, NINETEEN EIGHTY TWO. Yes, you read that correctly. I said 1982! And yes, I realize this is a violation of a long-standing Boyfriend rule (no Boyfriends born in the 80's), but since all those 80's kids are now in their twenties (gasp!), it's getting harder to avoid them when I'm swooshing my arms around looking for a new crushee. Anyway, his birthday is July 19th, so be sure to send him a card.

Jared began taking acting lessons at the age of 12. In 1999, he won the "Claim to Fame" contest, which earned him an appearance on the Teen Choice Awards. After graduating from a Texas high school in 2000, and being named a candidate for the Presidential Scholars Program, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career. And it's here that I'd like to note that one of Jared's earliest roles was slated to be none other than MACGYVER HIMSELF in a proposed TV series called "Young MacGyver." The show never got of the ground, but even though I didn't know who Jared was at the time I was reading about its development, I never forgot his face after that. He would've made a truly terrific younger version of Mac -- smart, cute, and above all just really, really nice.

His favorite book is "The Great Gatsby," which earns him my undying respect if only because it's not "Catcher in the Rye." His favorite ice cream flavor is cookie dough. His favorite movie is "Good Will Hunting" (again, more respect from me for not saying "Citizen Kane," but minus five points for liking a movie with Ben Affleck in it). His favorite food is cheeseburgers. And his favorite "weekend outfit" is jeans and a tee-shirt.

By comparison, here's my list -- you'll note we both like to wear the same thing on weekends, which surely means we're made for each other, despite the fact we appear to have nothing else in common. My favorite book is "Absalom! Absalom!" by William Faulkner. My favorite ice cream flavor is Rocky Road. My favorite movie is actually three movies tied for first: "To Kill a Mockingbird," "Jaws," and "Tombstone." My favorite food is M&Ms. I eat all the blue ones first so I don't have to look at them, because I'm still bitter about the fact they got rid of the tan ones. My favorite weekend outfit is. . . jeans and a tee-shirt! Soul mates, I tell you!

Okay, everybody -- send me your list!

Up next for Jared is more "Supernatural," which was recently picked up by the WB for the full season. He's also costarring in a family movie called "Knights of Impossingworth Park." It features Ben Kingsley and Dale Midkiff (woo!) and is apparently about a young Asian girl who is visited by a 1000 year old knight. That's all I could find out about it, aside from the fact it also stars Jonathan Lipnicki, who I sort of have a low tolerance for. But let's keep our fingers crossed that Jared will be spooking us out in more bad horror movies come 2006. And while you're at it, it might not hurt to cross your fingers for me next Halloween as well. Because if I don't get any trick-or-treaters next year either, I'm defaulting on my mortgage and moving to Spain.

MacGyver Factor Score: 98.524% Points off for co-starring with another cute guy, thus making it absolutely TORTUROUS for me to decide who to make a Boyfriend first. Oops, did I just let it slide that I'm also planning a write-up soon on Jensen? I believe I did. Points back for his extremely cute floppy hair, as well as that teeny little mole he has on his right cheek.

Boyfriend-Related Links

Jared's IMDb page
Jensen's IMDb page
Jared Fanatic
Jared Padalecki Fan
Official Jared Padalecki (fan site)
Jared Padalecki Online

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