The Boyfriend of the Week

March 27, 2000

Okay, everyone breathe a gigantic sigh of relief -- Meg lives! And don't you feel lucky? You should, especially since I'm STILL sick and I'm writing this on a rocking train (I have a stomach bug, see?). I ought to be sipping 7-Up, munching on Saltines, and watching the movie ("Citizen Kane," if you can believe it), but instead I am WRITING THIS FOR YOU.

So, quit yer whining. You don't know how good you've got it.

On the plus side, I did get to spend the whole weekend watching movies with my Mom and each of the movies we watched featured someone I instantly knew was a Boyfriend-to-Be. Three of the guys are guys you probably haven't even heard of, which you ought to be VERY excited about. You should also be very excited about the fact all three are majorly cute. Majorly. Cute. You have some interesting and educational weeks ahead to look forward to! Lucky! Lucky! Lucky!

This week's Boyfriend, Mark Ruffalo, was not one of the weekend's Unknown Three. However, he's pretty unknown so I'm starting off the series with him since I saw him first. I discovered Mark exactly one week ago at 8pm on UPN. He's one of the co-stars of the "Homicide" folks' new cop drama "The Beat," which premiered last week. All it took to get me to watch, of course, was the phrase "Homicide creators," and you can tell those guys were involved, too. Lots of similarly tricky camerawork and the same kind of feel to the thing overall.

And, also like "Homicide," very, very cute actors are involved. In fact, it was really hard to choose between the two co-stars. Both are attractive, talented, and likable. So, you must be wondering, what made me choose Mark?

Well, it started when I noticed he looked kind of familiar. This started off as a little itch in my brain but soon became really, really, really annoying. Why did this guy look familiar? It was driving me nuts! Finally, I realized it wasn't really Mark Ruffalo that looked familiar, it was the fact that Mark Ruffalo looks a lot like Vincent D'Onofrio. So, ah, Vincent, I thought. That settles it. But not ten minutes later, I was suddenly hit with the notion that, no, I HAD seen him somewhere before. I began to form a picture of him in my mind. He was a little younger, standing on a runway holding a baby. And there were some bad guys around him. He looked nervous. And, yes, yes, the picture is becoming more clear. There's someone standing next to him. Wearing. . .red. Holy cow! It's the Constable!

Yes, 'tis true, kiddos. Mark Ruffalo was in an episode of "Due South." It was the episode where Ray and Benny find a baby in the backseat of their car and get caught up with a couple who are fighting over their child. The father, deep in debt with some seriously bad dudes, wants to sell the baby to a family willing to pay off his debt (thus saving his life). The mother, however, ain't going along with this plan. Of course, the Constable saves the baby, the father, the mother, and the day. No big surprise there.

But, now you understand why Mark beat out his co-star for appointment to the Boyfriend of the Week post. Close proximity to the Constable scores you major points in my book.

Anyway, since I'm still not feeling that red-hot, I'm going to keep this short. Mark's relatively unknown to tv and film, but he's pretty famous in some circles for his theater work. In fact, I read a review of a play he was in where one critic pretty much said if it hadn't been for Mark Ruffalo, the play would've totally sucked (I'm paraphrasing). See? So, he's not just a pretty face. On "The Beat," he plays a rookie cop named Zane partnered with his pal. Most of the cop stuff is pretty standard, but it looks like this show is going to focus a lot on the relationships of the two guys to their various girlfriends. Mark's girlfriend is a psycho pyromaniac who, obviously, is going to be cut loose pretty soon (in the first episode, she set his apartment on fire). We'll have to see how that plays out, as I suspect she's not going to go quietly.

I wouldn't say "The Beat" is a fantastic show. But it's always best not to judge a program on its first few episodes. The tricky camera stuff was really heavy-handed and they'd be better off keeping that to a minimum in the future, but the characters are good, the plots seem strong, and, of course, the stars are total hunkazoids.

So, tune in tonight at 9pm on UPN and catch episode two of "The Beat." You'll see why my choice was so difficult, but I think you'll also agree that I made the right decision by going with Mark. Plus, I love Vincent D'Onofrio, so it's kind of like a two-for-one deal here.

MacGyver Factor Score: 92.6%. This number may rise as the show progresses. Especially if there is ever a scene that involves Mark Ruffalo taking off his shirt. Ahem.

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