The Boyfriend of the Week

May 12, 2005

Well, this is a rare occasion. I'm actually getting a write-up posted for someone in a new television show BEFORE their show gets canceled or goes into summer hiatus. I mean, here it is, the end of the season for about five other shows I've been meaning to feature people from, and I STILL haven't gotten that darn Hugh Laurie write-up started. Gah! And how many Boyfriend write-ups have I posted in the past that lamented about the fact the guy's show had just been given the great networkian boot?

Too many, my friends. TOO MANY.

So, I score massive extra points for actually getting this write-up about Tim Daly posted towards the beginning, rather than the end, of his new show "Eyes." And, if you've been watching the show, it should only be obvious why I'm so extra-special inspired at the moment. I've had a thing for Tim Daly since he was on "Wings," but had kind of forgotten about him over the last few years. Sure, he periodically turned up in things -- a few movies here and there, an episode of “Monk” -- but he really hasn't been around all that much on a weekly basis for some time (except for that stint on "The Fugitive," a television show on several years ago that was, you guessed it, canceled before you could say the words "one-armed man").

Enter, a few weeks ago, ABC's latest new show, the hilarious and clever private-investigator series, "Eyes." And then enter, about two days after that, the reinstatement of my equally hilarious and clever crush on Tim (well, at least we'll hope it manifests itself in a hilarious and clever way -- I'm only on paragraph four here, after all). Because man, you thought he looked good in that pilot's uniform? That's nothing compared to how he looks in an expensive suit. And when he lets go with the sarcastic wit and charm, I almost explode from the agonizing, overflowing WANT. Every episode ends with me going, "Oh my GOD, I have to make Tim Daly a Boyfriend RIGHT NOW." And while, yes, I've been saying that after every episode for the past five weeks, (not to mention the fact I've been saying it after every episode of "House" all season long (except, you know, not using with the words "Tim Daly" in the middle)), what finally made it all come together was the episode that aired two weeks ago.

See, the show is about a very high-tech, big money private investigation office, run by boss Harlan Judd (Tim). He's got several investigators on staff, one of whom is a traitor, as well as a healthy smattering of geeky tech people. And that's another reason why this write-up is so unique. Since when do I lust after the clean-cut, charming BOSS when there are so many dorky geeks hanging around to go after instead? But the problem here is that while the tech guy IS a geek, he's just not quite dorky enough for me. He dresses too well. And besides, since "Alias" is on right before "Eyes," I'm always coming off a Marshall high when I hit Tim's show, and his nerds just PALE by comparison. As all nerds do, really. Cuz Marshall's aces.

Each week, a couple of teams of investigators at the firm are sent out on their various cases. And each week Harlan Judd is out there getting his hands dirty like the rest of them, and I mean that in all the best worst-ways, as he can be a truly delightful bastard at times. He's a hilarious bastard too, sarcastic and even egomaniacal in an oddly charming way. But after four episodes, I have to confess that even I was starting to get a little tired of his schtick. I mean, I LOVE his schtick. But I was ready for Harlan Judd to be something more than the hipster with the sharp tongue of wit. He can't always be that devilishly happy -- he needs a little. . . Well, what he needs is a little underdogginess.

Raise your hand if you're at all surprised to hear me say THAT. (Note: if you just put your hand up, you lose ten points for not paying attention over the last six years. Plus another ten points for raising your hand at all, given the fact I can't even see you from here. And I thought Marshall was a dork? Because, doooooorrrrrrrk.)

Anyway, in episode five we finally got to see, for the briefest of moments, Harlan play the underdog. You see, he's got this crush on a lawyer lady and in that episode, he was trying to help her with a problem with her boyfriend. But all through the ep, you could see that secretly, he was completely convinced that by the time he was done doing his thing, she would be swooning right into his disarmingly charming arms. That all comes crashing down at the end, though, when Harlan overhears her telling her boyfriend he's the only man for her. After Harlan just saved his arse! And while yes, I will agree that the emotion briefly flitting over Harlan's face at that moment was hardly worthy of much notice, nonetheless, for a face that is usually cracking a snide grin, it certainly gave me exactly the tipping point I needed. Not that I needed much of a tipping point, mind you, but more on the sheer lust part of all this later. (Or not, since I do try to keep this site relatively PG-13.)

Why is it necessary that Boyfriends be underdogs? Because a Boyfriend is just not a Boyfriend without a little unrequited love thrown in. Which only seems fair, considering the fact this web site is all about unrequited love. Turnabout, and whatnot.

Anyway, "Eyes" caps off what is probably my current favorite night of television, Wednesday night, on my current favorite channel of (network) television, ABC. You start with "Lost" (at least, you start with "Lost" on the rare, rare occasion that there's actually a new episode), then you immediately slide into "Alias" (which has much redeemed itself in my eyes this season, after a really lame season three that involved far too much ridiculous unbelievability even for me), and then from there to "Eyes." And if this is your current favorite night of network television as well, you have only ME to thank for it. Why? Because I'm the one who is responsible for making sure "Eyes" aired at 10pm, right after "Alias."

Come again, you ask?

Here's the story. Back at the beginning of the television season, when "Lost" started, Wednesday nights were pretty tolerable. I was watching "Lost" and then taping "CSI: New York," which I was giving a fair shot since it was fresh out of the gate. You may have noticed that ABC decided this year that only stodgy conformists make their hour-long shows actually fit into an hour-long timeslot, and as a result of their "Stick It to The Man!" kind of attitude, "Lost" frequently runs over the hour by several minutes.

This was okay when there was nothing on at 9 anyway. However, when "Alias" started up, airing right after "Lost" on ABC, that just royally screwed up my whole night. All of a sudden, I could no longer tape "CSI:NY" because "Alias" wouldn't start until about 9:05pm and thus would run until 10:05pm, overlapping with the first five minutes of "CSI:NY" (which are kind of the most crucial minutes as that's when you find out who's dead).

The thing is, I didn't really like "CSI:NY" (because, borrrrring) and I was perfectly happy to quit watching it. The problem was that there wasn't anything else on at 10pm and, frankly, why should I give up an entire hour of entertainment, even bad entertainment, on Wednesday nights just because ABC is going all rogue and freaky on me? It made me very cranky. So, I did what I always say I'm going to do and then never follow through on. I wrote a letter.

I explained the problem to ABC and offered them two solutions. One, suck it up and be like everybody else by cutting some ads out of "Lost" so it would fit into the timeslot again (a longshot, I realize). Or two, get rid of whatever stupid drivel it was they were airing after "Alias" at that time (it was some reality show involving one of the Unholy Trinity -- nannies, lyposuction, or home improvement), and put something on in its place that I would actually want to watch.

ABC didn't write me back. However, not three months later, "Eyes" premiered. RIGHT AFTER "ALIAS"! Behold the power of the pen!

Of course, watching five episodes of a new TV show does not solid Boyfriend research make. As Yoda would say. So, to do my part, I also rented a few of Tim's movies. I started out with a movie he ended up having a fairly small, but wholly Tim Daly role in (by which I mean "sarcastic bastard"), "The Object of My Affection." It's about a gay guy, played by Paul Rudd, whose rather egotistical boyfriend (Tim) dumps him for a younger man. Paul moves in with a friend of his, played by Jennifer Aniston, and when she gets knocked up (not by him), he decides he'll stay with her and act like the kid's father. There was sort of an icky "pretty girl tries to convert gay guy back to women" kind of overtone to the movie, and I'll confess I quit watching around the 3/4ths mark. However, that was more because I knew if I didn't get it back to Netflix on time, I'd miss out on "The Assault on Precinct 13" (if you want to score a new release the very day it comes out, you have to time your returns just right). I'd sort of enjoyed it up to that point, but just ran out of time and didn't want to sacrifice Brian Dennehy and Matt Craven (or, for that matter, Ethan Hawke and Laurence Fishburne) for Paul Rudd and a little teeny tiny bit of Tim Daly.

Besides, there were bigger, better Tim Daly roles to experience instead. First, "The Associate," a movie I was a little wary of, to be honest, but which I thoroughly enjoyed. It's about a bigwig stock broker, played by Whoopi Goldberg, who gets passed over for her promotion when the bosses decide to award it to the token white guy instead (a, you guessed it, sarcastic bastard played with devilish glee by Tim Daly). Instead of just taking it, she quits her job and creates her own firm. Only, nobody else is interested in giving all their money to a black woman either. So, a la "Remington Steele," what she does is invent an old, stuffy, successful, white, male partner named Robert Cutty.

Pretty soon Robert Cutty is the most famous and elusive character in all of New York City. Everything's going great until Whoopi realizes that yet again, a white guy is taking all her credit. She's had enough. But it seems like there are only two ways out of this mess -- she can either kill off the fictitious Cutty (which she tries to do a number of times, some of them pretty hilariously ridiculous), or she can out him as being HER in disguise. Oy vey, what a mess!

It's actually pretty cute and entertaining -- I thoroughly enjoyed it. And I'll tell you something else, it marks the 17th movie I've seen Dianne Wiest in, and she just gets better and better every time I see her. She's just the greatest. Somebody give that woman one of those lifetime achievement Oscar thingies! Do it now!

My last three Tim Daly movies included two I'd already seen at least three times each before. But for some reason, despite the fact neither one is a very good movie, I just keep watching them! Funny how that happens sometimes. I have a whole list of bad movies that I watch and enjoy every time the mood strikes. Someday, I should really put that list together for you guys so you can see once and for all just how amazingly awful my taste in movies actually is!

Or, maybe not.

Anyway, the first of the three was a John Travolta thriller called "Basic." I watched it for the first time two years ago, during the first vacation I had taken since my honeymoon where I just stayed home. Of course, the problem is that despite my best intentions to rent a pile of movies and sit on my arse during my time off at home, what actually happens is that I'm quickly overcome by the urge to rearrange the entire house. So, while "Basic" was in the machine, I was unloading all the bookshelves and then moving them to the spare room and reloading them. Which meant that I missed whole chunks of it, and when it was over, was extremely confused by the ending. Were they good guys? Or bad guys? Or both?

So, last year, when I took the same week off (I decided to make it a personal tradition), I rented it again, this time determined to pay attention. And actually, it's not bad. It's a thriller about a group of soldiers who go out on a training mission and wind up shooting each other. Or IS it? The truth involves an elaborate sting operation that in turn involves drugs and liars and lots of really big bastards. And, of course, you can't make a movie about bastards without having it costar Tim Daly, so there he was, playing Harlan Judd in a military uniform. And man, if you thought he looked good in that flight suit or those expensive suits, just wait until you see him dressed up as a military officer. Purrrrrrrrrr, meOW!

The second movie was a Stephen King miniseries called "Storm of the Century," in which we finally get to see Tim play a really honest-to-Pete NICE GUY. And despite his obvious aptitude for playing sarcastic bastards, he actually does the nice guy thing very, very well. He's very versatile that way. Truly a talented man. Anyway, that movie, which I'd seen on TV when it first came out, I think, is about a little island community off the coast of Maine that is hit by a blizzard, a hurricane, and the devil all in a single weekend. Hey, they should consider themselves lucky -- at least it wasn't a MAN-EATING SHARK, after all. Because we all know those are plentiful around little island communities on the East Coast.

I wouldn't call it a "film," but it's definitely watchable and full of lots of familiar TV faces.

The movie that was new to me was a Showtime film called "The Outsider," and man, do I ever wish it were I new to me, because it was just unbelievably bad. Not for the first time, I caught myself wondering whether it was actually LEGAL to make a movie that was such an unabashed rip-off of another, more successful film. Because this movie is a complete rip-off of the film "Witness" starring Harrison Ford and Kelly McGillis, and frankly, if I'd been the screenplaywright for "Witness," I'd be suing their butts off right now. It's not just a rip-off of the general concept behind "Witness" (regular joe infiltrates Amish community and falls in love with one of the locals), it's a rip-off of just about every major concept in "Witness." I mean, if I had more time and inclination, I could make you a detailed chart that compared the two movies element by element. Pretty much the only thing different about it is that Tim Daly isn't a cop, he's a cowboy, and the movie doesn't end with the two unmatchables deciding they'd better not try to match. Instead, they end up having premarital sex (because you know the Amish are ALL about jumping in the sack with strangers) and running off into the sunset together. Which kind of made me want to hurl.

The only good thing about "The Outsider" is that we get to see Tim Daly without his shirt on. And for that alone, I stuck around through the whole thing. But I can't remember the last time I snorted in derision so many times during a movie. I swear, by the end I sounded just like Kathy Bates in "Misery" when she introduces James Caan to her little piglet.

Now, many of Tim's other movies are made-for-TV ones (although, don't forget he was in "Diner" way back in 1982), and for that reason alone, they may be kind of hard to track down on DVD or video. But hey, the list is extremely long, and only getting longer, and I for one prefer that the cute guys stay on television, where I'm more likely to see them on a regular basis. I feel like Tim Daly and I are goin' steady, with a regular date-night every Wednesday. Honestly, the only way it could possibly get any better is if Marshall quits working for the CIA and decides to go into the private sector. He could whip those subpar dorks currently employed by Judd Risk Management right into geeky shape!

The bad news is that, once again, there appears to be a real dearth of fan sites about my current Boyfriend, and thus, a similarly real dearth of information about him on the web. What is up with you web-developing ladies? Enough with the incessant Orlando Bloom drool-pages; it's time to sophisticate those tastes a bit (yeah, like I'm one to talk about sophisticated tastes. . .). The good news, though, is that this write-up is already REALLY long and most of you probably haven't even read down this far, so you won't even notice if I skip the bio. If you want to learn what little there is to know about Tim, check out the links below! And tune in next time for what I hope will be another in the "Get 'Em Before They Get Canceled" Boyfriend series!

MacGyver Factor Score: 97.639% Okay, here's the thing. I love a good sarcastic bastard in theory, but in reality, on a day-to-day basis, the irreverence can be kind of trying. That wouldn't be a problem if I thought Tim was only acting when he played Harlan Judd. But according to his own words, see interviews below, he actually IS Harlan Judd (I mean, except for the fact he's not a private eye in real life). Harlan Judds are nice places to visit once a week, but I wouldn't want to pack up all my stuff, label all my boxes, seal them shut with tape, rent a van from U-Haul, have all my friends over to move the boxes into the van, drive the van across the city, unpack all my stuff, return the van to U-Haul, and then settle in. Not into Harlan Judd. Not for good. You know what I mean?

And pardon the lengthy moving metaphor -- guess what I've been doing lately!

Boyfriend-Related Links
Tim's IMDB Page
Tim talks about "Eyes"
Tim talks about "The Fugitive"
ABC's Official "Eyes" page

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