Tuesday, June 22, 2010

A Picture Doesn't Always Tell the Story

One of the jokes at the retirement party for nine Buffalo News staffers was about the picture in my column.

It hadn’t changed in 20, 25 or 30 years, which meant I was sort of like the ageless character Richard (Nestor Carbonell) on “Lost.”

There were some advantages of using an old picture. It isn’t a bad thing not to be recognized in public when your job is to criticize people and programs.

Now that I’ve moved on to the blog world, it is time to change the picture (see upper left). Yes, I’ve aged. But who hasn’t?

Well, Wendie Malick, currently starring in the TV Land series, “Hot in Cleveland,” hasn’t. Every time I saw the Williamsville native during one of the press tours in Hollywood, I was amazed at how ageless the 50something actress appeared to be.

One of the benefits of the job was to see actresses and actors upclose and personal to see if the camera makes them look better or worse.

The most beautiful actress I’ve ever seen in person is Halle Berry. The camera can’t do her justice. I first saw her when CBS was promoting the 1993 miniseries that she starred in -- Alex Haley’s “Queen.”

Katherine Heigl, formerly of “Grey’s Anatomy,” is a close runner-up. And judge Carrie Ann Inaba of “Dancing with the Stars” wins the bronze.

More recently, I saw Courteney Cox at a press session for last fall’s new ABC comedy, “Cougar Town.” She looked so amazing that some of the questions were about the difficulty of envisioning her character as being insecure about her looks.

Of course, the point is everybody can be insecure about their looks.

The most interesting looking actress I’ve ever seen in person was Cher. It happened at a party that Buffalo producer Tom Fontana was throwing in Los Angeles a few years ago at the Chateau Marmot, where John Belushi died. I was talking to another guest and saw a woman who looked about 40 and said “you know what, that looks like a younger version of Cher.”

“You idiot,” replied the guest, “that is Cher!”

Well, not exactly the original Cher. I suppose she has had more than her share of “work” done.

It is one of my big regrets that I never went over and talked to her.

I feel sorry for all of the local TV personalities who have to worry about what they look like when they go out in public.

I’ve never seen her in person but I’ve been told by my media colleagues that the camera doesn’t do justice to Channel 7’s Bridget Blythe. However, it isn’t that unusual for news staffers to look better in person than they do on TV. Channel 7’s Joanna Pasceri also falls into that category. So did Carol Jasen when she was a Channel 4 anchor.

The biggest disappointment without question was seeing Cameron Diaz in person. She arrived to promote some well-meaning cable series that she was involved in and looked like she had just gotten off a plane without much makeup on. I always tell a friend of mine who fantasizes about her (along with most American men) that story.

Makeup can hide a lot of imperfections, but too much of it can be a detriment. I ran into a female friend of a friend after seeing the latest “Sex and the City” movie. She noted that all the actresses – Sarah Jessica Parker, Kim Cattrall, Kristin Davis and Cynthia Nixon – had noticeably aged. I told her that wasn’t the kind of thing that a male critic would dare say.

It is an unfair fact of life in Hollywood that actors don’t have to worry about aging as much as actresses do. Chris Noth didn’t exactly look like as young as he did when he started playing “Big” on the TV version of “Sex and the City.”

And then there’s George Clooney. At the retirement party, a couple of jokes accused me of having a “man crush” on him. Sure, he’s aged a lot since I had my picture taken with him before the premiere of “ER” an eternity ago. But let’s face it, no one out there -- man or woman --seems to care.

* Here's a trio of news items you are unlikely to get in the local newspaper anymore:
* The start of ABC’s “Summer Season” didn’t exactly get off with a ratings bang locally. “Scoundrels” had a 4.9 rating on Channel 7, the local ABC affiliate, finishing second in its time slot behind NBC’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent “ (7.7) on Channel 2.

And the new vampire series, “The Gates,” didn’t get out of the gate. It had a low 2.8 rating, finishing last in its time slot.

* After just two episodes of this bloody season have aired, HBO has announced that it has renewed “True Blood” for a fourth season. No surprise there.

* Meanwhile, Connie Britton of “Friday Night Lights” has told a former critic turned national blogger, David Bianculli, that she believes the fifth season currently being filmed is likely going to be the last for the brilliant show. NBC is currently airing the fourth season, which already has aired on DirecTV.


1 comment:

  1. Call my psychic (or is that psychotic?), but just two days ago as I was reading your blog I thought to myself, "wow, I can't believe he hasn't changed that damned picture with his new blog business!"

    And, I think you forgot to mention another local beauty - me? Marty thinks you forgot to list me as well.