Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Edith'ed

Above: Lady Edith by ReneAigner


Actress Laura Carmichael is a beautiful and talented actress, so talented in fact, her Downton Abbey character Lady Edith has become a favorite of many. Poor Lady Edith has never had it that easy however. Growing up with the strong and beautiful Lady Sybil and the beautiful but prickly Lady Mary never gave her much room to shine. To most of her family, when not ignored, she is often taken for granted and the brunt of of cruel comments.


Having finished Dowton's season 3, I don't think it a spoiler to share that Lady Edith's journey is again not without it's share of pain and missed opportunities. Lady Edith is however an important part of the show. Every television show, every family or large group for that matter needs a Lady Edith. The trick for most of us, is not to fall into that role. For most healthy groups, the Lady Edith roles gets passed around, with everyone taking it on at different times and under certain circumstances. For other groups, the Lady Edith role remains in the hands of one unlucky individual who for one reason or other has decided to embrace their role.

Actress Laura Carmichael

Some of Television's current Lady Edith's:

One might argue there are 5 Lady Edith's on The Talk, but there is really only the one, held, I am pretty sure without her knowledge by Aisha Tyler. As an actress, Tyler is both beautiful and likable, as a member of this gabfest she is the runt of the litter. Although in the shows first year, Sara Gilbert auditioned for the role, Aisha beat her to the crown. Not nearly as funny as Underwood, not nearly as competent as Chen and not nearly as colorful as Osbourne. Tyler tries, but sadly too hard and it is awkward how often her bits and jokes fall flat. The other ladies quickly cover and move on but Tyler belongs on a sit-com, not a talk show where her weakness's are spotlighted on a daily basis.


The Modern Family cast is made up of a group of talented actors which is why having the role of the shows Lady Edith is that much harder to bear. Jesse Tyler Ferguson wears the role, no matter how much he tries not to. Ferguson is talented, but his character is not as likable or fleshed out as his male counterparts and even with his talent, there is rarely an inch for him to push through to shine. Ferguson can barely hide his discomfort with the role, but even when he tries to find the humour in it, his Lady Edith qualities have it ring untrue.


Justin Chambers has always been my favorite character on Grey's, but sadly the shows writers and creators will not allow him to actually experience any lasting growth. Much like Sue on Glee, Alex goes through major growth experiences only to return the next episode to being an ass. Unlike Glee however, Grey's tries to be more character based so Alex's continued return to form is that much harder to stomach. If Grey's wants to continue, I suggest breaking up the incredibly boring Derek and Meridith and finally paring her with Alex. That might re-spark my interest in a show that for the last couple of seasons is as about enjoyable as going to the funeral of a loved one, week after week.


Jesse Metcalf was perfect as the boy toy on Desperate Housewives, a supporting role which required minimal actual emoting. As Christopher on the new Dallas, the thespian challenged Metcalf cannot keep up with the shows old guard, nor the energy and sex appeal of Josh Henderson. The show already has enough boring and vapid young people with the Rebecca and Elena characters. Metcalf might be OK, but only when the writers understand Lady Edith's are meant to be supporting roles, not leading. Write less for Christopher and more for the great Ken Kercheval and enjoyable Charlene Tilton, and maybe you can still create a watchable balance.

Image: Tyler Shields

Nothing takes me out of the compelling drama on Revenge than a scene involving Connor Paolo. On Gossip Girl, Paolo was a perfect fit as Erik, but as Delcan there is little to no connection between actor and character which make his scenes consistently cringe worthy.


Erica Hill was an OK sparing partner for Anderson Cooper, but her Today Show hiring in one of the show most head scratching decisions. After losing the incredible real Ann Curry, Hill is like a Stepford replacement, with helmet hair, make-up and a presentation style more suited for a SLN parody of a female anchor. Hill was brought in to bring something, but what exactly that is remains a mystery. She was not needed and Jenna Wolfe, though maybe not as polished has an ability to connect with the shows viewers in a much more natural and appealing way.


I like Kunal Nayyar and with a cast of 5, he was able, barely, but able to hold his on. But when five went to seven with the addition of Melissa Rauch and Mayim Bialik as regulars, Raj sadly is fading more and more into the B and C storyline.


She may have created the show, she may think she stars in but on The View, Barbara Walters is the weakest link. Whenever she appears, the flow between the women is stilted with Walters insisting her voice be heard above, and more often than the others. She interrupts constantly, especially the two younger hosts, and cannot seem to understand that viewers might want to hear from anyone other than her. I have seen each of the other 4 roll their eyes and bit their tongues at Walter's antics and her aggressive plugging of her prime time specials are reminiscent of watching QVC.

2 comments:

glen0330 said...

Oh, you were refering to Barbara Walters in "The View"?? I tought you were talking about Mz Hasselbeck. Now SHE interrupts and will not shut her trap until she's finished.

Anonymous said...

The actors with the quieter roles sometimes end up having the longest career because they don't get type cast. They can transform into any character without any baggage from a previous role.

-Chris