I was watching a television show last week that I was fully aware is utterly terrible, but I was doing it because I have a huge crush on one of the actors in it.
I'm not going to name names. That wouldn't be classy. But guys, it was bad. I was yelling at my computer screen all episode every episode. The quick cuts to avoid actual stunts were so flimsy. The writing was pathetic and unbelievable (in that I didn't believe what the characters were saying).
And then the actor who I'm basically in love with said "I think I love her" about a character he had just met TWO EPISODES AGO and I am not here for that.
So I went onto his IMDb page and found another show that he's in and I started that and it's fantastic and if you're paying attention it'll probably be the next show about which I do an analysis type post.
But it got me thinking. I have a lot of shows on my list of television I need to see. I have, like, a planned out schedule of what I'm going to watch when. But I just got reminded of how much I like this guy, and that all vanishes as I have to watch things just because he's in them.
What is it about this guy that does this to me? Or about any actor that does this to anyone? It's not like I know him personally. He's attractive, but he's not exactly the only attractive person in the entertainment industry. He's a good actor, but he's not exactly the only good actor in the entertainment industry. I don't follow him on social media. What is this? WHAT ARE THESE STRANGE FEELINGS I HAVE??
Well. Part of that answer, I'm sure, goes beyond what I can properly discuss in a blog post, and is way outside of my area of expertise. I'm sure there's a large part of it that ought to be discussed in the context of the science of love, lust, and attraction. And I always liked biology in high school, but even studying it through Khan Academy in my free time doesn't make me qualified to talk about it on that level.
But I want to go more into why we follow actors that we like. It's a pretty important thing for me to at least be aware of, after all. But why follow actors? Why not just appreciate the performances of theirs that we've seen and leave it at that?
I'm sure part of it comes down to personality. We see personality traits we like in the performances of the actors we like. When we enjoy a person and their personality, we want to spend more time with them and become friends... but when we have no way of actually meeting that actor, all we can do is look for those parts of their personality in other performances. Watching through all of someone's IMDb credits, then, is our way of "hanging out" with that actor. People really like actors who are genuine and bring themselves to each of their roles - look at Jennifer Lawrence, or Chris Pratt - so I think that has to be a solid portion of my answer here.
But then why watch their bad work as well? Every actor has the projects of which they're not proud. And we watch them anyway. I know I'm not alone in this, don't try to lie to me/yourself about it! Those are usually the least genuine of their performances... that's not the "friend" we're making. So why bother?
Well, in some cases, it'll be about how attractive they are, and we're just enjoying the aesthetics of their face. Which is a totally reasonable thing and there is no shame at all in that.
And I suppose there's a certain point where we're not going to know how bad something is until we see it for ourselves.
But aside from that? Is it the actor's brand that we've grown attached to, and this is just a form of brand loyalty? The same way people will insist on Coke unless Pepsi is the only option available (or whatever other example of brand loyalty strikes your fancy)?
Is it something about us, wanting to stick with a "friend" through the good times as well as the bad? Does it give us a deeper sense of connection with that actor?
Is this all just me being embarrassed of how much of this terrible television show I watched and trying to find an excuse for it?
Anything and everything is possible. And it probably varies between different people as well.
But especially as an actor, it's a pretty important issue to consider, I think. After all, I want people to feel that way about me.
(And, as any actor will tell you verbatim, it's all about me.)