Monday, July 17, 2006
The regrettable career of Eric Balfour
Before I get started on this one, let me just say that unlike Rob Schnieder (and it's not that I vehemently dislike Rob Schnieder, its just that he's done some unbelievably vile stuff, but you get what I mean), I really actually like Eric Balfour. I mean, I had a crush on him that goes all the way back to his days on Kids Incorporated that was unrelenting. I mean Un. Relenting. Him and Ryan Lambert filled my pre-adolescent days with glee and a lot of squeeing. O.k. let me take you back, way back to the days when kids out in the sticks and weeds such as myself and Xanthia had only heard of MTV and had come to think of it not so much as a mythical creature like the unicorn, but more like dolphins at some far away location that you got to visit on that fleeting vacation. And that's truly when we got to see cable tv channels like MTV and Nickelodean and the Disney channel (which is where Kids Incorporated and it's even more squee-worthy counterpart The Mickey Mouse Club existed). You went to the theme park during the day to see shamu and ride rollercoasters that made you upend the ice cream sandwich you had just eaten and then you chilled at the motel pool and then watched MTV and all the other mystical channels the motel cable had to offer that you could not watch at home. Back in those days, the Disney Channel was considered a "Premium" channel. They didn't even have commercials! Gasp! They used to do this thing called subscription week or some such thing, and they would bait you for that week with all their programming and then they'd display a telephone number so you could order the channel. I could not be moved from the tv for that week. Would not budge an inch. Not one inch at all. And the reason I would not move? Kids Incorporated and The Mickey Mouse Club. That hour of programming was my heroine and Eric Balfour was reason number 1 why I needed my fix.
I mean, back then the cuteness was undeniable. And from that point on, I would catch him on things, like that regrettable comedy about cops that aired for one season on (I think) ABC. It was bad. But he was good, mostly because he was cute, but I digress. And then he was on the first two episode of Buffy, and everyone who had a direct or indirect hand in the first four seasons of Buffy is just cool by association. So needless to say, my hopes have always been high for him. He's cute. He's scruffy. He's got a mean swagger about him that I always dig, he was part of the seemingly endless chain of cute but totally-wrong-for-her boys that Claire Fisher would end up with. I just loved him. He and Jeremy Sisto somehow had the ability to make me squee loudly anytime they were on screen on that shoe. And everytime I did, Fighting Nun would give me this look, this deep penetrating hard gaze that said "You are such a girl, Jesus", followed closely by his patented eye roll to which all I could do was go "I'm sorry... but Eric Balfour!" or "But, but, but, it's Jeremy!"
But then Eric somehow became a hex on all shows that tried to cast him either as a lead or as a protagonist. I mean "Veritas: The Quest"? "Hawaii?" "Fearless?" "Sex, Love and Secrets?" Which I hear never even aired. Did UPN just take a bath in that one or what? "Hawaii?" "Conviction?" I mean come on. If that car commercial in which he plays Satan, that season in which he was on 24 (which I never watched actually), and his stint on Six Feet Under have taught us anything, it's that he's much better off either playing a bad guy or at least someone misguided. The play it by the books protagonist? Not so much. Come on Eric! You doomed a man to an eternity of driving a minivan! The least you can do is keep with the theme.
I mean, I think I've proved without a shadow of a doubt that I like the guy, but his continually starring in crappy shows can also make him the bane of my exsistence. Because I feel obligated to at least somewhat pay attention to the stuff he's in, but it annoys me that he's continually in some crappy stuff. Who knows, maybe the next thing he's in will actually be pretty good. I mean. The Elder Son actually sounds good and anything with Rade Zerbedzija in it at least makes said movie go up a letter grade. But still, I've had to put up with a lot of crappy stuff in his career just for the sole fact that he was in it. I guess for every Can't Hardly Wait appearance, there has to be a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but please for the love of God, not too many. Please Eric, as one of your lifelong fans, I deserve better than that, and so do you. And so does your career. That c.v. ain't gonna right itself, know what I'm sayin?