Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tom Selleck and the art of lazy acting

Have you seen BLUE BLOODS starring Tom Selleck?   This is a new one hour police drama on CBS created by a couple of SOPRANOS scribes.   Just the type of show I never watch unless other people tell me it's great and I have to watch it. (meaning I'll probably never see the Jim Belushi lawyer show.)

But I saw that BLUE BLOODS got big numbers on Friday night.   The odds of any show doing really well on Friday nights are the same as being hit by a meteor just moments after winning the lottery.  Clearly the attraction was Tom Selleck.

So when it was rerun last night (Saturday is now the networks' dumping ground) I checked it out.

I guess when audiences like you they just like you.  Because I have never seen an actor phone it in as much as Selleck did in this.   He did NOTHING.  In the few scenes he's in he never moves. Worse than NEWHART when Bob used to just stand at the front desk and let everyone else just come in and out. 

These were Tom’s scenes:

He’s at a podium (never moves).
He’s standing with his family (never moves).
He’s at the window of his office (never moves).
He’s at his desk making a call (never moves).
He’s conducting a press conference (never moves).
He’s at the kitchen sink (never moves).
He’s sitting at the dining room table (never moves).
He’s fishing off a pier (never moves).

There’s one scene where he opens a cab door for a woman and leans in to give her a quick kiss. I imagine they used a stunt double.

As for dialogue, he delivers every line the exact same way – as if he’s constipated.

And yet America just loves this guy. I was a fan in other things. But in MAGNUM P.I. he had actual expressions and walked.

I see no reason to watch future episodes of BLUE BLOODS. Why bother when I can just scan the stills?

But it’s a real lesson in television programming. There are just some actors people love to watch, regardless.

If only Tom Selleck was in LONE STAR or FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS.


Anonymous said...

Hey Ken, I actually liked the show. He pretty much played the same character he played when he was "Cooper" on Las Vegas, as the owner of the Montecito, and in his Jesse stone movies. He's become the quiet actor but still worthy of watching. And by the way...that new Lawyer Show with Jin Belushi???? It's an awesome show and you have to see it!

Janice said...

Anonymous #1 is right; the Jesse Stone series is marvelous. I had forgotten about Blue Bloods but I'll catch up now. I don't think stillness in acting is the same thing as phoning it in. Your 'we just love this guy' point is well taken, however; I do 'just love this guy' because he's genuine, and because (like Pierce Brosnan) you never hear salacious gossip about him - which, if there were any, would be out there instantly. Some actors I watch for because they're genius at being someone else; others because they're genius at being themselves and I like the selves they are.

te said...

As little use as I have for Jim Belushi or Jerry O'Connell, I didn't mind "The Defenders" at all.

Belushi is, as usual, about as funny as E.G. Marshall was in the original; and this time O'Connell is, I think, supposed to be sort of smarmy.

As for Selleck's new show, I think it's kind of neat to see a show with at least a moderately right-wing bent. Not my politics, but I can stand to her the opposition's POV before dismissing it.

Cap'n Bob said...

Whatever happened to less is more?

John Leader said...

In the Jessie Stone 'movies' Tom Selleck runs the emotional gamut from A to B. The pacing on the stories is so slow, sometimes hitting fast forward on the DVR has absolutely no effect.
I actually like Tom Selleck, but haven't watched "Blue Bloods," yet.
"The Defenders" with Jim Belushi was actually pretty good. I think it's got a shot at becoming a hit. Nice combo of comedy and heart.

YEKIMI said...

Maybe they should change the name to "Blue Balls". You'd either get a lot of lonely guys watching it since they don't go out on Saturday nights or anime freaks thinking it's a Triple XXX Smurf movie.

D. McEwan said...

I've never gotten Tom Selleck's appeal at all. He doesn't so it for me; never has.

But I must join in on the chorus of mild likes for The Defenders. I am no fan of Jim Belushi, and the forced charm of Jerry O'Connell (Who took his shirt off I think three times just in the pilot. I expected him to show in court on just underpants and a tie.) does little for me, but the case itself moved along, was only mildly predictable as opposed to completely predictable, and with no David Kelly lawyer series on the air right now, I found it watchable.

It bears no resemblance nor relationship to the classic EG Marshall series that bore the same name. I will watch another episode at least, whereas, I will not be tuning into Outsourced again ever.

Anonymous said...

He’s fishing off a pier?!


rockfish said...

I keep wondering why Cannell doesn't finally put a Lance White series proposal out there for selleck. Apparently, without higgins, selleck just has lost the energy. More yarnell than shields. Time to break out of the mould, and back into that other mould, Tom!

Unknown said...

Blue Bloods is not Selleck's vehicle. I got the impression he was attached to it to sell it.

This is Donnie Wahlberg's show. Yet another actor from Band of Brothers getting his shot at a bigger show.

I, for one, am glad to see it. Those guys were great 10 years ago and I'm glad they are getting gigs today.

gottacook said...

rockfish: Right on. Lance White (for those who don't know, a character played twice by Selleck during the later years of The Rockford Files) would be great as the starring role of a series. There hasn't been a proper tongue-in-cheek detective series in what seems like decades, unless you count Andy Barker, P.I.

WV: trini. (As in Lopez? My parents had the album Live at PJ's featuring "If I Had a Hammer" etc.)

Anonymous said...

I liked Blue Bloods and The Defenders. Not that you asked, just saying. And that fishing scene was gorgeous to look at.

And when you've got Donnie and Will for the running around crazy emoting Tom can do whatever the heck he wants.

Jeff Maxwell said...

Blue Bloods is definitely NOT Mr. Selleck's role. And I use the word lightly, it was more like a biscuit. Not only did he not move, but almost every shot was a tight close up of the bottom three-quarters of his face. Maybe his brows were moving and we missed it. Maybe they need a taller DP.

Anonymous said...

I loved Lone Star. Hope it finds an audience.

te said...

A Lance White knockoff -- er, homage -- has been featured in a couple of last season's episodes of "Psych." And quite nicely.

The detective's convention may be my all-time favorite episode of Rockford.

wv: mazons = secretive Jewish fraternal order featured in upcoming series of Dan Brown thrillers.

Scot Boyd said...

I watched the pilot of Blue Bloods, and it's not really about Selleck any more than Numbers was about Judd Hirsch. He's patriarchal window dressing.

Defenders was okay. I hate how in defense-oriented shows, judges are complete assholes, and in prosecution-oriented shows they are bleeding heart liberals. It's a lazy cliche.

D. McEwan said...

@Scot Boyd, you have a valid point. And in defense shows, prosecutors are unscrupulous jerks who will hang any innocent person just to chalk up a win, while on prosecution-oriented shows, they're crusaders doing their best to protect society, while defense lawyers are unscrupulous scum who would defend Hitler if he could pay their exorbitant fees.

Which is closer to the truth? Well in real life, do you think those two flaunt-your-money guys Belushi & O'Connell are playing would take on so many clients who clearly can't afford them?

spmsmith said...

Maybe that's why I'm intrigued by The Whole Truth - at least they give lip-service to equal time for both the defense and the prosecution without either coming off as "The Bad Guy".

Anonymous said...

don't they hire writers to write a script that tells the actors what to do? it's not his fault if all his scenes involve him standing around

Anonymous said...

All he does is exhale through his nose non-stop. I realize he is a p.c., but he is so one-dimensional,that he is totally boring, as is the entire cast. It is sad to see how he fails as an actor. The show doesn't require hid presence. And that face! He now resembles an aging blood hound. For heaven's sake Tom, quit exhaling through your nose every 10 seconds. It is so irritating.

Anonymous said...

I'm glad someone else notices how many times Tom Selleck dramatically exhales while staring through a window. Must be 8 times an episode.

sammy said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

Has it occurred to anyone who is being so critical of Tom Selleck in "Blue Bloods" that the man is 70 years old. As someone else said Donnie and Will are doing the running around and Erin's fighting the battles.I think he does a damn good job with his part.The breathing could be anything. I sigh and take deep breaths a lot due to C.O.P.D..

Unknown said...

What I don't like about his character in the show, which is also what I don't like about his acting style in this show is how sanctimonious and self righteous. Both the character, Frank Reagan, and Tom Selleck himself, seem overly impressed with themselves.

Sue C said...

I recently found Blue Bloods and have really enjoyed being able to stream it via Amazon Prime Video. A lot of the characters were well cast IMO. There's method acting and character acting.
Don't know a lot about Selleck but finally had to google to see if he's known for breath acting or something. What on earth is with the heavy breath thing going on all the time. I guess sometimes he does break things up a bit by adding a hint of grunt to the huffy breath but oh, man, am I ever tired of listening to that sound!!! Enjoying the other actors (except the guy who plays his father) and the scripts. Does he always do this? If so, I'll have to watch for his name so I can avoid his work like the plague. It's really distracting.