Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My Weird Thing for Jason Bateman


When you're a white girl now grown up and of a certain age and you proclaim you've got a weird thing for Jason Bateman, it's kind of like saying you have a deep, perverse affection for toast -- yes, you can argue that it's some complicated toast, maybe even occasionally twisted toast, at the very least some hard-working and talented toast, but it's still toast.

I'm comfortable saying, in public, that I love seeing Jason Bateman in almost anything. But the fact that I think he's incredibly sexy -- and that "by anything," I might mean a porno (and I don't even watch porn) -- now that's disturbing. That's something you keep to yourself.

I can publicly state the sexiness of James Franco, Will Smith, even a little Jude Law and certainly that last Bond guy -- the hostile one. Not Bateman.

But I came by my thing for Bateman honestly in 1986. The show was called Valerie (because of its lead Valerie Harper) then Valerie's Family then Valerie's Family: The Hogans (when Sandy Duncan showed up as the lead) then The Hogan Family. I had to look all this up because the show is a complete blur -- except for Jason Bateman who I remember as a charmer, sweet-talker who caused trouble and never got caught -- and he was hilarious. He acted circles around everyone else on set.

How to describe it? Like watching Streetcar for the first time with Brando blowing it all wide open or Shia Le Beouf kicking ass in Even Stevens. (Or somewhere between the two.)

In any case, I fell for Bateman. I fell hard. And I was already in -- kinda -- as I knew his sister from Family Ties, a show that's not a blur and that I still quote from, quotes that my husband (a white boy now of a certain age) gets. Loved Justine.

Did I want Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium to do bigger things? I did (as I was the one to write the prequel -- The Amazing Compendium of Edward Magorium it would have helped to have more spill-over readers). Was I disappointed not to be invited on set? I was, a little. It stung. Was I disheartened by Couples' Retreat? Yes. But I didn't blame Bateman. I bounced back. Arrested Development still stands.

And as deep as my love goes, you all know that I'm a bad fan. (It's like the stalker I once had who'd never read my work. He just wanted me to read his work. What a selfish stalker he was!) And I'm busy and I miss things.

By which I mean, I just now saw The Switch on DVD. I can't give a review with any measure of clarity. As a writer, I can say -- hey, it was based on a Jeffrey Eugenides short story; some of the lines are really brilliant. I can say that Patrick Wilson looks better when he's asleep on a plane two empty seats over from you. (I sat this close to him on a flight to LA this spring and can personally attest.)

But that's where all objectivity ends. Because someone with a thing for Bateman finds that the more neurotic he plays, the hotter he is. And the more you realize that you're drawn in by the uber neurotic Bateman, the more uncomfortable you feel. Ashamed, that might be the right word. Maybe dirty even? In any case, wrong. And maybe, in the end, that's all part of his mystique, his grand smokin' hot (hypochondriac) quotient.

That perky nose! The slightly crooked teeth! All those smiley wrinkles at the edges of his face! The mussy hair! The pale dusting of freckles! The ability to work a sweater vest! Even argyle!

You get the dark picture here. I don't need to go on. My husband sometimes reads this blog. (And you KNOW my stalker doesn't even bother.)