Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Stereotypes II

While I'm talking about the media stereotyping people and concepts, I might as well put in a few words about stereotyping actors as well.

There was this TV show way back in 1990 that I used to watch sometimes. It was called Beverly Hills 90210. I watched a couple of episodes here and there back then, but I was definitely not old enough to make complete sense of it all at the time. I've recently been watching some episodes again. There was this one episode I came across in which Matthew Perry made a guest appearance. In case you're still wondering why the name does or does not ring a bell, that's Chandler Bing from Friends. The character he played was a high school senior with an overbearing father whom he despised. His father is a big shot who wants to hand everything to him on a platter. He doesn't like that at all, and he wants to be someone on his own. It drives him crazy to the point of attempted suicide.

I found the performance very unconvincing. Maybe it was actually so, but most likely it was because I had known this guy for years as the adorable character who makes sarcastic jokes and makes everybody laugh. He didn't really fit into such a dark role. Not in my mind, at least.

What would happen if Jim Carrey suddenly took on a completely serious film with little or no humour in it? Or if Morgan Freeman decided to appear in a goofball comedy? Maybe they would do really well in their new found roles. Or maybe the audience would just have a very hard time adjusting to the new ideas.

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