Teen TV and That Boy

Yesterday I was thinking about what had become of Adam Brody and how he being typecast as Seth Cohen hadn’t helped him out any… then I got the idea to write a blog about the “that boy” character, but then I watched an episode of the OC as “research” and one turned into 5 and that’s why it’s taken me this long.

In an attempt to explain the that boy character I’ve made a list of qualities that the character in question should possess, not all are compulsory, but we’re looking for a good solid 4 out of 6 to qualify.

  1. That boy cannot get the girl too early
  2. That boy must skateboard
  3. That boy must like comics/books/movies to an unhealthy degree
  4. That boy must be picked on by jocks
  5. That boy must have a female best friend ( who is usually secretly in love with him, while he lusts after the prettier more popular girl)
  6. That boy must have a strong moral code
  7. That boy maintains a GPA in the high threes.
  8. That boy always has a wisecracking remark to add.

In the medium of teen TV the original that boy can be traced back to Brian Krackow in My So Called Life. As this was an early attempt the writers hadn’t yet figured out that this character had to be hot as well as nerdy. Alas for poor Brian his ridiculous hair and love of corduroy got in the way of Angela crushing on him, who knows though, had they made a second season and Brian had gotten a makeover…..
There wasn’t really a that boy in Party of 5, Griffin was basically Catalano and Justin was too fricken nice (and not indie enough) luckily though along came Kevin Williamson offering up a TV show with not one, but two that boys, and this time they were best friends. Pacey and Dawson both qualify, yet both are lacking something, combined though Capeside’s finest become an almost unbeatable that boy. Bad boy with moral code, amazing artistic sensibilities and a GPA to match? Wowzers.
Around the same time in the small town of Sunnydale CA, a that boy was emerging in the form of Xander Harris, sidekick and member of the Scoobies, in season one he showed much promise as a that boy. Willow’s unrequited love for him, his skating antics and crush on Buffy all stood him in good stead, but as the seasons drew on and the characters grew more complex, Xander transformed before our eyes, into an actual man.
In Stars Hollow, Jesse had that boy potential, but although bookish and troubled he was way too cool and attractive to ever pull it off.
On to the most important boy in all of Orange County. Seth Cohen is the ULTIMATE that boy, the that boy which all other boys will aspire to be, he possesses all the required qualities (sans the female best friend, although it can be argued Anna played that role from time to time) to such an extent that I remember the show as being about Seth, when really he was only ever supposed to serve as Ryan’s wisecracking BFF.
The current contender to the throne is one Dan Humphrey. Yes Dan has a similar self-deprecating witticism, but the fact he started dating Serena in episode one? really.. come on now.
As bookish girls who liked comics, we fell in love with these ficitional characters in the hope that they actually did exist, what we didn’t realise at the time was all these characters are written by former real life that boys (Joss Whedon, Josh Schwartz I’m looking at YOU) who really did want to date the Prom Queen.
Hell though, a girl can dream…

about the floppy haired boy

Someone posted a Something Corporate video on Strike Gently today, and it took me back to the epic crush I used to have on Andrew McMahon, don’t get me wrong, I was aware this was a guilty crush even at the time, I mean, they were on Drive Thru. The main attraction though, was entirely based around his hair – and in particular his spectacular, thick, floppy fringe that would wildly swish around as he played his piano in that adorable energetic, boyish way of his.
It got me to thinking about my ongoing love affair with floppy fringed boys in bands throughout the last 15 years and I’m shallow enough to write a blog post about it, so here we are (yeah yeah, whatever, you’re reading it)
The thing about the floppy fringed boy wasn’t so much the fringe itself but the promise of boy qualities it held.

Whether it was the super smart,bookish older brother type
Steve Malkmus, Thurston Moore)

the completely non threatening/safe as a teenage crush/slightly effeminate britpop kind
(Alex James, most of the band Marion)
the sweet little brother crush
(Andrew McMahon, Adam Lazzara)
or the grown up a little, done some stuff respectable and dateable now
(Ben Gibbard, Matthew Caws, Keith Murray)
they all had a particular and definite allure.
The floppy fringed boy is, to a certain kind of girl, equal to the perfect ethereal indie girl who wears no make up and band tee shirts, is to a certain kind of boy.
There’s a reason we all swooned over Jordan Catalano and Seth Cohen the first time we saw them, and it can’t just of been the fact they were wearing Vans.
Don’t get me wrong, these days I’m all about the beards and random gruff punk record collections, but I can’t imagine getting old with one of those dudes, you know? How long can hearing about tour only coloured vinyl be entertaining? Floppy fringed boys are the ones who are just a little bit shy around your friends, don’t start fights and read fiction books, not just music bios and message boards.
Like Adam Lazzara said “Literate and stylish, kissable and quiet, that’s what girls dreams are made of..”

P.S. Be aware these boys are far more likely to break your heart and write a record about it then any other kind of boy. They’re probably worth the risk though.

nights like these…

last night, was probably one of my most awesome nights ever.
lucero were (as usual) amazing. and it just got better.
today, my head hurts.
but the world seems full of newness, new opportunities and people and things.
I’m starting to like 2008

tonight went to big red with paul, poke and drew, drank a couple beers, ate some food, listed stuff. it was a good time. oh, and my web hosting eventually let me upgrade to 2.5 on this blog. fuck yes!

oh, and tara is coming to stay in september for at least a week – WOOT!

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