TV's New Male Archetypes
The recent spate of sitcoms created by women—The Mindy Project (Mindy Kaling), Girls (Lena Dunham), New Girl (Elizabeth Meriwether), and 2 Broke Girls (Whitney Cummings)—have featured a bevy of uncomfortably familiar male specimens not often depicted so vividly on television. Here's a field guide to the guys who've supplanted the fat working-class lug with an incongruously hot wife.
THE POSTMODERN FRAT BOY: Schmidt (New Girl)
Distinguishing characteristics: This is the kind of guy who, per his roommates' request, has to put money in a "douchebag jar" every time he says something lame—and complies. But he doesn't let that stop him from throwing a party billed as his very own "re-branding event."
Mating habits: He dimly yearns for something more, but for now he's ideally suited to anything from a romp in the sack with his roommate's sister to contractually based, 50 Shades of Grey-ish relations with his boss.
Typical behavior: "Do you think this has been easy for me to wash myself with a penis cast on all summer? And by the way, I know what you're thinking, and the answer is yes: I have been able to reach completion, with some very precise and vigorous nipple play."
THE TROJAN WHORE: Jeremy (The Mindy Project)
Distinguishing characteristics: He's a soft-spoken, kind-eyed listener, always ready with a shoulder to cry on. But once you let him in, his underlying motives—sex, sex, and more sex—quickly become apparent.
Mating habits: He's a sex addict but only glancingly self-aware about his illness ("Yes, I love sex. I do it a lot. I do it well. But I'm not addicted to it. I'm addicted to attention."). Maybe if he got some therapy . . . oh, who are we kidding?
Typical behavior: "I can't recall a wedding where I didn't wind up in the arms of some woman I met that night. And not because she was vulnerable. Because I was."
THE LADY-KILLING HIPSTER ARTIST: Johnny (2 Broke Girls)
Distinguishing characteristics: He's every doting boyfriend's worst nightmare: creative, charming, rakishly handsome—and utterly without conscience about cuckolding.
Mating habits: Unlike that unicorn of old, the Sexy Architect, this seemingly "perfect guy" will lead a woman to believe a relationship is taking shape—just before he yanks the rug right out from under her feet.
Typical behavior: After knocking on Max's door at 3 A.M.: "I was tagging the building nearby, and . . . my lookout guy went into rehab. It's kind of a pain. It's really a two-person operation . . . . Any desire to be my lookout guy?"
THE SHIRTLESS, RECOVERING-ALCOHOLIC, SADOMASOCHISTIC, OUTWARDLY AMBIVALENT BUT DEEPLY DEVOTED WEIRDO: Adam (Girls)
Distinguishing characteristics: Though he's shy and rarely leaves his apartment, you might find him sprinting bare-chested down the street, scrapping for metal, or dancing with a lesbian couple at a Brooklyn loft party.
Mating habits: He's an error-prone dick-pic sender and partial to women who are willing to step on his balls and sit through rehearsals of his dead-serious monologue about learning how to masturbate in the sixth grade.
Typical behavior: After Hannah rebuffs his advances, Adam joins her in shower—and pees on her. When she flips out and flees, Adam turns caring and reasonable: "It doesn't make sense to get out now. There's pee on you."
Hollywood Has a Senior Moment
With America's 78 million baby boomers beginning to hit retirement age, the senior-citizen population is growing at a faster rate than that of the rest of the U.S. And as studios are recognizing, these golden oldies actually go to the movies: The ranks of ticket-buying seniors are expanding rapidly—audiences 50 and up have increased 67 percent since 1995, compared with an 11 percent increase for ages 18 to 34. This trend has prompted a new class of films rated AARP: geezer-friendly genre movies (RED earned $90 million and has a sequel on the way), as well as tamer fare (Hope Springs and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, which made $63 million and $46 million, respectively). Marigold star Dame Maggie Smith, whose next film is the Dustin Hoffman-directed Quartet, set in a nursing home for opera singers, is hip to the demographic shift. "It seems to me there is a change in what audiences want to see," she said recently. "I can only hope that's correct, because there's an awful lot of people my age around now, and we outnumber the others."
Cinema's Retro Activity
The flip side of the entertainment industry's digital revolution is a surge of affection for how art was made in ye olde analog times. From the highly touted 70mm screenings of Paul Thomas Anderson's shot-on-actual-film opus The Master turning audiences into celluloid-fetishizing purists to director Evan Glodell jerryrigging digital cameras with vintage lenses for last year's Bellflower, Hollywood's past and future are colliding in surprising ways. The Oregon-based studio LAIKA's stop-motion 3-D animation for Coraline and ParaNorman may be the most dramatic example. "Stop-motion dates back to the dawn of cinema, and the process is effectively unchanged," says CEO and lead animator Travis Knight. Not that the artisans doing this are Luddites—technology is deployed as needed for particular effects, but the puppets are still manipulated one frame at a time for that homey touch. "This has a charm and warmth other forms of animation—wonderful as they are—just don't have," Knight says. "The touch of the animator is in every frame, which gives it a raw, imperfect humanity."
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