Acting and Suspension of Disbelief

First, let’s talk of suspended disbelief. I was first introduced to this concept by my high school English teacher, Mrs. Balutis. She explained it putting aside our known and accepted standards so we could properly enjoy a story. We set aside the ludicrous and just enjoy the circumstances. A great example is the movie Deep Impact. To enjoy it, you have to accept an asteriod is coming at earth, we can send a ship out after it, people would accept the whole “arc” concept, we would survive such a hit, and this country would ever elect a black president. If you just watched the entire movie saying to yourself, “this would never happen, that is so unreal” you would get no enjoyment what-so-ever. Almost every movie that could be applied to. The crazy 88’s anyone? One of the best fight scenes ever, but if the dick next to you in the theater kept yelling “fake” you’d throw popcorn at him.

I specifically remember Mrs. Balutis saying how she could accept the concept of Home Alone, leaving the child behind, him fighting the bad guys, etc. but could not for the life of her believe the scene of Kevin buying milk. It was too responsible, not fake enough to merit the disbelief. It was asking too much.

We must suspend our disbelief to enjoy these things. Part of this which has become so ingrained is the concept of the actor. An actor is supposed to portray a real person. Most actors suck. In the evolution in our brain of the disbelief we come to accept that the acting we see are representative of real persons, that they never stutter, get stuck for words, always speak in such strong tones. The makeup is always perfect, the smoke and dirt stains are always just so, that people actually talk to each other that way. No one has dandruff, yellow teeth or farts. (“Cept when you roust skells.)

I have come to accept it. I could not watch these shows if I did not, if I thought about how unrealistic the “people” on the show are. I was happy. Then came Lost.

Lost is one of the best examples of Suspended Disbelief. How did the aircraft come down? How did they survive a 30,000 foot drop. WTF is out in the jungle? Why can Locke walk? On and on it can go, the mysticism, the intrigue. The writing is excellent. The acting is like all other acting on tv, unreal garbage we have come to accept. They way Kate and Jack look so intense when they talk, Locke’s steely eyed drive, etc, etc, etc…

That was all fine, until one man ruined it all for me. Jorge Garcia, aka Hurley has blown my suspended disbelief at bad acting. He is by far either the greatest actor ever, or doesn’t act at all and is just himself, which is what JJ was looking for for the Hurley character.

Watching the pilot episode, whe I saw Hurley first, I thought he was a one line extra. He did not act out his line, he said it. I was shocked he was a regular. Every time he speaks, that’s it. He is just speaking. He’s not putting forth his dialoge, he’s saying what a guy would say. He doesn’t call someone dude in a contrived manner, he says dude cause that’s what he says. He is a real guy in a weird situation.

And he has ruined the rest of “acting” for me. It is painful to watch the others spout off in the unreal manner, only to have Hurley show them up. It’s not just when watching Lost either, it carries over to watching other actors on other shows.

Sometimes I miss the shows from the 70’s. Poor production values, but people on the shows had flaws, not just plot driven character flaws, but human behaviour.

Anyway, this is still by far the best two weeks of the whole year, I love premier weeks.

~ by kinshay on 2005-09-23.

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