23 August 2010
So there’s this guy. Whenever someone asks me who my favourite TV actors are, I never think of him. I don’t remember to include him in lists of TV crushes, standout characters or superb guest stars. But the thing is, I really really should. Maybe it’s because he’s not very showy. Or maybe it’s that no matter how many awesome shows he’s on, they always seem to be canceled before their time. He doesn’t often get to make grand speeches, stand on any literal or metaphorical coffee carts or get top billing as the star of the show. But I love him. I’ve loved him for years (since 1998 to be exact) and have loved every single thing I’ve ever seen him in (which is a lot). He deserves to be on those aforementioned lists, I’m embarrassed that I never remember to put him there. He did, however, earn a My TV Award nomination in 2009 for Best Supporting Actor in a Drama for his work on Eli Stone. That guy is Matt Letscher.
Still don’t know who he is? Letscher’s is one of those names that people never seem to recognize when I bring it up, but almost everyone knows his work. He’s a terrifyingly unrepentant villain (The Mask of Zorro), a terrific office prig (Good Morning Miami), the playful but responsible older brother (Eli Stone) and the sweet single dad from the playground (Brothers & Sisters). He was married to Joey‘s crush and dated Old Christine. And now he’s hired Parker and Kim to defend him on Drop Dead Diva.
In a lovely episode that miraculously overcame many many cheesy hurdles (a bizzaro court case for Jane, an overly emotional Grayson, an insecure Kim, and Jake Pavelka), Letscher made me love him all over again. He barely said a word for the first half of the episode, just sat there wearing cool “I work in the TV industry” glasses and not giving too much away. He played the producer of a Bachelor-like reality show, who was being sued for inflicting emotional damage on a rejected bachelorette (the always adorable Camille Guaty). Kim called him a jerk, Pavelka’s character claimed he set the bachelorette up for heartbreak and we were bombarded with criminalizing footage from the fictional show; all signs pointed to “this guy’s a pig”. But there’s something about Letscher’s eyes. He didn’t have to say anything, I knew he was a good guy this time. Maybe it’s the way he furrows his brow, or something about the light going out of his twinkling blue eyes when he plays a villain; maybe it’s the way his face reddens before you see any tangible tears (not that he cried on Diva, just sat there downhearted) or all or none of the above. Whatever it is, Matt Letscher is one of the most emotional actors working today. He can always make me feel whatever it is I’m supposed to. This time around, no matter what the evidence, I knew I was supposed to like him. So I did, and it turns out I was right to. Matt Letscher’s the best in the business for emotional turns: he can rip your heart out without ever seeming dramatic; he can make you laugh, make you mad and give you nightmares. That’s a lot of reaction for a familiar face to inspire.
Would someone PLEASE get this man a starring vehicle?! He can play absolutely anything and will have the audience exactly where he wants them the entire time. I’m telling you, there’s something about those eyes.