Reggie H. sent me and Ryan this photo today (it originally was posted on MostProper, a blog that features lots of "phyne sights" in Reggie's words), letting us know that Franky G. (pictured at left) will be in Saw 2, which I gather is the sequel to Saw. I had to write back to let Reggie and Ryan know how out of it I must be, since I'd never heard of the initial film, which according to IMdB (the online encyclopedia of film information), appeared in 2004. A horror movie directed by James Wan (¿quién es él?), starring Danny Glover, Cary Elwes, and quite a few actors I've never heard of, it concerns a serial killer whose calling card is a circular saw, or something like that. The general viewer rating for Saw is 7.5 stars out of 10, which ranks higher than Hitchcock's superb Suspicion or Cassavetes's standard-setting Gloria. Yeah, right.
But anyways, who cares about Saw or Saw II, really? At my age I'm able to recognize quite clearly there's enough horror going on in the world around me that I don't wish for or need cinematic treatments of it anymore--the important issue is the man above. I know I'm not alone in thinking that the New York native Puerto Rican-American Franky G (for Gonzalez) is one of the more beautiful men in film and TV, am I? And the man is the same age as me, 40 years old! Sadly and unsurprisingly, Hollywood doesn't know what to do with this kind of (male) beauty, which has always fallen and continues to fall outside its "mainstream." In my alternative universe, Franky G, who does have some acting talent (though he's no Denzel Washington, Sean Penn or Robert DeNiro), would have regular roles, both in movies and on TV. And he'd have material suited to his talent and looks, not the sort of dreck that characterized Johnny Z, his late show on Fox, which brings me to another point.
As I stated in my second post on Noah's Arc, I intend to keep watching that show, despite how bad it is. Thinking of Johnny Z, I realized that in fact lack of quality is no bar to my watching a TV show, if it has other things going for it (humor, attractive stars, some catchy element). For much of my life I eagerly watched bad or retrograde TV (F Troop, My Three Sons, One Day at a Time, Good Times, Dallas, Eight Is Enough, Family, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Three Is Company, The Dukes of Hazzard, The Greatest American Hero, Cybill, Melrose Place, Beverly Hills 90210, Sister Sister, The Parkers, etc.) for a variety of reasons other than quality (which I think was and is one key element of, for example, Batman, The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, Schoolhouse Rock, Zoom, The Electric Company, Speed Racer, The Patty Duke Show, Get Smart, Monty Python, Maude, The Golden Girls, Frank's Place, The Cosby Show, Seinfeld, SCTV, The Kids in the Hall, Mr. Show Show, certain seasons of SNL, The Wire, The Sopranos, Six Feet Under, The Comeback, etc.), though as I age I can't really take too much of it anymore, especially shows that depict a world set anywhere but Iceland or Finland (or Wyoming, let's say) that's focused excessively on the very young and devoid of any people of color. My tolerance for minstrelsy also has shrunk to indetectable levels. But my friend David M. and I caught the first episode and faithfully watched the really awful--dreadful, cringe-inducing, appallingly badly written--episodes of Franky G's Johnny Z every week, until, mercifully, it was pulled. If you never saw the show, you missed little--except, of course, for Franky G.
He was the ONLY reason to watch it. The entire scenario--a Latino late-30s-something, with a kid and ex-wife, gets out of jail, is on parole in NYC, has to keep clean yet cannot help getting involved with criminals, etc.--started out a mild stench. So much of it was utterly implausible: a British gangster in NYC...wait, let me repeat that. A British gangster--in New York City! Okay, there may be British gangsters in New York (New York has all kinds of people, and there certainly are quite a few in London, Manchester, Liverpool, Birmingham, etc.) but seriously, and at the risk of political incorrectness, while I appreciate the writers' attempts at being...inventive?...wouldn't a Black or Latino or Italian or Irish or Russian or Albanian or Greek or Chinese crime boss...well, you get my drift. We're talking about New York City. Any student in an introductory fiction class would find every mention of this character in a story based on the initial premise of Johnny Z surrounded by circles and question marks. Then there was his sidekick, this endlessly babbling, unspeakably annoying, wannabe comic White guy who looked like a plucked chicken, and they shared a huge apartment...I kept wondering, why on earth wasn't this waste of space and dialogue shed during the development phase? David I both concurred, of course, that the network probably thought that the show wouldn't succeed without a central White character. So why not instead give us a real New York type, a White tough, say from Queens or Brooklyn, who probably might have met Johnny Z on the inside and caught up with him when they both go out? The quasi-Jerry Lewis-esque buffoon didn't work at all. And then they added an Australian bondswoman, who just happened to be a busty blonde bruiser, and...well, the show was off the airwaves not long thereafter.
So there is no chance anymore to watch horrible TV just to see Franky G every week. I doubt I'll go see Saw 2, so I'll have to miss Franky G's newest star turn. Which is a shame, because I relish any opportunities to see Franky G. onscreen. And not only Franky G, but any number of other actors that whose beauty lights up the screen, but whom Hollywood and the major networks in New York don't know what to do with. (Mekhi Phifer has kept his job on ER and there's the two guys, Eva Longoria's husband and Alfre Woodard's son on Desperate Housewives, a show I don't watch, but that's about it now that Taye Diggs, Keith Hamilton Cobb, Matthew St. Patrick, etc. are no longer on regularly airing shows.) But then things may change, as they already have in my lifetime, though slowly, slowly.... So cable TV stations, just so you know, Franky G could still be a contender....