New category I decided to start, Actor Spotlight. This is where I’ll write about an actor or actress whom I believe is underrated, either because they’re not that big stars yet (& I think they will be), or they are stars but still tend to be overlooked, for whatever reason.
First up here is Julia Louis-Dreyfus. She is, of course, already a big star and very successful actress. But I’m just fascinated by her career path. For the record, SEINFELD is my all-time favorite TV sitcom (my favorite drama is DALLAS, or course). I was watching that show since the very beginning, I used to tape every episode, and still have the entire series on a dozen VHS tapes. Julia Louis-Dreyfus was integral to the success of that show as Elaine Benes. Let’s look back at one classic Elaine moment from the show:
Such a great show, not only was it famously a show about “nothing,” but I love the “no hugs, no learning” rule that it adopted. Having a sitcom where all the main characters are basically a bunch of self-absorbed jerks is not easy, but they made it work for 9 seasons! But as much as I loved her on that show, I never would have guessed that after it ended it would Julia who would have the most successful post-Seinfeld acting career. But then she managed to star in The New Adventures of Old Christine for 5 seasons!
Another great show. And like Seinfeld it was helped by it’s funny ensemble cast. I was late on this one, I didn’t start watching until the 3rd season, but then got caught up via reruns. And then when that show ended, she almost immediately followed that up with Veep on HBO! I’ve already written about that show on my Tumblr: VEEP
Now, I’ll be the first to admit, I feel like the third season of Veep wasn’t quite as good as the first two, but that’s due to the change of the premise. They switched from having it be a show about the Vice President in Washington to being about running a Presidential campaign. That seems like an odd choice to go to so soon, you’d think they’d save that for the final season. The show has been renewed for a 4th season, so I wonder if they’re going to change the name? Anyway, I do think the season redeemed itself with the finale, when (SPOILER ALERT!) Selina officially became President, and everything still kept going wrong for her. The scene when she’s walking away from the podium after her first Presidential press conference and she can hear her shoes squeaking on the floor, that look on her face was priceless. You could tell exactly what she was thinking, just by reading the expression on her face. I loved it.
You know how rare it is for an actor to star in one hit TV show? And she’s now starred in THREE hit TV shows?!? That is quite a testament to her acting abilities. And what’s really interesting to me is that you could almost pretend that her three shows are all about the same character. You had Elaine Benes, a thirty-something self-absorbed single woman on Seinfeld. Then imagine Elaine settled down and got married, had a kid and then got divorced, but remains friends with her ex-husband and his new fiance. Then Elaine got into politics, eventually becoming Vice President of the United States. It kinda works, doesn’t it? It’s like Julia Louis-Dreyfus is at heart a Character Actress, yet she’s managed to keep getting Leading Lady roles.
And that doesn’t even mention her scene-stealing roles as the fake blind lawyer on Arrested Development and playing herself on Curb Your Enthusiasm. Her whole career gets Two Thumbs Up, from me!