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Old 12-11-2011, 08:14 AM
 
Location: Altoona, PA
932 posts, read 943,678 times
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As an avid follower of both American and foreign TV shows, one huge difference I've observed is the tendency of American television shows to ONLY use beautiful people. This is especially true in both Dexter and True Blood (they even made the sheriff "buff up" in True Blood.

In foreign shows and movies, they tend to use actor that look more like regular people. For example, the British version of the show Shameless uses actors and actresses that look like they belong on a council estate, whereas the American version uses people who could be models and don't look convincingly hard up or working class.

What are your thoughts? Personally, I believe that using too many beautiful people in a show or a movie makes it less "real", despite the fact that people go for eye candy.
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Old 12-11-2011, 08:19 AM
 
Location: Richardson, TX
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I don't watch TV looking for realism.. it's by definition escapism. No problem at all with using pretty people, except for when said pretty people are bad actors. Then I just won't watch that show.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:21 AM
 
Location: Duluth, Minnesota, USA
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Latin American TV does the same thing. Have you seen a Spanish-language telenovela lately? More beautiful, rich, white people than you can shake a stick at - very much in contrast with the populations of their countries.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:00 PM
 
Location: Altoona, PA
932 posts, read 943,678 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tvdxer View Post
Latin American TV does the same thing. Have you seen a Spanish-language telenovela lately? More beautiful, rich, white people than you can shake a stick at - very much in contrast with the populations of their countries.
Oh lord, yes. Those 'novellas', for example. Add to that, terrible (over) acting, but different strokes for different folks (or cultures). Spanish films are very "real" though, often very gritty. Actors aren't necessarily only chosen for physical attractiveness.
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Old 12-11-2011, 03:55 PM
 
Location: Minneapolis
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I once saw an interview with an LA Times movie critic. He pointed out that Hollywood used to find talented actors; then use wardrobe, makeup, lighting, etc. to make them look as appealing as possible (think Humphrey Bogart or Bette Davis). He went on say that, now, Hollywood does exactly the opposite: they find sexually marketable people, then try to instill them with acting skills.

From my observations, the latter generally doesn't work!
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:01 PM
 
Location: Houston
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It didn't use to be that way. Look at some of the hit shows from the 70s and 80s. They actually cast people with talent over looks. The 90s started the horrible trend of casting pretty people over talent.

I do have to disagree with you though on British shows being different. The cast of Shameless had some beautiful people on there including James McAvoy. Also have you seen the British show Skins? They are just as pretty as the CW bunch.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:40 PM
 
6,779 posts, read 6,854,548 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glasvegas View Post
As an avid follower of both American and foreign TV shows, one huge difference I've observed is the tendency of American television shows to ONLY use beautiful people. This is especially true in both Dexter and True Blood (they even made the sheriff "buff up" in True Blood.

In foreign shows and movies, they tend to use actor that look more like regular people. For example, the British version of the show Shameless uses actors and actresses that look like they belong on a council estate, whereas the American version uses people who could be models and don't look convincingly hard up or working class.

What are your thoughts? Personally, I believe that using too many beautiful people in a show or a movie makes it less "real", despite the fact that people go for eye candy.
I watch a lot of foreign shows and movies, and I don't like it, I also don't like the way most American TV shows, and movies only use upper middle class characters and homes, it creates the perception that being a beautiful upper middle class person is the norm when it's really the exception. I do think that is harmful for young people to only see that. I'm not saying every show has to perfectly depict reality, or that we shouldn't have beautiful actors, I'd just like to see some diversity, beautiful people with some less than beautiful people, and people of different economic situations, both of which I see a lot more of in foreign shows. For some types of shows and movies having more realistic actors and settings can create a much more believable, and enjoyable show. Some shows are pure escapism, and everyone is gorgeous and rich, that's fine, but sometimes I want to see something more real. I think British TV is becoming more like the US in casting too much beauty, and it can hurt shows.

One thing I have notice in watching foreign shows and movies is that sometimes people aren't beautiful at first sight, but have such charisma that they are very enjoyable to watch which is of course important for TV, and having those type of acors could be a great benefit to American TV. A person doesn't necessarily need to be drop dead gorgeous to be fun to watch onscreen. I'd also much prefer to see a better actor who isn't as perfect looking as a gorgeous bad actor.

It's a big problem in music as well, if one were to look just at US music stars it could easily be thought that musical talent, and good looks must go together. I wonder how many talented people we never get to hear outside their local clubs because they don't look good enough.

Last edited by detshen; 12-11-2011 at 06:53 PM..
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:08 PM
 
Location: 30-40N 90-100W
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For the most part I don't care for it, but I admit it doesn't bother me too much and it depends on what kind of show it is.

If it's a show trying to be "glamorous" or just "soap opera" it makes sense to have them gorgeous. It did bother me in the 1990s when stories about ostensibly "struggling" people had casts of beautiful people with beautiful clothes and all. Actually the clothes, furniture, etc issue maybe bothered me more. Poor people can be pretty, some of prettiness is genetic, but fine dresses and expensive haircuts is not what they can manage except maybe for special occasions.

I don't know if we should go too far on glorifying "ye olden days" though. I think women like Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth, Kim Novak, Lana Turner, etc were picked for "their look" more than their acting skills. Not saying they didn't grow as actresses over time, but their looks were a factor from the start.
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Old 12-11-2011, 09:16 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
8,874 posts, read 12,914,194 times
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I think part of the "beautiful people" issue is that show business has such a narrow idea of what is beautiful. Even the supposedly ethnic people are held to Caucasian standards of "beauty." People who are outside the norm have to play in comedy. As Glasvegas notes, even the supposedly gritty dramas feature people who are way beyond what normal people look like. Seriously, have you ever seen a cop who looked like Mariska Hargitay or Maria Bello or those women on CSI? Have you ever seen a medical examiner who looked like that woman on Rizzoli and Isles?

And, yes, Detshen, I agree it's a big problem in music, too. So many great voices are never heard because they aren't emanating from pretty people. It's been an epidemic in pop music for awhile but now it's spilled over into country and even opera. Think of Elton John, Aretha Franklin, Rod Stewart, Janis Joplin, or many others. Do you think any one of them would have achieved fame if they started now instead of in the 1970s? On the other hand, would anyone have ever heard a Taylor Swift record if she didn't look the way she looks? It begins with producers, but it's exacerbated by the press. Take Adele for instance. Great voice, a true stylist, wonderful songs. Ever read an article about her? Every interviewer is obsessed with the fact that she doesn't meet today's standards of beauty and wants to talk to her about how she feels about that. Actually, she's very pretty, but she's about 30 pounds overweight by today's trends. And every article about her raves about the fact that she has achieved fame in spite of her appearance. Like she's the Elephant Man.

We're missing out on so much real talent because show business producers are so knee-jerk.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:26 PM
 
Location: TX
3,899 posts, read 4,511,167 times
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I especially think it's ridiculous in the CSI shows or cop shows where they are shown going out in the field...skinny model-thin, makeup, very nice clothes...you gotta be joking, you know! Can't help myself, I keep hoping they'll fall into some dirty ditch or something. But the pretty, skinny look has become a part of our culture. Children grow up with the idea that you have to diet, become anorexic or bulemic and have plastic surgery until you look like those "beautiful people". And where did the really extreme bullying come from among children, anyway? If you you're a kid and don't look like Barbie and Ken, God help you!
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