In a landscape defined by smouldering gazes and token “hot bods”, it’s only natural to take solace in the fact that in the wide world of comedy, realistic gentlemen exist. And while some of these gems may have had their heyday circa 1996, a girl can dream. Because while Gossip Girl may showcase “ smouldering bros” with a penchant for drama and “partying hard”, 30 Rock tells us that we can eat Pop Tarts off the ground and still make out with Jon Hamm after serving cheese stew.
Though not that I condone doing that – because Pop Tarts should always be eaten off plates.
WORDS: MS. ANNE T. DONAHUE
Babe #1: Jim from The Office (US)
First things first: we’re recognizing TV characters and TV characters alone. So while you may think, “but Anne, Jim’s played by a guy named John Krasinski – and he’s married to Emily Blunt!” I will answer, “but it’s Jim that I love – so I don’t care!”
Thus, let’s celebrate the pranks. The air fives. The fact that he warned Pam not to eat the yoghurt because it was ready to expire. The fact that he was a little bablier circa seasons one to three – but we’ll forget that now because damn it, even married-with-a-kid-and-nearly-losing-that-kid-at-the-baptism Jim is still double thumbs up-worthy. You can have your Pauly D – I’ll take Jim “James” Halpert.
Babe #2: Joseph Gordon-Levitt from 3rd Rock From the Sun
You know what? It’s completely acceptable to watch reruns of this late-90s gem and exclaim, “how dare those elementary school kids make fun of me when I proclaimed JGL my boyfriend after several screenings of 10 Things I Hate About You?”
Was it the long hair? The transition from long hair-to-short hair? The zany shirts? The fact that you knew in about ten years he’d be in Inception and you’d be standing upright in the movie theatre screaming, “Who’s laughing now?! WHO?!” True, you can by no means gaze upon his teenage self and want to date him (unless you are a teenager, then by all means), but you can watch (500) Days of Summer on repeat and “I told you so” out of everyone at the same time. I know I did. And will. And am doing so now.
Babe #3: Abed on Community
You know what, guys? This one was tough. First of all, Troy and Abed have the best bromance in the history of television, and Donald Glover is by definition “the man”. But since we’re going to focus primarily on the characters themselves, I have to tip my head to Abed because not only is he a snazzy dresser, he could totally quote Friends episodes with me and not judge anything in the meantime.
Remember when he kind of dates that CIA girl and it’s adorable? Or when he pretends to be Don Draper? Or when he has those moments of realization where you’re left to make your way to the television screen and hug it with the earnestness of Abed when reciting “Bibliothequa”? I bet he watches Mary Tyler Moore reruns, too. My heart.
Babe #4: Dr. Drew Baird on 30 Rock
Speaking of challenges, behold the ultimate. Not only was there the whole Damon vs. Hamm vs. Sheen (NOT Charlie) conundrum, but also the quintessential “but is Alec Baldwin still a babe?” debate. (Answer: yes. Yes he is.) But when push comes to shove, and swoon comes to gazing adoringly at your television set while eating a bag full of Smartfood, there’s only two words that can actually interrupt weekly Thursday night feasting, and those are “total fox”. Translation? Drew. Baird.
Stupid? As the days are long. Handsome? As the chocolate to my pantry. So despite Liz’s hang-ups about his “intellect” and his “ignorance”, some of us would’ve been happy to join the good doctor in his bubble and order imaginary meals off a typically set menu.
In a fictionalized world, that is.
Babe #5: JTT on Home Improvement
Okay, fine. I know that not since the early 2000s has JTT appeared in anything other than my childhood flashbacks, but despite his lack of career and Tiger Beat appearances, there’s always room for Randy Taylor. And while none of us actually cared about his character or his name at the time (seriously, did you even know he played a guy named Randy?), we cared about his wit, charm and lack of height. And that was all.
Thus, like my days spent defending Ryan Gosling in Breaker High, I’ll defend JTT. And while he may not have blossomed into an Academy-award winning actor, he still had Disney. And our love. And if you’re playing a middle child named Randy, really, that’s all that matters.