A Welcome and a Definition

Culture Vulture: "A person with a strong, sometimes obsessive, interest in the arts." Culture Vultures spend a lot of time observing the world. This is where those observations come out.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Sex and the Screen

In a recent interview, Kaley Cuoco, who plays Penny on the TV show The Big Bang Theory, revealed that she and Johnny Galecki (Leonard) dated for two years. Of course, many fans of the show will know that Penny and Leonard have had an on-again/ off-again relationship. This tidbit of news got me thinking again about the blurred line where sex on-screen translate into sex off-screen and how that affects the movie or TV show.

There seems to be an adage that sex off-screen almost never translate into good chemistry on-screen. Possibly the most notable example of that was the movie Gigli, known by many to be the worst movie to come out recently. Jennifer Lopez and Ben Affleck played a couple on screen, and were possibly starting a romance off screen. The movie and the relationship were both major flops. One of my favorite actors, Cary Grant, never had a relationship with any of his many leading ladies. Some people say that helped add to the chemistry of his films.

However, I can not go so far as to say it is always a bad thing for a film or show. On Designing Women, Dixie Carter's husband Hal Holbrook, played Reece Watson, Julia Sugarbaker's boyfriend. Delta Burke actually met her husband Gerald McRaney when he played Suzanne's ex-husband on the show.

This also brings up a similar controversy: If an actor is openly gay, can the audience ever accept him/ her as a straight character? There was a controversial article a few months ago printed by Newsweek on the topic. I think the biggest counter to that argument is Neal Patrick Harris, who plays the very straight Barney on How I Met Your Mother. Harris is well-loved on the show, but also is considered a notable figure in gay Hollywood. It seems to me if he can do it, others should be able to as well. No one questions Jake Gyllenhaal playing gay in Brokeback Mountain, or Eric McCormack playing gay Will in Will & Grace. It seems like it would work both ways. However, the argument persists, often from gay actors like Rupert Everett.

As for BBT, I don't think Kaley and Johnny's relationship seemed to affect anything on screen. At best, it's an interesting side note of the show. However, it's interesting to note their relationship seemed to fizzle out right around the time Penny and Leonard's did.

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