Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Nerd Man of the Month: Adam Baldwin
This month’s Nerd Man and I go way back – in the sense that we’ve never met and I just watch him a lot on TV. When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was called “My Bodyguard,” a movie about a kid who goes to a new school and gets beaten up all the time until he hires the troubled, brooding big guy to protect him. As someone who used to get crammed into lockers on a frequent basis, this movie spoke to me…and it didn’t hurt that the brooding guy was kind of hot. His name? Adam Baldwin. And not only did he continue to be hot, he then started starring in pretty much every good sci-fi show and movie produced in the last 15 years, from “The X-Files,” “Angel” and “Independence Day” to “Firefly,” “Serenity” and now “Chuck.” My friends, he was even in the cheesy TV remake of “The Poseidon Adventure,” in which he ROCKED.
And unlike most people who aren’t animated characters on “South Park,” he looks damn good in an orange knit hat. These are just a few of the reasons why Adam Baldwin has earned August’s Nerd Man of the Month honors.
Baldwin’s not just another pretty face. In fact, he’s not very pretty at all. He looks like an archetypal tough guy, all brawn and scowl. But here’s what makes him different, separating him, so to speak, from the Vin Diesel chaff: he’s pretty damn funny and never more so when he’s uttering the words of Joss Whedon. Baldwin’s 13 episodes as Jayne in Whedon’s “Firefly” left an indelible impression. He managed to make Jayne arrogant, ridiculous, cold-hearted, endearing, dangerous and reluctantly good all at once – sometimes all in one scene. He was the menacing funny guy. Only Jayne could have become a folk hero by running away and accidentally dropping all his stolen cash, making the people of Canton believe he was their Robin Hood. And only Baldwin could have conveyed the utter horror and arrogant pride that Jayne felt when he realized just how much all those Cantonians loved him. In fact, let’s all take a moment and reflect on “The Hero of Canton,” a man named Jayne...as sung by Baldwin:
The thing is, nerds love underdogs, too, and in the world of acting, Baldwin seems like the ultimate underdog. He’s never been a huge star and probably never will be. He’s never headlined a movie or shown up on Perez Hilton’s site. Even in his new series, “Chuck,” where he plays a government agent assigned to protect the geeky title character (flashback to “My Bodyguard?”), he’s rarely center stage but he always, always steals the scene. He’s a guy who seems to just work hard, plug along and quietly entertain the millions of people who secretly know he’s awesome. And in the end, well, that’s a hugely endearing quality.
So please join me in doffing our flappy-eared hats and honoring Adam Baldwin with this month’s Nerd Man title. Now let’s go shoot some space guns! It’s what Jayne would want.