Pop Goes the Easel
by Eric J Baker
Well, humanity has let me down again. NBC recently shuttered production on Prime Suspect, their only good new drama, based on the flimsy justification that no one watches it. The chief complaint I can gather from the TV viewing public is that they didn’t like the main character’s hat. Could we not have started a letter-writing campaign, a la Star Trek, to get her a new hat?* Come on, people.
So that leaves only two police procedurals left on network TV that revolve around a female character. The first is ABC’s Body of Proof, about a medical examiner played by Dana Delany, who I called annoying here a few months back. I was wrong to say that; she’s fine and understated in her role. It’s the writing that annoys, with its clumsy attempt to mix light comedy and grit. In a show about murder, cute humor doesn’t work. The other production, over on CBS, is the freshman drama Unforgettable.
The hook for this show is that NY detective Carrie Wells, played by Poppy Montgomery, has a perfect photographic memory. Like in a Dario Argento thriller, she does not realize until later which details are irrelevant and which are crucial to solving the murder. This concept could be used to greater effect, though, if CBS didn’t take such a fluffy approach with it. At least Montgomery is nice to look at and pleasant to spend an hour with. And now that her hair is red, I can’t help but think of Botticelli’s Birth of Venus when I see her. Which leads to thoughts of other celebrities who remind me of artworks, and, well, the rest of this article snowballed from there…
Poppy vs. Venus
To me, Poppy will always be a guy who peed on Jerry Seinfeld’s couch. And Sandro Botticelli will always be the Renaissance painter who captured feminine beauty the best of his contemporaries. I could combine these two thoughts into something perverted, but, in an effort to protect Ms. Montgomery’s honor, I’ll refrain.
Willem Coymans vs. Kirk Hammet of Metallica
Everyone knows the 17th century Dutch were great painters, but are you aware they were also formidable heavy metal guitarists? On the left is a picture by Frans Hals, one of the greatest portrait painters in history, depicting some dude named Willem Coymans. On the right is a likeness of Coyman’s modern-day doppelganger, Metallica’s Kirk Hammet, as illustrated by a Polish artist who goes by Olarek. Hey, this Olarek kid ain’t bad either.
Virgin Mary vs. Jenny
In Michelangelo’s Pietà at St. Peter’s Cathedral, a reflective Mary looks down upon the lifeless body of her son, Jesus, who died for our sins. Meanwhile, in Los Angeles, a reflective Jennifer Aniston looks down upon the drowsy body of her dog, Muffin, and thinks, “Wow, having a dog for a fashion accessory is a lot more work than I thought.” Jen looked even more like Mary before she got all buff and lost the baby fat in her cheeks.
Late 16th century model vs. Simon Le Bon of Duran Duran
Caravaggio, one of the most influential painters in all of western art, captures a young man in the midst of crooning, “Don’t say a prayer for me now. Save it ‘till the morning after. Do do do do do.” By the way, if Simon Le Bon and Caravaggio switched places, Girls on Film would have been called Boys on Film.
Standing Nude vs. Katy Perry
No, the picture on the left is not a mold of Katy Perry’s body that was pulled from ashen soil at Pompeii; it’s Giacometti’s Standing Nude (AKA Woman) of 1953. I can understand wanting to sculpt a nude Katy Perry, though. In fact, despite my utter lack of skill in the plastic arts, I’m willing to give it a shot. Do you think Ms. Perry can sit still long enough? It may take a while.
Man of Sorrows vs. Geico Caveman
James Ensor called this guy the “man of sorrows,” but I’m sorry I ever turned on the TV and saw those goddamn caveman ads.
The David vs. The Donald
This is the contrast between aging well and aging badly. Plus, Michelangelo’s David represents humanist ideals and Trump represents quite something else. These two do have one thing in common, though: Stone balls.
Head in a Cup vs. Darth Vader vs. Pink Boohbah
Olidon Redon sketched “The Egg” in 1885, inspiring the climactic sequence of Return of the Jedi nearly 100 years later, when Luke Skywalker completes the redemption of his father, Uncle Fester. Meanwhile, over on PBS, the Boohbahs teach our children what it’s like to go on an acid trip. Side note: Olidon Redon would make a good Jedi name.
* Gilligan, whose hat is arguably worse, is still on TV.