Wednesday, December 07, 2011

CRUSHWORTHY: Adam Scott from "Parks & Recreation"

This year has blessed us with some seriously crushworthy guys. So to countdown the 25 days until Christmas, each day I'll put a spotlight on one actor we wish we could catch under the mistletoe. In this case, Santa rewards the naughty and nice.

{DAY 7}
The New Small Town Sweetheart // Adam Scott
I first noticed Adam in the 2005 rom-com Monster-in-Law as J.Lo's gay best friend. In spite of the movie, he was pretty funny, so I expected to see more of him. I didn't again until I saw the 2010 rom-com Leap Year, where this time he played the terminally unromantic fiancee of Amy Adams. We were suppose to hate him in that movie so I ignored him. It wasn't until a cult-following for "Party Down" started to emerge that same year that Adam started getting a lot more recognition. The fledgling Starz workplace comedy boasted a cast of comedic actors that had long been neglected by the mainstream. But as critics and viewers began to take notice, more opportunities arose for them. Jane Lynch went on to play the Emmy-winning Coach Sue Sylvester on "Glee" and Adam received the venerable honoring of wooing one Leslie Knope. I know that doesn't sound even, but I can assure you it is.

Jane functions as the Glee club's constant naysayer, their driving force to do better. All protagonists need a villain, an obstacle, and she succeeds in both physically and emotionally inhibiting them, and making their story that much more interesting. Adam's role on "Parks & Recreation" as Ben Wyatt first started as an afront to Leslie's political future. If he had his way with government budget cuts, he would've shutdown the Park's department immediately. While his boss Chris pretended to be the good guy, he was forced to be the bad guy. It wasn't until he started compromising and participating in proactive brainstorms that he started to look appealing to not only the audience but Leslie too.

When the series first began, Amy Poehler was very adamant about it not being like "The Office" with a love story at its core, because it isn't fair that nearly every female character's goal in life is to get married. What resulted was an uncomfortable love rectangle, where Leslie crushed on Mark, and he crushed on her new friend Ann, while Ann was dating the screwup Andy. It was more humiliating than entertaining, and none of the guys were likable. "The Office" succeeds because it has a healthy balance between oddball characters and heartwarming sentiment. The easiest way to achieve the latter is through sweet romantic scenes. Failing to meet their ratings quota, it appears the series' writers finally gave in and started shopping around for a worthy romantic interest. And I'm almost certain that Adam's awkward deer-caught-in-the-headlights reactions during interactions with attractive women on "Party Down" is the main reason they assigned him the unlikely task of adorably falling for one Leslie Knope.

Unlike most romantic interests, Adam doesn't do pratfalls or over-the-top rambling. He's a very quiet actor. Most of his emotions are nonverbal, reserved behind his awe-shucks demeanor. His character is a nice contrast to Leslie's zanier side. He's generally the straight-man during most of their antics and grounds the series in reality. But when he's with Leslie, he stops being so robotic and comes alive. They're a great example of how love can change you for the better.

So now that Jim and Pam have replaced romancing with parenting, Ben and Leslie are the new couple to envy on NBC, which makes Adam a leading man in the making. His first go of it was this summer in Paul Rudd's My Idiot Brother as workaholic Elizabeth Bank's cute neighbor slash tolerant guy friend she secretly crushes on. It won't be long before he's headlining his own indie rom-com and making the hipster girls swoon.

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