Wednesday, June 23, 2010

The Pam Beesly Effect

I like to watch television. As a young American, maybe it's part of my duty, upbringing, whatever, but I genuinely enjoy sitting down sometimes and just allowing myself to drift away into the images dancing across the screen. I don't need to spend hours in front of the boob tube daily, nor do I, but it is nice to allow yourself to become immersed in any program that you're into.

Once you watch enough T.V., certain parallels become noticeable between different programs. In other words, specific themes present themselves that can either translate into success or failure. Such a trend that reveals a show becomming successful is the physical appearance of (mostly) the lead actress. Simply put, the arch of a successful show can be traced with the arch of an actress becomming more attractive. Here are some examples:

The Office - Pam Beesly/Halpert

The namesake of this theory. By no means is Jenna Fischer, nor any of the actresses below, unattractive. Personally, I think Jenna is extremely attractive (i.e. hot). However, in the first couple seasons of The Office, Pam was not very appealing, but rather plain looking. As the series continued on, it was decided that Pam should...I dunno, actually try and look attractive instead of just wearing buttoned-up cardigans and slicking her hair back into a ponytail. It is possible that this change in appearance could be traced to her actual character arch, as Pam gained more confidence after her second break-up with Roy. Yet, while I do believe this to be true, it doesn't mean that the producers of the show didn't go out of their way to keep Jenna from looking hot early on and then subsequenly allowed her to look much better in later seasons, thus mirroring the rise in popularity and success of The Office.

Then & Now

Curb Your Enthusiam - Cheryl David

Cheryl Hines is another beautiful actress, whose character did not initially match her real-life beauty. On Curb Your Enthusiasm, one of the funniest shows on television, Cheryl plays...well, Cheryl. She is representative for Larry David's real-life wife as the show is very true to his own life story. On the show, Cheryl is beyond understanding and supportive of Larry, but will still chew his ass out or point out his ridiculous psychosis when warranted. However, what doesn't mirror real-life is how unattractive Cheryl was initially. As a testament to Cheryl Hines, it was truly difficult to find a less-than-stellar picture of her, but just go back and watch the first season if you don't believe. As the show rolls on, Cheryl continues to look better and better. Larry David's wife/ex-wife in real-life is pretty attractive herself, but she is no Cheryl. If only Curb had shown the viewers that from the beginning.

Then & Now

The Simpsons - Marge Simpson

This trend is not exclusive solely with live actresses; it also translates to primetime cartoon characters. The Simpsons began as a short on The Tracy Ullman Show. The characters were very rough incarnations from what the world sees them as today. Marge appears to be a rough scripple from the iconic figure we know as Homer's wife and Bart's mom. In fact, modern-day Marge has gone through such a makeover that she was even asked to pose for Playboy Magazine.

Not bad at all from what she began as.

See for yourself. Then & Now.

Those were the first three examples that came to mind when I began pondering ideas to support my theory. I'll re-visit this, if anyone is interested, but in the meantime, can you think of any examples?

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