No matter how hard you might try to deny it, we all at some point or another had a crush on someone. It is like a rite of passage. You suffer for long hours in silence waiting for a love that will most likely never be reciprocated. The “crush” is what so many movies about angst-ridden teenagers are based upon. (My personal favorite? Can’t Hardly Wait).
Almost as important as the garden-variety crush is the celebrity crush. Because clearly what is needed in situations such as this is to take your unrequited love and increase it about 100-fold. If that cute guy in study hall isn’t noticing you, despite seeing him during fourth period every day, what makes you think that “Hollywood Hunk du Jour” is going to know who you are, randomly call you up on the phone and ask you to your junior prom, or possibly the Oscars?
Despite the impossibility of it all, celebrity crushes have and do exist. Researchers have yet to find the Missing Link of Celebrity Crushes, but they have been able to trace its family tree as far back as Jayne Mansfield up through Marilyn Monroe to Jane Fonda, Farrah Fawcett, Kathy Ireland, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and Megan Fox of current times. (Not to be out done, scientists have also traced male heartthrobs back from Clark Gable up through Tom Jones to David Cassidy, Burt Reynolds, Robert Redford, Paul Newman, George Clooney, Brad Pitt and that very pasty Robert Pattinson.)(I just missed the cut.)
To assure you that were not alone in your fun celebrity crushes as a naive adolescent (okay, who are we kidding, it was last week), in honor of Valentine’s Day, I am going share some of my celebrity crushes from back in the day.
No, not Ralph Macchio, but Elisabeth Shue. Given my life-long love affair with The Karate Kid, it is not particularly surprising that Daniel-san’s love interest makes the list. What’s not to like about the popular girl who befriends the new kid in school, even though he is a total dork who gets beat up all of the time? When he comes to the Halloween dance dressed as a shower, she actually dances with him, instead of blowing him off which is what a real life popular girl would have done. Not only that but she is smart enough to be able to play along with Mr. Miyagi’s sly plan to pretend that she is his interpreter so she can be on the sidelines during the karate tournament. Speaking of being smart, when you can go to Harvard in real life and then play a really nerdy scientist in The Saint, you get a lot of bonus points from the nerdy, science-loving dork who is organizing this dream team.
True or false… Kerri Strug is the only person I have ever written a fan letter to? For better or worse, the answer is true. The Summer Olympics of 1996 was a magical time, and I was an impressionable 19 year old who thought that life was like a movie and that by writing a fantastic and well-thoughtout letter, something wonderful would happen. A few months later, I receive a preprinted postcard and a dream withered and died.
I watched a lot of “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman” rather religiously and it wasn’t because I was a big fan of Superman comics. (Although ironically, through watching I ended up becoming a bigger fan of Superman.) When you are a clumsy goofball who, you can’t but be drawn to another clumsy goofball who also tends to get herself stuck in more than her fair share of jams. Add in a secret desire to be a superhero and rescue damsels in distress, stir, and you have the makings of a celebrity crush. Inexplicably, Teri Hatcher has been playing the same character for her entire acting career. As Penny Parker, it was cute when she used to drag MacGuyver down into all sorts of perilous situations. This peaked with her performance as Lois Lane, but with her STILL doing her wacky hijinks on Wisteria Lane, I hate to say it but I am little tired of your act. Its not you, its me. I am breaking up with you. You know, in that imaginary, I don’t have a crush on you anymore kind of way.
To the rest of the world, she is merely Blake Lively’s sister. However to me, she will always be perky Jessica Andrews from Karate Kid III. This will probably mercilessly follow me to my grave, as despite the fact that this crush has long since run it’s course, my wife still likes to needle me about it. So, I might as well own it. Two interesting points to make about Robyn Lively. First, the thing that made this celebrity crush last the longest and the one I most identify with, (being in a Karate Kid movie not withstanding) is that for awhile, she kept popping up in things that I really liked, past and present (at least mid 90’s present). She was on an episode of Quantum Leap, she was on Chicago Hope for awhile and when I thought about it more, I realized she was the same girl who I thought was cute back in the day on Doogie Howser (playing a nurse named Michelle Faber who I think Doogie went on a few dates with at some point after Wanda.) So clearly, in the mind of a star-struck adolescent it was totally meant to be.
My second point about her is actually more about the fleeting nature of fame. The ironic thing about Robyn being Blake Lively’s sister, is that Blake is having the career that Robyn could have, if it weren’t for the fickle winds of fate. Some people make it big and some people don’t and many times it is not all up to you.
Back in the mid 90’s when the WB (now the CW) first started, Robyn starred in a relatively trashy nighttime soap opera called “Savannah”. It was relatively popular and definitely the most prominent show on the WB lineup. Yet in the middle of it all, the WB pulled the plug on the most popular show it had to date so that the network could change direction and become more family-centered (enter 7th Heaven) However, fast forward about 10 years later, 7th Heaven started becoming kind of trashy, the WB becomes the CW and it pumps out trashy soap opera after trashy soap opera. This run of CW popularity all started with the immense success of Blake Lively’s show, Gossip Girl. What happens if the WB/CW stays true to its roots and always points its compass towards trashy? Would Robyn have been the most well known of the Lively family actors? The world will never know. But thankfully, we have Gossip Girl, 90210, Vampire Diaries and many other CW shows that can provide celebrity crushes to a new generation of adolescents.