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Meg Ryan Preps for Comeback, and Why We Need to Welcome Her Back with Open Arms

By Courtney Enlow | Trade News | October 14, 2013 | Comments ()


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Ten years since In the Cut flopped, beginning a career lull the likes of which were unimaginable circa Sleepless in Seattle and her other major hits, news comes now that Meg Ryan will be producing and starring in a new sitcom for NBC. Ryan will play a character who sounds a lot like all the other characters she’s played with great success over the years, a “sunny, devoted and desperately nonconfrontational single mom who decides to return to her New York publishing house where she was once a brilliant editor to find that she now works for Brenda, a neurotic 30-year-old who was once her former intern.”

I for one wish her every bit of luck, good vibes and well-wishes I am able to muster. And regardless of the show’s quality, I will watch and DVR just to give her some views.

And here’s why this is important: because she was handed a shit deal. She cheated on her infamously unfaithful husband, and both said unfaithful husband and partner in the affair have suffered no consequences whatsoever. She lost her entire career. Twenty years as America’s sweetheart and we dropped her with a thud so hard it shattered a flawless reputation and any real career prospects for 10 years, then, when she attempted to salvage some semblance of her glory days with unfortunate plastic surgery, we mocked her, relegating her to a joke, a punchline. I mean…

frenchkiss_really.gif

Now she’s back. Now she has another chance, one she’s given herself as both star and producer, as a woman in her fifties.

Now who wouldn’t root for that?

You deserved better than you got, Meg. To rally and come back, forging your own future? That’s something to be commended. The least I can do is watch, and hope it’s good. We missed you.



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  • Limbo

    This. Oh god. I adore this woman.

  • Michelle

    I have no opinion on Meg Ryan one way or the other, but can we please, please stop encouraging the use of the term "girl crush"? It's popped up a few times in this comment thread and others and it just bugs me. Why do we have to have qualifiers for attractive people we admire? Why can't it just be a regular crush?

  • $14122660

    I loved Meg Ryan. I didn't even know she had an affair but I think her disappearing has less to do with that and more to do with what the hell she did to her face. It's pretty hard to look at.

  • Arco

    Never disliked her, but I never was that crazy about her either. She's one of those actors that always seemed slightly unsympathetic to me, no matter what role she was in. (Just like Jane Fonda, Henry Fonda, Ryan Reynolds, Debra Winger...hey, I don't know why, just a vibe)

    But a few points here:
    1-Why is the assumption here that her career went down because of her affair with Russel? Her career was already going down. Her time was simply up. She'd had about a decade of being 'america's sweetheart' and that's generally as long as that stuff lasts.

    2-Dennis Quaid's career has really not been going any better whatsoever so the notion that she was 'punished' while he had continued success is really based on nothing.

    3-Proof of Life didn't fail because of the affair. If anything, it made people more curious about it. It failed because it was a shitty movie and she and Russel had no onscreen chemistry whatsoever.

  • Jifaner

    She got a raw deal concerning the whole affair thing, but part of her career nosedive was certainly because she messed up her perfectly wonderful face.

  • LexieW

    I was JUST thinking about her and wondering what happened to her. I actually would watch the pilot of that show.

  • Steena

    I'm 26 and have had a huge girl-crush on Meg since "French Kiss." I've just always loved her perkiness, her smile, her ability to be gorgeous without taking her clothes off. Seriously, I'm of the Britney and Christina generation-- having a female role model in the 90s who made khaki pants and button-up shirts look cute when MTV was telling me I should be wearing belly shirts and assless chaps was a big deal. She showed me the value of charming people with your personality rather than just shocking them with sex appeal. I will always love her for that.
    I hate how all the plastic surgery has changed her face, but I can understand why she did it. She really was handed a shit deal and I truly hope her comeback is successful. She's a very underrated actor IMO and I'd love to see her get work again.

  • Artemis

    I love Meg Ryan. I love You've Got Mail and French Kiss and her whole adorable flustered schtick. I hope this show works out for her.

    And while her age/the plastic surgery *eventually* explains her career stagnation, I think some people here are rewriting the order in which things went down. The Russell Crowe thing came out in the summer of 2000, and she split up with him at the end of that year. She had one more successful movie in 2001--Kate and Leopold, which wasn't a massive hit but did perfectly good numbers for a rom com in that era--and then only appeared in two movies in the next six years, then had a little rush of shitty, low-budget projects in 2007 and 2008, and now hasn't been in any movies at all since 2009.

    In 1998 she's one of the biggest, most bankable stars in the world making $15-20 million a picture, and three years later she's completely done. She didn't age overnight. In 2001 she'd had her lips done, but her face still looked basically the same way it always had. She absolutely got dropped by Hollywood because of the Crowe affair, and then she jacked up her face and made some bad movies (presumably because she wasn't getting offered anything better). Maybe she wasn't your cup of tea, but it's hard to see how what went down in her career isn't directly traceable to judgments about her personal life.

  • TheOtherGreg

    If she needed to be excused for anything, which she doesn't, "Joe Versus the Volcano" excuses all.

  • emmalita

    I love that movie. So under-rated.

  • John W

    Can't wait.

  • BWeaves

    I tried to watch "In The Cut" on network TV once, when I was just flipping through channels. It was a comedy. Why, you ask? Because they kept overdubbing "blow job" with "snow job," and other weird overdubs. I'm sure they cut out all the sex scenes, too. Basically, the entire movie made no sense once it was butchered like that, and I suspect it wasn't that great to start with.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    And you were watching this on network TV because..?

  • BWeaves

    " . . . when I was just flipping through channels. . ."

    I was not actively seeking it out. I just came upon it as I was flipping channels, and got stuck trying to figure out what a "snow job" was.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Well it admittedly was not all that great but it had naked Ruffalo in it. The other details are sketchy.

  • llp

    While rom-coms were certainly her bread and butter, I think Ryan was a very capable actress. When a Man Loves a Woman was, I thought, a really haunting film about how alcoholism can really damage a family.

    Plus, tiny Tina Majorino and Mae Whitman.

  • Pajiba_Pragmatist

    Others here have noted that she didn't get a raw deal insomuch as she "aged out" of the roles she was good at.

    At first, we might be inclined to yell "misogyny", but it's probably much more akin to what you see in sports. If a pitcher is known for his fastball, and he can't throw it anymore because he's gotten old, we don't scream agism. If he's got a knuckleball, then he can play into his 40's - otherwise, it's off to car-dealship commercials and real estate.

    Meg Ryan just couldn't bring a believable fastball anymore - she went in for a surgical fix (something lots of athletes do), but she never got her stuff back. Until she shows us that she now has a new pitch, I'm not going to give her a pity party.

    Now if she comes back and demonstrates new acting chops, then I'm going to step right up and buy a ticket.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Ryan is a one-note performer. This is what keeps Julia Roberts in business. She was successful in other roles besides that wide eyed ingenue that Meg Ryan could never seem to escape.

    And Tim Wakefield really did pitch for a long time.

  • Siege

    All my upvotes for Wakey.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Didn't they have to shoot him to get him to stop pitching?

  • Sara_Tonin00

    She was adorable. She was usually playing herself. Kind of like Diane Keaton, actually, but Diane Keaton generally picks movies with better dialogue. Not even better plots, just usually better dialogue.

  • rocky

    Diane Keaton is the object lesson here. It's not that she's picked great roles - god knows she hasn't done that. But she kept some semblance of dignity. She's still a beautiful, charming woman, that I can relate to. Meg Ryan I was with right up to the plastic surgery. Not because I don't understand the insecurity that might have led her to it (for chrissakes she's an actress). But because I just couldn't stand to watch any more.

    Diane Keaton rocks.

  • Monkeytoe

    "And here’s why this is important: because she was handed a shit deal.
    She cheated on her infamously unfaithful husband, and both said
    unfaithful husband and partner in the affair have suffered no
    consequences whatsoever. She lost her entire career. "

    I don't think her career tanked because of that. The problem was the type of role she was good at was no longer in her range. Past 40, she couldn't do romcoms anymore. And she's not really known for any other part. It might be unfortunate that she "aged out" of romcoms, but I don't think it was because of the affair that her career slowed. And, on top of that, she chose some bad movies to be in.

    She was never a bad actress, but she also wasn't a great actress. She was good with small parts in dramas, and good as the leading lady in romcoms. That's about it.

  • BWeaves

    And yet, they are still hiring Meryl Streep for romcoms. Then again, she's a great actress.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    I still watch "Death Becomes Her" when it's on cable because I adore that woman. They should have cast her in 50 Shades of Grey opposite Tilda Swinton. But, alas, that is another thread for another day.

  • Cango and Tash

    The two men you mention are Dennis Quaid and Russel Crowe.

    I can barely think of anything Meg Ryan has done barring When Harry Met Sally and Top Gun. She was a competent actress, but in no way exceptional.

    Russel Crowe is a multi-award winning actor with a number of acomplished roles.

    Dennis Quaid has had been in largely forgettable roles.

    I don't really think it's fair to compare.

  • Artemis

    Okay, leave Russell Crowe to one side and just look at Dennis Quaid. He may have been in "largely forgettable roles" but he's been in 23 of them since they split up (only counting theatrical releases, and not including Movie 43), as well as being first-billed in a network drama (which tanked, but initially had a fair amount of buzz and a lot of big names in it). In the same period, Meg Ryan has been in 8 movies and a handful of guest spots on TV shows. You may not have liked her movies, but she was definitely exceptional in terms of box office: her movies grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office in the 90s and she was one of (if not the) highest-paid actress in Hollywood in that period. I really don't think her career implosion--notable mainly because it happened so quickly, instead of dropping off over time--can be explained without her personal life factoring into it to some extent.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    I think that several factors are at play. She aged out of her persona and did not transition into a new one. The cheating scandal. Russell Crowe is apparently somewhat of an assclown to the surprise of absolutely no one. And he had better people on the job and much more power than her. Finally, the unfortunate plastic surgery.

    But I still think this is the wrong direction for a TV show for her. "sunny, devoted and desperately non-confrontational single mom"?

    I would prefer "formerly perky ingenue screwed over by life who has ceased to give one single actual fuck".

  • Monkeytoe

    "who was once her former intern"

    She was once her former intern? She's not her former intern now? How does one stop being a former intern? Do the re-become the intern?

  • BWeaves

    Let's file it in the Redundancy Department of Redundancy file.

  • Come On

    Oh my god! You forgot the "y" on the word "they" thus it looks like you were asking the nonsensical question "Do the re-become the intern?" Everyone mock this person and laugh at them for their minor mistake!

  • Monkeytoe

    I actually made fun of this because I see this formulation so often "once her former . . . " And, if you note, I wasn't making fun of Courtney - she was quoting NBC - so I was making fun of the network

  • Scottieboy

    I loved Meg Ryan during the 90s, and I don't care what she gets up to in her private life. But... those lips. That awful, awful lip job ruined her face for me. It became an unwelcome distraction.

  • Milly

    And a similar thing happened to a UK TV actress called Leslie Ash. Such a horrific piece of surgery and that's all that you can focus on. More or less ruined her career/or meant she could no longer be taken seriously.

    http://i.dailymail.co.uk/i/pix...

  • F'mal DeHyde

    That doesn't even look like the same woman. What a shame.

  • treatment_bound

    I'm actually old enough to remember her from "Quadrophenia", which I saw in a theater with my girlfriend (now wife) 34 YEARS AGO!!

    I haven't really seen her in anything since, as she's basically been a "UK actress", but geez, you really spoiled my day with that before & after shot.

    I'm just going to go downstairs and pop in "Quadrophenia" and forget it ever happened. Although I'll be thinking of her as "The Real Me" cranks in the opening.

    P.S.--do you have any current shots of Phil Daniels you can post for some comparison?

  • BWeaves

    Those Botox brows. They're like flying monkey wings.

    That and the swollen lips. I hate fat lips on women who have naturally small lips. It just looks incredibly wrong.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Is this really what she looked like (on the left) right before surgery? *sigh*

  • Milly

    Yup. And she often had similar hair to Meg Ryan and was usually playing the attractive yet unobtainable lead.

  • Aaron Schulz

    they moved the middle part of her face, thats bizarre

  • troublesometots

    If you modify yourself to such a degree that the audience is too busy trying to accept the otherworldly slopes of your post-surgery face to potentially buy into your character (unless your character happens to be one who has an inordinate amount of plastic surgery) you've effectively killed your career.

    This is why we dropped her like a hot potato. There are good roles for older women who have aged out of rom-coms. There aren't so many good roles for people who have mucked up their face to that degree.

  • Sirilicious

    Yes, there are 3 good roles for 736 older women. While there are 312 good roles for 736 older men.

    There's usually this grey area between getting the first surgery and overdoing it with the seventh. But in that time, the women still get the roles, because of the youngification.

    It sucks.

  • Fredo

    And that's the angle that goes unmentioned often: when you get plastic surgery on that scale and change one of the most recognizable faces in Hollywood, people are going to have a reaction to that -- rarely a positive one.

    I'm sure Courtney could tell us which famous actors/actresses had major plastic surgery and had as big a career afterwards.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Remember Jennifer Grey? I am not much of a Dirty Dancing fan but she had a very distinctive nose.She was so different from most actresses. Then she changed her nose. And it's not that she is unattractive now. I just miss that damn nose.

  • Fredo

    I remember her both pre and post. And how people made a big deal about it.

    I think the only person who kept her career post-major surgery was Nicole Kidman after her Botox.

  • Jifaner

    I think that is because the Botox actually helped her in the roles she took. Kidman often goes very rigid or icy in her role choices and the frozen face went right along with that. When her lips began to look inside out, however, her credibility went down with them.

  • She's also at least good at stopping in time for filming. That way in Stoker we don't see that she usually has two top lips when she's not making a movie.

  • Legally Insignificant

    Meg Ryan is one of several actresses, including Julia Roberts, whose appeal I never understood. She seems to play the same role regardless of which movie she's in. I feel for her regarding her career, but she's definitely not someone who would interest me in watching something that I might otherwise dismiss.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    I liked her in "When Harry Met Sally".

    Other than that I am not that invested. Actresses from the 90's? I prefer Geena Davis (wherefore art thou, Geena?). Michelle Pfeiffer. And I am happy as hell to see Angela Bassett getting some airtime. And if Sandra Bullock remains successful I am not mad.

    But I am not going to watch Ryan's show just because I feel sorry for her, especially since it looks bland. I like what she tried to do with "In the Cut". More things like that might revive her career.

  • Sarah Weissman

    Also, Geena has the Geena Davis Institute for Gender in Media. So she's pretty badass all around.

  • Sarah Weissman

    Geena has a great and complicated cameo in the little indie film, "In a World." Great movie, super feminist as a bonus.

  • 724wd

    Geena is busy shooting her bow... Olympic Archer!

  • LexieW

    She's also working to increase the number and quality of female character roles in children's programming. http://www.seejane.org/

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    Still my first choice for Wonder Woman. It could have worked a few years ago.

  • F'mal DeHyde

    Oh my god, Angela Bassett. Is she the most beautiful woman on TV right now or what? I got a little bit breathless the first time she showed up in her period costume on AHS. Big BIG girl crush on her. *sigh*

  • Sirilicious

    I will never not think of Strange Days when she is mentioned. And she sould be in so much more that is awesome tv or film.

  • **I AM** NotTheOne

    So. Underrated.

  • Mark Maloney

    Agree completely with being clueless about the unquestioned appeal of Meg Ryan and Julie Roberts. I'm 50-something, and never understood how they were considered "standards" of my generation. I felt that they were representative of the industry that bludgeoned us with the same characters over and over, taking the guaranteed profit at the gate based on the inertia (laziness?) of the American public. Perfectly competent actresses I guess, but I wonder how many other more talented but lesser recognized ones were passed over in the process. Full disclosure - I did eagerly anticipate In The Cut but ultimately just felt sheepish and sorry for Ms. Ryan. I don't pretend to know anything about her personal life, and certainly don't begrudge her profiting from her marketability in the past, but I don't anxiously await anything from her. Move on please.

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