Subject(s): Chris Noth, 56-year old American actor (and poet); David Eigenberg, 46-year old American actor; Evan Handler, 49-year old American actor (and cancer survivor); and John Corbett, 49-year old American actor (and musician)
Date of Assessment: May 27, 2010
The Case(s): This week shall see a temporary format adjustment for this feature. Initially, the plan was to cover all four of the Sex and the City ladies, but the promotional extravaganza of the second movie has worn me out in that regard. I’m just so terribly tired of hearing about how fabulous Sarah Jessica Parker and the other girls would like us to believe they really are. As opposed to the HBO show, these movies feature female characters who no are no longer human beings with appropriate emotions and attributes (that, naturally, developed over the course of six seasons) but are now mere mannequins within these feature-length commercials. The male characters, however, haven’t been nearly as drastically altered in the transition from television to big screen, so I’ve decided to perform mini-assessments on four of the male actors who have stuck around long enough within both the television series and the movies. And it’s impossible to talk about all of the SATC men, so a judgment call was necessary at a certain point.
Producer Darren Star once famously described one of his original “Sex and the City” visions, which was to keep the show’s focus on the four women and their enduring friendship together. However, some of the token “disposable” male characters made quite the impression and, as a result, ended up sticking around much longer than planned. Chris Noth was hired on as a regular, but David Eigenberg was intially hired for just three episodes. Likewise, John Corbett was on tap merely to form one-third of the Aidan-Carrie-Big love triangle for one season. Both men managed to impress the show’s writers and fans to such a degree that they became regular fixtures.
Chris Noth (as Mr. Big):: As a television veteran, Noth is perhaps best known as a founding member of the long-running “Law & Order” series and has even done a stint on “Hill Street Blues.” His dark looks and wicked smile (with charisma to match) have earned him many a role, and after his six-year run on the “SATC” show (a mere layer of frosting upon his other television accomplishments), he wasted no time in returning to his prior career. Noth went on do 35 episodes of “Law & Order: Criminal Intent” and currently appears on “The Good Wife.” To put it simply, Noth is bigger than Mr. Big could ever hope to be.
Evan Handler (as Harry Goldenblatt):: Anyone who has only ever seen this guy in his “SATC” capacity — with nauseatingly obligatory dialogue, including such gems as “It’s my lot in life to be surrounded by beautiful women” and “I’m a big pile of love today” — is really missing out on an irresistable actor. Handler may not have looks on his side, but he’s got plenty of charm and quite a way of portraying characters with antihero tendencies. As world-weary agent Charlie Runkle of Showtime’s “Californication,” Handler presents quite a sharp (and highly profane) contrast to the sickly sweet Harry Goldenblatt character. Of course, Handler has the experience — over two decades of television experience, and he can be spotted in everything from vintage episodes of “Miami Vice” and “The West Wing” to bit roles in movies such as Natural Born Killers and Ransom — to prove that he’s around for the long haul.
David Eigenberg (as Steve Brady):: This fellow has fallen into a worrisome career pattern after SATC wrapped on HBO. Just one glance at his his imdb profile shows a chronic run of one-episode character stints on countless television programs but nothing in the way of lasting career power. Yet, Eigenberg has shown himself clearly capable of infusing even barely-drawn characters with a genuineness and raw appeal. As mentioned above, the character of Steve was initially written for a quick run through the revolving door, but when the show’s writers observed his chemistry with Cynthia Nixon, they decided to keep Steve around as a foil and partner to Miranda’s fiery disposition. It remains to be seen whether Eigenberg will always remain in the shadow of “Steve Brady,” which would be an utter shame for a guy who has the potential to become a character actor in the tradition of Steve Buscemi.
John Corbett (as Aidan Shaw): Oh, how I loathe the character of Aidan and all his doormat tendencies. Yet, before SATC, Corbett built up an exhaustive resumé of television (and movie) credits, including a five-year run on “Northern Exposure.” As Aidan, he did his thing for the third season and thought he was finished, so was quite a surprise for him to learn that he’d become a fan favorite, for an online campaign had resulted in Aidan’s return for the next season. Now, Aidan’s been brought back into the storyline to inject some fear into the heart of Mr. Big for the second movie, which might be just as awful an omen as re-teaming with Nia Vardalos (his co-star in My Big Fat Greek Wedding) for this year’s barely-noticed dud, I Hate Valentine’s Day (Hell, even playing one of the creepy cops of Street Kings gave him more of a career boost). Aside from movies, Corbett remains a creature of cable-specific television and currently can be seen as the long-suffering husband on Showtime’s “United States of Tara.” Obviously, the man does “pushover” like nobody’s business.
Group Prognosis: As someone who once spoke enthusiastically about the HBO show, I can vouch for the shame these movies have wrought upon the television series. More specifically, the television show allowed all four of these men to showcase their own strengths as actors, but the movies have reduced them to mere cameos of their previously (mostly) well-rounded characters. Other than Eigenberg, who needs the work, I’m not quite sure why these guys are still participating. Overall, these men have largely managed to avoid typecasting from their association with Carrie & Co., but Eigenberg has yet to break away from the stigma. Otherwise, Noth, Handler, and Corbett have all gone on to different television programs and will probably — with varying degrees of success — continue on as if nothing spectacular in the SATC world had ever happened.
Agent Bedhead lives in Tulsa, Oklahoma. She and her little black heart can be found at agentbedhead.com.