Thursday, March 17, 2011
A Tale of Two Teen(ish) Stars
The CBS late show lineup gave me a look at a couple of young stars on their shows last night.
First, David Letterman had as his second guest (following Steve Martin, a position I wouldn't give to a monkey on a rock) the young actress/singer Selena Gomez, 18.
I know one or two of my readers (hello, Calvin) have crushes on or otherwise admire Miss Gomez, and who am I to call them creepy old guys?
But for myself, what I saw in the interview was a perfectly attractive young woman...with whom I have no references in common.
In the past, thinking like this is what led me to my Women my own age series, which turned out to be a good idea, being devoted to appreciations of women who remember the same television as me.
But then something made me wonder: Is it truly age? Or is someone like Selena Gomez someone who I'm just not going to have much of anything to talk about? No matter how lovely she is; how wide or narrow the gap in our ages? Here's what happened.
Craig Ferguson's second guest was Brie Larson, 21, also an actress and singer, whose work was unknown to me. She knocked me out. Why would I find Selena Gomez to be someone I could either take or leave, and Brie Larson so very charming, in consecutive television appearances?
(Hell, Larson even makes me want to see Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, something I had no interest in previously.)
But back to Brie Larson vs. Gomez: Look at all they have in common. Here are two young women, in the same situation (being interviewed by a late night host), who do exactly the same jobs.
Who are quite close to each other in age. Certainly more so than either is to me. Though, I would imagine that a girl could learn a lot in those three years. For the record, that last line wasn't meant as a smutty comment. For once.
Both started acting as pre-teenagers, and recording in their mid-teens. I had a look at the videos for their most successful songs (successful in this case being a relative term--neither has exactly burned up the top 40).
They even make approximately the same kind of music: "Power girl" with a touch of the Lolita.
(Gomez tends towards dance and Larson a little more towards pop rock.) And they both sound as if they've been helped to greater or lesser degrees by studio technology.
Gomez's solo single, "Tell Me Something I Don't Know," strikes me as a fine mass-market teen pop song, but what I can't quite see is what she brought to it.
What makes her performance better than any other adorable young lady in a recording studio with Autotune might have done? (Or, bending over backwards to be fair, any worse.)
Larson's "She Said" I don't think is as good a song as "Tell Me Something," (though it's definitely better in the radio mix than on an in-studio live clip I saw), but as the old saying goes, it's got a good beat and you can dance to it.
So why my preference? Let's start with the obvious: As Feguson says, Brie's adorable.
Just look at that dress. To say nothing of the way she practically flies into his arms for a hug when she comes out. (This reminds me...I must kill Craig Ferguson.)
(It's a joke, Craig, we're cool).
But seriously: What is the difference? Is it simply a matter of taste? Probably at least in part, tho I think it's also partly that Larson appears to have a vocabulary. Girls who can talk are so sexy.
But maybe that's another part of the answer there. Based on these clips--and what better way to judge two women you've never met and don't know than by seven minute clips of them on television? Based on these clips, Gomez is still a girl.
Nothing wrong with that. All the women I've ever liked were girls once. But Larson seems to me to be already a young woman.
(Again, I'm not making a cheap sex joke there. There's a lot more to being a woman than just having had sex, just as there is to being a man.)