September TV Feature: The Jock

The Jock(s): Supernatural, WB, Tuesday @ 9:00 p.m.

Since television is a visual medium, appearance does matter. Many a buxom blonde created a solid television career based solely off her looks (think Farrah Fawcett and the whole cast of Baywatch). The trend of stacking shows with young, beautiful people continues to this day. Some of these young beautiful people can act (such as Kristen Bell) and some cannot (such as Mischa Barton).

For the most part the stereotype has existed that women use their looks to advance their television career. I however believe in equality. Women are not that much different from men– they enjoy to gander at hunky young men just as guys do girls. Not to sound like it’s just heterosexuals who favour shows with good looking actors/actresses because women, as much as men, enjoyed the tight leather outfits Lucy Lawless wore on Xena: The Warrior Princess.

The new WB show Supernatural sure knows how to attract viewers. In case you haven’t hear about it the show revolves around two brothers search for their father who has disappeared while fighting supernatural forces. The two brothers are portrayed by Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles. Both are young, clean cut, hunky looking males who will no doubt draw in a strong female viewer ship.

The WB has managed to establish itself a strong line-up of teen and pre-teen friendly shows. Padalecki will be recognizable to WB viewers of Gilmore Girls where he played Dean. No doubt network execs are hoping Gilmore Girls viewers follow Padalecki to his new show. They seem to be banking on this factor as Supernatural follows Gilmore Girls on The WB’s Tuesday night.

Jensen Ackles also comes over from Smallville, another WB hit. Hopefully this is more of a case of finding a bigger part for Ackles than recycling its actors.

So Supernatural is depending on what I call “The Jock” factor to give it a boost. The problem, however, is that Jocks have the stereotype of also being dumb—pretty, but not there is not much depth. The Dumb Jock being the male equivalent of the Bimbo or Dumb Cheerleader.

The premise and preview for Supernatural do seem quite intriguing. So the show does have a chance of not just being about brooding hot young men. If the show is staffed with good writers Supernatural has a chance to be a big hit for The WB. It already has a head start with the young female viewership now if it can establish itself as an intelligent sci-fi/fantasy show it may be able to fill the void left empty by Angel and Buffy leaving the television schedule.

Time will tell if Supernatural can be more like Buffy and less like Baywatch.