Saturday, April 17, 2010

Face/Off with Good Acting

A classic in the TV world is the body-switcher where one character gets stuck in the another body and vice versa. I love these episodes because although it can be so cheesy, it’s good for finding out if an actor is truly an actor. Maybe I also like it because it has to do with literally stepping into another person’s shoes and learning about how they live, how they’re treated, etc.

The movie “Face/Off” is example of what I’m talking about, hence the title of this entry [I know, I was bound to make sense with the title at some time]. I get a kick out of watching a movie and going “is that really John Travolta?!”, when an actor is so good at what he’s doing that I can’t tell that he’s acting, you know? This was the movie that made me think that Nicolas Cage is a good actor [I just won’t normally go to see a Cage movie because there’s something about his face that I don’t enjoy watching].

What is more with the body-switching premise is that it’s not only about seeing good acting, it’s also about seeing the actor embody another character. One gets so used to seeing an actor be a certain character that it becomes difficult to think of that actor portraying another established character until it’s brought out through the body-switching episode.

A good and entertaining body-switcher series episode is that of Stargate SG-1, Season 2, Episode 18 titled “Holiday.” SG-1 is an enjoyable series altogether and if you can, in order to fully appreciate the humor in S2: E18, watch the whole season at least or watch all the way from the pilot episode if you really have the time.

Here is the episode summary for S2: E18, from the backcover:
Jackson’s body is swapped with that of an old Goa’uld enemy named Ma’chello. As Jackson lies dying in the alien’s aging body, O’Neill and Teal’c accidentally switch forms too- and unless the alien is captured, all three will be trapped in their new bodies forever.

The delightful body-switcher happens between Teal’c and O’Neill. I loved watching how Christopher Judge [Teal’c] get to play the looser, irreverent O’Neill personality and Richard Dean Anderson [O’Neill] lift his eyebrow in quiet strength Teal’c fashion. Good acting on both parts!

Can you think of a good body-switcher episode? Let me know by leaving a comment below.

Mahalo for reading and enjoy SG-1!