Open Questions: Your Broken Heart : Monkey See Today's open question concerns very good actors stuck in very bad roles.
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Open Questions: Your Broken Heart

Okay, not your actual broken heart; not in the "Valentine's Day" sense. I refer here to something else.

When I saw He's Just Not That Into You, I was tolerating it pretty well until I saw Wilson Cruz.

Cruz played Rickie Vasquez on My So-Called Life, where he gave perhaps one of the most sensitive and intelligent portrayals of a teenager you'll ever see. Rickie was notable at the time partly because he was a sort-of-out gay teenager, but for the most part, he was just a very warm and lovable kid — a weight-of-the-world guy who worried all the time about being beaten up for wearing eyeliner to school, but who also managed to be the worrier and the caretaker of all his friends. He took care of melodramatic, self-pitying Angela and brittle, alcoholic Rayanne, even as he struggled with obvious loneliness and a nightmarish home life. (The clip above is the rare moment when he ever wound up on the receiving end of this kind of support.)

In He's Just Not That Into You, he plays one of Drew Barrymore's completely two-dimensional Sassy Gay Friends. The ones who hover in groups and say "girlfriend" and allow a female character to get sound advice without the film confusing its message by implying that any of her women friends might be intelligent enough to advise her. (In this movie, women give only terrible advice and men — both gay and straight — give only good advice.)

It just made me want to weep, this terrific actor, to whom I have this intense nostalgic attachment, stuck in this terrible part where he got to do nothing that was worthy of him. In the fifteen years since My So-Called Life began, he's done other very respectable shows, including The West Wing and The Closer, but I just cringed in pain at the sight of him basically...reduced to this.

Have you ever had this experience? Not a hugely famous person in an enormously disappointing flop, but someone who ought to be getting better jobs and apparently isn't?