We’ve all heard the old adage: “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all,” or the revamped version penned by Joan Rivers:“If you don’t have anything nice to say, come sit by me.”I generally keep my negative opinions to myself, but I’ve just about reached my limit.

After receiving countless accolades and awards, after being the object of endless gushing from co-stars and colleagues in which there weren’t enough superlatives in the English language to sum up the man’s talent, I watched a few episodes of 30 Rock to be dazzled and inspired by the breathtaking presence of Alec Baldwin.(I realize I’m a latecomer to this NBC show.)Expecting to find myself in the company of true greatness, I dimmed the lights, prepared the popcorn and sat in front of my flat-screen TV on Thursday night.The anticipation was palpable.

At the end of the program, I thought to myself, “Maybe it was just a weak episode.”

The following Thursday night, I repeated the routine.Alec Baldwin was amusing and witty.His timing was spot on.But where was the comic genius that had caused such a fury the past few years?I didn’t see it then and I didn’t see it the following Thursday night either, or the Thursday night after that. Let’s face it, the role is one-dimensional (and intended to be).He plays that dimension perfectly, but it’s one-dimensional. Why is he considered TV’s male comic genius with two Emmys, three Golden Globes and four Screen Actors Guild awards for 30 Rock?

Let’s face another fact.Judging from the Alec Baldwin we’ve seen and heard on talk shows and in taped messages left on his daughter’s answering machine, his role on 30 Rock isn’t exactly a world apart from the real person.Tough.Controlling.Somewhat egomaniacal, possibly just plain maniacal.

I actually thought he was terrific in It’s Complicated opposite Meryl Streep: funny, honest and oddly moving.It was the script that annoyed me. The only thing that annoys me about Alec Baldwin “the person” is how he purses his lips for every photo he takes.Can somebody tell him to smile for the camera for a change?

Now the man who can do no wrong is co-hosting the Oscars.Great.Should we gird ourselves for yet another round of excessive accolades?Will he be nominated for an Emmy for Outstanding Host of a Special Program?

I have nothing against the man as a performer.Really.I just wish somebody would explain this ecstatic love affair he seems to be enjoying with everyone on the planet except me.

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GARRETT SOCOL created and produced the cable TV shows Talk Soup, The Gossip Show, and numerous others for the E! Network. His short stories have been published in journals including The Barcelona Review, 3:AM Magazine, Hobart, PANK, Pequin, Perigee, nth Position, Spork, Underground Voices, JMWW Journal and Duct's. He's also written for Cosmopolitan, Movieline, Genre and McCall's. Two of his plays have been produced (Berkshire Theatre Festival, Pasadena Playhouse). This native New Yorker currently finds himself in a city where the sun shines practically every day. He really misses rain.

20 responses to “Would Somebody Please Explain This Love Affair With Alec Baldwin?”

  1. Slade Ham says:

    Thank God someone else finally said it. I don’t get it either.

  2. Amanda says:

    I suspect he’s the boyfriend some women go back to for more, no matter how many times he treats them like heck. He’s empty calories, crack, and a “sorry I punched your left eye” flower delivery for the silver screen. You can’t explain why you’re into him, and your friends are tired of hearing about him. But there you are. Knockin’ at his door (or in this case, handing him awards).

    That’s my guess. I kinda get it; I kinda don’t.

  3. Irene Zion says:

    Welcome to TNB, Garrett,

    Alex Baldwin’s huge hard round belly in the nude was about all I could take. Wouldn’t tell anyone to go see that movie. Ruined my appetite for days.

  4. Jessica Blau says:

    I imagine it’s women who are praising him more often than men. He’s the kind of asshole that is always a really, really, really good lover. Because he wants to be. Because he practices. You take one look at him, that distended belly, those lupine teeth, the big cigar fingers, and you know exactly what he’s going to do. And it will be fun. Because he won’t let it go down any other way.

    Just a guess.

  5. Simon Smithson says:

    I’m of two minds about Alec Baldwin. He won me over in 30 Rock with his early performances – especially the character introduction. Literally kicking down a door? Score 1, Baldwin.

    Also, yes, I imagine he would make a really, really, really good lover. Thanks for breaking the ice, Jessica.

    And now I’ve grossed myself out slightly.

    I haven’t seen the most recent episodes of 30 Rock so I’m not well-placed to comment. His earlier stuff was definitely gold, in my opinion.

    Welcome aboard, Garrett!

    • Jessica Blau says:

      The question for you Simon is this: Would he be as good as Jenneane Garofolo (I’m too lazy to look up spelling on both first and last name here, must go read papers!)?

  6. Ben Loory says:

    hey garrett socol!!! what are you doing here? welcome to tnb, and all that!

    personally, i am a huge alec baldwin fan. i mean, as huge as you can be without ever bothering to watch any of his movies or buy a tv or think about him or whatever. i think i just love him based on glengarry glen ross. he’s just such an asshole– such a smart asshole– i just can’t resist. transcendently rude people always make me happy, as long as they’re polite about it (vincent gallo, for instance, is just a dickhead).

    i’ve only ever seen a couple episodes of 30rock. i thought it was funny. that freed me from ever having to watch it again.

  7. jonathan evison says:

    . . . i’ve heard he’s a dick in person, but i could listen to him do tony bennett all night long . . .

  8. Zara Potts says:

    I don’t get him at all. But I liked your line: ‘I’ve just about reached my limit.’ You sounded so incredibly exasperated by the man, I couldn’t help but laugh..

  9. Marni Grossman says:

    I think recent “30 Rock” episodes have been weak. Starting at the beginning might help.

    That said, I take your point.

    Of course, I’m of two minds about Alec Baldwin. On the one hand, I find him sexy and winning and charming on screen. He’s the kind of roguish asshole with a heart that you root for. And- I know, gross- he kind of reminds me of my father.

    On the other hand, I find him hard to take as a person. He’s so self-serious. And his book on divorce in America- if Alex Kuczynski is to believed- devolves into a rant about Kim Basinger. He even proposes a new addition to the DSM: Parental Alienation Syndrome.

    Oy gevalt.

  10. Paul A. Toth says:

    If you’ve seen Baldwin on Saturday Night Live (Target has a “Best of SNL: Alec Baldwin” DVD on the cheap), you’ll see that he’s capable of playing the opposite of his normal persona. Whether that has anything to do with his true persona, I wouldn’t know. In my opinion, Baldwin’s existence is justified by his ten minutes’ of screen time in Glengarry Glen Ross. I really don’t care what he does in his personal life, nor would I care for him to investigate and judge my personal life.

  11. Jessica Blau says:

    We must not forget to mention his brilliant bit with Schweaty Balls.

  12. […] a bit puffy these days, but I’ve been wanting him to take that stage since the early 90s. (Sorry, Garrett Socol).  “Put…that statue…down.  It’s for closers.”  But then, I really enjoyed when Letterman did […]

  13. Joe Daly says:

    Fun read! I have to say, I’m one of those dudes who actually like him. I view it as professional courtesy- I’m sort of an asshole, so when I see someone else take that quality to such expansive heights as Mr. Baldwin, I find myself in solemn admiration.

  14. Tom Hansen says:

    Hollywood people who are more ‘personalities’ than ‘actors’ bug me period. Baldwin falls into that category. He’s a bug

  15. […] Socol has work in the second issue of The Medulla Review and two essays at The Nervous Breakdown. Garret is joined in The Medulla Review by David LaBounty, Diane Lockward, […]

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