With Magic Mike opening today, it seems like the culmination of our decades-long love affair with Channing Tatum. It’s interesting to remember, however, that it wasn’t always this way. There was a time not too long ago when we legitimately hated the guy. Usually, the people we choose to parody with a fictionalized persona, it’s at least a little bit out of love, if not mostly – Werner Herzog, The Stath, Ryan Gosling, Terrence Howard, etc. With C-Tates, I think in both mine and Burnsy’s case – Burnsy, the guy who writes 95% of our C-Tates posts and obtains all of our critically-acclaimed, exclusive storyboards from White House Down – the initial parodies grew out of our astonishment that such a mumbly, uncharismatic jackass could continue to book so many movie roles, despite seeming to be the acting equivalent of Paul Walker’s hip hop-loving high school-dropout cousin from Florida. But somehow, as he evolved as an actor (okay, so I’ve seen him be good in one total movie so far – 21 Jump Street – but let’s call it an evolution anyway because it sounds better) and continued to do one charming interview after another, our initial dislike turned to novelty fascination, which eventually became, dare I say it, genuine affection. And it’s clear we’re not alone in this (just go with me here, I don’t feel like citing box office totals).
Obviously, it’s an impressive thing to pull off in the course of just two or three years, and there are plenty of actors who’d pay a fortune for that kind of shift in public perception if it could be bottled (can you imagine if we woke up three years from now and didn’t hate Taylor Lautner?). I’m sure there are a thousand factors involved – movie choices, types of press exposure, his knack for inspiring parody, that ever-growing glint of self-awareness in his eye – but if I had to put my finger on any one thing, I’d say it’s that he always seems like he’s happy to be there. You get the clear sense that he’s not afraid to make an ass out of himself. So if there’s a lesson in the C-Tates story, it’s to relax, remember to have a good time, and don’t take yourself too seriously (also, being good looking doesn’t hurt). So I just wanted to say, here’s to you, C-Tates. For some reason, I felt compelled to say it. Today feels like our anniversary.