Yesterday it was announced that Detour, the Fox sitcom based on Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo‘s Harvard studies during the height of the band’s fame, had found its leading man in an exceedingly hot British actor with abs. He has a name, obviously: Ben Aldridge. He sounds like a great guy and all, and he’s done some solid work for the BBC (Our Girl), but he’s no Cuomo. I mean…
Ben Aldridge in BBC’s “Our Girl” miniseries.
For the sake of my own Cuomo dedication, I’m gonna let our friends at A.V. Club tackle all the things that are flawed about Detour’s casting: “Seen above showing off the rock-hard abs and chiseled physique that made Cuomo famous, Aldridge will be playing the role of Michael Sturges, a ‘charming rock star who made the unexpected choice at age 30 to quit his band and go back to college.’ He’ll be joined by Joey Morgan as Walter, Michael’s ‘brilliant but socially anxious/awkward college roommate,’ which makes it sound like there was some kind of mixup in the writers’ room over which character was supposed to be based on Cuomo.”
And so, here are six actors who would be better in the Cuomo role — that is, if Detour wants to keep any semblance of Cuomo’s socially awkward charm in the show. (They should — I imagine that would make the Sturges character unique.)
I know what you’re thinking: Michael Cera is incapable of being any character that isn’t Michael Cera on some level. He’s the Jack Nicholson of young indie dorks. Here’s the thing: Michael Cera and Rivers Cuomo circa 1996 have the same awkward yet slightly cool, emotional yet slightly creepy person. At the very least, their sweater collections are identical. While Detour seems to be channeling Cuomo’s nerdiness into the best friend role, I know I speak for Cuomo devotees when I say that the contradiction of a geek rock star was a big part of what made him stand out amongst his more conventionally charming peers. It’s hard to imagine any semblance of Cuomo coming from a man who is so traditionally masculine and handsomely chiseled, not to mention downright pretty.
Speaking of sweater collections, I happen to remember that on the early 2000s TV show Ed, i.e. Justin Long’s first big role, they dressed his nerdy high school character Warren Cheswick in many of the same sweaters Rivers Cuomo was sporting circa Weezer’s 2001 comeback. (There’s no explanation at to why I remember that, besides: it’s just something you obsess over at a teenage Cuomosexual.) Since then, I have linked Long and Cuomo in my head. Though the 36-year-old actor looks a little older than Detour‘s 30-year-old protagonist — not to mention is probably pretty expensive since he’s a “name” — I’ve always liked Long in comedic roles on TV. Case in point: his recent return to New Girl, which is on the same network as Detour (Fox).
As a lovestruck teen in the titular role of Oliver Tate, Roberts made the 2010 British rom-com Submarine a coming-of-age favorite among indie film fans. The 24-year-old actor has pivoted towards support roles in bro-comedies like 22 Jump Street and Neighbors in recent years, but there’s something about Tate that feels more appropriate in more emotional roles.
It may be difficult to look at Kevin McHale, 26, and not instantly think of Artie from Glee, whose look is most definitely inspired by Cuomo at his most Buddy Holly. With Glee ending in a matter of weeks, McHale suddenly has some time on his hands, and he wouldn’t even have to switch networks. Most crucially, he has a fantastic vocal range. When your sitcom’s protagonist is the frontman of a band, there’s a good chance a plotline that requires singing will emerge.
Mintz-Plasse, 25, is best known as McLovin’ from Superbad, aka the high school dork even the other losers avoid. Since this breakout 2007 role, he’s played the nerd role repeatedly, eventually growing out of his awkwardness just enough to play a crime boss’s son in Kick-Ass. He’s just charismatic enough to seem capable of leading a crowd, and sharp enough in his comedic talents to carry a network sitcom.
Verizon’s “Can You Hear Me Now?” guy from 2002 to 2011 is mostly just my idea of a meta joke. If you were a known Weezer fan during the early 2000s, someone in your social circle probably felt the need to point out that the Verizon dweeb looked like the singer of your then-favorite band. This casting probably wouldn’t work because Marcarelli and Cuomo are the same age (44), and Detour‘s protagonist is supposed to be 30, but if Fox can cast a babe with abs as Cuomo’s character, we can all dream.