The Not-So-Many Faces of Clark Kent


There’s something that has been nagging at me for awhile now, and frankly, it’s starting to piss me off. Have you ever seen the Smallville promotional posters for upcoming episodes, particularly the recent ones for season seven? If so, you might have subconsciously noticed this, too, but for those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about, let me give you a very clear picture.

That’s some darn good facial expressions, yessiree.

Clark, Clark, Clark. With the exception of the slight varying angles of his eyebrows, every poster with Welling’s character looks practically identical. It’s like they just cut and pasted his face on poster after poster. Sure, change his outfit a little. Give him a jacket here, a v-neck there, but for the most part, it’s the same mundane, stone expression plastered on the Boyscout’s face; when you think about it, it’s somewhat ironic, but not surprising. Tom Welling isn’t a remarkable actor, though he’s gotten better over the years and did what I thought was a pluperfect imitation of John Glover’s character, Lionel, back in “Transference” that made me do a double-take. Part of the job description for acting, however, is advantageous: What Welling lacks in talent he makes up for in looks, even if the result is, when viewed objectively and clearly, rather transparent. It seems in every scene Welling’s hair is a little different. I think on one season’s commentary (I’m such a special features whore), actually, either Alfred Gough or Miles Millar brought that up, jocularly mentioning how Tom had “the hair of a god” or something. And even if Welling won’t be raking in any best acting awards by the dozen anytime soon, some fans just stick around to look at his Michelangelo-chiseled face (and body—though a lot of other people, including myself, like to drool over Rosenbaum especially, but that’s another story).

With that said, you’d think he’d bring more when it comes to promotional shoots. Yet there it is. That same annoying fluff of hair on top, that same I’m-going-somewhere-formal hairstyle. It reminds me of picture day back in elementary school. We’d line up in some emptied classroom with the “nice” clothes our mothers picked out for us, and they’d give us each these cheap little black combs. The girls would get any lingering knots out, and the boys would fluff their hair. That’s what Clark’s hairstyle reminds me of in those pictures: an eight-year-old boy’s slicked back hair on picture day, courtesy of proud mothers everywhere and black combs made by the indigenous people of Taiwan.

So every time a new episode is advertised, there might be a sexy photo of Kristen Kreuk or maybe Erica Durance in a chair wearing a sleek dress and high heels, or the super hero or villain of the week placed in front of a Metropolis skyline background with the Daily Planet globe shining out of the grey and the familiar red lettering of the Smallville logo, but even the predictable is not as bland as one annoying constant: the cut-out figure of Mr. Clark Kent, the paper-doll, with his overly serious, hard, staring facial expression that fails to match the rest of the poster, which often portrays a different mood entirely.

Let’s give Ken a black jacket again. Tomorrow we go back to the blue shirt.

Back to basics (older is better, at least in this case).

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2 Responses to “The Not-So-Many Faces of Clark Kent”

  1. Here is the thing- there have been no new promo photos of Tom since fall 2006- everything you have seen from season 7? It is a variety of photoshopped images using his promos from season 4-6- this is why everything looks the same- it is the same!
    The CW has gone cheap cheap cheap and is even recycling footage for their video promotion of the show re-using dialog from earlier episodes and clipping things together from earlier seasons that may or may not be in the episode- this is assuming they bother to run a promo for the show at the end of an episode! The promo for Siren which included the Green Arrow’s return and the introduction of beloved superheroine Black Canary didn’t even run after Persona the first new episode of the new year!
    This type of shoddy lack of care and promotion was the same path that the WB took when they were on the last season of Charmed and all they were interested in was milking a few more dollars from the franchise.

  2. Exactly.

    I’ve noticed that, too—the reusing of things other than Tom’s cardboard-cut-out picture for promotional stuff. Some shows do that once and awhile, especially when they don’t want to reveal too much, but with Smallville it’s just kind of getting annoying.

    Ugh, I hated the WB. And I hated UPN. And together, they bred a horrible spawn … the CW. But I especially hated the WB. They recycled actors, sorted through show after show, and made moronic decisions regarding their better ones (coughAngelcough). The WB might be dead in a technical sense, but it left an heir that didn’t fall too far from the network family tree …

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