by Andrew Osborne
The following statement may not stand up to National Institute of Science standards of peer review, but I’m fairly certain it’s 100% accurate: all ladies love Hamm.
Not Don Draper, the caddish crybaby of AMC’s stylish soap Mad Men, though the character’s sexy dark side (and suave ’60s style) rocketed the actor who played him into the erotic reveries of straight women (and gay men) everywhere from the moment he first strode the halls of Sterling Cooper back in 2007. Oh, sure, Draper may be wealthy and well-dressed, but he’s also a philandering alcoholic asshole, whereas his real-life counterpart is both rich and famous (with a healthy Hammaconda), as well as funny and faithful (more or less) to his long-time paramour…and, well, okay, sure, he’s also a recovering alcoholic and he allegedly set fire to a guy’s pants once back in college. Yet despite his flaws, the ubiquity of Hamm Love across the gynoverse is so intense that I’ve often wondered if there’s an equivalent icon of universal longing in the straight guy stratosphere, and arrived at the following five candidates (based on the irresistibly Hamm-esque combination of four key elements):
H: Hot = i.e., generally considered not just good-looking, but distractingly dirty-thought-inducing…
A: Adorkable = meaning they’ve also got a goofy side to make them feel more fun and approachable…
M: Multi-talented = with legitimate acting chops or other skills, and…
M: …Mature enough that most of their demons are (hopefully) behind them.
So, who’s the Female Hamm? After years of research, we’ve determined the following as the five most likely candidates…but only your vote can determine the winner!
H: Leather cat suits and leaked nude photos enhanced her “H” factor, but she’s basically been nerd America’s Nordic dream girl ever since her supporting role as a sardonic teen in Terry Zwigoff’s Ghost World (based on a Dan Clowes comic for extra geek cred).
A: A reliably solid guest host on Saturday Night Live, Johansson’s also the third funniest Avenger, plus she kept up with Bill freakin’ Murray in the sweetly comic romance Lost In Translation.
M: Lots of famous non-singers release vanity musical projects (see: Golden Throats, 30 Odd Foot of Grunts), but at least Johansson’s was an outré Tom Waits cover album. It’s also cool that she’s willing to do weird indies like Under the Skin, and her performance in Match Point was legitimately harrowing.
M: Seems pretty normal, give or take letting Sean Penn have sex with her.
H: David Letterman’s not the only guy with fond memories of Barrymore flashing him on late night TV.
A: Poison Ivy aside, Barrymore’s been a lovable goofball and “guy’s gal” onscreen and off for most of her career — plus you know any woman who’d date Corey Feldman and marry Tom Green has to have a healthy sense of humor.
M: Though she mostly appears in terrible romantic comedies, she not only scored a well deserved Best Actress Emmy nomination for her performance as Little Edie in HBO’s Grey Gardens, but she also muscled her way into the boys club of A-list Hollywood producers, finding and funding films like Donnie Darko, Charlie’s Angels, and Whip It!
M: Letting your six-year-old daughter party at Studio 54 may not be sound parenting strategy, but the early downward spiral at least allowed Barrymore to kick her pre-teen drug and alcohol addiction with a rehab stint at 14, an age when most doomed child stars are just starting to make their tabloid debuts.
H: Sorry to contradict Inside Amy Schumer‘s otherwise sharp and insightful skit on the subject this season, but “Elaine” lust still runs deep in the hearts and libidos of Generation X, and based on the evidence of her recent clown sex pictorial in GQ, I’d say JLD’s “last fuckable day” is still quite a ways in the future.
A: Despite Elaine’s frequent grousing on Seinfeld about needing better friends, JLD’s characters tend to gravitate towards the misfits, and her sweet chemistry with unlikely romantic partner James Gandolfini in Enough Said and her love of self-deprecating physical comedy help to balance her knockout looks with a Hamm-ian sense of accessibility.
M: Enough Said aside, JLD’s roles have been primarily comic, though she’s always managed to swing effortlessly from haplessly vulnerable to formidably caustic in projects like Veep and The New Adventures of Old Christine.
M: Her long marriage to former SNL cast member Brad Hall indicates she’s apparently loyal and pretty good at monogamy (plus: bonus points for the whole being a super-rich heiress thing.)
H: Guys who prefer quirkier, cuddlier dream girls are drawn to Deschanel’s babydoll voice and anime looks in droves.
A: The term “adorkable” was literally coined to describe Deschanel, the patron saint of sexy hipster vintage clad ukuleleists.
M: Deschanel’s the lead singer in her side project, She & Him (a legitimately good pop band if you like that sort of thing). And what prevents Deschanel from evaporating in a cloud of pixie dust is the cynical dark side beneath all the twee, which she occasionally unleashes in roles like (500) Days of Summer‘s titular anti-Manic Pixie Dream Girl.
M: Seems fairly low maintenance, give or take an allergy to wheat gluten.
H: “If you take a shower with your boyfriend, I guarantee by the time you step out of that shower, your breasts will be sparkling clean,” Silverman says in one of her standup routines, prompting laughs and happy “mmmmm” sounds from any straight guys within earshot.
A: More spiky and sarcastic than adorkable, Silverman’s public persona is the queen of the cool nerds, a knockabout dame who seems equally comfortable skewering sexism with the reigning queens of comedy or trading dick jokes with a sausage party of ugly middle-aged dudes on Louis.
M: In addition to a solid stand-up and sketch comedy career, she also penned one of the best of the recent slate of funny people memoirs, executive produced three seasons of her own sitcom on Comedy Central, convinced any number of Jewish grandmothers in Florida to vote for Obama, and turned in dramatic and scary performances, respectively, in Take This Waltz and I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With.
M: Over the years, she’s admitted to bedwetting, depression, and crying “oh no!” during sex, but otherwise seems fairly well-adjusted.
Honorable HAMMention: Jennifer Lawrence, Cameron Diaz, Rosario Dawson, Reese Witherspoon, Arianna Huffington