The Legend of The CW Hunks
by Amy Doherty
Shouldst thou seek the origin of the CW Hunks…
Shrouded in the mountainous mists lies the Monastic conclave of Hunks. The organic stud farm humming with the movements of free range men. Raised and trained like a photogenic army, they know only handsomeness, they seek but stoicism. They go about their daily rituals with simmering concentration as they seek the ultimate accolade — selection for Holy Period — pilot season. Unaware that their Zen-like order is to be soon erupt in chaos; the whole institution at stake. Least aware of all: the upper echelon, the unseen Arch Cardinals of CW casting with the keenest judgement on Hunks in the land.
Presently, the Hunks stride, occasionally swagger but never merely walk, with attractive purpose through the hallowed halls. A rep of Hunks (the correct collective noun, also see: smoldering) naturally fall into a “V” formation ready for any slow-mo fiery explosion behind them.
Varying from tall, dark and handsome to tall, fair and handsome, the Hunks encompass an array of attractive male beigeness and innate gifability, but a discerning eye can spot the subsets. The long haired roguish issue. The stubble faced, mature antiheroes. These wildcards exist mainly on the fringes and in antagonist territory, but the right crooked smile can send them straight to the spotlight. The angry jocks (clenched fists and jaws) and the sensitive jocks (clenched heart and buttcheeks) provide a virile but clean cut balance to the ensembles. A sidekick role rewards those not pale of skin, at the least: a prominent background position in the promos.
Their rugged attire reflecting either of the two tenants, smart casual urbane (leather and denim), or upscale cabin (layered cotton tees, plaid and denim). Their jeans sit straight as their designated romantic orientation — never flared nor skinny.
The Abercrombie muses pass icons of St. Tom of Welling, a diptych of Saints Jared and Jensen, and the newly anointed Brothers Amell. They are always careful to manfully avoid the dark enclave where several, homely candles flicker. Unadorned in a quiet corner in memoriam of those forgotten, the fired, the replaced, the cancelled after six episode stars. The where are they nows. The candles are not so much a tribute as they are a reminder of the desolation that could await any of them.
At five bells, the Hunks’ perfectly shaped heads bow in devotion. Biceps flexed in unison.
At six bells, the consuming of the holy protein. The Hunks genuflect to the divine executives deciding their fates. Extending a favor, a paycheck, an opportunity of greatness afforded by basic cable. Promising internet fandom, Entertainment Weekly quarter page. A spot on TMZ being a dick in a club parking lot. It is all almost within their reach.
At seven til 15 bells, they train with dedication and GQ focus. The shining equipment are tools to their transcendence. “Genericness above all else!” they chant. The Hunks’ Commandments the key to heaven’s gate. The Holy Reps. The Worthy Abs. Observance of Leg Day. “No penance no ascendance,” they grunt, glistening with perspiration. The body is the temple, and worship Tumblr will. Let the viewer not tax themselves with personality or facial asymmetry. The extra reps could be all that saves them from being cast out into the dark, camera-less void.
Lest not the mind be neglected, at 16 bells they devote a whole half-hour to the dramatic arts. Their instructors mould them into handsome, black holes of charisma; they run plainly recited dialogue, intermediate furrowed brows, advanced smirking. They seek counsel on pausing for external dialogue, squaring of shoulders and jaws, narrowing of eyes, and homoerotic meaningful stares. The Hunks study monologues of troubled childhoods/ not getting on with Dad/ wanting to be open to love punctuated by a lone, manly tear. And finally, shirtless scenes practiced as to not let the powerhouse, nuanced performance upstage the inexplicably gleaming, ripped bod.
It is during further physical training, after the carb-free dinner and before retirement to the Brooding Alcove (in which each brooder hunches in semi darkness in attractive angst) that everything changes.
In the midst of their reps a Voice slices through the arcade. Ringing clear and true and louder than the cloister bells.
“Why must we be the same?”
A hush descends. The sun streaming through the temple, casts pillars of heavenly light upon the owner of voice as he steps out in the center.
The Speaking Hunk looks indistinguishable from the rest: sharp jaw, muscled arms, athletic physique. Even his hair, a standard short cut. Not even a controlled shag anointing him of a sanctioned rebel. Yet there he stands, apart from the rest. Drawing attention to not just to himself but his thoughts.
“Why aren’t our quirks and flaws accepted — no, celebrated?
“Why must our individuality be stripped of us like water bottles at airport security?
“Why must we always be ready for a shirtless scene but never whimsy or raw, ugly clothed vulnerability?”
A pause in their holy reps. A ripple of interest. The Hunks glance to where the upper CW echelon reside out of sight, revealing nothing. The Speaking Hunk appeals to his brothers with bold, almost Shakespearean hand gestures heretofore unseen in the Hunks’ cloisters.
“We must obey not them, but ourselves.
We are beings, we think, we feel, we emote.
Our muscles do not define us.
Reject the protein, feast on knowledge.
Deny the energy drinks, sip at the teat of unpredictability.
Be more than just standard issue ‘hot’.
Are we man candy, or are we men?”
A whispering curling, budding fire ignites, spreading like a wildfire. The Hunks start to question their rigorous athletics, their obligatory teeth bleaching, their purpose. The Hunks are thinking.
The Speaking Hunk takes his place in the very center of the growing, rumbling horde. His strong projection piercing the entire arcade, unleashing his repressed fury.
“My name is Max Ryan, featured actor of Newman College student theater, performer in countless dorm room-based web series. Owner to a body that yearns to dance, master to a spirit that begs to fly. And I will have my fame, in this life or the next.”
The Hunks cheer, whoop, and pound their meaty hands together in raucous support.
“Brothers, what we do in television… echoes in eternity.”
He reaches into his mouth and extracts a veneer, revealing… a slanted tooth. He throws the veneer on the ground and stomps it. His audience is stunned into silence at this aesthetic vandalism. His face now demonstrably asymmetrical. He has deliberately broken the sacred covenant of bland attractiveness. (Though his tooth was bleached, for he was not completely without sense.)
A hiss tornadoes through the room, then erupts. The Hunks roar in excitement, approval, and in a few cases, confusion. He turns his focus above, to the shadowy CW executives, framed in silhouette. His voice commanding, his arms splayed open.
“Are you not entertained?” the Speaking Hunk yells.
A signal descends from the upper level. Perhaps in fear of a revolt, a contract flutters down and the monolithic gates open. Fresh, bucolic air wafts in. The dissident is offered a pilot. He accepts. Crows in victory. Thrusting his contract into the air. He has defied them and won.
He did it. The future was his. It could be theirs. The Hunks’ are experiencing increasingly individual thoughts. A few follow in his wake. Some put on contraband spectacles, a couple cover a tooth with gum. (Perhaps they understood the gesture, if not the intent.)
Months later, the order appears unchanged. They go back to their reps. Seasons pass, sweeps, non-ratings period. His pilot, Teen Zeus, airs on a Friday night. He is never heard of again.
Another candle is added to the corner.
Amy Doherty is an Australian writer and story coordinator living in Newfoundland. She works in television and was almost in Smallville twice. Her favourite CW Hunk is Tom Welling. You can find her on twitter @amyloudoherty.