Monday, November 7, 2011

100 Hot Men and a Dame: #91 David Henrie

91. David Henrie
Occupation: Actor
Nationality: American
Age: 22
Best Known For: Playing the nerdy (yet still smoking hot) older brother to Selena Gomez on Disney's best sitcom Wizards of Waverly Place.

To help me discuss this teenage idol transitioning into adulthood, I have my good friend and birthday twin--we were born on the exact same day!--Will (you can follow him on Twitter here) here with me. I hope you have fun reading this post!

Dame James: When did you first encounter David and, if it wasn't love at first sight, when did you fall in love with him?

Will: I love that the first entry that I'm going to be featured on is also the one that's going to make me feel the creepiest.

I'm trying to remember how I possibly could have started watching Wizards of Waverly Place. I really can't remember specifically, but I started watching it at some point when I was in college with a friend of mine. There may or may not have been a Saturday afternoon in which we rushed over to another friend's house to watch the Wizards of Waverly Place movie.

And by may or may not have been, I mean there absolutely was.

Once I discovered that the show was streaming on Netflix, it was pretty much over for me. I spent a lot of nights eating goldfish and watching it after coming home from a night out.

I feel like some of the first episodes I watched were a little ... early in the show's run, so he was a little young for me to (comfortably admit) to ogling ... but he's definitely grown UP, hasn't he?

My desire to ogle him has developed over time and crept up on me. It still feels a tad creepy to say, but what are you gonna do? Maybe inside every homosexual, there's a 13-year old fan girl.

DJ: I think my first encounter with David was on a whim as well, but I'll never ever forget it. I was sitting in my dorm room, bored on a Friday afternoon, when I happened to flip past Disney. With nothing better on, I left it and Wizards of Waverly Place was on. Not just any episode, oh no, it was the one where David's Justin Russo starts playing baseball to impress a girl. I'm sure you are aware I have a "thing" for guys in baseball uniforms so this was an immediate attention grabber. It was until much later that I truly fell in love with him and the show, but I can definitely say this was a fantastic introduction.

I didn't watch the show, much less think about it, for months until I happened to hear that they were doing a silent movie parody and that David would be dressing up as Charlie Chaplin. As a huge Chaplin fan, I knew I had to check this out. Like you, I discovered it was streaming on Netflix and, coming after my devouring of Sonny With a Chance and JONAS (back when it was actually a comedy), I was a goner. This episode, in particular, really turned me on to both the show and David. I've seen it at least three times and the silent movie section only looks better with each viewing. And who knew that this Disney actor could do such a fantastic Chaplin imitation?! From the nose twitching to the dead eyes, David really did justice to such an inimitable icon. It's the moment I truly fell for him, which I think is saying a lot because he has only proven himself to be a more diverse comedian (and hotter guy) as the show goes on.

I must say I'm a bit confused about why you feel creepy talking about David. He's only a year younger than us, so by the time you started watching him, he had to have been 18. Is it simply the Disney stigma, which forbids you to feel any sexual desire for any of its stars (unless it will help them make more money and only if they apologize and cite ignorance whenever a controversy erupts--hey Miley!)? Or is it because we've seen him grow up from a teen twink to a very mature young man right before our very eyes? I can understand that moreso, as it's in that same category of unspeakable sexual desire as watching a friend you've known since childhood mature into an adult. But a) I've never really seen David as a "Disney star" in the same way Miley, Selena, Demi & the Jonases were/are. He has always been the rare Disney actor who was never pushed to be a mega heartthrob teen idol. If anything, David has kind of been left alone to develop his craft and become a legit actor in his own right, which doesn't happen every day in the House of Mouse. And b) I could feel guilty/dirty but then I look at that bangin' hot body and I forget how to think.

Will: You have a thing for baseball uniforms?! You NEVER talk about it.

DJ: You're an asshole.

Will: I think the reason it feels creepy to talk about is that, like you said, the way the Disney machine has perfected the art of keeping their stars in a state of arrested adolescence through savvy media manipulation and careful control over their images. This has blown up in their face a few times (i.e. Miley, Demi, etc.), but they still do it ... mostly, I think, because it lets them sell 'sex' to its maturing audience while wearing a 'family friendly' badge. Parents will put their kids in front of it, but the Disney channel is definitely aiming to get their hooks into its audience by appealing to their growing libidos.

But all of this is really besides the point, isn't it? People aren't reading this for a treatise on the Disney channel star model. Let's talk about David Henrie's essential doability.

Do you remember when you first noticed that he was really filling out nicely? Because it sort of seemed like overnight he went from the goofball twink of the earlier episodes to jacked and practically busting out of his wardrobe. I'm wondering if it might not be one of these between seasons things that happens sometimes (see Hunter Parrish in Weeds ... no seriously, look at him). I fell out of watching Wizards of Waverly Place for a little while, and, when I watched some newer episodes, I definitely registered a difference.

There's an episode that involves the younger brother becoming a girl or something (?) that involves a karate class of some kind, and there's a slapsticky scene of the little girl totally kicking his ass and he's wearing clingy shirt and rolling around on a mat and crawling and jumping around so you get little flashes of his stomach and his hips...well, it was not what I had remembered from the show.

DJ: You make a great point about David going from twink to buffed out hottie overnight. At the mercy of whatever Disney decided to air, I watched most of the episodes completely out of order, so I never got that sense of "Holy fuck, when did this happen?!" But if you look back at earlier episodes, there is an extremely noticeable difference. For the better, I must add. He was always a cutie, but when his body filled out, he became almost unbelievably attractive. Similar to what happened with Hunter Parrish, now that you mention it.

Justin & Zeke: A Lovers Quarrel?

One of my running jokes while watching the first couple seasons of Wizards was that David's character Justin was a homosexual in love with his equally gay "best friend" Zeke. We all know Disney would never deliberately write a gay character in one of its shows, but making fun of all the effeminate things he did was part of the reason I fell in love with him. Do you think David deliberately played Justin as gay or, as a gay man, am I just accustomed to reading between the lines far too much to find gay characters wherever I can? I can see me making this all up in my head, but in the first few seasons there is at least one moment in every episode that deserves a #JustinRussoIsAMo hashtag. I think there are far too many instances for me to be overreacting.

Will: I think you're probably reading way too much into it, but I've noticed that's an epidemic in the gay community. We're constantly starving for decent gay characters anywhere. So at the first sign of a theatrical hand motion or a character with a love of hair products, we get rainbows in our eyes and a million Tumblrs explode with GIFs and capital letters.

All of that being said, I'd be willing to bet my dibs on Charlie Day that you can find a slash fiction about Justin and Zeke on the Internet somewhere. I mean, there are apparently people writing slash fiction about one of the guys from Supernatural and HIS CAR, so...

DJ: One time, someone sent me a link to slash fiction featuring David, Nick Jonas, Sterling Knight & Gregg Sulkin, so, yeah, I'll believe that any sort of slash fiction imaginable exists.

Like I said, it's perfectly reasonable that I'm digging far too deep into Justin & Zeke. Lord knows I'm looking for gays everywhere and am usually pretty good at spotting them on TV before they get their big coming out moment. But it can't just be a coincidence that as soon as I started talking about this on Twitter they decided to hook up Zeke with Harper and tone down Justin's more feminine traits, hm?

Before we go, I just want to say one final thing about David's appearance on this list. While there's no doubt about the fact that he's a mega hottie, he didn't make it on here based solely on that. In the Disney stable, there is a line of charismatic hotties or hotties-in-training, including Sterling Knight (who is charismatic as hell but hasn't quite grown into his looks), David's Wizards co-stars Gregg Sulkin (bangin' body, not sure about his talent yet) and Jake T. Austin (underage, sadly), and Zeke & Luther star Hutch Dano (who has proven himself comedically but isn't one of my favorites yet). I obviously couldn't include all of them, so I chose David as a representative, a figurehead, if you will, for all of these guys. But don't take this as a slight against him! David, especially for his age, has the looks and the talent to make it on this list on his own. What do you think? Does David make your heart go boom-boom or is he just another forgettable Disney star?


samanthamdownes said...


Anonymous said...

I'm a total David Henrie freak, so I can only agree with everything you've said. And there are indeed Justin/Zeke fics on, even if every single pairing is by far outnumbered by Jalex (Justin/Alex).
I don't feel like adding anything to this, because, perfection.
He had had this body in Season 1 as well though, it's just that they made him wear baggy shirts throughout the entire season, and his face was just cute, so I guess he kind of changed from cute to unbearably hot.

Vance said...

David Henrie in Wizards gives me the same feelings that Ryan Gosling did in Breaker High. I saw huge potential beyond the comedic mugging and that he was truly a great actor, and I swear, I see the same with Henrie. And look how Gosling turned out!?!

You forgot to mention his re-occurring gig as the son in How I Met Your Mother. More proof of how built up he's gotten as they still flash scenes he taped when he was super young on new eps.

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