The Day Jennifer Beals Occupied the Internet

Jennifer Beals in The Night Shift

Wednesday was the premier of season 3 of The Night Shift on NBC. Jennifer Beals, who now has a recurring role in the show, was out doing press interviews for the new season. She was all over the place like umpteen Orphan Black clones in a wild The Night Shift press frenzy. For those watching on the internet, it was all Jennifer Beals, all day.

I love watching interviews with Jennifer Beals. I love her as an actor – that’s one reason. I also love that she’s so freaking smart. She does a great interview. I suppose this explains why many shows she is involved with choose her to be the one to get out and do press. She’s really good at it.

Most of the interviews were short segments on places like The Today Show or with People.

AOL Build had a 30 minute interview with her that covered The Night Shift, her new show Taken coming later in the season, and a wide range of other topics.

Watch the interview. Then I want to discuss the series Proof that she starred in.

Did you notice the way she had to fight not to tear up when she talked about Proof being the show that was most meaningful to her personally?

I only wrote one post about Proof after it began: How Episode 3 Hooked Me on Proof. That post was mostly about a sex scene that I thought was particularly well done and more for the female gaze than the male gaze.

Even by episode 3 of that 10 episode series, you could see the story pulling at Dr. Carolyn Tyler to accept that, “There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in your philosophy.” Dr. Tyler’s philosophy being science – rational, provable, perceivable data.

The regression exercise Cat Tyler does in episode 3 begins tearing apart the fabric of her world view. By episode 10, Proof moved the needle on Cat Tyler’s character to point to a more open world view – more accepting of the invisible, more willing to consider the reality of the unprovable. Proof never tried to convert viewers to the idea that there is something outside the rational, physical world – some consciousness beyond what we see before us. It simply showed Cat Tyler’s journey as she was nudged in that direction.

It really struck me that this was the role that meant the most to Jennifer. It isn’t a role that made her famous. It isn’t a series that will be rewatched endlessly by an avid fandom with wikis and discussion boards galore. It wasn’t a role that will generate terabytes of fan fiction. It was a deeply spiritual role and a deeply spiritual journey for the character and the actress. That reveals something essential about Jennifer Beals as a human being. It makes me admire her more than ever.

In How Episode 3 Hooked Me on Proof, I made a passing mention of Jennifer Beals talent as a flirt. One of the things she used to do in interviews when she didn’t want to answer a question was flirt a bit with the interviewer. The poor interviewer would completely forget every thought in his head. I saw her make a guy fall off his chair, he was so overwhelmed by her ability to distract with a little sexual energy.

But lately, she hasn’t been so reluctant to take on any question that comes her way during interviews. She remains very private about certain things, but she’s honest about what she does answer.

That’s probably another reason why she’s so good at press interviews. Her responses are both thoughtful and honest. A great combination.

On a personal note, in one of the radio interviews she did, Jennifer mentioned she loved filming The Night Shift in my home state of New Mexico. My chances of catching a glimpse of her while she’s in my geographic area are nil – I hardly get out of the house these days – but it would be awesome to interview her in person some time when she’s shooting here. I might as well put that dream of a lifetime out into the invisible to percolate.

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