Remember Robby Benson? He of the big, blue eyes, baby-smooth skin and sensitive voice? He of the big screen tear-jerkers "Ice Castles," "One on One," "Ode to Billy Joe" ... TV's "The Death of Richie," anyone?
Benson disappeared from the public eye after a while and spent most of his post-Tiger Beat years behind the camera, doing voiceover work and directing sitcoms. Now he's gone and written a novel, Who Stole the Funny? (Harper Entertainment, 349 pages, $13.95) ...
... a roman a clef about the making of a sitcom called — get this, from perhaps the lily-whitest of all the former teen heartthrobs — "I Love My Urban Buddies."
Interspersed throughout the narrative — which follows director J.T. Baker, who must take over directing "Urban Buddies" after the original director accidentally shoots himself in the head with a nail gun — are little breakouts with "Hollywood Dictionary" entries. Many are terms we've all come to recognize in this age of Hollywood insider programming ("table read," "live feed," "honcho"), but here are a couple I'd never heard of:
"Marcus Pooley": A penis with no balls.
"Sammy Glick": A nice Marcus Pooley.
It's a quick whip-through read, with clipped dialogue, fast-paced scenes and exaggerated, stereotypical characters you'd expect in a behind-the-scenes look at a sitcom.
Note: Back in the day, I personally felt Robby Benson was a little too sensitive, bordering on effeminate. But hey, look at him now — all shaggy hair and goatee. Totally my type!