Pablo Schreiber is the most important actor of our time


Hyperbole? Maybe. But let me make my case. Pablo Schreiber, or the other Schreiber who is not Liev (but they are brothers), plays a crucial role in the life of ladies of habit. The symbiotic relationship is a sign of both our good taste and Pablo’s excellent intuitions about how to appeal to “us.” Let me be clear that what I am saying about ladies of habit is that we are not always keen on going out, and thus we value activities that can be done obsessively in solitude or side by side (I mean TV). We also devote ourselves to objects of affection with dedication and openness. What makes this different than our devotion to Devon Sawa at age 12 is that we not only love these objects of affection, we also expect them to surprise us.


Had you forgotten his hair? I hadn’t.

Ryan Gosling is a good example. He delights ladies of habit not just because of his charm, but also because of his range. But Pablo Schreiber has developed himself to meet our needs in an exceptional manner. Here is why:

A (1. Pablo Schreiber has made his career almost entirely through premium TV. Beginning with The Wire and now Orange is the New Black, with a smaller stint on Weeds and parts on Broadway in between, the actor is synonymous with shows that epitomize the rise of TV to the top of our cultural landscape. The rise of TV to the top of all artistic production via premium television is also of course dependent on the rise of ladies of habit who put their serious and obsessive attention to consuming and appreciating/deconstructing these shows (I am not really defending this point, so just go with me). This is also true of Gandolfini, but Gandolfini also tried to be a movie star before and after the Sopranos. What about John Hamm, you say? Well, Mr. Schreiber unlike Hamm is more like a character actor of the premium television world, rather than a leading man. Which leads to . . .

B (2. Pablo Schreiber is recognizable but not a “type.” Pete Campbell will surely struggle to find roles where he is not a weasel and John Hamm will either have to go on a hiatus or make a Farrelly brothers movie to get away from Don Draper, but Schreiber can just keep sailing from show to show playing new and exciting roles because we don’t expect one type of role from him. He was tragic and white ethnic as hell in The Wire (in what I consider to be the highly underrated second season). He was sexy and also a white ethnic in Weeds (but Russian rather than Polish-American), all cut and stupid rather than soft and sad as he was in The Wire. In Orange is the New Black he is terrifying and sadistic. I am not actually sure he is that great in Orange is the New Black (he is a bit campy in his evilness), but the show is so unimpeachable that he is contributing to its greatness even if his performance is not outstanding. In any case, like Ryan Gosling, I trust Schreiber’s range, but like Hamm, I get to live with him in the periodicity of television.

C (3. He is hot, but not too hot. This is important because it means that he could be my boyfriend. Like, for real.

Dana is a graduate student and nanny in Brooklyn.

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