I didn't like the show. But, I have to admit, part of the reason for that is because I can't stand James Spader's epicene, smug face. To see him is to want to punch him. For me, at least.
We've all been taught that hating someone because of the way he looks is the height of unfairness. No one has any choice about the face he was born with, we're not supposed to judge a book by its cover, etc, etc.
Ergo, I must be extremely superficial.
But what if the face does say something about the person? Is it possible to discern character from a face?
What do you see in Spader's face? To me, he looks soft, and spoiled, and conceited, and maybe a little coy. Not a winning combination.
I could be wrong. Maybe he's hard, and tough, and brutally honest with himself. (If he is, he does a great job of hiding it.)
The role Spader plays on Blacklist is that of a supercilious guy. And yes, one shouldn't mistake the actor for his role.
But was it typecasting?
The role Spader may have been most famous for before was in Sex, Lies and Videotape, another Spader vehicle which just didn't do anything for me. And I can vaguely recall being put off by his face even back then. Here he is as a younger man:
There's something about that carefully arranged hair and those dandified clothes and that air of self-importance that, well, makes me sympathetic to violent people.
With those feminine cheeks of his, Spader actually reminds me of Linda Kozlowski from the Crocodile Dundee movies:
Come to think of it, I found her off-putting as well.
That's probably unfair. If you get to know someone, after a while you'll simply associate their face with their personality, and like or dislike them accordingly.
But sometimes, you don't have to wait to get to know them: their narcissism just emanates from their faces, as Ted Cruz and Barack Obama demonstrate here.
Obviously, it's unfair to dislike someone because he's ugly, or because of his ethnicity, or because of his mix of hormones. No one has any control over those things.
But if it's because his face broadcasts smugness, that's different.