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June 27 2011

When adults play teenagers on TV. MSN takes us through a list of actors who were significantly older than the characters they were playing. Features a Buffyverse favourite.

Weird not to put her real age up.
They did. It's on the next page.
I have to say, this is one example of Dawson Casting I've never had a major issue with. Charisma easily passed for a decade younger to me, including when I spoke to her at Supanova 3 months ago. She's utterly gorgeous and I'd have no problem believing she was 30.
I didn't have a problem either, but you (or, well, I) could easily tell. She and Nick Brendon both, to be honest. The one that fooled me was Alyson Hannigan. I was very surprised when I learned she was actually older than SMG.
Charisma looks amazing for any age and she was at least plausible as a teenager at the start of Buffy (after all she was meant to seem older than her years since Cordelia was that girl that, from afar, seems impossibly grown-up, worldly and in control of her life when you as the misfit still feel like a gangly, clueless child).

The issue as with a lot of adults playing teens is what happens later on because very youthful looking people sometimes hit a point where suddenly they look if not their age then at least older than the character (Cordelia looked quite an old 21 in 'Angel' season 3 for instance, Xander looked an old 19 in BtVS season 4 and so on and by the time both series ended they all looked a bit older than the 22 or 23 they were meant to be. Though in fairness they'd had hard lives ;).
Why is she both #33 and #34?? Agreed, with Saje- but TV involves plenty of suspension of disbelief anyway; what's a little more? If that's the most implausible thing about BtVS/AtS, well....
Yeah, s'no biggie (and necessary to avoid the restrictions on child actors' working hours etc.). And they're all on there twice aphasia, once in character and then again with a more recent photo of them in real life (along with the "reveal" of their actual age).
Yeah I never thought Charisma looked noticeably older than other cast members. I think the fact that its so common on tv means that we can happily ignore it anyway. Unless its Dawson's Creek. For some reason I'm ok with older actors playing 16 but trying to claim they're 15 is a Step Too Far.

Also I 'm 27 and have a hard time convincing people I'm not a teenager still so I think it is kind of plausible.
Why is she both #33 and #34??

If you read the rest of the article, most actors have a photo of how they looked on the show, and how they looked at the time off camera.
I think sometimes it's easier to be a younger viewer and accept older actors playing teenagers because somehow everyone in the world just looks some undefined age called "older" or " really old." And since most of the shows listed were aimed at younger viewers originally, that works out nicely. ;-) I can remember being a little 14 year old freshman in high school and thinking that the seniors (who were only 17 or 18) looked so adult. And therefore impossibly, untouchably cool.

Of course then there is the corollary, where once a person gets old enough, it's very hard to tell the ages of various youth unless one interacts with them on a daily basis. I know I've had a couple of whiplash incidents, where a kid has driven by behind the wheel of a car and thinking, "OMG. Is that baby face what 16 looks like now?" And then I get out of their way. Heh. (Double fast if they have friends with them. ;-)

I never had a problem with Charisma. Great actress. It's probably easier for an older person to act a younger age, because they've been there. And those scars just haunt you for years. ;-) I think the manner and emotions are what sell the character.

Now if you want to talk about people looking too old to play teenagers...1978's "Grease" comes to mind. Although, I didn't notice at the time I saw it because all I could tell was that they were "older" and cool. Totally cool. *sigh* Still love that movie. (Rats. Now I need to go find "You're the One that I Want" on YouTube.)
They forgot to mention that she also played a high schooler in 1996 on 'Malbu Shores'.
I agree that Charisma was plausible as a high schooler because she was playing a character that probably looked 20 from the time she was 14. There were a couple times when I was really glad that students had to wear uniforms at the middle school where I was teaching because a couple of the girls looked more like teachers than students...and we only went up to 8th grade!
She was, well, as plausible as the rest of them in the first three seasons, but I'm glad she was mvoed to the spin-off. On angel evne tho the time period was the same, she really was playing an older-seeming charcater than she had before, and not just 4 months older.
I took personal offense to Tom Welling's casting as 14 year old "loser" Clark Kent when I was in fact a pimple-faced, scrawny 16 year old whose voice was still cracking. Oh yeah, and he was an underwear model. Barf! Teddy from the new 90210...same deal, different decade.

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