Miss Brody’s “assassin”.

There is a type of girl in literature and in life you should be aware of: let’s call her the plain girl. She’s the girl who gets passed over for dates and leading roles in the school play, and on the surface she seems okay with it. Whether conscious or not, the society around her has written her off. She’s not beautiful, nor even youthfully vivacious, just kind of blah. Other girls don’t mind her because she’s no threat, guys look through her or maybe treat her like “one of the guys”, or just ask her nicely to get the coffee. And she does. Oh, the plain girl plays the game while the whole time she is plotting her revenge. When the plain girl sees her opportunity to deliver the coup de grace at a deserving rival, she takes it with  deadly precision.

Remember the classic “The Prime of Miss Jane Brody” when one of the star teacher’s little girls destroys her  life in one deadly revelation? Miss Brody the career teacher, collapsing in her classroom after being fired, screams after her young pupil, “ASSASSIN!”

I see that archetype repeated in the case of James Franco’s accuser, one Sarah Tither-Kaplan (also beware the girl with three names).

Little Sarah, Famous at Last

In the recent avalanche of MeToo accusers taking down famous men, the chunk of ice who really got my attention is “filmmaker/actor” Sarah Tither-Kaplan. I’ve known a lot of Sarahs in my day.  I found it amusing that in an interview with a major news program in which she was questioned about her vague accusations of James Franco  acting like a dick, she tearfully expressed concern about not wanting to ruin her “career”. What career, Sarah?

Let’s face it, acting is not an easy profession in which to build a career.

Dick or not, Franco has the talent and tenacity (gotta admit the guy’s been busy), and most importantly the DNA to be the successful star that he is.  He’s worked hard, but it’s that face that opened doors for him. He has the face of a movie star who can be handsome, goofy,  serious, silly, sensual, and fearless: he’ll kiss a guy, and drop-trou in a heartbeat. He’s an actor: a blank canvas on which to project many human emotions and desires. And here the guy was, almost forty-years-old, finally about to grasp the brass ring with an Oscar nomination and perhaps even a win for a really excellent performance then…

Not so fast, handsome. You must have really pissed off Ally Sheedy when you directed her in that off-off-off Broadway play. And that young girl you were “dating”? Bad move, buddy. And what about Sarah? Remember that chick from your acting class? Somehow I can’t imaging Sarah occupying much of Franco’s brain cells, but she sure was focused on him.

There’s a reason why stars hide out in their mansions and keep their own company, and perhaps Franco’s fatal flaw was too much exposure to the hoi polloi of actor wannabes. One accuser complained that he regularly fell asleep during their scenes because he was shooting a movie at night, writing a novel in his spare time, working on two MFAs, all while performing a recurring role on General Hospital. Sounds like the guy was tired.

Maybe he had sleazy motivations for his “sex scene class,” but when I viewed the tape, I saw a passionate acting teacher speaking the language of the theater. And girl, gotta say it, you agreed to take your top off for $100 a day (standard no budget indie fare). I can imagine it really sucked when you realized that what you hoped would be an avenue into career advancement via Franco’s fame turned into a cheap Vimeo video where people can now make cruel comments about your body. Always read the contract.

james-franco headshot.jpeg
He’s got the look.

Now I admit I may be prejudiced against this archetype, having been burned by a plain girl once myself (never saw it coming), but I do have sympathy for Sarah. Looking at her acting reel, I can see that she does have talent, but she doesn’t have the look. But it’s been her dream since she was a little girl! Doesn’t that count for anything in this cold, cruel world?


But hey, now that’s she got some attention, an edgy, indie production may may just swoop her up and give her a juicy role as a serial killer. I know I would. This business is all about getting noticed and maybe Sarah thought dressing in drag next to Franco was enough.  When it wasn’t, she found another way. Score one for the plain girl.


Sarah and James during the good times.

4 thoughts on “Beware the Plain Girl

  1. I love this. Great observations! Isn’t it amazing how what gets us stuck at some point has to be processed. If you stew on something long enough , that processing takes on a rather grand scale!!!

    Jo Twiss actress teacher nurse We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” Anais Nin



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