James Marsden plays Teddy Flood in Westworld, now in its second and completely underwhelming season which airs on Sundays at 9 PM EST. But before James Marsden became one of my favorite TV characters on HBO, he was seen in movies such as 27 Dresses, Enchanted, The Notebook and Hairspray. I swear I did not watch any of these…more than once. I am just reading off his IMDB page…swear to God. Most notably, when I met him, I recognized him from his role as the visor wearing, Jean-Grey-loving, hardo superhero mutant known as Cyclops in the original X-Men movie trilogy. SPOILER ALERT, this guy also acts like something similar to an actual cyclops: has one eye, ugly, shoots stuff from said one eye when you’re not expecting it and has a lot of foreskin. Okay, sorry for the metaphor: he was a dick.
A few years ago, on a work trip, myself and a co-worker were traveling to Oklahoma (yay?). As we headed to our connecting gate in Atlanta, I noticed the perfect porcelain face of a recognizable thespian. But I only recognized him as one man: Scott Summers AKA Cyclops. He was wearing sunglasses, T-shirt and a leather jacket just like Scott would wear. How was no one noticing him?!?! Oh yeah, I am an absolute NERD…savage…but nerdy when given the chance. I pointed him out to my co-worker to which he said “Ohhh yeah, it’s the dude from 27 Dresses!” I SHHH’ed him immediately. Not because I was afraid of the government coming to revoke his man card and mine for even allowing him to say that but I didn’t want to blow James’ cover and attract a flock of floozies to come gawk over him and ruin the whole chance for me to meet him. Hey, I know what you’re thinking! I’M MARRIED. TO A WOMAN.
Anyway, we start to board the plane and I realize I have been upgraded to first class. PERFECT. Maybe I will sit behind James or just close enough to see how a real star is. No. Even better, I was sitting next to him. 1C and 1D. Two peas in a pod. I then started to panic because I then realized I was sitting next to James Marsden and I was…me. I checked my pits and my overall smell, checked my fly was zipped (didn’t want to give him mixed signals) and tried not to begin to sweat profusely or vomit. I put my carry-on in the overhead and then turned to sit down next to James. Then I found myself just STARING at him. He wasn’t a man. He was a fucking TINY doll. Like almost delicate looking. For a second, I just wanted to make sure he was a real human. I swear this guy might make Tom Cruise look like Andre The Giant. I imagined if I shook his hand, I would instantly break all 27 bones (GET IT, just like 27 Dresses but no really there’s 27 bones look it up.) He looked like he had been put together very carefully like one of those impossible ships in a bottle put together by an old man with 10 magnifying lenses, tweezers and a thousand years of free time. I am a very large person at 6 foot 2 inches and a svelte 250 pounds, so I was afraid to lean too much and crush him.
James (left) and Me (right)
At the time, James was promoting Anchorman 2. I was literally reading about him in that month’s edition of Delta magazine as we readied to take off. Now I am freaking out. I notice he looks to me and flashes a smile. He says “Hi.” I look around forgetting the spotlight is on me now. I am DEFINITELY sweating. In my head, ‘Who me?’ ‘YES YOU. YOU DUMB BLOND HEADED IDIOT’ I thought. I regained my composure and thought of a clever line to say. “Hey umm…errr…X-Men: First Class, am I right?” I suddenly saw myself falling backwards into abysmal nothing like the Sunken Place in Get Out. ‘X-MEN: FIRST CLASS??? That’s the best you had? HE’S NOT EVEN IN THAT ONE! DAN YOU FUCKING FREAK!,’ I screamed in thought. Alas, it was too late. James’ smile disappeared, a sneer appeared, he rolled his eyes, then took his leather jacket that could fit an actual Ken doll and turned away from me. I felt as though Cyclops himself had blasted a ruby beam of concussive force right to my chest. It was over. I ruined it. To this day, I still faintly recall seeing his miniature cell phone in his hand trying to hide under his coat from Baby Gap, texting: “Guy next to me is a FAT DOUCHE.” To be fair, my initials are DB.
But maybe, I could make up for it, I thought. I’ll offer my Fiji water to him! Celebrities love that shit! I grabbed my unopened Fiji water from my backpack, not thinking how weird and awkward of a gift it was. I take it, tap James on his fragile shoulder and said, “Hey James, want a water?” He then turned looked at me like I had just told him Scientology was a bunch of BS. He said, “Uh ya dude, I have one…they’re free in first class, you may not know that.” Ouch. What a bullet. James knew I was no high roller. Might have been my Tedy Bruschi faded T-Shirt with a stain on it that gave it away or my terrible skin complexion or the fact I had a BMI higher than his age. I don’t know, beats me. However, as we started to descend, and the sting from James’ words began to wear off, I thought maybe at least I could get a picture with the guy and let bygones be bygones.
As we got off the plane, got to the gate area, I caught up with James. I wanted to ask him so many things like are you legally a midget or why does Katherine Heigl only do cat litter commercials now? Is she certified crazy in real life? But no, I lost that chance. Just settle for a photo now. I said “Hey James, sorry I was so awkward back there, but time for a quick picture?” I showed him me readying my phone. James turned, looked me up and down and said “No I don’t do those with dudes.” James posterized me in front of an audience. Everyone around us was in disbelief he just completely shut me down. Not really, no one cared. This was Oklahoma, guaranteed everyone around us was completely stuffing their faces and couldn’t care less about what looked like to any one else Brandon Stark telling Hodor to go away forever. Only minutes later, on my way down to baggage claim, my co-worker had now caught up, begging me for details about the conversation. As we came down the escalator, the sounds of my co-worker’s questions began to mute, the room started to spin and everything was in slow motion. I looked down to Baggage Claim to see, who else but James Marsden posing for GOD DAMN pictures with tons of people. I just said out loud, “Son of a bitch.” James stared me down and continued to smile in pictures with women of all ages as I died inside.
Later that week, I was hit by a truck while in the passenger seat of a rental car, and that was somehow not the worst thing that happened to me that week.
So, you may be asking, what does this have to do with Westworld, Dan? Well I did say James Marsden’s Teddy Flood is my favorite character on the show. Why? Because he gets killed over and over and over and over and over again in the show. Sure, he is just playing a dude that gets killed repeatedly and gets paid millions of dollars to do so. But that is only fair karma for not laughing at my joke that fateful day. So who’s laughing now James?
UPDATE: A lot of people questioning why James was traveling to Oklahoma of all places and does not seem like a place he would go. Well, he’s from Stillwater, Oklahoma originally so how do you like me now? Hopefully more than James.