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If isn't as bad as its reputation suggests, it isn't very good, either.And even though its not-very-goodness has little to do with Kitsch, who performed ably in the title role, much of the blame fell on him. " was a really great experience," he tells me—which, of course, is another way of saying, "No regrets," Riggins's code and mantra, and, incidentally, Kitsch's sign-off on personal e-mails.Immediately I start to relax, because it's such a Riggins maneuver. Proud of it." In high school he was a clown—voted funniest in his class— and artsy: "I always had to be the lead in the play." But what he was mostly was an athlete, a hockey player.fans: Remember Riggins's brief—blink and you missed it—foray into higher education, when he sat in a lecture hall taking notes with a never-been-sharpened pencil? What a person who's less trying to amuse others than amuse himself would do. Kitsch was born in Kelowna, British Columbia, and raised by a single mom in a trailer park. Following graduation in 1999, there was a stint with the junior A Langley Hornets that ended when he blew out his knee.Here's the surprise: For all his chiseled beauty, Riggins—Kitsch, too, for that matter—doesn't seem in the least vain or self-regarding.
("If there's such a thing as over-prep," he says of his nose-to-the-grindstone ethic.) In the last few years, he's chosen lower-profile projects, often ensemble, most notably (directed by Ryan Murphy), an Emmy Award–winning HBO movie about the AIDS epidemic.In any case, Riggins gazes at Lyla Garrity—his on-again, off-again girlfriend, played by Minka Kelly, rumored to be Kitsch's one-time on-again, off-again girlfriend—the way that most of the audience is gazing at him: eyes wide with yearning. He yearns for a kind of spiritual and moral truth as well.He's down a stable male influence, his dad, like Kitsch's, having more or less blown the scene, and he wants, above all else, to do good—to be good—but doesn't always know how and has no one to show him.It looked, at least for a moment, as if he'd flamed out before he'd even become a star.
If Kitsch didn't let the hype fluster him, though, he wouldn't let the trashing either.
It's an anti–soap opera, a frank, uncondescending look at lives and loves in a small town. And if NBC hadn't cut a deal with the subscription television service Direc TV to subsidize production costs in exchange for the right to air episodes first, it never would have lasted five seasons and likely would have been canceled after two.