"I'm gonna make you famous, Lizzie," Raymond 'Red' Reddington (played by James Spader) tells the FBI agent he's obsessed with (played by Megan Boone) on "The Blacklist," the most promoted and critically lauded show of the new fall season. It's like "24" meets some other good show that makes you want to watch it.
But I'm not here to talk about that. I'm here to talk about how hot James Spader is.
Let's get our priorities straight.
I've long loved Spader. Ever since he was awful and cruel and cocky and hateful in "Pretty in Pink" to poor little not-a-rich-girl Molly Ringwald, he's long been my standard for hotness. (As in, I've actually sat through teen-made YouTube montages set to music as he slow-mo undresses. No shame.) Unlike Johnny Depp, who I got over when he left "21 Jump Street" or Brad Pitt when he stopped being in that one scene in "Thelma & Louise" or George Clooney who I've absolutely never been into, Spader to me epitomizes everything I love about hot regrettable sex with an alpha male caricature who will definitely hurt you and make you feel alive for one fleeting moment in this doomed miserable life of ours.
That got dark quick.
Spader is such a creep. And he's so sexy at embodying the dark side in every cocky instruction he gives in this new series "The Blacklist," which is like "CSI" meets some other TV show you probably have on your DVR.
His instructions to Lizzie: "You're thinking like a cop. Cops are so objective. They're obligated to protocols. Make it personal," he says.
To me, he plays into the same psychology that makes me enjoy submissive role play in the bedroom: The Sexy Creep embodies the idea of being able to let go of control to a dangerous confident slightly askew jerk -- and seeing what happens with an extra element of excitement that things could go terribly, terribly wrong. Or not?
It's like manufactured excitement. No safety, bitches.
I am an adrenaline junkie, and The Sexy Creep offers adrenaline in spades. He knows things about you. He knows things about others. He has "personal" projects, as he did in "Sex Lies and Videotape."
What are they? They're personal. Please stop asking questions, and do as I command.
In "The Blacklist," Spader's character comments on everything from the changed highlights in the hair of Boone's character to how she may have been impacted as a little girl growing up with a criminal mastermind father herself.
It's a creepy and arrogant sense of intimate knowledge but there is a cheat at work here. The Sexy Creep is speaking in code. He is saying: "You can stop worrying now. You don't have to be in control. I hold the answers. I know what is right and what is wrong and what is going to happen. And when I'm not telling you the answers to the universe, I will be ravishing you in bed, so heads up on that, princess."
As you navigate the adult world, the wonder factor is always rapidly decreasing if you aren't careful.
If you are a somewhat shrewd critical thinker, illusions slip away. The Sexy Creep offers an adult version of the return of illusion. You know he's not for real, like Santa Claus, but he's playing a movie villain, and now, suddenly, you're in a movie, too.
I don't fall too often for Sexy Creeps anymore. If they have money and power (I know, I know, I suck) and don't seem totally full of it, then occasionally it can be an alluring game of make-believe. But for the most part, I relegate it to the realm of naughty nurses and dirty doctors in the world of fantasy. Meaning: It's a fun role to have someone embody in the universe of seduction -- but that's pretty much it. Try this game (which I've done and highly recommend): Meet your guy -- or girl -- at a bar wearing something ridiculously skimpy underneath a coat. Your partner slides up next to you, touches your stockings in a bored yet electrifying manner, instructs you not to say a word and to leave the facility with him. He interlocks his arm into yours, and when you start to say something, he puts his finger to your lips and says, "Shhh. We need to have patience."
Super creepy. Super sexy.
If this game of dominance is played exactly right, he will include the exact number of peas you can eat that night as well. (My favorite moment ever in the Spader film "Secretary.")
Hilariously, I present some sort of alpha chick image through my writing -- so I attract subs like honey attracts bears. I suppose I should just embrace it and be the Sexy Creep so many men desire me to be. I think it can be fun on occasion, but I suppose I enjoy the safety and comfort and lack of vulnerability when power dynamics are the only thing at play in sex. You can't get hurt when there are roles assigned. But you can get excited.
It's not that I don't want a loving partner who I grasp hands with during "Terminator"-style lovemaking to create our John Connor spawn to save the world. I do. But whenever I triage the time devoted to finding this person, I always end up wishing I had simply spent it doing something else. I hate investment without payoff. Perhaps one of my biggest problems in life.
So why do I get off on an investment of time in a truly spectacular Sexy Creep?
Because my head burns and buzzes with excitement and twists and possibilities. If you have a fairly keen ability to see how things play out most of the time, the Sexy Creep maddens you and keeps you on your toes in a way that is truly exhilarating for your brain. When two intelligent people are engaged in the chess game, it can be truly like a sport of winking poisoned ripostes slung back and forth.
In "The Blacklist," Spader is drilling the female protagonist's brain in a way that is near sexual, telling her essentially: "You're thinking the wrong way. Your husband doesn't matter. You have changed your hair. You are lying to yourself about wanting children. I know you better than you know yourself."
Oh my. So bombastic. So in charge. So creepy. And -- so Freudian I-have-all-the-answers-and-you-can-be-safe-again-little-girl daddy figure which is obviously so very, very wrong.
Which it makes it so very, very exciting.
I can't get enough of "The Blacklist." The cool control and assurance as Spader's character surrenders in the very first scene immediately lets you know that something is askew. He is in control, and he is a man with a lust for living life to its darkest extremes.
Mr. Spader, sir, how many peas can I eat when I watch the next episode?
Find Mandy long-form at http://tinyurl.com/stadtmiller.