Stuever Watch


Hank Stuever is just now shifting into high gear in his new role as Washington Post TV critic. He totally kicked ass with his review of the new Spartacus. What other TV writer would think to begin as follows?

I am Spartacus’s trainer: We worked his core group for three hours a day, then did lower body strengthening for another two hours, then an hour of cardio, and then a Pontius Pilates cool-down. Every day. He ate nothing but egg whites and grilled chicken breasts. And now, just look at him.

I am Spartacus’s stylist: In the first episode of “Spartacus: Blood and Sand” (Friday night on Starz), he’s still a Thracian villager joining the Romans in war, and he’s a bit Visigothy, so we went with a wig of shoulder-length tresses with only the softest bit of curl. At first it was too “Spinal Tap,” and then it just came to me: Viggo in “Lord of the Rings”! Right? Later, in the second episode, thank God the story picks up the pace and Spartacus is captured and sent to that gladiator camp. Because then we come to that scene where they whack his hair off. But, hello? With a knife? Honey, we labored on that haircut. I didn’t want it to look too-too Caesar.

A Pontius Pilates cool-down? A bit Visigothy?

All his schtick is the perfect way to bring home the silliness inherent in these over-the-top costume dramas that really and truly are more about abs than Abyssinia. And nobody can be quite as convincing as Stuever is in loving something even as he cuts it to confetti, a la Edward Scissorhands.

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