If you always felt like Ducky in Pretty in Pink was a Nice Guy destined for supervillainy you would be correct.
Cryer is some pretty inspired casting — he’ll no doubt be excellent as a charismatic xenophobe. But it raises some pretty significant questions. Chief among them is: How the hell old is the original Supercrew meant to be?
By original Supercrew I mean Superman and his contemporaries in this universe — Lois Lane, Lex Luthor, James Olsen, and Cat Grant. By the time Cryer shows up and starts hating on aliens we will have met virtually all of the major players in Superman’s fairly small universe, and their ages have me deeply confused because season one did a pretty good job of outlining them.
Superman was in his mid-30s, James Olsen was his younger friend, Lois Lane was his older girlfriend who also happened to have a long and enduring rivalry with Cat Grant, and Lex Luthor was the slightly older friend who turned evil and tried to destroy the world.
But since then, the timeline of these character’s ages and interactions has… morphed. First, there’s Superman himself. We know exactly how old he is thanks to Supergirl noting his age in the intro of the show every episode. By 2019 he will either be 38 or 39. Tyler Hoechlin, who plays him, is only 31, but Supergirl explained in season two that he looked young because he’s, you know, a sun god from another planet. Fine, we’ll go with that.
Bitsie Tulloch and Mechad Brooks, who play Lois Lane and James Olsen respectively, are both around the same age as Clark Kent should theoretically be. So rather than Lois being older and James being younger their characters appear to be solidly Clark Kent’s contemporaries. Except that leaves out Cat Grant, played by Calista Flockhart — who is also supposed to be a contemporary of Lois Lane’s.
Instead she’s now a good 10 to 15 years older, and instead firmly the contemporary of Lex. In real life, Flockhart is only a year older than Cryer!
Except — EXCEPT — Lex has already been seen on the show and proven to be much younger!! Back in season two we catch a glimpse of a very young Lex welcoming an even younger Lena into the Luthor family. There he can’t be more than 10 years older than Lena — who is somewhere in her late 20s or very early 30s. So he should either be in his late 30s or early 40s.
Further confounding things is Lex Luthor’s mum. She’s played by Brenda Strong, who is excellent icy and evil presence on the show. Only Strong is only around five years older than Jon Cryer. Perhaps Lex’s obsession with the eradication of Superman has aged him? A lot.
So now I’m deeply confused trying to sort out the timelines of all of these characters, and how old they’re all meant to be. Which is probably just deeply petty on my part. I should just enjoy Jon Cryer’s casting instead of being wigged out by him being only five years younger than the woman playing his mum and close to 20 years older than the woman playing his sister.
Look, I know we all like to think that age is just a number and people can play way older and younger than they are, but any time the actors playing parent and child are only five years apart it’s gonna be weird. Real, real weird.