Listen. There are things going on in the world that seem to matter, but they don’t: Debt ceiling stuff, partisan politics, Oprah’s TV network. I know. I KNOW. They seem really important, but essentially, they are not.
Conversely, there are things very rarely bandied about in the national conversation among smart people and intellectual types that are fundamentally important as issues central to our very existence. That’s why I am here.
Not to enlighten you. No, don’t be silly. I don’t presume to have the wisdom of Splinter, the rat-guru of all things ninja turtle-ish. But I do have a knack for seeing and recognizing it in other people.
In short, you may have heard about my Awesometown series. It’s where I interview people who are so excellent that in a parallel universe, they most assuredly live in a place called Awesometown. But it isn’t just a label or an empty title. These people do work.
As such, they have committed to serve as a Supreme Court of sorts that will rule on the important issues of our time. You want definitive? These people excrete certainty and conviction like you or I sweat.
So, I present to you, the Council of Awesometown.
MYSTERY #1: Why Didn’t Jonathan Taylor Thomas Become a Massive Superstar?
The same reason any actor with three names didn’t: no one can remember that many names. Freddie Prinze Jr, Melissa Joan Hart, Sarah Michelle Geller, Laura Ingalls Wilder, and Jennifer Love Hewitt (to name a few), all fell under the radar because people can’t remember that much junk. It’s only a matter of time until we completely forget who Samuel L. Jackson is. Just you wait and see.
In 1998 JTT won the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Television Actor, and we all knew this kid was just destined for greatness. What we didn’t, and couldn’t know at the time, is that the Nickelodeon Kid’s Choice Award for Favorite Television Actor is cursed.
1989 winner, ALF, died while eating a cat. 1990 winner, Kirk Cameron, was left behind during the rapture. 1991 winner, Will Smith, was never heard from again. 1992 winner, Bill Cosby, saw his show canceled. The 1993 winner has fallen so far they were not even recognized by Wikipedia. 1994, ’95, ’96, & 97 winner, Tim Allen, followed up his four-peat with a divorce and a DUI. Then we come to Jonathan Taylor Thomas, the 1998 winner, who hasn’t appeared on film or television since 2006.
So I think it is safe to say JTT’s fall from grace has nothing to do with him, and everything to do with the cursed award he won thirteen years ago on that fateful, slime-filled night, at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.
This question not only hits my heart, but reverberates in my soul area. As someone who almost got a JTT face on my left pectoral, I feel like I must, just must weigh in on this like a show that comes on after The Bachelorette.
Let’s look at the facts. He was Home Improvement, then he chose..CHOSE..to leave that hit show to go to college. Why do you go to college? To get a degree? Why get a degree? To get a job. Why get a job? To make money. Holy Santa outfit, that’s what he had.
Unlike Natalie Portman or James Franco, he didn’t emerge from the college experience with a useless degree and a few thousand more intelligent notches on his bedpost, but nothing. He got that Santa movie and a couple spots on Smallville. Congrats JTT, now I gotta tell everyone your initials are for Justin Timberlake so I don’t have to explain why I signed all my notebooks after a guy who now works at a Coldstone.
Oh, but to answer your question: His height. He’s too short to be a leading man. See ya on Vh1, JTT.
The demise of Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s career is something that has plagued me for years. How can such talent just disappear, never to be seen or heard from again? After much thought, research, and eating of ice cream, I came to a conclusion that may be controversial to some. Especially to fans of painfully unfunny slapstick Christmas movies.
My conclusion is this: It’s all Chevy Chase’s fault.
Look at the evidence. JTT was by far the most popular and most talented of the three Taylor boys on Home Improvement. Unlike the show’s older son, he avoided the worst of the 90s haircuts. See exhibit A and exhibit B. And his character never went through an awkward goth phase like the younger boy. Suffice to say, we can’t blame Home Improvement.
So let’s take a closer look at his movie career. The Lion King is his most successful film, but Man of the House is a close second, if only because it was live action. Anyone who has ever watched Chevy Chase on film must admit that he has a way of hogging the attention. I’m sorry, I know people love him, but the facts are the facts.
This pathological need to be the center of attention ruined any chance that JTT had of standing out in Man of the House. His only choice was to do the best he could, and then hope his fame as a teen heartthrob would carry him the rest of the way.
Unfortunately, and with great sadness, I must admit that this did not work. His lack of box office success resulted in him having short stints on TV shows, culminating in a one-episode appearance on the late, great Veronica Mars. But it was too late. Chevy Chase had already ruined his chances of ever being anything more than that cute kid from Home Improvement.
Either that, or it could be because he’s short and Hollywood has met their quota on short guys, what with Tom Cruise and Danny Devito taking up space.
I’ve given this question a lot of thought, over the years, and here’s the conclusion I have reached: too many doppelgangers. From Val Kilmer to Harrison Ford to Erik Palladino to Nancy McKeon, Johnathan simply got lost in a veritable sea of JTT look-alikes.
However, a more interesting question might be: where exactly IS Johnathan Taylor Thomas? Check out this site.
Very, very interesting. I don’t know about you, but I detect more than a whiff of governmental mischief in this trove of non-information. JTT has evidently not been spotted since around 2001. In March of that year, scientists announced they would begin cloning human beings within six months.
ya know, when Knox sent me this question, i thought, “really? this needs to be asked?”
then i answered myself. i do that a lot. and decided i would answer Knox, too.
yes. it does need to be answered and the answer is…Jonathan Taylor Thomas stopped being interesting when he stopped being adorable and mean. when he got his first armpit hair and straightened out his bad behavior as Randy Taylor (no relation) he got, two words: bo. ring.
JTT didn’t make adult superstar status for the following reasons:
(1)His name wasn’t Knox McCoy.
(2)He wasn’t Canadian. With a population under 35 million, it’s relatively easy to remain famous in Canada. Heck, if you’re an author, you only have to sell 5000 copies for your book to be considered a bestseller. And since no one reads anymore, it has to be even easier if you’re an actor.
(3)He was cursed. It’s the Sports Illustrated cover jinx for actors: become a major voice behind a Disney cartoon and watch your career dry up like a has been who’s becomes a regular on Hollywood Squares. Like many washed up actors of yesteryear, the voice of Simba will hear lots of game show jargon, like “circle gets a square.”