There's a scene in Monty Python & The Holy Grail where King Arthur "rides" up to a peasant and says: "Old woman!" only to get "I'm a man, and I'm only 37 and 37 is not old!"
In reality, the discussion of whether 37 is considered "old" becomes silly, stupid, and annoying, but not hilarious.
Recently actress Maggie Gyllenhaal sparked a wave of outrage on the internet by telling the world that, at 37 years of age, she was told that she was "too old" to play the love interest for a 55 year old leading man.
You know what.
I believe her.
There are several reasons why I believe her:
HOLLYWOOD'S JUVENILE DEMENTIA: Hollywood believes that anyone over the age of 21 is already set in their ways, and thus are not likely to fall for the ads or product placements that help pay to get movies and TV shows made.
This means that everything in show business must be young, and if you can't be young, then at least appear to be as young as surgically possible, as well as hep, and with it, as the kids say these days.
That means that as many movies and TV shows as possible must appeal to the fickle tastes of tweens and teens. Now I'll get to the boys in a second, but first I'll discuss the girls. The market research gurus are telling the Hollywood mucky-mucks that the last thing teenage girls want to see is a leading lady that reminds them of them, not their mom, no matter how old the leading man is.
Which brings us to the boys and their…
FRAGILE MALE EGOS: Young males watching movies and TV shows care only about two things when it comes to casting the female love interest. That she is physically attractive, and that the show successfully sells the lie that a goof like them can have a chance with a woman like that.
Selling this lie becomes an article of faith with both leading men and studio executives. The leading men want to believe that they are still the manly, virile, hunks they were in their 20s even though they qualify for membership in the AARP and are sporting more of a keg than a six pack in the abs department.
The audience is somewhat forgiving for this, usually out of nostalgia for those days when that star was such a hunk of man. Then it becomes silly, and then it becomes sad, which usually results in that star's movies ending up in the discount bin at the local big-box store.
As for the executives, they are a predominantly male club. Being a predominantly male club causes a lot of testosterone to waft around the air and that can cause some serious dips in the old IQ points. One effect is making casting choices not on who is right for the part, but on which actress they would most likely want to have sex with.
And since, like actors, they like to see themselves as young, virile, masters of the universe, their roaming eyes usually drifts toward younger women.
And then there's...
|She does look better with long hair|
SIMPLE STUPIDITY: Telling her she was too old to be cast opposite a 55 year old revealed a stunning lack of awareness on the part of the teller. Gyllenhaal could have been told it was because of the short haircut, which, to be honest, does nothing for her.
Then that blunt person would just be horribly sexist, which people already know Hollywood is, and not ageist, egocentric, silly, and stupid for throwing more kindling on an already burning fire of outrage.
However, you can never fail underestimating the tactical stupidity of people in Hollywood.