10 Reasons Why Keri Russell Kicks Ass

By Cara

  1. The Americans.  Now I have to admit, the show is no Homeland, but the Russian spy thing is growing on me, primarily due to Russell’s portrayal of Elizabeth.  I don’t think I’d still be watching otherwise (honestly, Matthew Rhys is good, but no one is really watching for him).  And she continues to kick Granny’s (Margo Martindale’s Claudia) ass and pierce her daughter’s ears with a needle at midnight, while falling in and out of love with her spy partner/husband on a weekly basis.

  1. The Hair.  It sparked fandom outrage when Russell cut her hair in the second-season premiere of “Felicity”.  Some argue that the show’s ratings suffered because of it.  It’s funny how her hair has become a non-issue since she purchased a straightener, but at the time of Felicity, her hair was her ‘thing’, and all us curly/frizzy girls appreciated having a fearless role model to lead.

  1. Felicity.  The first season of Felicity remains in my top 5 for all-time favorite TV show seasons.  It was the perfect role for Russell to show the world what she could do, and boy did she deliver.  Sure, the Ben v. Noel thing got tired after a while and I am still bitter with how that ended but during the first season, when she was sort of over Ben and into Noel and hadn’t yet slept with the nameless painter guy, the show was amazing. The back and forth of canceled/not canceled was perhaps more annoying than the endless side shows involving minor characters we never cared about.  Finally, the 4th season disaster (AKA the final 6 episodes) where the only good thing that came of it was Elena didn’t die.

  1. She does movies too.  Okay, not necessarily movies anyone has seen (i.e. Dead Man’s Curve, Mad about Mambo, The Magic of Ordinary Days, Eight Days a Week).  But there are some gems in there that I enjoyed (i.e. Waitress).  And hey, what about that new one?  Dark Skies? That looks good (maybe?).  She can do it all!

  1. The Babysitter’s Seduction.  This is actually featured on the ‘Best Lifetime Movies Ever Made’ (originally aired on NBC).  I was always skeeved out that the guy was the pastor-dad from 7th Heaven.  There’s murder, there’s mystery, it’s classic Lifetime.  It may have also been Russell’s hair at its best.

  1. MMC (formerly known as The Mickey Mouse Club).  So I think what happened here is that Keri Russell couldn’t actually sing.  But she could dance and act.  So during performances, Russell was on the side doing choreography but didn’t have a microphone (they gave it to Christina Aguilera instead).  And for skits and mini soap operas (like Emerald Cove), she was front and center.  I’ll be honest, she was clearly in the popular crowd of MMCers.  She was wearing choker necklaces before I even knew what they were, and her collection of flannel shirts was so much better than my mini-collection consisting of one flannel shirt.

  1. Malibu Shores.  No one is going to remember this show.  It aired in 1996 for 10 episodes and featured Russell in her first major role as ‘Chloe from Malibu’, playing opposite her then-boyfriend, Tony Lucca, or ‘Zach from the Valley’.  The show, itself, was awful.  It was very much The O.C. of the 90s but Keri Russell (and her hair) made it a must-watch for us tweens at the time.  The premise was that Zach was from (you guessed it!) the Valley and Chloe was from Malibu; they meet at a beach bonfire and quickly fall in love (all during the first episode).  Then an earthquake hits the Valley, taking down the high school, and all of the sudden, Valley kids are being bused to the Malibu high school.  It continues on from there, lots of beach parties and awkward pairings.  I believe it also featured a pre-Buffy the Vampire Slayer Charisma Carpenter; she was on the Malibu side.

  1. She’s the reason I know how to pronounce the word ‘preface’.  Okay, stay with me now.  I remember reading an Entertainment Weekly blip on why the creators of Felicity, J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, had cast Russell immediately after meeting her.  They said it was because, during her audition monologue, she was the only one to correctly pronounce preface as ‘pref-us’ and not ‘pre-face’.  I was 17, I had never used the word in a sentence prior to that point, but you bet your ass I remembered how to say it after that.

  1. That Bon Jovi “Always” music video.  Yes, that was her.  It was a quick appearance, but I recognize that hair anywhere.  And this was in 1994 when MTV still played videos so it was probably in heavy rotation on weekday afternoons.

  1. She swore on Jimmy Fallon.  Yes, she did.  Okay it was bleeped out but we all know what she said there.  Perfect delivery.