I was pumped when the third season of Dexter made a conscientious effort to incorporate a more substantial Cuban American dimension to the political economic landscape of present day Miami. Former Oz castmates Angel Batista and Lt. María Laguerta just weren’t doing it for me. Jimmy Smits wasn’t half bad as the Assistant D.A. with serious anger management issues — because all Latinos are calientes, sabes? — but the real windfall of this post-Ricky Martin renaissance of Latin@ consciousness was Smits’s onscreen wife, played by sleeper hottie Valerie Cruz.
The appeal of Cruz’s character, it seemed to me, was precisely her sobriety, her nonchalant elision of Latina stereotypes. She also had a certain hardbody MILF quality that never fails to please. You can imagine my delight, then, when I finally got around to watching the first season of nip/tuck and discovered that Cruz was a regular cast member. My curiosity was piqued, and I schlepped over to IMDB to see what other projects she’s currently spicing up: apparently she’s slated for a cameo on an upcoming episode of Dollhouse. I was more troubled to learn, though, that Ms. Cruz is putatively just a hair older than myself. (And hence eminently dateable, right?)
This screen capture is from an episode of of nip/tuck that aired in September 2003. Presumably it was shot well before that, let’s say summer of 2003. If Ms. Cruz is indeed 32 today, she would just have turned 27 when this scene was shot. Now, I’ve never been good at guessing people’s ages, but I always thought one of the benefits of having mestiza blood was that pigmented skin tends to age better. ¿Qué onda, nena? Either your agent has grossly overestimated how much he can fiddle with your reported age, or you are in some serious need of a better sunblock and a twice-daily regimen of Créme De La Mer, the concentrated stuff. Or maybe the good Dr. Troy could echarte la mano with a chemical peel or something?
(Don’t even get me started on Cruz’s butch turn in The Dresden files.)
I’m still working my way through the first season, but for anyone keeping score, nip/tuck may well edge out Dexter as TV’s Most Interesting Miami-based Serial Drama. (Michael C. Hall will always be David Fisher for me, six pack or no. Sorry, dude.) Incidentally, my vote for the Absolute Worst Serial Drama On Television goes to yet another Miami-based production, Burn notice, a show so unredeemably bad it doesn’t merit further discussion.