Admit it. You’re staring at the middle-aged actor playing Bernard on Lost and thinking: I know this guy. Doesn’t he live down the street from me? Bernard is the white dentist married to the black lady of faith.
Bernard is a very decent man and that was proven tonight. Very nice to see Rose and Bernard center stage instead of the Lord of the Rings midget drug addict or the eternal lust triangle between Doc, Bad Boy, and Bad Girl. Yet it was bugging me that I didn’t know the name of the actor playing Bernard, because I saw him in the parking lot at Fry’s in Burbank back in January.
It was a sunny Friday morning and I was leaving the store, almost on my way out of town to start a new phase of my life in another town in another state, and I saw Bernard loading the trunk of his vehicle (was it a compact? Nah, probably a mini-SUV of some type) with a box. I recognized him, but I didn’t know from what, and that’s always embarrassing.
The thing is, you can come across a Recognizable Face when you’re doing normal stuff in certain parts of Los Angeles during weekday mornings. At a Smart ‘n’ Final (non-membership warehouse store) in Burbank, for example, I once saw Erik Estrada shopping with relatives (quote: [shouting] “Mommie, do you need this?”). If you really want to be cool and let a Recognizable Face know you’re a fan, it’s best just to nod almost imperceptibly as you pass them by, rather than making a fuss.
Thing was, Bernard from Lost was packing up, and I was packing up my car, and it would have been awkward to make a beeline for him and tell him: “I’ve always liked your work, even though I don’t know your name and can’t name any of your movies or TV shows, except for Lost which I just saw you in recently.” So I let the moment pass.
Nearly three months later, I’m watching the show tonight, and Bernard was really good: tender and completely believable in his love for Rose and determination to do something about her illness. And a rare character who actually seemed to acknowledge his limitations. Really good.
He’s been on everything! And so convincing that he makes you forget who he is right after you see him — that’s different than being forgettable, in case you’re wondering. And deserving of a bit more attention.