More like, “How I’m About to Have a Conversation with Jen about Tobias Menzies and How He Continues to Slay Us”
“But Tobias. Oh, Tobias. Here’s the thing about Tobias…the sincerity that cuts through your soul, is present in this performance. Almost like the role was created for him… and it’s a wonderful journey to watch. He has spectacular chemistry with everyone – whether it be comic or romantic…and he’s always on, always working, whether the audience focus is on him or not…He’s nothing short of perfection.”
–Regarding his performance in the play “The Recruiting Officer”, London, 2012
Jennova! Or is it Jen Nova? Jenn Ova? My star-crossed sister from across the pond!
Late one night in New York City, I was several Google pages deep when I stumbled upon your website. I proceeded to get lost in your delightful squees about Tobias Menzies from way back in 2012.
He was but a twinkle in an Outlander fan’s eye but you m’dear? You were onto something special before he graced my various electronic screens (and dreams). Wasn’t I a fool to not have noticed him prior to the TV show! My sensitive nose should’ve picked up a whiff of his tremendous talent over the Atlantic’s crests.
As you so succinctly put it: <face palm>
You were already ahead of your time and guffawing over his performance in things like Casualty and HBO’s Rome. Then something magical happened and the stars aligned for you to meet him! You took a train to London and saw him in a play called “The Recruiting Officer”. After the show, you waited outside for him to sign your program that you “clutched” to your chest and thus ensued a masterful retelling of your story.
Here are some snippets of your “massively disjointed” but delightful post and transcription of The Event (with some of my commentary):
I espy him at last, through the glass doors, and the first thing I think is: FUCK YOU SIR because he’s wearing a trilby. The bastard. (Who wears hats?! I later opined to a friend. Uh, you? was the answer. *cough*) Wearing a trilby and with his jacket slung over his shoulder and the bastard just looked smooth and cool and, yeah… He was wearing a what?? Oh! A hat?! The Bastard!
(Though, in all honesty, I wasn’t sure what I was even going to say to him because I was still uncertain about whether or not I’d be able to beat my own anxiety enough to speak to him.) Yup I hear ya girl. That’s how I imagine I will be.
Jen: Yeah. I’m – I’m quite a big fan, and I’ve come down from Newcastle, today, to see you (internal: WHAT ARE YOU SAYING YOU STALKER) in this and it was really great.
Tobias: Today? Really? What’s your name?
Jen: (internal: WHY IS HE ASKING MY NAME?) Oh, it’s Jen. He was asking because you were adorable and a human being. He liked that.
Tobias: *smile* Well I hope it – lived up to expectations.
Jen: (internal: WHAT ARE YOU EVEN YOU SELF-EFFACING BASTARD) Oh, of course, it was brilliant, you were great. He was so modest! What did he smell like?
Tobias: *STROKES MY ARM WHAT THE HELL* Aww, thank you. (I kept on describing this as a pat to people but it really wasn’t, it was a stroke from shoulder to elbow and HE INITIATED IT WHAT IS LIFE?) Sometimes our imaginations really run wild while in a state of shock so I wonder did he really “stroke” (which sounds so lecherous) or are we having one of those cross cultural moments where the Brits use a term differently than Americans? Me thinks not but if you believe it happened girl in your self proclaimed state of “survival mode” then I AM WITH YOU! HE INITIATED AND STROKED YOUR ARM OMG WHAT IS LIFE?!
In conclusion: TOBIAS JUST STOP HOW ARE YOU EVEN REAL I CAN’T BELIEVE YOU DID THAT AND YOU WERE WEARING A HAT AND, as I said to my mother on the phone, HE COULDN’T BE MORE PERFECT FOR ME IF HE TRIED THE BASTARD. The Bastard! Have you seen his earring? STOP!
HOW ARE YOU EVEN REAL, YOU PERFECTLY STRANGE MAN YOU. Oh he’s real. On the telly and most of all in my dreams.
Girl, where are you now? What are you doing? Do you still love Tobias so much that your cheeks hurt from smiling at his face? Most importantly – Have you seen Outlander?! My mind swirls as I imagine your reaction to seeing him as our pragmatic, dapper, but forlorn academic “Frank”. I mean have you seen this?
No really. Have you??
When I discovered your first-hand account, it elicited that effervescent giddy spirit that us fans get when:
He bites his finger
— Sam's Dirk (@SamsDirk) August 22, 2016
He gives that brilliant 5,000 watt smile
Or that slightly pitiful-pseudo-puppy-dog-face-but-still-very-earnest-serious-actor look in Episode One, Season 2 (you know the one):
(Notice all the various Tobias themed Twitter accounts…our passion runs deep.)
Jen, thanks to your posts of the bygone era of 2012, we can now live vicariously through you by sharing in your exuberance, over the top excitement, and self-deprecating humor. Your posts freeze a moment in time of his pre-Outlander career that only lived in my imagination. You unabashedly geeked out over him as he performed one of his many brilliant characters onstage (you fabulous theatre geek!). By this point he had done some television and films but Game of Thrones, Outlander, and Catastrophe were a few short years into the future. Meanwhile “Outlander” book fans were only dreaming of who would play Jami – I mean Frank! – in a movie or TV show.
I wonder what your reaction would be to see him as Jonathon Wolverton Randall? At first sight, his brooding and dark demeanor very nearly pours through the screen and as Season One progresses, episodes like “The Garrison Commander” begin to reveal the depth of his sadistic, sordid, and twisted world. Only until the end of Season 1 and further into Season 2 do we see the extent of his repugnant and repulsive behavior. Did you ever think your brown eyed lad could be so monstrous?
How many of us can truly say we spoke more than a few words to him (not just in our dreams) especially in a NON-Outlander related context BEFORE Outlander even existed AND still be super excited about it!? I merely stood a few feet away (alright fine maybe 10 feet) from him at a panel in NYC before he went onstage. I didn’t even get a whiff of his cologne (I mean, he wears really good cologne right?).
Only in our fantasies while we’re at work do we attempt to make the daily monotony breeze by like the wind that might gently caress his hair on a warm day in the English countryside while we ride on the back of his motorcycle careening along the rural roads…
I’m so sorry…I seemed to have gotten carried away there.
During Outlander’s Season 1, That’s Normal posted their #ToBIASED musings. My favorite is the Twitter Edition. I’d like to tip my trilby to them for the time and thought the author put into it (she met him too!) and I’ll say it now – I am stealing that line about the baby being born in March (brilliant!). Anyway, I think it’s time that the post was updated. So much has happened since then! So many great “Tob Tid Bits”.
This post is my small contribution and love letter for all the Tobias fans. Although I was bitten by the TM bug only relatively recently, I got lost in his charisma and handsome looks (particularly when he’s in a nice suit).
Regardless of all the superficial attributes (let’s be honest – they don’t hurt), the man has tremendous talent and I’m glad that he’s in the show. Though he was amazing in Season 1, in the opening to Season 2 he brought a depth to Frank that unveiled deeper layers most didn’t expect. And don’t even get me started on how he is able to show all the complexities of Black Jack. No matter who he plays, you want to watch him and he’s an example for so many actors who seek to attain a nuance and presence that he does so well. Your excitement even then speaks to the staying power of his talent which hasn’t faded but only gotten brighter.
In the mean time:
Jen, I’m glad I found you but this post is my smoke signal. Where are you? I hope the fire you held for him hasn’t extinguished. Perhaps you grew up and “matured” a bit but as all Outlander fans know, that maturity is just a mask that hides the excitable squeeing girl underneath. It’s fun to live the moments that make you giggle then jump out of your seat. When fantasy crashes into reality and your favorite theater/TV/movie actor winks at you, asks your name, and strokes your arm then leaves you comically wandering down the street in a whole “flaily mess of an extended thing”, these are what makes it all worth it. No surprise, he continues to slay us.
I raise my dram to you girl and all the #ToBIASED #Outlander fans whose squees echo throughout the fandom. I share your posts in solidarity with the tribe!
You should squee along to the full account and revel in Jen’s Tobiased musings here.