The Rise of Jon Hamm

Imagine that you had a friend who was in a tragic accident that landed them in a coma in 2006 (or your mother-in-law, whatever makes you feel good). Now imagine that they awoke from their extended slumber in the year 2011 and kept reading and hearing things about this "Jon Hamm character." If they asked you to explain who he was, I imagine the conversation would go something like this:
You: Jon Hamm rose to prominence in 2007 when Mad Men started. Mad Men has been crushing it during award season, and everybody loves Hamm's performance on that show.
Coma Guy: That's cool. Does he seem like a good dude?
You: That's the thing. He seems like an extraordinarily nice dude. He adapts to any interview situation, isn't afraid to make fun of himself (seems to enjoy it, really), and loves sports. The ladies love him, and the guys want to hang with him.
Coma Guy: Glad to see there are still some good folks out there. He sounds like a nice young actor.
You: Dude, he's 40.
Coma Guy (slightly incredulous): 40?! Did he just start acting a few years ago?
You: Actually, he was a credited actor going back almost 10 years before your coma.
Coma Guy: What was he doing before that?
That's the thing, we don't really know. When I say we don't know, I don't mean that we don't know what he was doing (thank you, IMDB), I mean that we have no idea why this guy has taken this long to get to where he is now. If you haven't yet, watch Hamm do his thing on Mad Men. He oozes charisma when he is on the screen, commands every single scene he is in, and can move grown men to tears during a pitch meeting. Since everyone now agrees that Jon Hamm is a superduperstar, why didn't anyone see it 15 years ago?
Many people will say that it isn't that big of a deal because plenty of actors became names later in life than Hamm. They will cite people like Gene Hackman, Abe Vigoda, Dan George, and some other noteworthy names. They will be correct in their argument. The problem is that not a single one of those guys has reached the level that Jon Hamm is on right now. A rapid rise from obscurity to prominence is not rare (after all, isn't everybody obscure before they are prominent?), but Hamm's late rise is mind-blowing to say the least. If an athlete had a sudden meteoric rise from nowhere, we would all excuse them of using performance-enhancing drugs (right or wrong, I'm looking at you, Jose Bautista).
Therein lays part of the mystery of Jon Hamm. Not only is he now considered a superlative actor and A-list celebrity, but you can't find anyone who matters to say a cross word about him. I consulted my brother's friend, Dr. Google, about whether Jon Hamm had any bad reviews. Google returned zero results. It tried its best, but the best it could do was Hamm remembering a bad review written by Tom Shales of the Washington Post. As it turned out, even he didn't slam Hamm; he slammed Matthew Weiner's direction and storytelling. I even tried typing in "Jon Hamm sucks" and didn't even get some loser complaining about Jon Hamm in some interweb forum somewhere.
Why doesn't anybody have anything bad to say about Jon Hamm? Because there isn't anything bad to say about Jon Hamm. All of those things you told your friend/mother-in-law that came out of the coma stand true. He does an excellent job of not taking himself too seriously by taking various roles that make him look like a goofball. He even earned 2 Emmy nominations for playing a dumb guy who ends up getting both of his hands cut off on 30 Rock. He's a lady-killer (just ask the TV Czarina any woman) and a man's man at the same time. He's dominated the small screen, and is now making inroads with the big screen (The Town, Bridesmaids).
By the end of the year he will be credited in 7 different shows/movies other than Mad Men. He's everywhere, but nobody will complain, because that would mean saying something bad about Jon Hamm.

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