Screens: ABC Family

Wig Cop Pays A Visit To Chasing Life's Cancer Ward

As if a terminal disease isn't bad enough, Chasing Life characters are also victims of scalp crime.

As seriously as I take my job as a Wig Cop -- which is very seriously -- I'm not a nut about it. I get that there are situations in which even I, a sworn keeper of the wig peace, have to let a wig walk right by me without taking action. For instance, if you're an Orthodox Jewish lady: girl, I got you. (And hey: happy Hanukkah.) Annelise Keating: yeah, I'm not trying to get my genitals kicked in; you do you.

But obviously the situation in which I am most likely to ignore a wig is when it's being worn by someone whose medical condition has compromised his or her ability to grow or keep his or her own real hair, and that's why, when I sat down to watch the Chasing Life Christmas special, I took off my Wig Cop hat. (I mean I literally took it off -- I'd just come in from walking the wig beat.) That sweet little April's got enough problems without me coming down on her, even though the episode tried to make us believe that her three radically different hair looks weren't wigs, but just fun she and Beth were having with what was left of April's hair just as it started falling out.

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I mean, I'm sure April's bored in her hospital room, but would it really be a great idea for a cancer patient to breathe in near-toxic hair dye fumes two days in a row? Also, Beth's never cut hair before yet she's mastered three very different styles? SURE SHE HAS. But hey, I said I'd overlook that hair business and I did...until I arrived at the scene in which April asks Leo to give her a pre-emptive shave, and in solidarity, he joins her.

I said I'd take an hour off from being Wig Cop. But I came up as a Bald Cap Cop, and that goes down to the bone.

I'm not crazy. I understand why actors, particularly female ones, generally can't shave their heads for real: only once in a blue moon does a Natalie Portman or an Anne Hathaway come along, and even though Italia Ricci is spending most of her time playing a cancer patient, if a schlock horror movie comes along that has a small role for a TV actor on the way up the ladder, it would be a bad idea for her to hope the movie would give her hair. (Karen Gillan did the math and, given what Selfie did for her career compared to Guardians Of The Galaxy, she probably doesn't regret the head-shaving choice too much.) But it's 2014. Is this still the best we can do to make people look like they just finished shaving their heads?

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April says that Leo looks like an alien, and even though he counters that she looks like a baby...they both look like aliens? In fact, she looks more like an alien because she has more hair, and it's making her bald cap bulge out more. But more than that, what makes them look like aliens is that their scalps are way too smooth. They're supposed to have just shaved their heads: even if Leo went over them with a razor after the clippers, there would be more than a faintly darker area where their hair used to be. You'd see veins under the skin; you'd see the shape of their actual skulls. You'd see at least a few follicles, depending on the light! April and Leo don't look like their heads have been shaved: they look like their heads have never grown hair at all.

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Worst of all, the scene ends with a hug, and some person thought it would be a good idea to push in close on both faces. MISTAKE. Oh hi, crease at April's temple! Hi, extremely noticeable difference between the texture of Leo's real skin and the latex poorly approximating same!

These bald caps are so smooth that when the light hits them, they seem to be glowing. Real bald heads don't do that. You know how I know? Because THIS GUY IS IN THE EPISODE TOO.

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Fake hair is distracting; we all know that. But this episode was a reminder that fake no-hair is just as bad. Makeup artists: either keep your actors away from direct light, or wreck up your bald caps a little so they don't look you dipped your actors in gum.

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