Inaugural Tiger Beat Crush of the Week: Danny Pino

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I’m not sure why, but I’m feeling a little depressed today. So maybe this is a good time to start the promised Tiger Beat Crush of the Week feature*. Because hot men make me happy.

First, a little background: Since I was a little girl madly in love with David Selby, who played Quentin Collins on Dark Shadows (okay, I just dated myself), and writing really awful fanfiction with him as the hero, I’ve appreciated a good-looking guy. My crushes have been many, because I’m a teenybopper at heart and I always will be. BTW, you can expect a Hall of Fame TBCotW post on Mr. Selby someday very soon, because he really WAS my first Tiger Beat crush, TB magazine photos on the wall and all.

My wonderful husband Mr. Bud accepts this about me, because he knows he will always be my firstest and bestest love (and probably because I let him look at boobacious actresses to make up for it). So we’re cool. He just rolls his eyes and goes on about his business when I start my squealing.

The girls I work with (Pam, Cathy, and Angela, the previously-mentioned Girls of Megacube) think my crushes are a riot, and they’ve been after me to start a Tiger Beat Crush of the Week feature for ages. They just don’t understand that it’s all about the art, not about the lust–as you might remember me saying in an earlier post, I often use my crushes as models for the heroes in my writing. So really, I’m not shallow–okay, wait, let me stop giggling. I’m not shal…oh, hell, I can’t keep a straight face. Yes, it’s all about the hotness with me.

So let’s kick off the Tiger Beat Crush of the Week series with the extremely hot guy I picture as the hero of my work in progress: Danny Pino (Danny Pino – IMDB).

You may remember Danny P as the extremely hot, angsty, and unable-to-keep-it-in-his-pants detective Scotty Valens on Cold Case (I love that show! Best use of music ever, and I cry at the end of every episode). He currently plays the extremely hot, somewhat angsty detective, father, and husband (but I’m laying bets that marriage isn’t gonna make it in season 14) Nick Amaro on Law & Order: SVU. Yes, he’s Chris Meloni’s replacement, if you’re a Stabler fan. Sorry about that. But not really, because it keeps Danny P on my screen every week.

I first saw Danny Pino as I channel-surfed past L&O:SVU one Saturday night when there was nothing else on TV. I’d never watched the show before, but my first thought when I saw  him was, “Ooh! Hot Latino detective! Pretty! I’m watching this!” What can I say? I’m a sucker for dark-haired, dark-eyed men like my own Mr. Bud.

Well, I not only got hooked on the show, I got hooked on Danny Pino, too, and systematically began searching out everything I could find with him in it. I was pleased to discover that he’s a darn good actor. BTW, latest DP discovery: Flicka. The movie is meh and I want to slap the spoiled teenaged heroine silly, but it has Maria Bello, who rocks, in it–and best of all, Danny P has a shirtless scene. Yes, my shallowness knows no bounds. And that link with the shirtless photo is an awesome Danny Pino site, btw. Not that I go there much. Shut up.

But even more than the uncontrollable drooling he induces in me, know what I like the best about Danny P? I mean beside the fact that this Cuban-American makes my knees weak, especially when he speaks Spanish on Cold Case in that lovely deep voice of his?  (That’s a YouTube clip that’ll show you what I mean. Es muy sexyyyy, to quote a very articulate commenter there.)

I like that he’s (from all accounts) an extremely nice guy, that he’s close to his family, that he’s a good dad to his two little boys, and that he remembers where he came from by giving back to his community. Most of all, I like that his wife, who is his junior high sweetheart, is not a Botoxed, anorexic starlet-slash-bimbo and yet he appears to be absolutely nuts about her. Take THAT, you society with unrealistic expectations of what a real woman is, you!

Personally, I think his wife is adorable (see the YouTube clip below, and this photo)–she’s short, she’s a little rounded in all the right places, just like the rest of us, and she looks like someone who’d be fun to hang out with. She’d fit right in as a Girl of Megacube. Hmm…I guess I need to add Lilly Pino to my list of girl crushes (yes, I have those too, but they’re more the “I want to be like her when I grow up” variety).

Anyway, back to Lilly’s yummy husband, his is the face I see and the voice I hear as I write the character of Daniel Joseph Esposito, Manhattan real estate broker extraordinaire, love interest of heroine Kelly Reid, and hero of the third book, which I’m writing now (in a future post, I’ll tell you more about the book and its other characters, and talk a little more about how I “cast” the characters I write. Right now, we just care about Dan).

Dan Esposito was the secondary love interest in the first book Shelley and I wrote, not the hero. We wrote him (and I have to give a lot of the credit to Shelley, since she developed the bio for his character) as the quintessential Italian bad boy and heartbreaker–a metrosexual-but-manly confirmed bachelor (and a good, loving son, because we ladies all have a soft spot for those guys) who will never settle down.

Since the book as it was didn’t appear to be destined for publication, and Dan consistently ended up being most people’s favorite character–in fact, Shelley and I both liked him better than our hero, which should have told me something right there–we completely trashed the storyline and I came up with a new story. The original hero exited stage left (maybe to be resurrected some day when he’s not overshadowed by Dan Esposito, Super Broker, maybe not), and Dan moved into the spotlight as the new hero.

My original model for Dan was Mark Consuelos, Kelly Ripa’s husband, who is also a handsome, charming devil and will be a future TBCotW (“Who won’t?” I can hear the Girls of Megacube hooting). But almost the second I saw Danny Pino I knew he was the new Dan Esposito I needed, and just that quickly Dan was recast in my head (sorry, Mark). To me, Danny P has the additional gravitas, depth, and alpha masculinity needed for the more mature, morally conflicted, ready-to-settle-down Dan Esposito.

So do yourself a favor and check out some of Danny Pino’s work (especially Cold Case. Scotty Valens and Lilly Rush = my favorite TV cop team ever.

But bring some Kleenex, because I am NOT kidding about the crying every episode).

And Danny, I promise, as soon as the book is finished and published, and the movie rights are sold and the screenplay is done (wow, it’s so pretty here in my happy place, isn’t it?), I’ll send you the script. You you don’t even have to audition–the part of Dan Esposito is yours. Just make sure you bring your Lilly with you on location, and while you’re filming the Girls of Megacube will take her to lunch at our favorite restaurant (known fondly among us as Crack Salsa). We’ll even have a special Crafty Day in her honor and make our special dishes for her. We’re a really fun group; I think she’ll fit in just fine.

*Sorry there are only links, rather than photos. There seems to be a rash of legal action being taken against bloggers who insert photos into their posts, even if they credit the photographers. So better safe, as they say.