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When CBS released its first-look pic Monday of series star Jay Hernandez in the coming reboot of Magnum, P.I., it was no wonder that fans of the original took to Twitter to howl their dismay.
Though Hernandez is shown sitting in the same red Ferrari 308 GTS Quattrovalvole convertible that Tom Selleck drove in the original ‘80s series, something definitely was missing. As one wag put it, the original series had two stars — Selleck, of course, and his luxuriant mustache.
— Diogo Casquilho (@DiogoCasquilho1) May 14, 2018
— Samantha Mehra (@SamanthaMehra) May 15, 2018
No. You don’t change #MagnumPI & you don’t change the guy on the Brawny paper towels.
What the hell is wrong with the world?! https://t.co/K5FjaegW2v
— M?. ßÜ$¥(@busywerk) May 11, 2018
Both personally and professionally, Selleck has been defined by his copious ‘stache, even going back to his USC student modeling days when he posed for an iconic 1977 Salem cigarette ad “to pay the rent” as he later said.
But it was Magnum P.I. (1980-1988) that cemented his iconic status as the hirsute himbo, winning him a Golden Globe and an Emmy for the series in 1985, when it was at its peak.
Ever since his breakout playing Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, Selleck has never wavered from his mustachioed mug, even in his current role as police family patriarch Frank Reagan on CBS’ Blue Bloods.
With one bare-lipped exception.
In 1997’s In & Out, Selleck took on the role of Peter Malloy, a gay Entertainment Tonight-style reporter covering the Midwest hometown hubbub when beloved high school English teacher Howard Brackett (Kevin Kline) is inadvertently outed by a former student turned Hollywood star.
Notably, no facial hair came between the two stars during the 12-second onscreen lip lock that makes Klein’s closeted Brackett finally see the light. Both men are clean-shaven, which befits the men’s hair trends of the late ‘90s and also jibes with Selleck’s slick Armani-clad Angeleno character.
Getting back to the Magnum P.I. series revival with Hernandez, it appears to be set in today’s times and not the more flamboyant and freewheeling ‘80s. The detective’s signature Aloha floral shirt is also nowhere in evidence, even though a print shirt would certainly be on-trend, given menswear’s current love of the style seen everywhere from the Tommy Hilfiger to Louis Vuitton runways for spring. The new Magnum is rather disappointingly clad in just a generic blue button-up.
Hernandez is also missing the Detroit Tigers ballcap that Selleck wore to keep his raven curls in place. And it’s doubtful that we’ll see the character clad in the boxer-style short-shorts that the original Magnum wore running around in his Hawaiian paradise.
With its network home on CBS, the Magnum P.I. series revival could be going for mass-market appeal. (It’s possible that today, a mustache would read as too ironic, too Brooklyn hipster.) Though Hernandez does sport a hint of stubble, it may not have worked for him to rock a full bristly ‘stache, even though they have been seen on red carpets on edgy young actors such as Stranger Things‘ Dacre Montgomery and on late-night talkers like Chris Hemsworth appearing on Jimmy Kimmel Live recently. Not to mention other tragedy-tinged TV dramas focusing on mustachioed characters of the period like Milo Ventimiligia’s Jack Pearson on This Is Us and James Franco’s dark turn as brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino on The Deuce.
But will a Magnum sans his mustache really have what it takes? Much like Samson, who lost his godly abilities when shorn of his lengthy locks, will the new iteration of the TV folk hero still have the power to keep the people tuned in without his bro-mo? We’ll have to wait until this fall to find out. For now, we can only hope some kind of hairline storyline makes the cut.
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