If the beginning of Scott Whitcombe's career in show business had about 10% to do with him and 90% to do with his mother's desire to have something unique to talk about at dinner parties, the elementary school student wasn't overly concerned about it, because getting to include being on TV in his "what I did over summer vacation" essay immediately gave him more clout than his fellow paste eaters. Of course, even better than that was when summer vacation became a thing of the past and he was pulled from public school altogether in favor of investing in a tutor and an agent. His mother, who'd put her own showbiz days far behind her in favor of trophy wifedom the moment her Wall Street broker boyfriend got down on one knee and proposed, was convinced her baby boy had a life with far more in store for him than Tonka Truck commercials and voicing a cartoon dog - and considering she'd sacrificed her tummy, ass, and thighs to bring him into the world (and the next eight months working herself to the bone to get back to the measurements her husband knew and loved her at), her word was law. Leaving the job that had made him a success to traipse off to Los Angeles, however, was not considered an option by Scotty's father, who gave them his best wishes and set them up in a comfortable rental home with the promise of at least two visits a month and anything else they might find they needed. Sure, his kid was cute enough - after all, he did have half his genes - and despite his deep appreciation for butt jokes, did have a certain charm about him, but there wasn't exactly a cute kid shortage underway in California. He assumed they'd be back within a year.
He was wrong.
Taking on a role in the family sitcom Home Improvement proved to be Scotty's big break - an eight season commitment of a big break, as TV viewers watched him grow from adorable child to teen heartthrob - and, as he began to establish himself as an actor on the silver screen as well, came to know him as the show's breakout star. For a child who'd been perfectly content satisfying his attention whore urges by making fart noises and imitating his teachers while their backs were turned, being thrust into the spotlight to a point where getting a haircut became a media event and announcing his favorite brand of toothpaste in an interview sent the Teen Beat generation rushing to stores to buy the same kind was more than he could have dreamed for. His father managed all his finances from the east coast; his mother, gifted in all things social and foreign to the word "no", made sure his career stayed on a suitable track and coached him on what to say (or often more importantly in his case, not say, please for the love of God Scott) in his interviews. That left him free to revel in his new It Boy status, which he was more than willing to do. Best described as something of a well-intentioned idiot, his dating life and behind the scenes goofball antics were as entertaining to follow as his developing career. He was plagued by teenage restlessness and the heart of a romantic so hopeless that his optimism often teetered on the edge of complete delusion. He didn't just want to be in the movies, he wanted to live a screwball romantic comedy, complete with a spontaneous yet somehow choreographed dance number and losing his virginity at the prom and getting the girl before the credits rolled.
With his film career doing well and the demand for more rising, it wasn't a huge surprise to the producers when Scotty asked to be let go from his Home Improvement contract to pursue other projects, and his character was sent away to school while he moved on to more pressing matters: most importantly, his agents stressed, how they were going to transition him from bright eyed ABC Family good boy to something they could market to his aging key demographic. Those close to him would later say that he found the perfect project in American Pie - apart from his mother, who would sigh and say she knew she was right to dread the day when he turned eighteen and gained sole control over his decisions. The raunchy blockbuster comedy was a turning point in his career, and his newly legal status meant there was a lot more fun to be had. Scotty rode the fame tide through two more sequels and took every opportunity off set to act like the frat boy he most likely would have been had he gone through with college. MTV's spring break specials were his Christmas. The opportunity to crash parties at the Playboy Mansion were... well, his second Christmas. And if his boneheaded dudebro schtick was tiring (it was), most still let it slide, because the fact remained that under all that bravado, Scotty was a good kid. He didn't talk shit, he was gracious with his fans, he showed respect for his girlfriends and mother. Maybe he didn't always take his work too seriously, but how serious could you really expect to get while filming a rock musical version of Wuthering Heights? A serious actor he was not, but at least he was a good time.
Unfortunately, being a good time didn't pay the bills, or win the auditions, and by the mid-aughts, Scotty's momentum had taken a serious hit. The American Pie franchise was drawing to a close, most of his other movies were barely picking up enough traction to cause a splash in the theatres, and the few that did were almost universally regarded as awful; even an attempted return to television had the brakes put on before all of its filmed episodes aired. Scotty did what he could to stay present on the scene in whatever capacity he could, trying his luck at everything from New York stages to late night Celebrity Poker specials in Vegas - the former for which he received vaguely positive reviews from the eight people who bothered to show up, the latter in which he managed to lose thousands of dollars for having what was probably the worst poker face on earth. His agency was doing all they could, but it was time to face the facts: he was washed up, heading swiftly toward the D-list, a relic of the 90s to be at best fondly remembered alongside Hit Clips and hair mascara. Even his mother, steadfastly supportive of him no matter what stupid thing he might have been doing at the time or dubious project he took on, was moving back to the east coast in an effort to salvage her struggling transcontinental marriage. A quiet fade into irrelevancy would be less of an embarrassment in the long run than holding on to false hope.
Problem was, Scotty didn't know the meaning of false hope. Or, for that matter, embarrassment. Determined to prove that the lull he was in was only a comeback in the making, he buckled down (relatively speaking) and got back to work. He trained with acting coaches. He curbed his drinking and partying - mostly. When his old agency still showed some reluctance in continuing to have his back completely, he signed with a new one who would. He dropped the Y and tried out life as Scott, the grown up. And sure, he was still the same old goofball idiot, but he was an idiot who was trying to put his best foot forward, and that had to count for something.
When the casting team of Love and Other Drugs decided he was worth taking a chance on, Scott put everything he had into making sure they wouldn't be sorry for it later. However, it wasn't until he received his first Golden Globe nomination for the role that it truly hit him - this was his new big break. He'd found his comeback. And though the road ahead might not be without its bumps and flops and more than likely some borderline awful decisions, at least it was a road that had potential to go somewhere.
Teen dream of the 90s turned twenty-something disaster turned semi-successful reform case still acknowledged more for his general buffoonery than any of his current work. Fanbase primarily composed of aging millenials who've remained nostalgic for their teen years, though he's also carved out a strange niche with the tumblr teen generation thanks to his frequent social media activity (and probably some weird daddy issues on their part). Has established a small amount of credibility with his recent stage work, but there tend to be two camps of Scott supporters: those who love him for his personality and don't care about anything beyond his biceps, and those who enjoy his more legitimate work but would prefer he just sit down and shut up the rest of the time. Similar in fame level to Jake Gyllenhaal, though arguably less naturally talented and definitely more prone to idiotic, if typically mostly harmless, behavior.
Having grown up in front of the camera means that for better or for worse, the world has seen Scott through just about everything. The decision to ditch his golden boy next door schtick in favor of frat boy-esque fuckery left an impression that he's never entirely been able to shake, much in part thanks to the fact that he never completely put Frat Boy Scott behind him - his half decade (involuntary) "sabbatical" from work after American Wedding consisted mostly of him burning through money and women and destroying his liver and occasionally other people's property - and even since (somewhat) cleaning up his act and returning with his big boy pants on, people tend to focus more on what he's doing off camera than on it. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and he's done well with mainstream audiences, if only because he's a hot white guy in Hollywood, and with that comes forgiveness for all types of sins. But he's also just that, another white guy in Hollywood, and he's plenty aware that he could be seamlessly replaced at any time. Points in his favor: he interviews well, he loves his mother, and he doesn't mind laughing at himself and his past, career-related or personal. When it comes to the question of whether or not he actually has talent, however, people not only don't seem to know, but also don't seem to care - which is fine with him, because hell if he knows either. Recent projects hint toward there being a potentially decent actor under all that bravado, but he's not in any hurry to establish himself as a serious player. Why destroy the mystery?
+ Although he's made some attempts to take on a more serious path with his own work, Scott's sense of humor has evolved very little since his teenage years, and he will almost always choose to watch something that will make him laugh over something that will make him think.
+ Maintains a very close relationship with his mother, who despite giving up her jazz shoes and high kicks in her early twenties, can still remember what it was like to want to be something bigger and better. Is significantly less close with his father, who while not exactly unsupportive, made it clear that he thought it was time for Scott to come home and find a real job about a decade ago.
+ More to come