Once upon a time no one in Hollywood wanted to work with kids. Or animals, but that's neither here nor there right now. Kids have short attention spans and stronger protection laws that severely limit how much they're allowed to be on set in order to get the "perfect shot." They come with an entourage who demand things, while most stars come with an entourage who are just there to mooch off the stars' demands. They are so young, most of the time they don't even realize they are on a television show, let alone know how to deliver emotions they are not actually feeling. Even simple eye-lines need to be coaxed, prodded, and sometimes bribed out of them. It was a lot of hassle. But then something changed and babies, let alone kids, became the hot ticket item. Suddenly there was a whole generation who seemed to be worked with at home to understand how to give the perfect affect at the perfect moment and who, let's face it, just had faces made for cameras. I'm going to go out on a limb and say that some of these babies are better actors than some of their adult counterparts (but just some!). They make me coo and wave at the TV like an idiot, like they can actually see me. They speak directly to me, and I love them, and I want to keep them. But I won't. But I will craft some sort of special Baby Emmy to give each and every single one. Because they deserve it!
Baylie and Rylie Cregut (Baby Hope, Raising Hope) - I have never seen more expressive kids than these two little two-headed cuties. Everyone in the cast told me they figured out how to get the best performances out of them by playing to their natural inclinations, so they use "Smiley Rylie" for the happy shots, and they bring Baylie in for more pensive or dramatic looks. I like to think Rylie is the stand-up comic in the dup, while Baylie is brooding her way onto a serious family drama. That way, instead of competing with each other for parts later, they can both work on shows I love! But really I just love how they have their own distinct personalities on-screen, even while dressed exactly the same way.
Baby Clara, Chuck - I'm not sure who portrays this beautiful little girl who really only got to show off what she can do in one episode thus far, but she already made the list-- and a high point on the list-- because of her amazing reaction shots to her dad's insane morning activities. And her reaction to Lester was pretty priceless, too. She's right up there with the Creguts when it comes to wearing the scene on her face. It's so great that babies can do that, uninhibited and unencumbered, and you know, Botox-free!
Evan and Luke Kruntchev (Baby Harrison, Dexter; Baby Boyd, Last Man Standing) - Double the (again) adorable tow-headed babies, and double the chances to see them on-screen. These boys are actually more on the quiet side. They are still used more as props for a main character (in both shows) than actual members of the cast. They aren't allowed to do much on their own yet in storylines or scenes. But I suspect that will change, at least in the latter program, because these boys seem so happy playing on-screen. Though, they still do look at the camera from time to time...
Blake and Brennan Johnson (Baby Liam, Shameless) - There is nothing better than when Liam just wanders around the crazy Gallagher house-- with other kids screaming and fighting, and food probably burning on the stove, and toys all over the floor. Liam just waddles out in a diaper and nothing else, so innocent, so curious, so interested in being a part of the insane family around him. It melts my heart every time.
Carley and Delaney Prince (Baby Amy, Up All Night) - Have you ever seen a baby judge its parents for the way in which they were doing simple tasks (but still tasks which the baby, brand new to the world, couldn't possibly know how to do)? That's what these kids do best! But she does it lovingly, so you're always on her side. It's an immediate bonding to the baby without any words exchanged. It's that moment of 'What are these dummies doing to me?' 'I know, right!?' And you're besties through the TV forever. Even if the character's name really shouldn't be Amy because Christina Applegate is still Amy to this long-time Friends fan. But that is apropos of nothing.