I am becoming more and more of a fan of Bradford Anderson, who plays the hacker character "Damian Spinelli" on General Hospital.
For those who don't watch GH: Spinelli is a character that was introduced a few months ago, as a college-aged "hacker." Initially just a side character who was introduced to provide an encrypted flash drive as part of a mob storyline, he's been developing a substantial fanbase. I've had fun watching how the writers are wrestling with the character -- *someone* on the writing staff has some geek chops, but they're limited as to what they can portray in the show, targeted as it is towards a mainstream audience that won't understand the majority of the cyberculture in-jokes. And of course there are the usual gaps in accuracy that are needed to keep the story moving along: Spinelli's laptop battery never fails, he always has instant access to high-speed wifi no matter which building he's in, and of course can tap into any hospital database or hotel security system with merely a couple keystrokes. ;)
But the real joy of the character, is watching Anderson's portrayal. He's not your typical soap star, and to be honest, has more Quasimodo in his look than Prince Charming. But the sheer personality that oozes out of him in every scene makes him more fun to watch than any Chippendale's dancer (and face it, Quasimodo is way hotter than any ol' vanilla prince).
I went ahead and wrote most of the Wikipedia bio on Anderson, and was impressed with what I learned. He's a 27-year-old actor out of New Hampshire, with some award-winning stage performances under his belt. He's also got skills in the school of physical comedy, and frequently plays his scenes like he's a high-energy combination of Sean Penn, Don Knotts, and Walter Mitty. He's high IQ comic relief, and a refreshingly original character in the world of soapdom.
The original reaction from some of the critics was, "Who is he, and why did they pick someone so ugly?" but the fan response has been incredibly positive, and fansites are popping up around the internet that are pairing Spinelli with "Lulu Spencer" (the beautiful blonde teenaged daughter of Luke & Laura) and splicing together all kinds of YouTube music videos with every snippet of a Spinelli appearance that's been on the show so far. The buzz is that Anderson has been offered a longer term contract on the show, and I hope he accepts, because I'm hooked on this character. He's my favorite part of GH at the moment, and it's a disappointment when it's not a "Spinelli day."
For those who like to track the fictional portrayals of hackers in pop culture, I recommend tuning in on this guy. He's a lot of fun to watch.
P.S. For an example of Spinelli dialogue: In one scene, Spinelli visited the home of Lulu Spencer's grandmother, Lesley, who he had never met before. When Lesley opened the door, Spinelli timidly greeted her, and gave her the best compliment that he could think of, which was to shyly tell her, "Your DMV pictures don't do you justice!" :)
Bradford Anderson / Damian Spinelli : The hacker on General Hospital