Wherefore Art Thou, Jonathan Taylor Thomas?

Once upon a time I fancied myself in genuine, once-in-a-lifetime, preteen lurv with Jonathan Taylor Thomas. The “once-in-a-lifetime” tag applies especially, because I’ve never been one for celebrity crushes. Other than a brief, mental dalliance with suit-wearing Joseph Gordon-Levitt circa Inception (you can keep your mopey, plaid-shirt-wearing JGL circa 500 Days of Summer), I haven’t experienced a major crush since JTT (please pardon my use of acronyms; they just feel right).

I hadn’t thought about JTT in years, not since 2000 when my cousin kindly informed me he was gay. That didn’t discourage me in the slightest, but then, after Home Improvement and a string of mediocre teeny-bopper movies, he seemingly dropped off the face of the planet.

JTT acting all sneaky on Veronica Mars, Season 1

I gradually forgot all about him, and  never would have reconnected with  my long-lost crush had I not been watching Season 1 of Veronica Mars this November. The theme song was just wrapping up on Episode 18, when who should show up in a bit part as a troubled, camo-wearing teen (I can’t spoil more than that, but let’s just say I’m dying to read Luci’s recap), but my long-lost Jonathan?

My first thought was, “Woah, he did not age well.” Yeah, yeah, that’s judgey and shameful, but I’m employing the semi-two-faced “Women celebrities get subjected to just as much, if not more, physical criticism” argument to excuse myself. After watching the rest of the episode I decided he was still cute, just in a more grown-up way, which is probably why my inner 12-year-old was disappointed.

From Amanda Dobbins' incredible "Tiger Beat Heartthrobs Then & Now" post at Buzzfeed

On that day, however, I was too engrossed in figuring out who killed Lilly Kane to give JTT a second thought.

Last week I was putzing around the guest room at my in-laws’ when the spectre of JTT happened to rise in my thoughts again. And for reasons I can’t quite explain to anyone (the holidays addle everyone’s brain, right?), I decided to figure out where the Man of [My] House had gone, once and for all.

One of the first hits for “Jonathan Taylor Thomas where is he now” led me to a blog creatively titled “le blog,” where I read this entry, “Where in the world is Jonathan Taylor Thomas?”:

A couple nights ago, I woke up around 3 a.m., asking myself the question. Odd, I know. But for the last couple of days I have been doing some extensive research to answer the question. And honestly, all the information I am finding is circa 2001. He was going to Harvard, he did a semester abroad at St. Andrew’s University, did a couple limited showcase films, played a gay swimmer on the Showtime show “Common Ground.”  But this is all around 2001-2002,

So my research has told me,

He’s gone.

And that he’s not gay.

Take that, cousin of mine! He is NOT gay!!

Returning to the dramatic blog post–there are 125 comments on that sucker, including this one that is fairly representative of their overall dreamy, mythos-imposing tone:

So that was my first clue: Vancouver. Googling “Jonathan Taylor Thomas Vancouver” landed me on a 2008 EW Popwatch post titled “Happy Birthday, Jonathan Taylor Thomas!” which was nothing more than another fangirl’s paean to my love.

I did learn his birthday is September 8, but without access to a driver’s license database, that tidbit would only wet the whistle of the most devoted, bubble-gum-shrine-building fan.

Scrolling down through the comments yielded juicier tidbits, including some emoticon-abusing snark:

LOL. Fuck you, Brody.

Another commenter called “Vic” wrote, “I heard he went back to his birth name (Jonathan Weiss) and is a movie producer in Vancouver.” (Emphasis mine).

Thanks, Vic!

Of course, I had already trolled IMDB (I’m no n00b when it comes to digging up Internet dirt), but I’d made the mistake of only looking at JTT’s actor page, which shows his last credit as voicing Prince Ragis in the 2005 animated insta-classic Through the Moebius Strip.

Unfortunately, when I searched for producer credits I found nothing. On top of that, his latest credit of any kind is as the director of a 2006 short film titled The Extra, the cover art of which features a man who looks disturbingly like Terry “Model-Molester” Richardson. Phooey.

It looked like the trail was drying up. I was about to quit when I stumbled across a 2007 IvyGate post titled, “Urgent Bulletin for All Tiger Beat Subscribers, Past and Present,” which broke the story that JTT was studying at Columbia under the name Jonathan Taylor Weiss and revealed his school email address (!!!).

I decided not to post the email addy, even though it’s likely fake, just because it made me feel squeamish and like I was invading someone’s personal space. Not too squeamish not to test it out and send him an email though!

DAMMIT! In my excitement I must have confused the Taylors with the Tanners from Full House! Now JTT will never grant me an interview. Oh well, too late to un-send the creepiness now.

I squeezed water from a rock just to get this measly info on JTT. But the journey was well worth it–what started as an Internet scavenger hunt for giggles wound up showing me a whole ‘nother side of the J-man.

For instance, I found a 2000 interview he did with The Advocate wherein he addresses the gay rumors that circulated about him, and does a remarkably good job of having a sense of humor about them and making it clear he doesn’t think “gay” is an insult. Good on you, JTT. Also, I wasn’t aware that he had a few really interesting, adult roles, including the Common Ground one mentioned above, wherein he played a gay high school student in ’70s America.

Jonathan Taylor Thomas Weiss, if you’re out there, somewhere, just know I’m still rooting for you. And looking for you. Heh heh heh.

So who were you guys’ childhood/teen crushes? I wanted to expand this to include some other fellas, but honestly, the JTT stalking took over my brain. Others I’d be interested in knowing what happened to: Rider Strong from Boy Meets World, David Faustino on Married with Children, and Devon Sawa from Wild America.

P.S. I just re-read this post, checking for typos and whatnot, and I legitimately scare myself. I’m glad I don’t have more celebrity crushes…