Mar 21, 2015

Ryan Pinkston and Sterling Knight: BFFs or Power Couple?

No relation to Rob Pinkston of Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide, Ryan Pinkston got his start in martial arts: he received his black belt in Wushu Kung Fu at age nine and has won championships in karate, kung fu, and tae kwan do.

An interview on the Jenny Jones talk show landed him an agent, and within a month he had roles in Spy Kids: 3D (2003) with Bobby Edner, and Bad Santa (2003), and he was helping Austin Kutcher play celebrity pranks on Punked.

But there was a problem.  Although handsome and muscular, Ryan was somewhat too short to play heartthrobs, and he had already been typecast as an aggressive wise guy, basically a jerk.  So that's the sort of role he received:

In 2004, the 16-year old got his own tv series, Quintuplets, about teenage quintuplets with conflicting personalities.  His Patton was pushy and aggressive; brother Parker (Jake McDorman, left) was the athlete

Next came the boorish Felch in Revenge of the Nerds (2006), chronic liar Sam Leonard in Full of It (2007), and Fletcher in the execrably homophobic College (2008), with Drake Bell

(which paradoxically offered an extensive homoerotic subtext).
His guest spots on the teencoms Out of Jimmy's Head and Hannah Montana were a little better, jerks with a soft, sensitive side.

But then he hit the bottom of the barrel: teen sex comedies. Foreign Exchange (2008), Extreme Movie (2008) with Frankie MunizAdventures in Online Dating (2009).

At least he had no problem with shirtless, shower, swimsuit, and semi-nude shots, including rear nudity.  And with rolling around with other guys naked.  Teens could sigh over the homoerotic subtexts even if they didn't like his characters.

But then, in 2010, something remarkable happened: a complete turnaround.  Ryan's characters changed from jerks to nice guys, and coincidentally some buddy-bonding was added to the girl-crazy schtick.

Boy Band (2010): in 1982, his Greg buddy-bonds with Brad (Michael Copon) to form the first boy band in history.

Tower Prep (2010), about a school for kids with paranormal powers: his Gabe has a crush on Ian Archer (Drew Van Acker).

Cougars, Inc. (2011): his Jimmy and best friend Sam (Kyle Gallner, left, with his foot pressing against Ryan's penis) start an escort service pairing older women with teenagers.

Since Ryan is living with a man, fellow actor Sterling Knight, he's been the subject of gay speculation.  But he hasn't made any public pro-gay or anti-gay statements.