Wednesday, January 28, 2009

An AWE-Wait-For-It-SOME Evening...

Last evening, the Television Academy of North Hollywood hosted a very special evening with How I Met Your Mother, and not only was the entire cast in attendance (including Joe Manganiello who sat in the audience), but so were the creators Craig Thomas and Carter Bays, director and my personal hero Pamela Fryman, uber-producer Suzy Mamann-Greenberg, and production designer Steve Olson. They all walked the press line, and some, like sweetie pie Neil Patrick Harris, even stopped to sign autographs for the fans who lined up on the street for a glimpse at the five on-screen friends with whom everyone just wants to share a beer.

Inside the room was a-buzzing with talk about the cover of Emmy Magazine featuring the cast, and laughter abounded when the past seasons' highlights video began to roll, but the energy really picked up when the people of the hour paraded out. Cobie Smulders and Alyson Hannigan, the two mommies to be, sat on the far end, each in an adorable pregnancy outfit, but only Hannigan was showing (and boy was she showing!). Bays joked about an upcoming scene of "little Lily" being hidden behind a big bowl of chips in order to hide her ever-growing stomach. He and Thomas also admitted they were forced to write and shoot the season finale early to keep their stars as "normal size" as possible for the big moment... which may or may not have something to do with an animatronic goat.

The cast and crew spoke of their favorite moments from the show, as well as their thoughts on the recent slew of guest stars. Harris was very kind to sing Smulders' praises when discussing the recent turn for Barney, almost finding a bit of "granola Barney" again but repressing it. He teased that soon we will see an episode featuring his mother, played by Frances Conroy, and "you will even get to meet Barney's wife and kid." The audience gasped, and he never said he was just joking about that last part. Radnor talked a little bit about Laura Prepon's stint as Karen, Ted's high school girlfriend who "taught him everything he knows," which pretty much means that it was all her fault he was pretentious in college, and she's even more pretentious than him. No one would cop to knowing who the mother will turn out to be, though Fryman admitted they have already shot the final scene, in part just to keep the kids the right age. "But we gave ourselves a few options," she was cryptic.

The biggest question, though, was probably a toss-up between wondering when the next slap would occur (as Segel turned to Harris, his stature was menacing even when seated, and as Harris ribbed Segel of how "method" he is as an actor, I half expected him to slap him right there, as a pre-planned bit. Now that would have been legendary!) and also when the next musical number would occur. Though Smulders said she loved shooting the Robin Sparkles videos, in part because "Sandcastles in the Sand" was shot in Malibu "and it was just this gorgeous day, and there were dolphins in the water, and I just thought: look at what I get to do for a living," they admitted it might be hard to follow up those two gems. "A prequel, though-- like how Robin Sparkles came to be..." Bays teased, and I think everyone can agree they do want to see that! The episode that airs next week, though, is supposed to have a new musical number in it, and that leaves plenty of room for soundtrack options, which Bays and Thomas are not ruling out, as they are both huge music freaks and even play the theme song themselves.

There were no questions from the audience during this hour and a half long panel with one of the top rated (and definitely most revolutionary) comedies, but it didn't matter because everyone gave such great insight-- from answering blogger continuity questions of the framed letter in Stella's house being the same one behind the kids when Future Ted is narrating to discussing the season ending tee-shirts the crew is given as a gift, in which a number is stamped on the sleeve: a number that represents how many scenes they have shot so far. An average multi-camera comedy shoots no more than eighteen scenes an episode; How I Met Your Mother averages upwards of fifty-five or sixty. They are four seasons in; their entire cast just signed new deals keeping them around for at least another couple of years; and they are getting away with edgy humor, minor swearing, and strategic nudity (apparently Radnor had a guy in a bar come up to him and tell him he was going to try "The Naked Guy" that night) all at the tender hour of eight-thirty p.m., when it is very much still "family hour." But the scope of the American family has changed, and these five friends, who consist of a couple who are able to be funny but still in love ("unlike the bickering, angry married couples you so often see on these shows," Thomas pointed out), are the new face. How I Met Your Mother: setting records and breaking boundaries since 2005!

Though the special (ne'er before seen!) season four gag reel was a big hit, and a great way to close out the evening, I must admit that nothing matched NPH darting off stage just five minutes before the end because he had "to pee." Poor Hannigan pointed at her big pregnant belly and said she had to pee since the moment she sat down, and no one seemed to care. The kicker came, though, when the sound guy turned up NPH's mic just in time to hear someone backstage ask him if it was over. "No," he admitted, unapologetically, "I just had to pee." The crowd roared, but the reaction from the panel on stage was truly priceless. Jason Segel perhaps said it best: "This never happens in real life!"
The cast reacts to NPH's mic being on
while he is 10-1 (in the bathroom).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A Designer, A Prankster, A Renaissance Man...

As if Brody Jenner and MTV weren't already poking enough fun at the "find your soulmate" formula of a reality game show, this week they decided to have a little more fun with the dude contestants on Bromance. Brody "created" some blinged out jeans that appeared to be stolen straight out of Christian Audigier's mind-hole and expects the guys to keep straight faces when they not only compliment him on his "vision" but also end up modeling samples at a red carpet event. And just when you were thinking it can't possibly get any more (I'm sorry but) queer than this, he sends them to a spa first (and he waxes Luke's chest "just because it's funny")! Nothing subtle about Bromance, I tell you: nothing!

So in honor of the picturesque beauty that was this mid-season episode, I must simply offer you a recap in photos because there are no words to describe... well, you'll see:

Ah, Brody; you're so cute when you're
pulling one over on these dumb d-bags!

Little Chris gets into the spa day. Something
tells me this wasn't his first time!


What are you two laughing at? We all know
you were doing that, too, just a minute ago.


And after, I guess.

So, Brody watches on a hidden camera while his dudes get done up in hair and make-up, and the strategically hired prep assistants ask the guys what they really think of Brody's designs. Of course, none of them have two braincells to rub together, so they don't think this might be part of the game. Though they're able to be very p.c. about it ("it's just not my style"), when they come face to face with Brody (or BJ, as he will be forever known in the clothing world!), who is wearing a pair, too, I must add, they backpeddle and say they like them. Femi is the only one to come out and say he doesn't think they're right for Brody's image, and though Brody doesn't break the charade right away, he ends up rewarding (and respecting) Femi's honesty with a trip to Kitson (but no one specified Kitson Men!).

The dudes make fools of themselves on
the red carpet-- but not a bigger fool than
that cutout of the man of the hour himself.

Of course Brody had to throw in some
chicks in bikinis, so part two of the
"challenge" dealt with impressing
two former playmates. The one dude
whose nerves don't get the best of him
(perhaps because he isn't attracted
to members of the opposite sex)
was Little Chris.

Brody steals a page out of Paris' season and
hosts a Japanese-themed elimination. It is
completely random.

Single tear; Alex is going home.

Okay MTV, this humor-filled romp was a nice distraction and all, but I have two warning words for you for next week's episode: MORE BRODY!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

30 Rock MADE The SAG Awards...

First off, let me just say that the SAG Awards and all of their pretty people and pretty dresses looked AH-MAY-ZING in HD! Almost as good as being there in person; I miss being there in person, by the way. I think next year I'm going to try to use my Blogger credentials to get back into the pressroom. Anyway, this is my favorite awards show, and not just because I recognize everyone in the room: Tina Fey (yes, once again 30 Rock swept, as we all knew it would) was the reason.

First they started off strong by including Will Arnett, guest star, during the "I am so-and-so and I am an actor" montage, and he gave a hilariously dry reading, as per usual. When he claimed he "cried more this past year than any woman ever," I was convinced it was going to be followed up by a jab at Fey for being too busy with double duty as a fallen VP candidate to write him into more episodes. But then he simply ended "I am Will Arnett, and I am an alcoholic-- actor," and that was enough because the expression on his face said it all: really, those two things are not mutually exclusive anyway.

Then the producers showed THE BEST clip of anyone ever for the Best Female Actress in a Comedy Series category, where Tina Fey as Liz Lemon was just shoving a meatball sub into her mouth, her hair frizzy, her glasses askew, and sauce all over her mouth. And completely unembarrassedly, Fey followed that unglamorous image of herself by doing the unheard of in Hollywood: getting up in front of a room of her peers and not only thanking her kid but also admitting that it was actually she, the toddler genius, who penned one of the most quoted lines from this season so far: "I want to go to there." And of course, the kicker was when she spoke of her child watching 30 Rock reruns years later, on the internet, and looking up at her mother, for the first time understanding where it was she went everyday when she left the house before dark to "work," and asking "Why don't you get residuals for this?" Take that PGA Awards; burn!

It only got better from there, with Alec Baldwin winning Best Male Actor in a Comedy Series immediately after his creator and co-star, and he was humble enough to thank all of the other actors he works with, even though he had to know that in just a few minutes they'd all be sharing the stage once again, accepting trophies for Best Ensemble Cast for a Television Comedy. "Ah doy!" And without Tracy there, Jane Krakowski was able to poke fun at the last acceptance speech they gave and for the second time of the evening, single out Jack McBrayer, who deserves a statue of his own someday.

The show is only twenty-seven minutes in, but it can end now as far as I am concerned!

For a complete list of winners, go here. And someone please explain to me why they do not have Best Comedy Motion Picture categories? Smart humor is such a rare thing in this town, that when it's there, it should be celebrated. It seems greatly unbalanced to have so many television comedy versus drama categories but only drama for film.

What The F Is That???...

John and Marlena were far from my favorite Days of our Lives Super Couple when I had my run with the show in the late-nineties. They were hardly young even back then, and I gravitated (like most soap fans) to the relationships in which I wanted to replace the girl with myself. The first example of this was Carrie and Austin; I was desperately attracted to him, and being just a kid at the time, I couldn't look at John, who was old enough to be my father, the same way. Still, they were the heart and soul of the show; if you showed a photo of the duo to any random person on the street, they might watch the show or know their real names, but they could pick out John and Marlena from DOOL every time. They were the patriarch and matriarch for years, and those years were good to them both.

Recently, though, the show-- and the daytime industry in general-- has been making a lot of changes. Men and women just don't watch soap operas the way they used to, and times are tough. Budget cuts are being made left and right, and increasingly younger casts are being brought in. For a genre that used to rely on SORAS to bring the children of their shows up to legal age in order to give them real interaction with the older crowd, there has certainly been a reversal now! With the hopes of hooking newer, younger viewers and getting them to stick around for years, they are virtually turning their backs on their long-time, loyal viewers who were those young, energetic, optimistic kids of years past. The cornerstones of the shows, like John and Marlena on DOOL, get pushed to the far backburners, appearing mostly in holiday episodes and at weddings, funerals, and births for those new, young couples. They deserve much more, but for all of their patience and understanding, they have now only been rewarded with pink slips because younger actors also work cheaper.

Friday was John and Marlena's last episode on Days of our Lives, and their final scene just came as a slap in the face to anyone who knew the greatness that they once were and all they offered the show for the past two decades-- from beautiful, elaborate weddings, to slightly surreal reasons they were pulled apart, to kidnappings, murders, less elaborate weddings to other characters-- but most importantly to hundreds, if not thousands, of fans. And I wouldn't be surprised if the show lost as many fans not only because of John and Marlena's departure, but moreover because of their lackluster departure.

And I understand that Ali Sweeney is off on maternity leave, but they should have pre-taped something, like they have done for countless other pregnant actresses from years past, to offer the mother-daughter duo to share proper words before the final farewell. During the last decade and a half, those two have fought so hard and cried even harder, and I just can't believe they didn't get to share one last moment together.



Friday, January 23, 2009

A TV Host After My Own Heart...

I can't wait for season two when this character is back full force!

A Dog After My Own Heart...

Retreating To The Quirky Show We Know And Love...

Jack pokes his head into Liz' office with nearly identical headshots (ala Ten Things I Hate About You), asking her which one she prefers. She picks the one where he's in a blue tie (typical liberal!), which he calls "wacky," and then gets talked into going with him to a Six Signa corporate retreat at which he's giving the keynote speech because he's nervous since he hasn't seen any of those guys since his time in the Bush administration. Though he still won't quite say "what went on there," we are privy to a quick flashback of him about to kiss another man. Is this just a little taste of the big reveal about to come in the second half of this third season of 30 Rock? I can only hope so!
Still at the TGS offices during “Retreat to Move Forward,” Jenna is going far method to prepare for her upcoming Janis Joplin sort-of-biopic. Frank convinces her to do research on Wikipedia, where anyone can update anyone else's page. Of course, the first thing he does when she leaves the room is put up a crazy line about Janis being an avid speed-walker and afraid of toilets just to see what kind of crazy antics he can get her into.

Oddly, though, Frank ends up feeling badly about what he does to her, and he stops her from eating a cat by admitting he was the one that put all of that stuff online. She is incredulous and whips her wig off, yelling at him, which "kinda works for him" because he "has a thing for damaged goods." He tells her if she can channel that rawness for the movie, she'll win an Oscar, and that works for her, so they start making out.

Tracy, meanwhile, has diabetes, which is an almost cruel twist of fate considering he made up a daughter suffering with the same ailment at a benefit Jack brought him to seasons earlier. So he decides to strap a "practice wheel" to his leg as practice for when he loses his foot... as he shovels candy into his mouth. Kenneth tries to convince him he has to change his diet, and it involves a very complicated urban legend about a "hill witch" who will send signs she's coming and should be taken seriously by way of crop circles and his page desk being turned sideways. Kenneth goes all out, even dressing like the witch, to try to scare Tracy, but he doesn't buy into any of it... not until Jenna shows up with her hair completely bleached and her mascara running, and both he and Kenneth scream that she must be the hill witch.

Now Jenna's hair was only so unfortunate because the morning after she and Frank hooked up, he begs her not to tell anyone about it, and considering she feels she should be the one embarrassed by him and not the other way around, she of course spills to everyone. And it turns out that everyone from the TGS hair stylist to the craft services lady all think they are Frank's girlfriend, and they attack her.

It turns out the Six Signas are actually just six white dudes who each embody one of the principles of the group. They embrace Jack quickly, leaving Liz to try to make small talk with the rest of the members of what increasingly appears to be a Scientology-esque cult. When she approaches two in particular, they address her with a cryptic: "We're M-7s; what level are you? G? H? J?" She admits she's not part of them; she's just here with a friend, and they stare blankly. Afraid of being ostracized, she takes to one of their exercises, in which she has to construct a model out of an image that one of the other members only sees in his mind. Jack cheers her on, and one of Six Signas, not sure if it's "work hard" or whoever, points out that Jack is too familiar with his subordinate (thank you; that's what I've been saying for weeks now! This "new" Jack that returned from D.C. is too willing to be chummy with the likes of Lemon... and it would explain his relationship with Elisa!). So Jack sets Liz straight, and she storms off in a huff, refusing to eat at his table. Of course, though, the guy who mics him up before his keynote speech doesn't know he turns the microphone on prematurely, and Jack's psych-up speech is broadcast for the entire ballroom. It's an exciting moment because "when the big one falls, four little ones move up," but Liz feels bad that everyone is laughing at him, and rushes into the men's room to warn him that they have heard everything. He collapses on the floor, claiming he's ruined, but Liz grabs the microphone and runs out on stage claiming that was just her impression of the "crazy things Jack Donaghy would never say." She makes a sufficient fool of herself with real, weak impressions and an impromptu bra dance. Yeah, she gets banned from any future retreats, but she isn't sorry because "that's what friends do."

Best lines of the night:

Liz: "Were you psyching yourself up in the mirror? Because I do that sometimes before I go to a party where I don't know a lot of people."

Jack (trying to get the balance of power back): "You can't say "ah, doy" to me in mixed company."

Jenna (embarrassed over the turn of events with her and Frank): "Now Dog the Bounty Hunter is the second grossest guy I've been with."

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Making Gym Shorts Look Hot!...

If my gym teacher looked like this, I definitely would have showed up to class!


(Promotional stills from "After School Special," next week's episode of Supernatural)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Monday, January 19, 2009

Dude Alert!...

Whatever happened to the idea that dudes were too manly or "macho" or whatever to cry, let alone cry in front of other dudes or a camera? Whatever happened to those dudes who would only slap hands with each other in a greeting or a good-bye but then pull away quickly, lest their brief contact be misconstrued? Whatever happened to the dudes who would give even their dads the "ass out hug?" Well, there is not only a new generation of "dude" but also a new definition in general. Gone are the days where a little ribbing about each others' sensitivity is a metaphor for their true sexuality. And this is all due, in part, to the appearance of so many dudes on reality television, least of all on Viacom programs like Brody Jenner's newest.

Okay, so tonight on Bromance is a camping trip, some more guy-bonding time, and a wrestling match with a biker-- and not necessarily in that order. Dragging the guys out of bed, and the house in general, at the butt crack of two p.m., Brody brings them all to a dive bar that looks like it walked right off the Feast set and into the center of Hollyhood. There a biker "friend" of Brody's shows up in full leather gear: pants and vest to match, with reflective shades and long Dog the Bounty Hunter hair. Oh, and did I mention this all comes after a quick montage of the guys wrestling with each other within the house? I guess that sets up perfectly the next challenge that is to come: the guys have to go mano e mano, toe to toe, as it were, with the biker in a makeshift ring. Oh, and Brody must really want to get a shout out, RICK style, by Joel McHale because he and his "real" boys mention watching The Soup every Tuesday so many times one would assume this show is switching networks.

So the "winner" of Brody's first challenge of the day will be the guy who can stand the longest in the ring, but of course not many have much luck-- being flipped over and tossed around like the blow-up dolls they toss around back at the house. To his credit, Brody is just looking for a guy with heart (and balls) to try, but really he must just need a good laugh. I mean, this biker looks like he should be on American Gladiator, and all of the wannabe bros are sticks in comparison. Little Chris is perhaps the best, who just scurries around, side to side, and decides his "strategy" is to "talk to the guy" and see if he's down with conversating? Yeah, needless to say it doesn't work, and the photo to the right is of him being thrown over the ropes. Alex, however, is quite impressive, having undoubtedly taken a kickboxing seminar in the sorority house at least once or twice. Luke, though, turns into a killer and actually slams the biker to the mat. The rest of the dudes get turned on, but I wrap myself in my Snuggie, slightly afraid of the scruffy boy-next-door (because aren't those always the most violent criminals?).

Next up in the day's activities is a camping trip to the "real wilderness." It looks suspiciously like Malibu to me, though. And man, Brody must be as A.D.D. as I am if an impromptu fighting match isn't enough excitement for one day! I mean, today I took my dog for a walk on the beach, bathed him, wrote two chapters of my novel, and then watched a car on fire in my apartment building's garage, and I'm exhausted! I don't know how Brody does it; he must take a lot of really quick naps in the time he is not on-screen. Talk about an adrenaline junkie!

So camping with Brody consists of hiking, fishing, pop-tents, campfire stories, and some pranks with the wild animals in the area. Of course Gary complains about the dirt, rocks, and fact that there are no outhouses. He and I have a lot in common, but for that reason I don't think he'd make the best friend for Brody because when Brody goes camping with the boys, he doesn't want to bring his girlfriend along-- which is also why I don't think Gary would make a good girlfriend for Brody. But I would because I get that, and I respect that, and most importantly, I'd let him have his boy time. Gary also refuses to stand in the sun or help gut and clean the fish that the other guys catch-- even though he has had experience working in a fish restaurant. Hmm, something tells me there is more to that story than he is letting on. Maybe he stabbed a man with the crappy little gummy Swiss Army knife and doesn't want to experience flashbacks on a reality show, I don't know. But I hope it comes out (and breaks down) during the guy-bonding time!


Luke and Brody break off from the group to go have their own five star dinner as a reward for doing so well in the fighting challenge. Lobster, steak, wine, beer, orange camouflage hats, and Spencer Pratt badmouthing. I'm so glad I could be at their table, even if only by being a voyeur!

So Brody and Luke join the rest of the guys around the fire for some jokes and stories about the famous people that they know (okay, so basically what I'm saying is that Brody talked and talked... but it's okay because you get distracted by his big white smile, and it doesn't really matter what he's saying or who he's name-dropping). Of course they all start to share their past sexual exploits-- even Little Chris, who I am still convinced is gay-- and then there's Alex who almost did it with a dude because he met some swinger at a bar and didn't see it coming (no pun intended). And then there's Gary. Who only has "beautiful" stories about women. Okay, look, I wouldn't want my ex-boyfriend to go on national television and divulge secrets about anything public or embarrassing or just too intimate, but I expect he'll talk amongst his own friends, and that's just par for the course and something to be expected. Gary is too surreal for me.

Frankie and Sleazy T must have pitched a hissy fit over not being invited camping because they roll up in the middle of the night to get in on the fun, and they bring iguanas or baby gators or whatever with them so they can sneak into the tents and surprise the guys with little woodland critter friends. As far as infrared footage goes, The Real World still has this beat, but it was a nice comic two-minute moment.

In the morning, though, the fun and games are over, and a "trust coach" or whatever those guys call themselves nowadays is called out to the campsite to teach the guys about "friendship circles" and the "fall back" exercise and how to just generally share their emotions. Um, guy? I don't think they have a problem with that; you could do a drinking game with the amount of tears they shed! And of course, again, this couldn't have come at a better time, though, because just minutes ago, Little Chris was making insensitive "Bro-back Mountain" jokes about Luke and Alex' budding friendship. So the guru in white muslin has the guys do energy and vocal exercises to get them started and then begins the mantra-chanting: "I deserve to be here" (um, not all of you do); "I can be a great friend" (um, not all of you can), etc. They have to express their greatest fears, and the tears don't start until Brody admits he was a mama's boy when he was a child and never even used to want her to leave the house. Collective "awww" now, ladies!

Tonight's elimination is back at 717 Olympic, on the roof no less, but taking place in bathtubs?? Man, they are running out of places to house water, and fast. Um, here you go guys: in a pool, in the ocean (Malibu is right there), on a lake (like the one you were just at "camping" or we've also got a man made one in Van Nuys; Brody, you can use my apartment as base camp!)-- some examples, free of charge! So anyway, long story short, Gary gets sent packing because even Brody couldn't stifle his smirk during the circle jer-- I mean, sharing segment when Gary broke down and admitted he changed who he was too often because the "one constant in [his] life was always inconsistency" and then was forced to yell out "I am enough!" and he chose to hug the guru instead of Brody. If the dude is on the show to find out who he is, he's obviously not ready to jump into a deep or meaningful friendship with a guy in a town and an industry that preys on the lost and the questioning. Oh, but Brody, did I mention I'm available?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Who Knew Being Sick Could Be So Funny?...

So Liz strides onto the floor that houses 30 Rock, looking unsettling fashionable for her with a white purse, long black coat, and big movie star sunglasses, excited about some upcoming holiday week (WHAT? That BEST be just for Liz Lemon and not Tina Fey, as we just endured a very extensive break from the show, thank you very much!). Of course within seconds into the episode, she manages to put her foot in her mouth, asking crew guys their plans for the time off, only to learn they don't actually get the time off because they have to break down sets and build new ones-- something she should really know, considering she's the head of the show. But she's just too excited for her upcoming trip to the fake St Barth's, where she can lie out on a private beach and eat soft serve ice cream, all while wearing long black socks (??). Of course, Kenneth sneezes on her right before the opening credits roll, dooming any chance of happiness Liz may have in this episode. And just in case the potential illness looming overhead wasn't enough, Cerie breaks even worse news that Liz' usual hotel is actually already booked, so the vacation is off. Blergh!
Salma Hayek (Elisa) is back in "Flu Shot," too, storming right past not-Jonathan as Jack's new assistant and jumping into Jack's arms for a quick kiss before she has to rush off to her other patient. She has two jobs, like a regular person-- "especially one whose grandmother is addicted to online poker." He offers to cook her dinner the next time she is over, caring for his mother, but she points out that not only does his mother disapprove of their relationship but also that it would be unprofessional considering his house is her workplace.

Chris Parnell is also back, administering flu shots to the staff and crew of 30 Rock. Liz walks in just Jack is pulling his pants back up (man, if this were the pilot, how meet-cute would that have been!?), and Jack asks her advice about Elisa. Liz can only really offer that he seems to be doing with Elisa what he did with C.C.: let their different professions come between them. What's really important here, though, is that there are only five flu shots left after Liz gets hers, and she will have to decide who is important enough to get one. She may object to the elitist games these two men are playing, but she has to suck it up because she's one of them now-- privileged-- so let the games begin! Instead, she just refuses her own shot because she "doesn't want something they won't get."

Of course Tracy and Jenna got the shots, though Tracy seems to think it's really a truth serum and even tells Liz she looks "like Tootsie today." Liz scolds them about arguing over petty things like which part of Hawaii is nicer and more exclusive when "the crew's at death's door," and she tells them they should be thinking of ways to thank all of the hard working people around them. Jenna admits "that would make [them] feel really great," and something about this just screams musical number!!!

Jack shows up at Elisa's other job and begins to really understand the plight of the workingman (or woman) when he sees the charge's foot problem ("is that a beak?"). He offers Kenneth one of the remaining flu shots out of this newfound gratitude, but Kenneth says it would "be an honor to die at his post," as he leans hunched over an actual podium. Jack tries again unsuccessfully to get Liz to take the shot, and she starts what could have been a very Norma Rae-esque speech about fighting for workers' rights, but instead she just gets her crew to rally around her chanting "Shoop."

Tracy and Jenna ask Kenneth to go pick up soup for everyone who is sick... as a thank you for them being sick. He is so under the weather he asks them to go get it instead, and they stare blankly as he explains. Tracy protests, but Jenna thinks it would be a good idea to give back all they can, as if this whole episode is some sort of preemptive apology to the real life crew if the SAG strike actually happens this summer. But of course they're too self-absorbed to actually follow through with the plan, and they end up just going shopping together. Unfortunately, Liz doesn't let us see the obligatory fashion show montage, though.

Jack has two tickets to the Lion King on Broadway and wants Elisa to go with him, but although she wishes she could "get all dressed up, tip maitre d's, and be all like, thank you roger; this table was super-duper," she has responsibilities. He compares her to Liz, and I guess that is just too much for her because she relents... although she does drag along her elderly wheel-chair bound patient, to a very apt Michael Buble tune that includes the lyrics "why should he stay at home/just get his medication..."

Liz' karma must be getting better because not only do the crew guys get her a meat plate as a gesture of gratitude for her sticking up for them, but Cerie comes by to tell her there was a cancellation in her hotel after all, and her vacation is back on. Suddenly all of the sickies around her begin to look like zombies, lurching toward her, grabbing for her, desperate to share their germs. It's a good thing she drops the meat plate as she runs away because one of the guys wiped his nose before he handed it to her, and it would have been just too obvious if she got sick that way. She runs through the halls, dodging Kenneth and breaking picture frames over Pete's head and storms into Dr. Spaceman's temporary office, demanding a shot. He tells her to dance for it, and she does but begs him not to tell anyone she's taking the shot. Then she continues to pretend she didn't get it at all, even though an unsightly rash begins to form at the injection site.

Jack has a surprise planned for Elisa, but an even bigger one shows up by way of her elderly patient's only relative... who lives in London but was probably "sent here to punish me... or for a business trip." The man, who was assumed to be vegetative, begins to speak out to his son about the "man who comes at night and takes him out," and though it sounds like the ramblings of dementia (but what doesn't on this show, right?), Jack is hiding behind the curtain, so the old guy has some credibility after all.

Oh and Tracy and Jenna end up putting on a clown show for the crew because "laughter really is the best medicine." They smash pies on Liz, and the crew virtually booes... until Liz removes her sweatshirt, and they see the tell-tale residue on her arm from the flu shot, and then they begin to get up in arms toward her instead. Jack sits her down and explains that she does deserve the vacation-- and the chance to take a Filipino island lover-- and that she should go after all and not feel guilty about it. And then their stomachs gurgle simultaneously because a flu shot is really just a small dose of the virus itself, and they're both unforgiveable people who reap what they sow and can only rush off toward the bathroom.

Best lines of the night:

Liz (on her new swimsuit): "It's called a "tank-quart"... you may have seen it in Us Weekly, being worn by Dame Judi Dench...'s mother."

Jack (to his new girlfriend): "I'm sorry, what do you call yourself?"
Elisa: "A Puerto Rican."
Jack: "No, I know you can say that, but what can I call you?"

Jenna: "Without the crew, we'd just be two amazing people succeeding in a vacuum."

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Inspirational Women in the Entertainment Industry Premiere...

Starting next week, I will begin posting a bi-weekly column over at my friend Alexis Jones' foundation: I Am That Girl. When she approached me to become a guest contributor, I was extremely honored, to say the least, because the organization works to inspire the tween and teen female set and give them strong, positive role models. As someone who grew up looking for role models in the glow of my set top box, I felt like this was the perfect opportunity to help steer some other like-minded young women toward those who are worthy of admiration due to their strong work ethic, impressive accomplishments, and general positive message. Below you will find a sneak peek of my premiere article, an exclusive interview with Krista Allen, star of NBC's upcoming drama, The Philanthropist.

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If there’s an elephant in the room, she vanquishes it right away: “I don’t necessarily want anyone to look at my early body of work and say well, she did it, so it’s okay—so I should, too... But at the same time, you have to use the tools you have, and you can’t constantly beat yourself up. Everything is a learning experience, and you sometimes have to just take the hits and just never give up.” Ever since her late nineties days on the then-hit NBC daytime drama Days of our Lives, Krista Allen’s message has always been an inspirational one: “Go with your gut; listen to your instincts; but always try to look a little bit into the future—at least enough to figure out what you want.” Allen has worked steadily since her arrival in Los Angeles in 1995, which is something that is no easy task and one that she attributes to a lot of hard work, the support of some great friends, and that little thing that is so important in the entertainment industry: timing. But that’s the thing about Allen: she is as humble as she is talented and would probably never admit that she has been rewarded not only because she is good at what she does but also because she is a good person.

Allen has paid her dues, too. Throughout the years, Allen has been tapped for the “sexy fill-in-the-blank” type of roles in both feature films (Totally Blonde, Meet Market) and countless guest appearances and recurring arcs on popular television programs (Friends, CSI, The Starter Wife) but just because she has worked on high profile projects with big name people doesn’t mean the success and the comfort happened overnight. “I was just exploring,” she explains, adding that often times she would get sent a script in which she really connected with a role only to be offered a smaller, supporting role instead. “It’s always been a struggle,” she admits, “but I’m at a great place right now—and a great age range. Producers and studios and networks are coming to me with scripts and ideas, and that never would have happened early on in my career.” Acting is not a guaranteed profession, but throughout the rocky times, Allen never gave up and never stopped working towards what she loves to do, and that drive and determination is the key element to being a success in any industry, but especially the entertainment industry.

Allen’s ambition also made it possible for her to start a tee shirt company called SuperExcellent on a whim a few years ago. The idea came to her after declaring “You Were Never My Boyfriend” after a break-up; she thought it would be funny to pass tee shirts with that slogan printed on them to her friends. They were such a big hit, and similar taglines just kept coming to her, so she decided to expand and make her designs available to the public. It’s really just the beginning to the empire that she is building.

A self-proclaimed adrenaline junkie-- which is not an uncommon trait for creative types in general, let alone actors-- Allen admits it has to be about more than just the thrills of the entertainment industry that keeps you working in it: “Do you want to be an actor—or writer or artist—or do you just want to be famous?” She points out that there is a big difference between focusing on the work or just validation, and it is very easy and all too common for young girls to get swept up in the “cloud of LA.” “If something feels wrong or weird or like something’s not right, then it usually isn’t. Trust yourself and your instincts; second thoughts are just created to challenge what you really know in the first one.” In a town that often pits women against each other, especially actresses who often end up vying for the same roles, Krista's gracious, generous nature “would love to start a group for young woman who have just come to LA to be actors… I’ve always wanted to make a difference, and I’ve always wanted to work with kids. Not just kids, but people who are just starting out—just starting their careers. Support is so important, I can’t stress that enough.” And so is being given the right tools by a wise woman who has come before them.

The industry has changed so much in the past decade, but for Allen it is much more about growing with the industry-- and always being open to learning-- instead of trying to adapt to a current trend. Not everything will always be well received, and “people will always talk about you and judge you, especially in this business, but you have to be honest and always stand up for yourself.” And that, in a nutshell, is not only why Allen has been so successful, but also so worthy of that success: she has always been herself, and that kind of realism is exceptionally refreshing in this town.

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I could not be more thankful for Krista's willingness to take time to talk with me-- and to do so in such a candid and open way was just an added bonus that made for an even more special article. I take great pride in the fact that this interview is unlike any of hers in the past, and I hope I did right by her. I feel like I have set the bar pretty high for this Guest Columnist spot, and I only hope my future I Am That Girl pieces are just as unique and hopefully inspirational.

If you have any suggestions-- or nominations, if you will-- about whom I should do future profiles, please feel free to leave their names in the comment section! Be sure to check out I Am That Girl every 14th and 28th of the month, when my new columns will be posted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Brody Likes To Party All The Time... Party All The Time...

As you can probably tell from the biased photos I chose for my last post about MTV's newest AWESOME reality competition show, Bromance, it is the kind of show I could pretty much watch on mute because I'm only watching for the host and "prize" of the show, Mr. Brody Jenner. And what a prize he is!

The guys return to their bachelor pad—only six strong—and read a letter from Chris P. saying good-bye. It’s short and sweet, and then the guys are on their way to Brody’s apartment for yet another challenge in which they have to “pick up chicks.” Only in this case, it is chick, singular, and that chick is Lauren Conrad. Uh oh, Michael, you left too soon! So Brody decides he can test their “game” by having her ask them questions, The Dating Game style (she sits behind a screen). I don’t know why it matters what the guys’ perfect first dates are like or how they feel about one night stands, considering they’re not there to date Brody… or are they? And if they are, why couldn’t I audition!?

Brody sits with L.C. and laughs at the guys’ comments, especially when Luke says his pick-up line would be: “Wanna go halves… on a baby?” and when Jered admitted he looks for “an ass” on a girl. Grant it, she did say she wanted honesty out of these guys, but that was a little crass. Each guy is asked what kind of animal they’re most like, and you’d assume Femi would finally hit his stride with that one considering he walks around the house comparing himself to lions all of the time… but L.C. says she needs some time to “talk it over with Brody” and pick a winner because they “all gave [her] something to think about…” Well, everyone by Little Chris and Gary, maybe. Little Chris was just boring, saying he’d use $100 to take her out to dinner (not nearly as creative as Alex who would blow it on a spa treatment so she could be relaxed and open to intimate conversation), and Gary was just socially awkward, following Chris’ dinner up by saying “well, I’d really like to take you to lunch.” I also think he had Brody questioning his sexuality a bit when he admitted he loves to “go shopping with the girls… and cuddle.” It was his answer to why he would make a good boyfriend, which frankly, again, isn’t relevant for Brody, but I could see how his machismo wouldn’t want someone hanging around who people might even wonder if he was gay. Which is sad, really, because Gary still seems like the most real guy.

So Brody and L.C. recap the guys and their answers, telling us nothing we don’t already known except for the fact that she “thinks they’re all really cool guys.” In the end, Alex is the winner because of how “chill” he is, and Brody emerges from behind the screen to reveal who the mystery voice was. All the guys drool a little… even if Gary was drooling over her shoes. Alex heads out to the balcony for some alone time with the dynamic duo, as some of the other dudes stare at them through the sliding glass door.

After a brief interlude with Brody in the shower (during which his real entourage busts in on him… and I wish I had TiVo so I could freeze frame), the guys embark on their next challenge to show Brody who they are and how they like to have fun. Though Brody says this one is not about picking a winner, of course the lame duck is going to be sent home. So the guys grab all they can—chunks of grass, a guitar, funky hats, and sweet moves—to prepare routines. Alex and Little Chris stick to what they know-- and what seem to be their passions—music and comedy, respectively, but Luke is a stand out (at least in my book) right away because he built a mini golf course in the backyard, with holes to represent the various challenges they have already been through. Jered built a water slide because in his own words “he would like to learn how to surf,” and Brody says it would have been nice… if he was twelve. Though it did present us with a lovely slo-mo shot of a shirtless Brody running, shedding water droplets ala Baywatch. Gotta love the gratuitousness of MTV! For once, it’s not just half-naked chicks on TV!

Alex has set up a drum set so Brody can get in on the jam session, and they play a song Alex wrote and sings while he wears a weird plaid blazer and strums a yellow guitar. But the two of them actually seem like buds messing around at a party after a few red plastic cups. Femi even gets in on the action, freestyling a little bit, and then we continue down the artistic and musical road with Gary, who attempts to teach the guys a dance routine that is one part breakdancing and one part Riverdance. Needless to say, it’s a bit complicated, and the guys have more fun making fun of him than trying to actually learn. Brody decides it’s time for a dance-off, though, and really, does it get manlier than that? And for the second time that day, Gary injures himself by falling on the hardwood floor (the first time was when he smacked his head during the slip n slide portion of the day). Little Chris gets a little Running Man in; Femi and Gary go head to head with some spring stands; and Jered refuses to do anything for fear of him risking his “cool guy” moniker. Which I’m not quite sure why he thinks he has anyway, considering this is not only the dude who “umed” and “uhed” his way through his speech on the first night but then followed that gem up by crying when Brody talked about his family in the one on one fireside chats. Right now, he just seems to be taking this show and himself waaay too seriously!

So Little Chris gets up in front of the guys and makes jokes about his dad thinking the show he is on right now is really just a “gay porno.” He tries to do an impression of his father’s Filipino accent, but it ends up as just a Double Whopper at Burger King lame joke, and no one shows him any love. The accent he attempts, as an actual Filipino, sounds much more like something I would attempt, and I’m a little white girl. To his credit, though, he keeps going, but he ends up getting into it with Femi, who even throws popcorn at him. Chris gets emotional after, and most of the guys rally around him to apologize for their rude behavior during his set and whatnot, but it’s all a little too little too late… and also a little female.

When Femi is up—wearing a crisp white blazer, bright blue shirt, and yellow striped tie-- though, the lack of respect shown is even more palpable. He tries to give the guys a lesson in style, but it comes off as a bad door-to-door salesman, and even Brody has to get a few zingers in. For the win, though, Femi decides to “prove himself to Brody” by getting a tattoo. Okay, everyone knows that Brody has his last name in calligraphy down the left side of his body, and though Femi has never gotten a tattoo before, he opts to do his first as a complete copycat of Brody’s own. Thankfully, though, the artist who just happened to already be set up at the house stencils on Femi’s own last name, but if he had “accidentally” put Jenner, I don’t think Femi would have objected. I’m not quite sure how this shows how Femi likes to have fun considering it’s not something he does every weekend… and Brody doesn’t want to stick around and wait for the hour long process to be over, so he leaves, and the guys sit around and gossip because Femi gave them all a lesson on his personal style, and yet his tattoo totally cops someone else’s style. He’s two-faced and fake!

When Alex calls Femi out, he flies off the handle about nothing that has anything to do with anything they are talking about. Apparently Femi almost went to jail because his friend got shot in the back? Um, was he the one who shot the kid? Why do I get the feeling that story just came to him on the spot, and he spit it out to try to seem more “real,” much like how he throws the word “homey” in after every other word. I feel like this kid is fronting, but I know he’s not getting kicked off tonight; he’s too volatile, and in MTV-speak, that means he’s the star of the show.

So Brody and the guys go out to a Mexican restaurant to discuss who will be up for elimination. It’s kind of cool to see Brody hanging with these guys in actual, public places, unlike Paris, who on her own show spent as little time as possible with the wannabes. Does this say these guys are cooler than her girls or just that Brody is a better sport about the whole thing? I’m going to go with the latter...

This has truly been Alex’ night, as you probably can tell from the photos, so he is the first guy chosen to be safe. Next is Little Chris, who though he needs a back-up career plan, never faltered in the face of adversity or heckling, and Brody respects that. Femi’s fashion thing was just weird, and Jered offended L.C. Of course, the guys all point their finger at Femi for elimination, but equally of course, Brody isn’t ready to get rid of him yet because “he has a lot of confidence, and he admires his passion.” Apparently that shows Brody how much he wants to be here.

So the bottom three end up being Luke, Gary, and Jered because Brody feels like they’re all “hanging out, doing [their] thing,” but he doesn’t understand why they want to be there. So the guys open up a little, and Brody pardons Luke because he was at the top of so many challenges. Jered stays in the bottom for not even trying to dance, proving that he can’t have fun or poke fun at himself, and Gary stays in the bottom because Brody wants to see a different side to him (than the sensitive, p*ssy side he has shown so far?). Both dudes get blindfolded and are told that paintball guns are being pointed at their chests; the one who feels the shots and gets their clean linen shirts dirty will be the one who is getting eliminated. Brody dons a lovely sombrero and fake ‘stache… as do Frankie and Sleazy T (they’re the Three Amigos, get it??), and they take aim and fire… at Jered. Orange paint splatters across his chest, and just like that, the meathead is out... and he cries once again on his exit, even as he calls some of the other guys who are still left "little girls." Oh boy.

So this episode gave me a lot of great Brody shots, which really only reinforced that I need to learn how to make screencaps!

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Power Of Fandom...

When David Mackay set out to tell Betsy Morris' story of a few quirky employees at a beachside sandwich shop in Ten Inch Hero, he never expected to create an internet phenomenon. Instead, he was simply drawn to the personal journeys on which each one set out (For my full review of the film please click here), and as an independent filmmaker, he wanted to ensure he could cast the best possible actors in those roles, in order to really bring the characters to life. After all, "a character is never underwritten, as long as the actor portraying him or her has great instincts." Mackay saw many for the ensemble cast of six, including Two and a Half Men's Jon Cryer, but ultimately he opted to choose who he felt was best for the part (Sean Patrick Flanery won out over Cryer in the role of Noah), not the biggest name, in order to make Ten Inch Hero the best he possibly could. Of course he wanted people to be interested in the film: "As a filmmaker, that is always something you're aware of," Mackay explains, "but it was more important to make a great film first and worry about the size of the audience later." After all, if the script is great, the audience will be there no matter who is in the roles.

It was in hoping an agent at William Morris could get the script to Mandy Moore that Mackay first agreed to consider Jensen Ackles for the role of Priestly, who in Morris' own words "was supposed to be slight and somewhat goofy, like a Seth Green type-- and nothing about Jensen's appearance said goofy." But something in the script just resonated with Ackles, and he was willing to undergo the transformation-- including losing a few lbs-- and his read stood high above any others'. Thus was born the kilt-wearing, pierced, mohawk-sporting version that spawned handfuls of fans from all around the world to dress up like him-- not just for Halloween, but also at sporadic screenings everywhere from Los Angeles to London. And it was in that casting that a cult internet classic was born.

Though Mackay admits he had never seen Ackles' work prior to Ten Inch Hero, he was already a huge internet celebrity due to past appearances on everything from Days of our Lives to Dark Angel to the more recent, even if spotty in the ratings, Supernatural. Hundreds, if not thousands, of young men and women from all over the world were loyally scouring fansites and his IMDb page to find out what he would appear in next, and when they caught wind of the somewhat elusive Ten Inch Hero, they never let go until they could find out every last detail about the project. Morris first Googled Ackles when he was still only being considered for the role, and she was overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work strangers from all over the world were going to in order to dig up any news, photos, or hard to find projects of his. Flattered, if somewhat stunned, by a similar outpouring of unsolicited interest, Morris and Mackay set up a website and began reading (and answering as many as they could of the) hundreds of emailed questions about the project, hoping to put an end to some unfounded internet rumors (we all know how those spread!) as well as give the people what they wanted in the form of an album of production still photographs, an official trailer, and a "special look" at one of the more popular scenes from the film (in which Ackles shops for feminine products while he sports his trademark kilt).



Ten Inch Hero fans have been driving their own publicity campaign almost since the film was in the can, and they saw their first production still of the stereotypical All-American Ackles done up and against type. Through social networking sites like MySpace, fans created original artwork, widgets, fan videos, and even a "Priestly doll," which has found its way to various screenings around the country. When asked specifically about the doll, Mackay and Morris both admit they do not know how, where, or why it started, but they are honored nonetheless. To date, the "official" promotional items have just included posters, but it wouldn't be surprising if their PR firm decides to buy the rights to such an action figure and send them to entertainment news outlets; I know if one showed up on my desk, I'd be intrigued enough to want to find out more about the film!

Now, many in the studio system fear the internet for this very reason: technically these fans can be considered infringing upon certain copyrights when they manipulate likenesses or create their own trailers using actual, privately owned footage. But Morris is quick to point out that for an independent film, these actions seem extremely generous, and she is grateful for them. She also is adamant that the internet is an important tool in the marketing and the distribution of today's films. This online community, after all, started numerous "I Want My Ten Inch Hero" campaigns in order to convince the filmmakers to screen in their hometowns, and they drafted and signed multiple petitions for the film to have a wide theatrical release. Some even went so far as to organize their own screenings when they weren't getting a response fast enough, such as the one up in Vancouver during a Supernatural fan convention. During other similar conventions, fan videos (such as the one below) were screened for panels, urging them to help make this film a success. The fans virtually (no pun intended) put this movie on the map.


Their pleas did not fall on deaf ears, and though the film is going straight to DVD, it is perhaps due in great part to these dedicated fans that it is even getting that far. Not to discredit Mackay or his producing team, but so many independent films get produced and then never see the light of day due to a combination of lack of funds, lack of publicity, and lack of interest, but Mackay has a goldmine in his back pocket that is the incessant interest of some very persistent individuals.

The U.S. release of the Ten Inch Hero DVD will come months after pirated copies have already leaked onto sharing sites from the overseas release, but Mackay insists it is worth the cost of rental alone for the extra bonus features that will be available here and no where else-- bonus features that will include commentary, behind-the-scenes interviews with the actors, as well as a look at Bethany Joy recording her three original songs for the film's soundtrack, deleted scenes, and the ever-popular blooper reel, which is sure to include fun with Priestly's kilt. The DVD will be available to rent through outlets like Blockbuster on February 17 2009, and if it performs well on those shelves, it's "for purchase" release date shouldn't be too far behind. So if you want your Ten Inch Hero, be sure to rent it so you can ensure you can own it!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

OMG I Love HIM, Too...



And even if this is just a parody, I'm just glad I got to see him in RENT for even a few minutes.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

It's All Jensen, All The Time!...

I want to have his babies... and I'm so sad I missed this taping:


And also, Chelsea, if he takes you up on that offer, you call me; we can work something out!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Diary Of A Squealing Mad Fan Girl...

As a member of the entertainment news media, I am often given the opportunity to attend special events and press junkets, at which I sit down with actors, writers, directors, and producers in order to pick their brains on the process and experience of shooting whatever latest project they are currently promoting. The most recent example of this was the junket for My Bloody Valentine 3D. My editor sent me the press release right before I left for New York for the holiday break, and I took it as an extremely good sign-- a little silver lining, if you will-- to get my butt back to LA and make sure I was in that hotel on January 10th sitting across from none other than one Mr. Jensen Ackles. In fact, that was the whole reason I was willing to see the gimmicky slasher flick in the first place. Then earlier this week, just as I was gearing up to cram as many questions and subtle innuendoes into our five or six minute conversation, I got an email from the publicist for the film explaining that sadly, Jensen had to back out due to scheduling conflicts. Suddenly, I wanted to back out, too! Instead, Jensen would only be making three appearances on talk shows based in LA: Chelsea Lately, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and The Bonnie Hunt Show.

Okay, you know how in cartoons whenever something shocking is seen, the animated bunny or bear or whatever slams in place, widens his or her eyes, and then skids backwards to revisit whatever the thing was that caught his or her attention in the first place? Well, my eyes did just that. My friend Margo had just been to Chelsea Lately; surely she knows someone over there who can get me in last minute? "Oh wait," my thoughts began to race, "is that a live show? Or does it tape same day, but earlier in the day, or even the day before? I know Jimmy Kimmel is live." I checked my watch. It was just after noon; I had plenty of time to try and find the phone number for the guy I know who works over there! But The Bonnie Hunt Show? One of my good friends from college, Mikah, just took a position there, and surely he must have seen my future husband's name pop up on the talent booking board... why hadn't he said anything? For once, instead of obsess over the unknown, I did the sensible thing and texted him to ask if I could come on down.

A long exchange later, Mikah assured me if I could get to Culver Studios by two when the show would tape, I could see Jensen sitting on a couch only mere feet from my very being. I was gone from the valley so fast my shoes were left behind-- again, just like in cartoons!

Bonnie had other guests that day-- and good ones, too: Jane Kaczmarek, Dr. Ian Smith, and Tom Virtue, who was participating in a skit at the top of the show-- but of course all I could see was Jensen, who was in the fourth act and would be showing a clip from the movie I had already screened the previous evening. Suddenly I was looking forward to being able to share that special connection with Jensen: not even Bonnie herself had seen the film yet.

The warm-up guy went through the audience before the show began, asking people where they were from and for those from out of town, who the one celebrity they hoped to run into while in LA was. One woman came from Germany, and all she wanted was to see Jensen. Well, she certainly came on the right day! And she certainly knew about this ahead of time; there is really something to be said for reading message boards and fan group bulletins. The "average Janes" who maintain those are often much more thorough than those actually in the media-- because they have something personal invested in it.

Most of the audience appeared to be there for Jensen; some came from his own hometown of Dallas, and others screamed really loudly when he spoke of Supernatural. Suddenly, I wished even more that the Human Interest ladies hadn't passed over my "I want to be reunited with..." entry, in which I spoke of Jensen, detailing how we met ten years ago and lost touch over the years, as he moved out of daytime and into teen melodrama. I didn't want to just be among these women: I wanted to be their leader.

Jensen looked super trim and tan, as if he went on a crash diet after the holidays, but he was warm and inviting in his big winter sweater. He and Bonnie chatted about splitting his time between LA and Vancouver, where he shoots Supernatural, as well as spending time with his family over the holidays. He told a great story about his parents selling his childhood home this past year and how they only moved seven miles away, and he made the audience sigh in a collective "awww" when describing the best gift he ever got: a letter a month from his nephew Logan while he was away on filming, complete with photos of the happenings and growings in his young life. Jensen may star alongside demons and killers, but he is just a big softie at heart!

Of course he spoke about the film and what it was like to take on such a scary role, but I could barely hear him because I was so enthralled in just staring at him, so I guess I'll have to snag the clip online or on NBC later... his seven minute segment was full of laughter, though, and afterwards he signed a hockey jersey and the back of his director's chair to auction off for Bonnie's Basement. He took a quick pitstop at the Craft Services table before heading out to the My Bloody Valentine premiere at Mann Chinese and then the Jimmy Kimmel show.

In the few hours between taping one and taping two, I managed to locate my other contact's number, and even though my cell phone was blinking it's Battery is at 10% message at me, it held itself together in order for everything to get coordinated for me to attend that taping, as well. Yes, Krueger, I literally followed him around all day!




Now it was oddly tougher to get down to Hollywood at dinnertime than it had been to get into Culver City in the middle of the afternoon, probably because the streets around Hollywood & Highland had been roped off for the premiere, and I was practically white knuckling it when I finally squeezed into a compact space in the underground parking lot, but though I hadn't eaten anything since breakfast that morning, I zipped across the street with pep and ease and made it into the studio with just minutes to spare, nearly giddy just to have just another seven minutes in a crowded room with the guy. Sure, it can't hold a candle to the experience of interviewing him one-on-one in a junket style setting (where my last question would be "want to go upstairs?" since the event is held in a hotel, after all ;) ), but it would do.

Slightly overwhelmed from the crazy developments of my day, I grinned wildly under the bright lights, watching Jensen once again joke and laugh and generally just be his usual adorable, charming self. This time I didn't get to watch him wander around backstage or pass hi
m in the hall and offer a simple smile, making him think I am just another member of the production team and not some over eager fan, trying to "steal a moment"... even though that is probably what I will always be.

Press events can be nice, but there is nothing like experiencing your favorite celebrities among others who are just as like-minded as you!


Jimmy Kimmel Live aired live (well, at least to the east coast) last night, but Jensen's Bonnie Hunt episode airs today; check your local listings. Jensen on Chelsea Handler's show will also air tonight, but sadly I never found a way into that one, so I have nothing to report... My Bloody Valentine hits 3D and select 2D theaters next Friday, the 16th. For my full review of the film, feel free to check out http://www.socal.com/ next weekend!
"Jensen & Me, Through The Years" Photos (C)opyright Danielle Turchiano 1998-2008

The Most Convoluted Night Of Television Ever...

Liz is still baby crazy as the seventh episode of 30 Rock’s third season finally returns after an extended holiday hiatus, and suddenly there are babies everywhere—from the Rockefeller Plaza lobby to the sidewalk outside, where she taps the head of what she assumes to be a little boy, only to have Peter Dinklage turn around and hit on her because he likes “aggressive, slightly nerdy” women. Probably because she is afraid of seeming like… height-ist, just the way Wayne Brady thought she was racist when she wanted to break up with him in season one, she agrees to go for a drink with the random dude she just met on the street. Welcome back; we missed the craziness!

Unfortunately, though, “Senor Macho Solo” seems to have tried to jam-pack a whole season’s worth of crazy into one bursting-at-the-seams twenty-two minute episode. Jack hires a care nurse for his mother, who, although unseen in this episode, is apparently still living with him. Salma Hayek is that nurse, who is oddly enabling right off the bat of Jack’s reluctance and disinterest in spending any time with, let alone helping, his mother. It’s a wonder what happened between Christmas Eve and now that made him reverse the positive one-eighty he had done that night. It’s also a wonder he is so willing to open up to “the help,” as he tells her about his day at work and explains why he enjoys dating random women and never having to worry about being in anything for the long haul… which is a sentiment that lasts for all of four seconds until he finds a lump on his testicle and fears he has cancer and can die tomorrow. Then and only then he sees the error of his ways and undergoes another personality switch, suddenly deciding he does want to be surrounded by family (though not his own; he found Hayek’s on-screen family oddly comforting), and he does want to have someone and something meaningful in his life. He wants to be with his mother’s home care nurse (but probably only because of how she looked in the red dress she wore to the quinceanera Jack attended). As he kisses her passionately, I can’t help but wonder how he’ll get rid of her when he ultimately wakes up from this sick little manic episode of his next week and (at least, hopefully) is back to ruthless, cutthroat, never seen outside of the office or out of a suit, Jack Donaghy that we’ve all grown to know, love, and wish was our own eccentric uncle.

As if all of that wasn’t weird enough, Tracy’s storyline incorporates a wardrobe of gold sneakers and shirts and hats made out of money—literally, there are bills stapled together, 1920’s flapper style. Jack sits him down to tell him he has to work on his spending, but Tracy has a very good reason for it: he’s afraid his wife will divorce him and end up taking half of what he’s worth—so he spends it all so that if she leaves him, she gets nothing. Jack convinces Tracy to get his wife in the office so she can sign a pre-nup, even though technically it is too late since they’ve been married for years, but all that does is make them even hotter for each other, and they begin to have sex all over the building—from Jack’s office to Kenneth’s desk. Also, Jenna really wants the role of Janis Joplin in a new biopic that NBC’s parent company is producing, and she dresses up as the skinny singer to convince Jack, who must be more distracted than anyone thought because he actually gives it to her, claiming synergy is completely in! He plans for her to sing one of Joplin’s hits on that week’s episode of TGS in order to seed their movie into the minds of the American public, but unfortunately, a competing project that has Julia Roberts attached completely derails Jenna once again, and it turns out they don’t even have the rights to the song, so Jack has to re-write the words, and she ends up looking like a singing fool… which by this point is really just par for the course…

Out on a real date with Dinklage, Liz tries to pick him up (literally) in order to keep him from getting burned on a street vendor’s cart, and he realizes she thought he was a child when she first met him. She’s out of character as she admits that, yes, sir, she did, and he, smartly, leaves her on the street. She can’t let him go, though, so she calls him and talks him into meeting her on the Brooklyn Bridge ala Miranda and Steve in The Sex & The City Movie if he likes her even a little bit. Though he is bored with the mere mention of that movie, he does show up, but as he does, he witnesses her mistake some nine year old for him and decides it’s truly time to “shut it down.”

If you remember the episode when Liz tries to prove she really is a nice person and ends up staying up all night to re-write her staff’s work (and watch the Designing Women marathon), then you must remember just how tired she looked, felt, and said she was at the end of it… well, that is exactly how I feel after watching this episode. I feel like Fey must have downed three Red Bulls and chased them with an eight ball just to get through writing so much material crammed into one tiny little script, and I can’t even imagine what shooting it must have felt like!

Best moment of the night:

Kenneth rapping because “the usual warm-up comic O.D.’ed at a gay man’s apartment this morning.”

Best lines of the night:

Liz (to a baby in a stroller): “What a cute little girl—or boy, if you grow up and feel that’s what’s inside you.”

Angie: “I’m never going to leave you; I’m going to watch you die, Tracy Jordan.”