Friday, July 26, 2013

DanielleTBD's 2013 TCA Diary: Bacon, Babies, 'Doctor Who', and Dylan Bruce at the Soho House...

The second day of this TCA started with bacon, the best quiche I've ever had at these things, and chocolate at breakfast time, so immediately we were on an upward trend. Most people will tell you the best thing about Day 2 was the onslaught of Doctor Who, but most people aren't me.


Day 2 technically brought a busier work load, as Discovery Networks, BBC America, and HBO were all presenting, and there were no scheduled writer's breaks aka pool tanning time for me. Since BBC America kicked off the day, the room was all abuzz with Doctor Who flails and feels...okay, not really. This is TCA, not Comic Con, and we're not even allowed to clap when panelists sit down because that would show bias. And it's something that's really hard to watch as we've had quite a few legends take the stage over the past years, and no one ever seems to have been prepped them for silence when they're used to accolades. But there were a lot of flails and feels on the inside. And on Twitter. Especially when it was confirmed the 11th Doctor is single (he brought it up on his own).

Anyway, the 50th Anniversary Special panel for Doctor Who brought a shorn Matt Smith, and then An Adventure in Space and Time followed, which I admit I didn't know was a movie and not another (albeit shorter) series. I was one of the rare people in this room not super into Doctor Who, but for years BBC America has brought something to TCA that takes me completely by surprise and hooks me just from the trailer. It was first Bedlam starring Theo James and most recently and strongly Orphan Black but this time it was actually An Adventure in Space and Time, which is a behind-the-scenes (but narrative) look at the earliest days of Doctor Who, the man who created it, and shot-for-shot recreations of some of the original episodes' scenes. I'm a sucker for that kind of meta stuff, what can I say!?

The Discovery Networks are always a hodgepodge of reality from unexplained phenomenon to stories of survivors to whoever Oprah finds inspiring. This was no different, and it wasn't nearly as crazy as some of Nat Geo's stuff from Day 1 (I cannot believe I forgot to mention the family behind Doomsday Castle on Nat Geo yesterday! Maybe it was because I had spent about an hour picking apart the panel with other critics so I was talked out, but honestly, they look like a Real Spoiled Kids of New Jersey show on Bravo that just happens to be building a post-apocalypse castle in the Carolinas so they, and select few they literally hand-pick, can survive in the event of an actual apocalypse. I sensed a lot of inbreeding and Big Jim Rennie attitudes should that actually ever happen. And that would not be a world in which I would want to still be alive). 

My personal snarky favorite had to be TLC's Secret Princes, a panel of two literal princes, one literal Lord, and an "Honorable"-- all hoping to use an American reality show, as well as fake jobs, names, and accents to find true love. You know, because that has worked so well for those who came before them and because lying to a woman for months to protect your lineage of inbreeding and insane wealth is better than having to ward off women who only want you for that insane wealth. But my personal actual favorite was OWN's Raising Whitley, which has actually already aired its short first season (May-June 2013). I'm bummed I didn't know about it while it was airing, but I'm glad the network decided to bring them even though it doesn't technically fit the "new" show design of TCA because it is now my new obsession.

Kym Whitley (y'all know her!) has rallied her friends around her to help her raise a baby boy she adopted after his mother, her mentee, left him at the hospital with Kym's number. I know, it sounds insane, but the dynamic between her and the two friends who came with her to the panel was so funny and refreshing and well-rounded, I'm riveted. I want to see what this kid can become in his "raised by committee" sort of environment. Actually, that sounds bad because it sounds like he's some kind of experiment. But I've always been an advocate of kids needing a lot of role models, from family to family friends to yes even the celebrities they will inevitably admire even without ever meeting. When I was growing up, I was getting a sense of myself and looking around realizing I didn't have anyone to help me shape that sense of self. It was easier for me to see the things I didn't want to be in those actually, physically around me. This kid will have a decent enough variety that he can pick and choose attributes and examples (though some will undoubtedly be absorbed without him even realizing it, too).

Usually no matter what else presents on the day that HBO does gets out-social media-ed by HBO's swag bag, which those attending TCA literally talk about leading up to it in the "What do you think Santa aka HBO will bring me this year!?" sort of way. And HBO certainly lived up to our standards with a tote full of DVDs, candy, and the Funko Game of Thrones POP figures that prompted trades and barters the likes of which you usually only see with FOX snacks. But it was actually two members of HBO's talent that really stole the session: the very funny Stephen Merchant, on hand to promote his new half-hour comedy Hello Ladies (which I feel would be the male perspective companion to a hopefully-to-be-soon-picked up Dating in L.A. and Other Urban Myths), as well as Larry David who was there to talk about his new Curb-like movie Clear History without committing one way or the other about if and when he'll do more Curb.

I came thisclose to asking a question in David's session that basically amounted to "Why'd you cut my friend out of your movie?" I would have phrased it better, obviously, to focus on the intense improv and therefore the gems they must have on their cutting room floor and what was something they wished they could have worked in after all, but in the end I didn't. I hate asking questions in big crowds like this, partially because then 200+ people have my quote, but also because we're a very judgmental group, and I don't need to see people picking apart my angles and agendas and phrasing (the latter of which I admit I sometimes don't nail).

Still, I think I have to give it to young Joshua Whitley who stole the day because he was just not having it, which pretty much perfectly encapsulated the attitude panelists need to adopt to take on the this room of critics. Joshua obediently said hello into the microphone when he was brought out on stage, but then that was it. He's a toddler, and he did what he wanted, including dragging a piece of the curtain on stage with him and wanting to wander to the edge of the stage and potentially jump off of it. He was adorable. Puppies on Day 1 and babies on Day 2? TCA is finally starting to get me!

I fully admit that mid-day I just got it in my head that I wasn't going to go to the BBC America party. Full disclosure, I've never been to one. I always RSVP and then always opt not to go. Part of it comes from when the party is in the week and how tired or back-logged with work I am, and part of it comes from the fact that those parties are usually off-site and held a few hours after the sessions end, leaving me to sit around the hotel and grow antsy until it's time to head over to the party. Last night was the latter and also the fact that the party was being held at Soho House, a venue that has gorgeous views but which I just dislike on principle (it's the exclusivity of the industry that should just be a stereotype but which many douches revel in). My friend Marisa convinced me to just go (I didn't have anything better to do, that's for sure), and I'm really glad I did. 

It was another situation where I could just eat good food, catch up with good friends, and pose for a few fun photos, including with an actual TARDIS and a virtual one on the backdrop of a photobooth. But it was also BBC America, and I was keeping my fingers crossed that some Orphan Black people and leftover Comic Con swag would make it's way to the party and to me. The former did in the form of Dylan Bruce, who I spotted walking into the photobooth and didn't want to be the creepy lady who stands outside and waits for him to tell him how much I love his show, but we happened to be waiting at the valet at the same time, so I finally got to officially meet him then. He couldn't tell me anything about season two, but he did share that when people get killed off Orphan Black they get a gift at the table read. So basically, he hopes to walk in every week and only find a script waiting for him; David Richmond-Peck, who played Olivier, found a bottle of Scotch waiting for him and he said 'What happened, guys?' And they said 'Sorry, rewrites.'

I also came up with a fun game to make me enjoy my time at Soho House more in general, though: If the crowd isn't great, I can take a break by standing in the hallway outside the photobooth and the bathroom, scanning the walls for people I know because the members of this "club" tack their random photobooth rejects up there for all to see, and quite a few were people you'd be fans of, like Hill Harper and Kyle Howard and probably Jesse Metcalfe who I saw playing pool downstairs as I was walking out for the night.

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