When we Cinefilles gals go out and about, we call it a Fille Trip. But I think that I’m on the first real Fille Trip right now, as I travelled all the way from our home base in Toronto to L.A. on Saturday to cover the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour.
Now, I’ve been to TCA before, having covered the event for my former publication, the recently and unfortunately folded TV Guide Canada, but this is my first time attending on behalf of the Filles, and I can’t be more excited to be here. First and foremost, I am psyched to promote this blog, a beloved passion project for myself and co-creator Michelle Medford, and our new crusade to cover that other, smaller-size screen in addition to the big one. But I’m also just happy to be here amongst my equally pop culture-obsessed peers and–even better–all this awesome TV talent.
Although movies have always been closest to my heart, I love TV too, especially since I’ve been working in the industry these past few years. And the particular series that I love, I love hard. That’s why I was particularly excited to embark on my first official day of TCA coverage on Sunday via the NBC network panels and party. The network also known as The Peacock is home to two of my absolute favourite shows on air right now, and ones that are going into their final seasons: Parenthood and Parks and Recreation.
While neither Parks, nor Parenthood had particular panels during the course of the NBC day, what with all the other fall shows to promote, some talent from both shows were involved in the press day, and I made it a personal mission to talk to them as much as I could in between trying to talk to the dozens of other actors and producers flooding the ballroom at the Beverly Hills Hilton. My first step in this crusade was talking to Rashida Jones following the panel for A to Z, a comedy that she’s producing and stars the lovely Cristin “The Mother” Milioti (an awesome, awesome lady who may very well be NBC’s Peter Pan). Admittedly, a part of my reason for talking to Miss Jones was to reach an additional goal set by myself and my equally Parks and Rec-obsessed bf, but when I caught her alone after scrumming with Milioti, I had to get down to business. And that business was talking about glasses.
Yes, I wasted a bit of my time with the occasional Parks star and upcoming Angie Tribeca lead on something someone else might think trivial, but as a girl forced to have four eyes at least 50% of the time (I have contacts, but I also have dry eye syndrome and have to alternate between them and my actual specs unless I want my tear ducts to turn into the Sahara), I couldn’t resist. And hey, Rashida seemed delighted to take a break from more hard-hitting, expected lines of questioning to discuss the merits of Oliver Peoples (we both wear that brand, apparently!) and the possible pros of getting into online optometrist Warby Parker (we gals in glasses need to make passes at each other sometimes, just to keep the prescription pride alive!). Plus, I got a Parks question in at the end anyway.
I tried to do similar double duty when Jason Katims, the creator of Parenthood and new obsession Friday Night Lights (yes, I’m late, and yes, I feel as dumb as any girl the minute she lays eyes on Tim Riggins), hit the TCA stage for a special drama showrunner panel later in the day. While I went up to scrum to find out more about the possibly life-changing bomb Katims dropped about Parenthood during the panel, I also had another agenda involving my favourite show of all-time My So-Called Life. In between questions about the Bravermans, I got to speak with Katims about the best episode–I mean, in my humble opinion–of MSCL, “Life of Brian,” which he wrote back in the day. I’ll have a full news story on this later, but it seems like Katims looks back on that episode, and his overall time with MSCL, with the same fondness that I do, and that warmed my heart even more than that time that Jordan finally took Angela’s hand.
I put the focus back on Parenthood scoop when I went to the NBC party at swanky resto Riva Bella. While I’ll admit I bypassed the young actors who play Joel and Julia’s kids Victor and Sydney (Savannah Paige Rae was wearing a tiara, which seemed like SUCH A SYDNEY MOVE, meanwhile Xolo Mariduena was wearing a really cool bucket hat), I bee-lined to their on-screen dad and the stuff DILF dreams are made of, Sam Jaeger. Ladies and gents, Sam is as wonderful and charming as Joel seemed to be before all this divorce trouble, and I can’t wait to transcribe our lengthy chat about where Joel and Julia stand for Season 6. And by the way, going on that talk, I’m officially subtitling this last year as “Teary Eyes. Broken Hearts. So Much to Lose.” (Side note: Sam is as big of an FNL fan as the rest of us, a fact that will undoubtably delight the Gagne family.)
On a lighter note, I also got a chance to chat with another Parks star at the party too, the ever-fierce Retta. If you follow this lady, also known as Donna on Parks, on Twitter, you know that she’s a fangirl for all sorts of shows, so I took opportunity to geek out with her about shows like True Blood and Orphan Black. But the real fun was when I brought up her on-screen cousin Ginuwine. Sounds like the “Pony” boy was more excited than Ben Wyatt was watching Letters to Cleo to be on set for last year’s finale, nearly exhausting Retta and Co. with his ridiculous levels of enthusiasm. Also, just so it’s clear, Donna is definitely with us on #LeslieKnopeForPresident.
As if my short time with Retta wasn’t already the best, it was briefly interrupted by her co-star Jim O’Heir, a.k.a. Jerry Gergich, a.k.a. The Worst. He ran off–to reunite with Jerry’s daughter Millicient (or actress Sarah Wright)?–before I could get a Q in, but he pretended to fan out over Retta (“Is that Retta?! Can I get a picture with you?!”), and I felt like I was treating myself by just being a witness to that.
Speaking of treating myself, I better be off so I can indulge in this free banana pudding that USA is offering us to promote their reality show Chrisley Knows Best. But I’ll be back soon, likely to sink my teeth into tonight’s screening of Sharknado 2 (seriously) and this afternoon’s panel for the TV adaptation of 12 Monkeys,and gush over a possible interaction with a Cougar Town star.
You thought this was going to be a normal Fille Trip? With this Fille, no way!
Emily is covering the 2014 Television Critics Association Summer Press Tour live from the Beverly Hills Hilton from June 12 – 22. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne.