Move over, Lana Del Rey. I’m the Brooklyn baby now. Oh, and a Sexy beast too.
Now, you might be saying, “Hey, Emily, way to be full of yourself about that last part.” And if you really know me, you’re probably like, “Hey, Emily, why are you bringing Ben Kingsley and Jay-Z’s hometown into this AGAIN?” But in actuality, neither of you have anything to wonder/judge me about. I’m simply here to talk about my pretty unreal experiences on the sets of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and Masters of Sex.
Ever since I found out that we’d be visiting both shows during the Television Critics Association Press Tour, I have been sure that the set visit portion of my L.A. jaunt would be the absolute highlight (sorry, five-hour plane ride and Preachers of L.A. panel). And, quite frankly, unless I get a chance to have a one-on-one ice cream date with Mindy Kaling (there’s still time!), it definitely will be.
As soon as I walked into the lobby of the Beverly Hills Hilton and saw signs pointing me to the shuttles set to take us to site of Jake Peralta’s desk, I was flying pretty damn high on fangirliness. Then when we got on the bus and were treated to a screening of last season’s finale and I was soaring like Gina when she did that interpretive dance to “Beautiful.” Just getting to see Jake do his Dirk Diggler-style dance in his disco competition ensemble and Boyle look horrified as he woke up next to Gina was enough, but then we arrived at the set, where we were immediately treated to donuts (but of course) and coffee, not to mention our very own Nine-Nine mugshots (see mine, which has become my new profile picture for everything, above).
Things got even more awesome from there, as we sat down for a panel featuring the EPs of the show (including Parks and Rec mastermind Mike Schur!) and the entire–we’re talking even Hitchcock and Scully!–cast. I will admit to being immediately entranced by Andy Samberg, No. 3 on my To Do list, particularly due to the fact that he was wearing his glasses. I was going to try to nab some time with Andy when we were let into the actual main set, but since he was getting swarmed, I decided to focus my attention on the rest of the crew from my third-favourite comedy (it’s only preceded by Parks and The Mindy Project) on network TV.
I first set my sights on an interview with Joe Lo Truglio, as I wanted to talk to him about the Wet Hot American Summer series, as well as Boyle’s future with Rosa and Gina. He was so sweet and cool, making it obvious why it’s hard not to love Boyle even in spite of his slightly creepy quirks. I’m not the only one who feels this way either, as a follow-up chat with Stephanie Beatriz–that’s Rosa to you–lead to her revealing that she finds Joe pretty damn attractive.
When talking with Stephanie, I also continued my role as specstator (it began with my run-in with four-eyed babe Rashida Jones) by asking her about her ridiculously cool pink glasses. Yes, they are prescription, and yes, she wears them between scenes on the set. What’s cooler, though, is that she was considering getting contacts, but was dissuaded by her boyfriend, who thinks she looks beautiful in her specs. Not only is her guy obviously a keeper, he is totally right. Steph looked totally fab yesterday, and, like her, I hope the writers find a way to bring her ace accessory into Rosa’s life somehow (tough girls need to see too!).
Before we were rushed off the Brooklyn set, I also snuck in some Qs with Chelsea Peretti, who plays the hilarious Gina. Although her character is totally ridic (in the best way), Chelsea was a total sweetheart talking about her, particularly her relationships with childhood pal Jake and new lover boy Boyle. I also had a great, but brief time with Mr. Schur during which he talked favourably about the aforementioned Miss Jones and her incoming cop series for TBS, Angie Tribeca. According to him, that show, which also follows some bumbling cops, is very Naked Gun, with Rashida playing the Leslie Nielsen role. So, yeah, that one’s getting an automatic DVR pass from me when it starts on Canada’s Comedy.
As if I hadn’t had enough cop talk for the day, we followed up some panels with daytime talker The Real and Lifetime series The Lottery at the Warner Bros. lot with a screening of Fox’s Gotham. I wasn’t particularly anticipating the Batman original story series, at least in comparison to some of the other writers in attendance, but I gotta say that, as you’d expect, Donal Logue makes the perfect bad cop to Ryan Atwood’s Commissioner Gordon. Also to watch when the show hits this fall? Jada Pinkett Smith’s wig. No one has rocked short, bright red-accented hair that fearlessly since Josie McCoy.
After we left Gotham, it was time for some really, really good Sex. I say that sort of in jest, but in truth, I think that the evening event centred around the series, which just started its stellar second season on Showtime and TMN/Movie Central, was the most satisfying part of the pretty damn tantalizing day. A part of that has to do with the fact that I am in love with the show and how it portrays the many sides of female sexuality through incredible performances by actresses like former Party girl Lizzy Caplan and current Mom Alison Janney, but also, from the dry martinis circulating to the ’50s style hors d’oeuvres (think deviled eggs, chicken pot pies, shrimp cocktails) to the vintage furniture and knickknack-strewn backdrop, the set visit perfectly captured the era featured on the series.
Having previously spoken with costume designer Ane Crabtree for TV Guide Canada, I knew that great care is taken to make sure that the ’50s and ’60s are accurately portrayed within every fabric–sartorial pun!–of Masters of Sex. But after walking through the Masters household, I can confirm that she and the rest of the behind-the-scenes team actually do achieve that effect in spades. The amount of attention to detail was obvious, particularly as I explored the kitchen space, which was filled with old copies of Good Housekeeping, quirky cooking accessories, an extremely well-preserved copper stove and what looked like the one of the first dishwashers ever made. Even the cast seems to be amazed by this, as a good part of my one-on-one time with actress Caitlin Fitzgerald (Libby Masters on the show) revolved around that very stove, and my talk with guest actress Betsy Brandt (yes, Marie of Breaking Bad) culminated with her fawning over a specific skirt that Crabtree designed for her using vintage fabric.
I was lucky enough to chat with the lovely Crabtree (she remembered me from our previous interview on sight, despite the fact that we talked on the phone!) at one point during the set visit, and she offered up some juicy tidbits on the future of Betsy and Allison’s characters, both in terms of their outfits and outward character growth. She also talked about a really exciting plot development I’m dying to talk about myself, but will have to save for a proper news story. I think I’ll be able to pull a number of pieces from the Masters event, in fact, as I also got a question in with Caplan, as well as her co-star Michael Sheen. So look out for those sooner than later.
I actually got so caught up with trying to talk to the Sexy people that I nearly missed the shuttle back to the hotel at the end of the night. But not to worry, Mom, I did get a picture of that glass dildo before I kitten heeled it out of there. And let me just say that thing is Fassbender-sized live and in–around might be a better word, but oh well–person.
While I’d love to say that I ended my evening on that, uh, buzzworthy, note–you know, just for the joke’s sake–I actually used my post-event time off to catch up with a great friend I made at last year’s TCA tour. After some turkey club sandwiches and extended talk about ABC Family dramas, I went upstairs and wiped out on my bed, but not before basking in the afterglow of everything. My conclusion: I want Sex and Andy and all day, every day.
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.