No proper panels today, but we did a heck of a lot of driving around. It was TCA Day, which meant that we went to this studio and that, visiting the sets of various shows and meeting their casts and creators. It started bright and early with trips to “Lopez Tonight” and “Conan,” then it was over to 20th Century Fox, where we were treated to panels featuring stars from “Glee,” “How I Met Your Mother,” “Raising Hope,” and “Modern Family,” divided up into men and women, with Jimmy Kimmel moderating the panel for the guys. After that, we hit the sets of “Cougar Town,” “Parks & Recreation,” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior.” Good times all around, especially for someone like me, who lives in Virginia and rarely gets to enjoy these kinds of experiences. After that, I headed over to the Vanguard for the taping of two episodes of Season 2 of “The Green Room with Paul Provenza,” which was phenomenal. How can you go wrong with an evening that includes appearances from Ron White, Kathleen Madigan, Lewis Black, Margaret Cho, Richard Lewis, Jeffrey Ross, and others? Can’t wait to see the final cut of the episode. (They run 30 minutes, but the taping’s more like an hour and a half.)
But I know, you’re wondering, “Why 13 quotes?” It’s a weird number, so it’s a valid question. Originally, it was going to be 15 quotes, but for reasons unknown to me, we have yet to receive a transcription from our trip to the “Parks & Recreation” set, which contained at least two more solid quotes. Oh, well.
1. “I’ve said it before and I sincerely mean it, in the modern landscape of television there is only a few ways to stay on TV, and one of them is to be, you know, lucky as shit and have a huge giant hit, and everybody in the world watches you, and the other is to cultivate a loyal and hopefully intelligent audience that follows you around, and that is in no great part due to people that champion the show if they like it. First and foremost, I wanted to say that for those of you that don’t like the show, fuck you guys. But those of you who have really taken the time to champion the show and write about it and say nice things, I’m grateful. It’s not just for ego reasons, in this day and age it really means something.” – Bill Lawrence, “Cougar Town” (ABC)
2. “On April Fools’, I was talking to Usher, and I said, ‘You have three kids.’ He said, ‘No, I don’t.’ I said, ‘Yeah.’ He goes, ‘No, I don’t. Don’t you have research people that tell you?’ I mean, and he looks at the audience, and he says, ‘You would think that a host would do his research and know facts about a guest before he asks a question.’ And then he said, ‘April Fool’s.’ He got me, yeah.” – George Lopez, “Lopez Tonight” (TBS)
3. “I’ve never considered myself particularly interested in media. I mean, I’m someone who likes to come in and do my job, and then I like to go home and play with my kids. I wasn’t used to being a media story. It was never a goal of mine. So the strangest thing about immediately after the (end of ‘The Tonight Show’) was my wife decided the next morning, early on, we should just drive up to Santa Barbara and check into a hotel and decompress for three days because she thought this guy needs to decompress. He needs to. So we got up really early in the morning. We got in our car, and we pulled out of our house, and two cars followed right in behind us and followed us all the way to Santa Barbara and then just hung outside the hotel for three days. And, you know, I’m not Brad Pitt. I’m not George Clooney. You know, I’ve been blessed with their DNA, but I just thought, ‘Who are they following?’ So that was weird.
“And there were a lot of highs. I walked into a restaurant that day, and everybody in the restaurant applauded. And I thought, ‘Well, that’s nice. This is weird. And, also, this isn’t a living. I don’t see how to do this as a job, walk around and get applauded in restaurants.’ So there was an initial sort of high, but then I went back to my house, and we had a lot of stuff to figure out. And one of the first things I did was…you know, this show and these shows have been the organizing principle of my life for such a long time that I thought, ‘I’ve got to call my assistant and get to work.’ So I called my assistant, Sona, and I said, ‘We should get together and go over all of the things we need to do.’ And she said, ‘Okay. Where?’ And my wife wanted me out of the house, and so I said, ‘Okay,’ and we decided to meet at a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant.
“I’m not kidding. I hosted ‘The Tonight Show.’ I think the last show was a Friday. I hosted that ‘Tonight Show’ on a Friday, and on Monday, I’m in a Marie Callender’s pie restaurant, and my assistant has a laptop, and we are sitting there. And there’s two other customers in the place, you know, stabbing at a pie at 11:00 in the morning, and this was now my new headquarters. And I pass this Marie Callender’s a lot, and I think about that shocking…I mean, it was just the juxtaposition of these insane images of ‘Tonight Show,’ iconic, Marie Callender’s restaurant, meeting / office. This is where I work now. And that kind of summed up the madness, I think, a little bit of that time.” – Conan O’Brien, “Conan” (TBS)
4. “I think the expectation that women be attractive as well as funny has just always been there. We even need attractive news anchors who are telling us about death and destruction and they still need to be pretty. I don’t know why it is. Some sociobiological level. We need to look at females and think, ‘I would hit that.’ I think that the gentlemen may need it.” – Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” (ABC)
5. “The guy is usually like the star of (sitcoms). The show is usually built around the guy and (you) sort of feel like…you know, even from Jackie Gleason on, his wife on the show, Audrey Meadows, was very beautiful, but she was sort of his foil. She’s sort of his straight man. And that’s usually the role of the woman in the traditional sitcom or comedy thing: the woman is there to have the guy bounce the comedy off of. She’s there to make him look like an ass. In a good way that makes us laugh.” – Martha Plimpton, “Raising Hope” (Fox)
6. “Especially in late night, people focus on female writers, and I will say that from my perspective, when we started the show, we got about 120 submissions from writers to be part of the show, and of those 120, two of them were women, and we hired one of those two women. So there just aren’t as many women female writers. They’re just really aren’t as many and you don’t want to get in a situation where you’re hiring people just because of whether they have a penis and/or vagina or not.” – Jimmy Kimmel
7. “Everybody is asking about not playing the girlfriend roles. I have played the girlfriend roles for years and the finger-shaker and the one that’s like, ‘Oh, fill-in-the-blank comedian, when you’re done with your crazy little adventure,’ and I find it a relief to finally get to play a mom. It’s like, ‘Wait, so you like something about me other than you might want to bang me?’ I mean, I want to get old in this business – and by ‘old,’ I mean real old, like, saggy old and the face old and real things drooping down into my socks old – and there’s a handful of women who have done it. Betty White. Cloris Leachman. I’m sure you can name many more, but very few women. And it’s a terrible river to cross when you’re crossing it because you’re not sure if you’re going to get to the other side. So finally playing a mother of teenagers makes me feel like I’ve got a shot. They like something about me other than prospective bangability.” – Julie Bowen, “Modern Family” (ABC)
8. “I was talking to a guest last night about the idea (how) on talk shows now you have to be funny. It doesn’t matter. You could bring Dr. Kevorkian out there. It’s like, ‘All right, what anecdotes does he have to share with us?’ And I think it’s because it’s going to go off that path every once in a while, but really I think for the comfort of the guest, it’s nice to have an area you know you can go to to be funny and some people are better at it. Some of these stories, it’s like doing a little sketch with somebody and you’re pretending you don’t know the story. You’re like, ‘Really? Wow, you went to Africa, tell me about that,’ and it’s bullshit.” – Jimmy Kimmel
9. “A ‘Buffy’ movie without Joss (Whedon)…? I would crap on that.” – Alyson Hannigan, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)
10. Neil Patrick Harris: We film (‘How I Met Your Mother’) like it’s a big multi‑camera show, and yet there’s no audience there. You have to do this like quasi‑heightened reality as if there’s people laughing audibly at your jokes. It changes, kind of, the tempo of what it is we do. It’s a unique sort of weird hybrid style.
Jason Segel: Because there’s no audience, so you have to hold for a laugh that’s not there. You get to guess how funny your joke is. ‘I’m going to give this one four seconds.’ And then you see the episode, and then there’s, like, the canned laughter for three seconds, and then three second of silence. We’re all just sitting there.
Neil Patrick Harris: I think I’m going to start opening the door and then waiting for entrance applause. Start my line and then hold. Say the line, look out, finish the line.
– Neil Patrick Harris and Jason Segel, “How I Met Your Mother” (CBS)
11. “I think there is something about dark-haired women with deep voices of ambiguous sexuality that plays into dramatic programming.” – Janeane Garafalo, “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (CBS)
12. “I personally think that (my character and I) dress completely differently. You might disagree. I think that we do. I can tell you that I have found some really cool dresses that I have gone to walk out the door and gone, ‘Uh-uh. I look like Penelope. I’ve got to go back upstairs and change,’ because she dresses really good. They borrowed in terms of…like, I think we both let our freak flags fly. I like dressing how I like to dress, and I look like a little art statement. And I think she likes to dress like that, but I think she makes her own art statement, and I have a glam squad that definitely does that. I think the part that they borrowed from is, like, ‘Oh, she can pull this off because, in real life, she dresses like a seven-year-old pirate from space.'” – Kristen Vangsness, “Criminal Minds” and “Criminal Minds: Suspect Behavior” (CBS)
13. “I love getting to know actors, and Kevin (Biegel) does, too, and seeing what their real personalities are like and stealing from them. And one of the first things that I noticed when I met Courteney Cox is she pours herself a healthy glass of wine. She pours herself like the type that you could do wrist curls with. What did our prop guy say you could fit in (Jules’s glass) officially? A bottle-and-a-half of wine per glass. And she drinks maybe five or six in one show.” – Bill Lawrence, “Cougar Town” (ABC)