Winter 2011 TCA Press Tour: Top 13 Quotes from Day 8

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)

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BadAzz Mofo Geeky Quick Hits

Other than the very sad and disturbing passing of David Carradine, very well noted by Will Harris a bit earlier (I’ve got more at my own bloggy digs, Forward to Yesterday), it’s kind of a slow news day in the movie world…

* In a bit of very inside baseball, with his upcoming “Avatar” 3-D extravaganza already getting a lot of ink many months before its X-Mas release, James Cameron has broken with his past practice and has signed with an agency. And not just any agency, but the mighty CAA. I know, your life will never be the same. Variety has the scoop, such as it is.

* 79-year-old lifelong cinema enfant terrible Jean-Luc Godard (“Breathless,” “Contempt” — a great film you really ought to see) is looking to do a film inspired by a Holocaust memoir, says THR. I know, your life will really never be the same, but this is interesting. Godard, a truly radical leftist, criticized Israel implicitly in his 1967 comic masterpiece, “Weekend,” when the middle-east nation’s battles were still very much a liberal cause. I’m not at all one to equate anti-Zionism with anti-Semitism, but the film itself, and the worldwide response from Jewish groups, should be worth watching for those of us interested in this kind of thing.

* And finally, Nikki Finke devoted all of 24 words this morning to the passing of David Carradine (and turned off comments for some reason), but after adding that she doesn’t “do geek,” she did find time to devote some space to covering Total Sci-Fi‘s “25 Women Who Shook Sci-Fi” list, with a definite emphasis on bad-ass mofo type females. It was topped by Sigourney Weaver‘s Ripley from the “Alien” franchise (including “Aliens” from the aforementioned J. Cameron). The list also covered fantasy for whatever reason and #2 on the list was Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Geller) of “Buffy” fame. (My personal Buffsession, Willow Rosenberg, aka Alyson Hannigan, came in at #21.) With the possible exception of the first choice, which I really can’t argue with as long as you’re talking about actresses and not, say, writers, my list would be entirely different — if I didn’t tend to avoid lists. Since we really do “do geek” here at Premium Hollywood, allow me to link to fan site Whedonesque‘s comment thread on the topic, where the discussion eventually includes the terrific SF (not “sci-fi”!) writer, Roger Zelazny. Now that’s geek.

  

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Buffy, We’ll Hardly Know Ye (Updated)

A veritable geek storm has erupted over an item at the Hollywood Reporter reporting a Star Trek and Twilight inspired reboot, or something, of the Buffy, the Vampire Slayer franchise, only without Buffy creator Joss Whedon, sans Buffy’s erstwhile “scooby” friends (no Willow!!!! Aaaagh!!!!!!), and, if I read it right, without Buffy.

A bit of backstory: Fran Rubel Kuzui, director of the original, pleasantly mediocre, movie version of the franchise once upon a time fashioned a perfectly respectable, pleasantly lightweight autobiographical indie romantic comedy, Tokyo Pop (or that’s how I remember it…I haven’t seen it since it’s 1988 release, when I was but a highly precocious toddler). In typical Hollywood fashion, on her second (and, so far, final) feature as a director, most accounts hold that Rubel and company seriously refashioned Whedon’s original screenplay from a serio-comic actioner to an out and out teen comedy with random changes made to the screenplay from a number of sources, including, according to Whedon, co-star Donald Sutherland (who you will never see in any other Whedon project, it’s safe to say).

Since then, Rubel Kazui has held on to some of the rights, and fans of the Buffy TV show saw her name at the front of every episode…and heard nothing else from her, ever.  It’s safe to assume that she had zero input on the television show and received the credit as part of her compensation for the rights. Now, as most of you probably know, a major plot thread of the TV show was Buffy’s trouble-plagued romance with a (mostly) good guy vampire named Angel, setting the hearts of fans of Sarah Michelle Geller and David Boreanaz seriously aflutter. Hence, the Twilight connection — though lips that touched blood never touched those belonging to movie-Buffy Kristy Swanson.

So, with those Trek and Twilight grosses pointing the way, Kuzui and Vertigo Entertainment, which usually specializes in remaking Asian films for the American market, are trying to restart the franchise, apparently using a loophole from the original concept of there being a new slayer in every generation. As a fan of the show, trust me when I say this is nowhere near as clever as the loophole J.J. Abrams and company came up with to stay on (most) Trekkies’ good sides. Overall, this idea strikes me as if the Coca-Cola company had put out New Coke as a non-carbonated non-cola. Buffy without Buffy Summers, and the Whedonverse, without Whedon = box office gold?!? Nah.

Assuming it ever happens, of course. Whedon is an extremely savvy third-generation show biz writer who has already pulled off the unheard of feats of retrieving a lost screenplay concept and remaking it as his own TV show, and then turning another quickly-canceled television show into a major, if not immediately profitable, Hollywood film (Serenity). He is usually protective of his properties, to the extent that he has any control. I’m guessing that this one is almost certain to generate very interesting behind-the-scenes maneuvers.

As always, on Whedon-related matters Whedonesque is very much on top of the story.

UPDATE: Michael Ausiello has managed to elicit a four word response from Joss Whedon, whose currently working on his horror film collaboration with Drew Goddard, “The Cabin in the Woods.” Those four words are:

I hope it’s cool.

H/t Whedonesque.

  

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Old Show, New Season: “The Big Bang Theory” / “How I Met Your Mother”

Monday night TV sucks.

No, wait, hear me out: it sucks because there are now officially too many good shows being broadcast on Mondays.

Haaaaaaaave you checked out the schedule for 8 PM? Starting next week (Sept. 29), the following shows will be competing against each other: “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother” on CBS, “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles” on Fox, “Chuck” on NBC, and “Gossip Girl” on The CW. Even if I had a splitter for my TiVo – note to self: get a splitter for my TiVo – I’d still be out of luck, since it’s not like my system is capable of recording four shows at the same time…and, geez, it’s not like there are enough hours in the day to keep up with this much programming, anyway!

Good thing, then, that CBS was kind enough to give me the hook-up on the premieres of “The Big Bang Theory” and “How I Met Your Mother,” so I could scope them out and give you a bit of a preview without fear of missing tonight’s episodes of “Sarah Connor” or “Gossip Girl.” Mind you, I still don’t know what I’m going to do next week, when “Chuck” premieres, but I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it…

I don’t think I could’ve been more pleased with the Season 2 premiere of “The Big Bang Theory.” It was one of my favorite new series last year, but given the way it ended, with Penny (Kaley Cuoco) sharing a moment with Leonard (Johnny Galecki), you couldn’t help but worry that things were moving a bit too fast between the unlikely couple. Sweet or not, it’s just really hard to imagine a relationship between a physicist and a Cheesecake Factory waitress working out for the long haul…and, fortunately, Penny has the same concerns at the conclusion of their first date.

Unfortunately, however, she makes the mistake of sharing those concerns with Sheldon (Jim Parsons), who reacts about as well to her suggestion that he not tell Leonard about her worries as he reacts to everything else.

In short, he freaks out.

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