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NBC wrap-up: Slater's split personality, and Selma Blair's a wise-ass - TCA Report

by Joel Keller, posted Jul 22nd 2008 10:28PM
Kath & Kim panel
Today was the very last day of the press tour here in Beverly Hills. It was "TCA Day," with members of the association (including me) going to the Warner Brothers lot to visit the sets of ER, Pushing Daisies, and Chuck, where we spoke to cast members and producers (Oh, we went to the set of America's Best Dance Crew, but let's just forget I mentioned that one). Then we bused it over to the Fox lot, where Joss Whedon showed us around the set of Dollhouse, and the entire cast of King of the Hill gave a table read of their 250th episode. All this fun will be in upcoming posts later this summer.

Despite some of the griping you may have seen from me, it's been lots of fun. It's just a very tiring experience. Case in point: On Monday, NBC decided to close out the press conference portion of the tour by having us sit through ten panels, five of them after lunch. Here's a wrap-up post that goes over some of what went on yesterday that I haven't already covered.

We'll start with Selma Blair. Something about her answers on the Kath & Kim panel told me that she didn't want to be there. Don't get me wrong, she was funny as hell, but.... let's just say I sensed a bit of a tone. Maybe it was when she called her boss a "monkey-rat."

Blair plays Kim, the temperamental daughter to Molly Shannon's Kat, a gal who's divorced, super feminine, and thinks she is (or should) be famous, despite living in Florida. Yes, the two actresses aren't far apart enough in age to play mother and daughter. That's what was set up in the original Australian version of the show, and it's kind of the point: both Kath and Kim are a bit childish, and the closeness in age reflects the switching roles between the two of them.

Blair's response to questions about that? "Actresses play different people all the time. It's weird. It's this thing called acting, and so you just, like, play different characters that aren't your age or anything. I mean, I think. I don't know."

Anyway, Molly Shannon gave her usual funny, sweeping-gesture filled answers. Blair, on the other hand, was a whole 'nother kind of funny. The darker kind. Near the end of the panel, she was asked if she's going to don a wig or use hair extensions to play Kim, since she has much shorter hair now than she did in the scenes we saw. She started answering the wig vs. extensions question when she realized, "This is probably the most boring answer to a question you've ever had. They will be extensions probably."

But she decided to keep going, even past the PR rep announcing the end of the panel. "Hopefully they will be done correctly. I think I'll be getting Russian hair instead of the Indonesian done last time. Tell me when you want me to stop answering." But wait, there's more. "I know. It's thrilling. If I get a wig, it will be a three-quarter wig because apparently I have a very low forehead line, which a lot of people comment on all the time. I am apparently from the monkey family. I hear that all the time. People are either rats or monkeys. I'm a monkey. I know. Look at your friends. You're all either a rat or a monkey. It's true."

All of this was said with a very deadpan tone that signified she was just rolling with a bad situation. She started looking at the people on the panel and analyzing if they were monkey or rat: "Monkey. Monkey. Rat." Then she looked at her boss, executive producer Michelle Nader, and said, "You're kind of monkey-rat." Annnnd.... scene.

More NBC fun:

My Own Worst Enemy stars Christian Slater as a suburban dad named Henry who is also a ruthless secret agent named Edward. But Henry doesn't know that Edward exists inside him. However, the opposite is true; a chip implanted in Edward's brain gets activated after a mission is done and he's Henry again, complete with fake memories of the fake business trip he was on as a cover.

Confused? Well, executive producer Jason Smilovic says that "we are to take the title literally. He figuratively his own worst enemy. And they are both vying for supremacy within the same body, and they're both trying to -- they are locked into a game of zero competition with one another where one person wins and one person loses on certain fronts, obviously."

There was a sophomore dramas panel with the star and executive producers of three series: Zach Levi and Josh Schwartz from Chuck, Brooke Shields and Oliver Goldstick from Lipstick Jungle, and Rand Ravich and Damian Lewis from Life. Lots of joking from Schwartz and Levi (including Schwartz saying "Every day is Yom Kippur"), and lots of talk about almost starting fresh because they were held back after the strike:

  • Life comes back with Crews still trying to unravel the mystery of how he got set up for the murder that sent him away, despite the fact that he found the trigger man at the end of the season. Donal Logue will be playing a former New York cop who's been transferred to Crews' precinct.
  • Lipstick comes back with Mary Tyler Moore playing Shields' character's mother. Ravich joked that "Valerie Harper has been cast as Crews' mother" on Life.
  • Chuck will continue to explore how Sarah and Casey (yes, Casey) try to keep Chuck alive once the Intersect is fully built and Chuck is made expendable.

The oddest thing that happened on the panel is that Lewis started speaking in an American accent, and when someone asked why he wasn't speaking with his native British accent, he slipped into it and went, "I thought it was cooler to be American. Now I'm really confused. OK, whatever you want. What's your name?" But then he went back to American again. I'd like to see Hugh Laurie or Anna Friel do that!

The other three panels were for NBC News, about their election coverage -- which, sadly, the late Tim Russert was looking forward to, according to NBC News president, Steve Capus -- and two from NBC Sports: an Olympic panel with Bob Costas, Dick Ebersol and company via satellite by Beijing, and a Sunday Night Football panel with... just about everyone on that show except for Costas and Peter King. You could imagine how big a panel that was. The most interesting thing to come out of it was John Madden making two important predictions: "I'm going with the Giants (to get to the Super Bowl), and I'm going with Warren Sapp on Dancing With the Stars."

I may post more from those panels if I can think of something to say. But for now, I'm going to collapse in bed and get ready for my flight home.

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We had the original Australian series here in UK a couple of years ago. It took a while to get into the style of the show. That similar to the show "The Office". Once I got it I found it hilarious. Never thought it could be remade so I am looking forward to the US version. Let's just hope that one of the cable channels in UK pick up the show. Fingers crossed.
Love Selma - I'm sure she will be excellent in the role.


August 19 2008 at 8:42 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I love Chuck and Life and can't wait for them to come back. I'm also looking forward to Kath and Kim.

I like John Madden's predictions. I wish he had said he hoped for a real Manning Bowl in the SB and if I watched Dancing with the Stars, seeing Sapp dance could be...interesting.

July 24 2008 at 12:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Love Selma's answers. Just lovely :-)

I guess she's just bored out of her mind because she just had to do the press tour for Golden Boy II... err Super Monkey Ball... no what was it? Hero Boy? Monster Boy?

Believe me I had to look at my DVD shelf just now to remember that it was Hellboy. I have the graphic novel, the special edition DVD-Box with the Hellboy stature, a Kroenen Action figure and for the life of me I could not remember the name of the movie for it sucketh so much it hurt. The second one I mean.

July 23 2008 at 12:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eric f

that is a hilarious twist on the stupid pointless press junkets.

July 23 2008 at 10:53 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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