The experience of seeing the show that I’ve watched and loved since 1981 being created in front of me has been mindblowing. Seeing the actors? Surreal in a way I simply can’t describe.
My fellow bloggers have done phenomenal reporting about this trip. In an effort to avoid duplication of their fine efforts, I thought I’d try to share some of my observations, from a fan’s point of view. And make no mistake – though I’m a seasoned journalist and have steered through some tough interviews, my heart was in this visit as a fan, first and foremost.
Here’s some snapshots from my Springfield Yearbook…
Most Missed Storyline Opportunity: I know that Beth Chamberlin (Beth) beautifully handled the Lorelai story a few years back, but if anyone at GL should have a multiple personality story written for them, it should be Daniel Cosgrove (Bill).
We saw Daniel on both days of our visit; within the first few minutes at Peapack, I saw at least four or five of his personas, including a pseudo-British actor and a rock star (he was singing a riff on Pat Benetar’s “Heartbreaker”). Following his stream-of-consciousness was hysterically funny, but Cosgrove was so energetic it made me long for a cup of coffee (though he did admit defeat to Ellen Wheeler, who was clearly outrunning him as they went from scene to scene).
Marcy Rylan (Lizzie) told us that Daniel mooned her during their first scenes together, so clearly that wasn’t just a show for us! Daniel was the first actor we saw, and he’s just so gregarious and approachable that he immediately put us at ease. I’m always so jealous of people who are so comfortable talking to everyone! (There’s a reason I type, folks – I get tongue-tied in person.)
Funniest moment: Well, there’s a host of moments to pick from here.
- Day two included a “Spaulding Family lunch,” and Grant Aleksander (Phillip) was catching up with Marj Dusay (Alexandra) and Ron Raines (Alan). He was also getting up to speed with new-to-him screen daughter Marcy Rylan. Marcy, in turn, was helpfully filling Grant in on all that had happened since his departure in 2004. At one point, Grant got a googly-eyed look, clearly on detail overload.
- Any moment within earshot of Daniel Cosgrove.
- Watching Ellen Wheeler tap-dance: priceless!
Double-take: It was a challenge in person to tell the difference between Beth Chamberlin and Marcy Rylan. They both look so similar, and Chamberlin’s kettlebell workouts have clearly paid off for her; she looked fantastic. We joked a bit about Beth’s DVD workout, but she was passionate about the results. When we got to see Beth, Marcy and Tina Sloan (Lillian) together at a photo shoot, I was reminded that good casting is, indeed, an art of its own.
Nurse Raines goes to Washington: Roger Newcomb and I had a great conversation with Tina Sloan. Tina is so smart and passionate and we talked for some time about politics, business and our president-elect. It was an invigorating conversation, and I could see Tina (or Lillian!) running for public office. Tina also looked great – and she’s definitely not vain: she came to talk to us while her hair was being set.
The Nice Guy award: John Driscoll (Coop) might hate me for saying this – after all, Coop is a bit boxed in by being such a “nice guy” – but he was very welcoming when we saw him at the GL production offices and later on set. John was a busy guy – viewing videotape, doing research and appearing on-set in scenes with Marcy and Beth – but when he saw me on-set, he sat down and talked with me about Coop – and remembered my name from a half-hour earlier.
Most unlike their character: By a landslide, Ron Raines. Alan Spaulding may be gruff and menacing on-screen, but Ron is so relaxed and mellow in person. Close behind would be Jordan Clarke (Billy), who we met briefly in Peapack. Billy Lewis might be a blustery force of nature, but Jordan was much quieter.
LL Cool Justin: It’s a fact – the ladies love, love, LOVE Justin Deas. In fact, everyone loves Justin. But many of the women who work with him got a little starry-eyed talking about him. Head writer Jill Lorie Hurst admitted to a little crush on Justin and Buzz. Both Marj Dusay and Tina Sloan talked about working with him. (Note to GL: A Buzz/Lillian/Alex triangle would be fantastic!)
Self-Deprecating Award: This would definitely go to Grant Aleksander, who downplayed any fuss about his return and described his facial appearance as being “a skull with two black holes in it.” At the risk of sounding like a broken record, Grant looked great as well, and like Beth Chamberlin, he is in great shape.
Seen but not heard: I briefly saw, but did not get a chance to speak to, Crystal Chappell (Olivia) and Robert Newman (Josh).
Seen briefly: We had a chance to quickly say hi to, or briefly chat with, Murray Bartlett (Cyrus), Lawrence St. Victor (Remy), Karla Mosley (Christina), and Frankie D himself, Frank Dicopolous. Frank was in the production offices, helping the staff decorate a Christmas tree.
Missing in action: The GL and Televest people were generous with their time and access to actors, but on my very short wish list of people I wish we’d seen: Yvonna Wright (Mel), Elizabeth Keifer (Blake) and Justin Deas (Buzz).