I recently had the joy of working on a big-budget broadcast television show. Although I’m not allowed to mention or post anything regarding the contestants or outcome of the Austin auditions, I will leave you with a snapshot from backstage…
The other day, as I scrolled through the seemingly endless selection of channels in my cable pack, I saw that Teen Nick now airs episodes of Freaks and Geeks in syndication. This led me to consider my favorite characters, of whom I’ve taken the liberty of compiling into a list. You know, just for giggles. And the love of Judd Apatow.
This is early James Franco, people. We’re talking young, rebellious, and ripe for the picking. As the series progresses, Franco eases into his role and the character really comes alive. At once heart throb, rebel, and slacker, Daniel DeSario embodies every school girl’s fantasy – and every parent’s worse nightmare. Best scene: When Daniel shares the nudey flick with Sam and, in turn, is welcomed into the Geeks’ Dungeons and Dragons circle.
Knowing what we know about Jason Segal characters now (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, How I Met Your Mother) it’s kinda hard to distinguish how much of Nick Andopolis is fiction and how much is the actor, well, just being himself. Freaks and Geeks was the birthplace of the Jason Segal MO: sensitive, stalkerish, and totally into ’70s drum-rock. Best scene: Nick’s “Lady L.”
No matter what Martin Starr does, no matter where he goes, he will always be “Bill” to me. When I, per chance, met him at the South By Southwest 2007 premiere of Knocked Up (another Apatow project), I told him as much. He seemed nice but a little nonplussed. In the series, he’s part of the geek crowd, the third player in his three-geek gang of comprised of friends Sam and Neil. Best scene: A two-way tie between the geek fight scene and Bill’s prank call to Coach Fredericks.
To say that Harris is a supporting character would be giving him too much credit. He’s in the periphery most of the time but the scenes in which he does appear are golden. Rumor has it he was a real student at the high school where Freaks and Geeks shot. Apatow thought he was funny (which is totally is) and plugged him into the show. Best scene: Any scene in which Harris offers sex advice.
I would assume that, at some time or another, everyone has known a “Millie” type. She is the quintessential good girl, the “Jesus Freak,” mathlete, the only freshman still playing with dolls, president of “sober students,” and the former best friend of protagonist Lindsay Weir. Best scene: When Millie goes rogue after Lindsay and Kim accidentally kill her dog. She even drinks a beer and mouths off to her mom!
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Why are so many New Yorkers obsessed with being “real New Yorkers?”
This thought entered my mind while watching a promo for the NY1 “Real New Yorker” campaign yesterday. A narrator speaks over photos of different New York street scenes while asking the viewer certain questions: (I’m paraphrasing) “why do you look into oncoming traffic instead of the traffic light before stepping into the crosswalk?”; “how do you know the street vendor umbrellas are garbage?”; “how do you know which subway car will drop you off closest to the exit?” – “you’re a REAL NEW YORKER.”
I understand the angle. NY1 is at once attempting to illustrate it’s longevity while also giving viewers the “secret handshake.” New Yorkers wear this city like a badge and rightfully so. The longer I’ve lived here, however, the more I’ve come to see New York as I would any other city: just a city.
Before I moved to New York I got a lot of chatter about how expensive it is, how hard it is to “make it,” how everyone is rude, how New York is the loneliest city in the world, how it’s a dog-eat-dog world and New York City has the sharpest teeth – the list goes on. What I’ve found? Well, there’s truth in every trite adage but only a little.
As with any megalopolis, New York is going to have slightly stiffer competition than other cities, more expensive options, more people thus more of the ruder variety, and, yes, it can be very lonely. My point is, when I stopped glorifying New York City and saw it stripped naked standing in front of me, I realized that we’re not so different from everybody else – we’re just more concentrated.
Sure, New York is different in the details: I walk everywhere; I look like a pack mule coming home from the grocery store; I have a personal relationship with my cobbler. In many ways, I feel like New Yorkers are closer, more in touch, with their residence just because of simple interaction. There is an energy to this place but there is no magic.
So why are New Yorkers so obsessed with being “real?” Maybe it’s because we know how special this city is. We know how, perhaps, we once glorified the skyscrapers and bustle; how we felt when we first visited; how envious we were of our friends that had already made the leap. We also know the dirty, often stressful realities of living here.
Maybe that’s what they mean by “real.”
Today I took a break from the office and hit the mean streets of midtown with some of my co-workers.
Ariel, Caron, MiMi and myself wrangled, shot, and interviewed a whole slew of strangers on this the first (and coldest) day of December.
Shooting in NYC is always interesting but shooting in Time Square is a real feat of strength. Between tourists, food carts, police officers, security guards, street performers, homeless men, throngs of teenagers, and those Salvation Army bell people, we had our jobs cut out for us. Thankfully, everything went extraordinarily well.
So much fun!
Caron and Ariel.
The production crew.
To commemorate the tenth anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001, this weekend I worked on a project that documented Ride 2 Recovery.
I met some amazing people and, what’s more, heard their amazingly heroic stories, of which I’ve never been more inspired.
When I got off the train at Grand Central this morning, my AM New York dude was nowhere to be found.
In his place were college-aged types in cotton candy-colored t-shirts shouting the phrase “Roseanne’s Nuts!” and handing out packages of salted macademias to passersby. Apparently, Roseanne Barr’s new series, in which she lives and works on a Hawaiian macademia nut farm, premieres on Lifetime tonight. Every preview that I’ve seen looks pretty hilarious. Honestly, I like Roseanne (especially her recent article in NY Magazine) and I like the fact that Lifetime is attempting to rebrand itself. Another thing I like? Free macademia nuts.