They had warned us at the trolley stations that they would be holding the auditions and said they would be charging $10 to park (usually it was free). That was fine. What wasn’t fine was the mess the parking lot was in. They had the normal road to the trolley parking blocked off. When they waved us into an entirely different lot I told the guy I was just going to trolley parking. Oh, you should have gone the other way around. Well, no one told us that, all the signs still say trolley parking this way, am I a goddamn mind reader now? So he says turn around in the lot and I’ll let you out so you can go back the other way. I turn around and I can’t get out of the lot because someone feels they are special and should be able to go through the barricades and proceed to block the lane while they argue with the traffic guy. After about five minutes of watching this, I say screw it and just drive as far as I can to get as close to the trolley as possible, then huff it the rest of the way on foot.
We finally get to the Convention Center a little after 9 am again and go straight to the room where Supernatural will be at 2:45 pm. This room is at least half the size of Ballroom 20 where SG had been on Friday, which is where Heroes and Battlestar Galactica will be at 12:45 and 2:15 on Saturday. The line for Ballroom 20 is already around the convention center by the time we get there and I was told later that if you weren’t in line by 8:00 am you didn’t get in. Totally insane.
So, the room we were in had several things planned before Supernatural and we just decided to stick it out through all of them to ensure we had a seat. So I’ll run through those, as well. Some more briefly than others.
The schedule started with the screening of the pilot for a new show called Pushing Daisies. They had promos all over the place for it in the exhibition hall and, honestly, it didn’t seem like something I would be interested. Man oh man, was I wrong. This show is one of the smartest, quirkiest, freshest shows I’ve seen in a long time. Of course, the fact that is was created by Bryan Fuller (Dead Like Me, Heroes) and directed by Barry Sonnenfeld (Get Shorty, Men in Black) probably has a lot to do with it (they were both on the panel). And now that I think about it, it definitely has a Coen Bros feel to it, who Sonnenfeld worked with for several films. The imagery is beautiful and romantic and wistful and totally sets the mood of a fairytale, which it really is. But the writing and acting are top notch and hilarious. It really has the atmosphere of a British comedy (think Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) with its narration, but the dialogue and situations are sharp and intelligent and yet irreverent.
It deals with a guy who learns as a child (in a rather disturbing yet hilarious way) that he can bring dead things back to life with a touch… then kill them again with a second touch. And if he doesn’t touch them again within one minute, someone else in the general vicinity will die, as well. Bryan Fuller says this was something he toyed with doing as an arc in Dead Like Me but it never happened, so now he’s developed an entire series around it. The guy becomes a baker, and runs a restaurant called the Pie Hole (heeee!) and, through a bizarre event, his talent is found out by a private investigator who asks him to join up with him in a business proposition… they go to the morgue, bring a murdered person back to life, ask who killed them, then collect the reward money. The Pie Maker is very dry and reserved, the Private Investigator is biting and sarcastic and they make a great duo. Throw into the mix a waitress that is in love with him but has no clue about his talent and his childhood sweetheart he can never touch again (not to mention his dog with the same problem) and it actually works. So keep an eye out for this one, people.
Next up was something called Quick Draw. They take three cartoonist and give them each an overhead screen and then give them challenges and watch them draw the challenges. I’ll admit, I’m not a big comic/cartoonist fan but even I knew these three. Sergio Aragones from Mad Magazine and Scott Shaw who did the Flinstones and… crap, I can’t think of his name (don’t you hate that? And of course, he wasn’t in the program listing), but he’s the animator for Futurama. It was a fun way to pass an hour and a half and Sergio did one drawing that they kept having him add things to it, so it was just a frantic collection of images that were kind of, sort of related. And they auctioned that off for a charity and someone paid over $300 for it.
Laurell K. Hamilton
Next up was Laurell K. Hamilton, who I don’t read and from what I’ve heard, since her books have turned rather porny over the years, I really have no desire to start reading. But she did have some interesting philosophies on writing in general that I totally agree with (i.e., sometimes your characters take you in a direction you hadn’t intended to go and it’s best to just follow along since they really do know best) so even though I had not idea what the vast majority of the discussion was about since it dealt with specific characters and books, the talk about writing in general was kind of interesting.
The Family Guy
Once that was over, the room cleared out a bit and we jockeyed for position and moved up several rows and toward the center of the room. Now it was time for The Family Guy. Once again, it’s one of those shows I watch occasionally when nothing else is on but not one of my favorites. It’s a little uneven in the humor for me… individual bits are hilarious but the rest falls flat. But they showed several scenes from an upcoming episode that is a straight parody of Star Wars. Not just bits and pieces but the whole thing with each character of the show playing a character in Star Wars. And I was in tears. Stuey the baby as Darth Vader taunting Louis as Princess Leia saying that after he interrogates her, maybe they can talk about her home planet… oh, oh, oh, I’m sorry, I guess it’s not there anymore. Peter as Han Solo and Ryan as Chewie trying to take a sofa from the trash compactor home with them on the Millenium Falcon. And probably my favorite bit: the Bush-Cheney bumper sticker on the back of the Imperial Cruiser in the opening scene. Plus, the panel was very entertaining. I had no idea the writers and creators were the ones that did the majority of the voices. They talked about censorship and how things changed after the infamous Janet Jackson nipple incident, introduced a few new voices for next season, and dealt with total fans that gushed endlessly about how great they were.
Then, *finally* it was time for Supernatural. Once again people were moving around and my clear shot of the stage was blocked by a very large man on one side. They started setting up the table and to my ultimate relief, Jensen Ackles is going to be sitting directly in my small window of a clear view. But then, the down side… no sign for Jared Padalecki. Moan. The person comes out from WB and announces that Jared really wanted to be there but had been up until 6 am that morning filming and had missed his flight. Once again, given a choice between the two, I’d take Jensen, so it wasn’t the *worst* that could have happened, but still a huge disappointment.
The panel comes out and takes their seats. Ben Edlund and Eric Kripke (producers) Jensen Ackles (Dean Winchester) and Sera Gamble (writer). And yes, Jensen is dead center in front of me, and as long as the big guy doesn’t lift his camera up (which he continued to do…grrrrr!) I could see him and a bit of Sera. The other two I had to rely on the big screen to see. Craig Tomashoff from TV Guide acted as the moderator and actually had several prepared questions before they opened it up to the audience.
The Many Faces of Jensen
Jensen and Sera Gamble
Edlund and Kripke
They had opened with a couple of videos. One was the compilation of scenes that they’ve aired before to Johnny Cash’s God’s Gonna Cut You Down (killer song, I was listening to it on the drive down to San Diego. *G*) Then they had another compilation of scenes to a score by Robert Rodriguez from Once Upon A Time in Mexico (another awesome soundtrack). According to Kripke, the guys in the promo department love Supernatural and are evidently vidders at heart since they keep coming to them with these compilation vids. Heee. Neither showed any spoilers for Season 3 since they’ve really just started shooting and had nothing to show. And finally, they had a special off the Season 2 DVD about the making of the Season 2 finale, which was really fascinating and since it’s on the DVD I won’t go into detail. But suffice it to say, the original concept was quite a bit different but they couldn’t shoot it because it would have blown their budget and actually the alternative they came up with (to use the railroad tracks as a giant Devil’s Trap) is absolute genius in my mind. Also, it covered the reshooting they had to do because of changes in the script that came after they had already shot the scenes with their dad in the graveyard (the actor was only available during a certain period so those were shot early). Sam was supposed to originally be covered in blood after a huge fight with Jake but they had to cut that so Jared had to reshoot all his stuff without blood with a green screen and they superimposed his image over the original scenes. Which makes me wonder if that’s why their dad only *looks* over at Sammy and nods but actually touches Dean.
Someone asked about the Impala and the size engine it had and the writers and producers stammered and Jensen stepped in and started rattling off all the specs for the stunt car and then the others that are used for everyday shooting and impressed everyone. Someone asked why Sam never gets to drive the Impala and Jensen said, “Because it’s my car, goddammit!” And Kripke said he’s even more obsessive about that than anyone. That he’ll see in the script, Sam driving the car, and he’ll get up in arms and demand, “It’s Dean’s car. Why is Sam driving?” And Sera Manners stepped in then and said, “Because Dean was just shot in the leg. Give us a break.” Heeee.
They also asked about practical jokes on the set and Jensen said that he and Jared decided early on that they weren’t going to get into that battle against each other and they tend to join forces against the others, and get it returned on both of them, as well. He told about one where they were climbing down into a sewer (which was on a sound stage so it was just a hole that went nowhere. And Jensen went down first and right when Jared was half way down, two five-gallon buckets of water were poured down on top of them. Jared said his first thought was, “Hey, this isn’t in the script.” That and others are on the gag real of the Season 2 DVDs. Someone asked about each person’s favorite episode and Jensen had a neat little bit to say about that, including the emotional difficulties of shooting All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 2. And I just happened to capture it on video. *G*
Jensen on playing Dean in All Hell Breaks Loose Part 2
The panel talked a lot about music and the part it plays in the show and how everyone really has a say in what songs are used. Kripke just has a rule that they don’t bring him anything recorded after 1980. They were asked about a sound track for the show and Kripke said that they actually pitched that to WB music department and were told it is basically a classic rock compilation and there are tons of those out there and there wasn’t a target audience big enough to support putting one more out to compete with all the others. That earned much moaning from the audience that we evidently don’t count as a big enough market in their eyes. But he did say they would look into creating a download list for iPod music. Someone also asked if there were any plans to include the promo videos on the DVD set and they said not on Season 2 but that it was a great idea and they’d make a note to include them in future sets.
The next paragraph contains small spoilers for Season 3, so don’t read if you want to remain spoiler free.
They asked about how Dean plans to spend his last year alive and evidently he plans to spend it like any red-blooded American boy… women, women, and more women. Speaking of women, they are adding two new female characters to the show next season. Kripke made if very clear they were not being put in as romantic interests for the brothers, that they wouldn’t be riding around together in the Impala eating Scooby snacks. That they were, in fact, on the same lines as other recurring characters like Ellen and Bobby and Gordon and they were going to be acting more as impediments to their work. So don’t freak out… yet. We will evidently learn more about the connection between the Yellow-Eyed Demon and their mother and what that might mean for Sammy. And (happy squeeing because I love this character!) we will learn more about Bobby’s past in the second episode of the season. Oh, and we’ll also be seeing Gordon again in Season 3.
That’s it for Spoilers, so it’s safe to read again.
They ended with Kripke stressing that we almost didn’t make it to Season 3 because of ratings and that all the fans really needed to do their part to make sure we get a Season 4 so pass the word to everyone to WATCH THIS SHOW. It was rather depressing because SGA ended on much the same note with the VP from Sci Fi saying watch the show live, don’t Tivo it, so we can keep it going. So once again, I am evidently in the minority of people that watch two great shows that don’t have mass appeal. My opinion is they don’t know what they’re missing.
The Rest of the Trip
Once that was over, we finally left that room for the first time in almost seven hours. Gah! We hit the exhibition hall one last time for me to pick up a few more things for hubby and the kids, then we said so long to Comicon since there really wasn’t anything that interested us too much on Sunday. We went to La Jolla, had Mexican food and margaritas, walked along the shoreline and saw the seals, then went home and crashed…. well, Robyn crashed, I wrote for a little bit on my section of the new Geeks and Goons Guide we’ve started. Then I crashed and we finally got to sleep in late the next morning.
Sunday we went to a late breakfast, cleaned the house, then headed out to Julian for pie on our way back to Vegas. Of course that didn’t go exactly as planned. I somehow missed our exit off the 52 (I swear to God it wasn’t there) and we ended up circling around to the I-15 again, but not before we somehow ended up back downtown and almost in the Naval base. After I had a small nervous breakdown behind the wheel cursing the San Diego freeway system and Robyn dug out an old napkin for me to use to dry my eyes, we were on the road again and took the route off the I-15 instead. We had some amazing peach and apple pie in Julian, drove back through Temecula through the mountains and heading on toward Nevada. We stopped at Tom’s Farm for food (it was a place that used to be a simple little produce stand and is now this complex of building that sells everything) because I was about to starve and my blood sugar was dropping and I was getting cranky. I ordered a cheeseburger and onion rings and had order number 187. They call 187, I walk up to get it and there’s no tray. Kid behind the counter said, oh, he just picked it up. I told her, there is no he, I’m order 187. I looked out and the guy is already eating the damn food. So they took my receipt and went to fill it again. At this point, I’ve just about decided I’m cursed. Then they called order 185… and they called it again… and again. It’s a chicken sandwich and onion rings and I decided, evidently, *this* is the guy who took my food’s order. And he’s probably thinking they screwed up and gave him a cheeseburger, or he forgot what he ordered, or didn’t realize he was eating beef instead of chicken. I eventually got my food, we headed out again, and arrived back home about 8:30 at night, absolutely exhausted.
I then divided up the swag for the kids and got to spend all day Monday listening to them fight over it. So in a way, it was almost like being back on the convention floor. *G* But I’d say I’d do it all over again next year if given the chance.Back to Wednesday through Friday report.