March 1st, 2007

Dating Kristen

The Men/Women Behind the Curtain

I know people are clamoring for stories about my Veronica Mars behind-the-scenes extravaganza, but I am hella busy these days, and the experience tuckered me the hell out. It was both amazing and exhausting. The good folks at Mars Investigations are working hard on collating notes and collaborating with spadada to put together an official, comprehensive report of all the things we learned about the show while we were down there. Well, all the things we're allowed to say publicly publically in public, of course, as we basically spoiled ourselves to various degrees for four of the five remaining episodes. Once that goes up, I'll post my personal experience, complete with pictures. Patience is a virtue, my friends.

But, as a teaser, here are some tidbits about some of the people you might be interested in.

Rob Thomas: Oh, Rob. He's a husband, a father, and a Big Brother. But he's also a showrunner! He was so sure we'd be bored out of our minds, but he found several things for us to do and see that kept us occupied. He was so excited to show us things and tell us what was upcoming; I'm sure he would have just spoiled us silly if we had let him. He's extremely casual and very easy to talk to; despite his lumbering build, he's not very intimidating. You can't be once you've wallpapered your office with photos of your kid. He took us out to lunch and showed off his mid-life-crisis car. I think he's a nice guy, myself.

Diane Ruggiero: TOTAL SPAZ. Seriously. Like, she totally doesn't even realize she's pretty or talented, and she's very self-conscious. She told me I was her "favorite" on TWoP because I was defending her (which I think was a reference to the discussion following the PTAT podcast, in which she said she was disappointed that the TWoP reaction was so negative and then people in the behind-the-scenes thread said how much they loved it, so I e-mailed the podcast guys to make sure she saw it). She had no shame about buying all the Cloud Watchers merchandise that had her lines on it. Or maybe a little shame. We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with her because she was busy with the finale. Also, she totally felt me up. By which I mean she scratched the bottom of my green corduroys. It was hot.

Phil Klemmer: I think Kelley described him as "warm," and I agree. There's just something...warm about him. And he's also very humble; he seemed genuinely appreciative when I complimented a line he wrote on the fly.

John Enbom: I didn't get a huge sense of what makes Enbom Enbom, but it was certainly interesting seeing him in the context of Klemmer. I felt like they really balanced each other out somehow. He was a little more serious. In fact, see if you can tell them apart in the podcast. Yeah, they let us do a podcast with them, which was awesome.

Dan Gabbe: Even more awesome now that I've met him. I really liked him from the podcasts, and in person, it's even more clear how much he cares about the show and the editing process. He even asked our opinions on a shot, and I think he actually valued our thoughts.

Jon Moskin: Big dork. He was on set because his episode was being shot, even though he said he didn't actually do anything but watch. There was the sense that he could hardly believe he was there, that he was allowed to do it. It was a common theme that so many of the people who worked on the show felt lucky that they had the opportunity to be a part of Veronica Mars.

Rick Pickett: Freak! In a good way. We didn't get to spend a whole lot of time with him, unfortunately, but he was cool.

Alfred Sole: The reason we were there in the first place. When interviewed him, he invited us to visit the set, and when we asked Rob if it was cool, he gave us a standing invitation. Like everyone else we met, he was a totally nice guy. Even though we didn't spend much time with him either, I include him here because I don't want raelee to wait forever for the answer to her question. On her behalf, I asked him what was up with all the animals in the Neptune Grand set like the fish and the goat (he was particularly tickled that people had noticed the goat), and he said he has a farm, so he likes to put animals in the set. Yep. No hidden symbolism. He is just fucking with us. Later, he told us that he was going to put even more animals in. I recommended a cow.

Dan Etheridge: Generally made of awesome. He fucking remembered me from Austin! As Rob's right-hand man down in San Diego, he's a large part of what makes VM great. He was a pleasure to talk to, and he always made us feel welcome.

Jason Dohring: The minute we met him, he asked us to come talk with him after he was done shooting. And it was during those thirty minutes in the Hearst Food Court that I really got The Jason Dohring Experience. Where he gives you that intense eye contact that makes you feel like he genuinely cares that you exist. Where he makes you feel all special yet intimidated to be in his presence. Where you finally realize that the dude is hot. He's very highly regarded on set for his ability to dunk.

Julie Gonzalo: Is pretty! We didn't get to meet her, unfortunately, but we did see her getting makeup put on between takes. So I can offer no insight into her character, sadly. She's probably really nice, though!

Chris Lowell: So very awesome and hilarious. I think he was a little thrown off by our presence, but he didn't let it show. He seems to be very good at improv, judging from the ridiculous messages he left for our friends. And he shakes his crotch in front of the camera when the shot's over.

Enrico Colantoni: Such a goofball! The kind of guy who will sing a song about having gas seconds before heading into a serious scene.

Francis Capra: The biggest surprise, as I didn't expect him to be so sweet and nice. I mean, the dude invited us out to eat with him after the shoot had wrapped. He genuinely appreciates the fans, the show, and Rob. But he would like everyone to know that HE IS NOT RELATED TO FRANK CAPRA. AT ALL. will carry the full story soon enough so the Internet can be set straight. Unrelatedly, I think this is my favorite exchange with him, regarding the fact that he's quite adept at playing Weevil's limited emotional range:

"Weevil only has four expressions: angry, happy, sad, worried."
"What about suspicious?"
"That's just a combination of angry and sad."

Kristen Bell: Made of adorable! Everyone on set calls her KB, which is amusing. We chatted about everything from cucumbers and Christopher Pike to Pan's Labyrinth and feet. I never got the sense that she wanted us to go away (and, in fact, one exchange implied that she wouldn't have minded if we had stayed longer), and many times I felt like we were just talking as two regular people, not a fan and an actress. An office PA specifically said, without prompting, that she wasn't a diva, and I didn't get that sense from watching her either. She did her job, sometimes providing the requisite hilarity after a scene was done, and didn't complain, even though she works insane hours. On Friday night, close to 1, she was dismissed after being in every single scene that day but one. Marc, Adam, and I were stuck in another room with the monitors, and Kristen was easily able to leave without a second thought. But she encountered Kelley and Wai-Yin on the way out and, once they told her where we were, she darted back, jumped over the camera, began to say goodbye to us over a counter, and then walked around so we could give her hugs. It was so sweet and unnecessary, and it's the reason I roll my eyes at all the "KB is a bitch" comments.

All in all, everyone we met down there was so wonderful and nice and accommodating, and I want them all to have jobs next season. I had sort of resigned myself to an impending cancellation, but now I want to fight for those people who consider themselves lucky to work on Veronica Mars as we consider ourselves lucky to watch it.