Special thanks to sadiekate, outoffashion, spadada, waitaminute17, and thewizrd (courtesy of schnappycat), whose kickass pictures I will be linking throughout the rest of the posts.
Let's do this like Brutus.
Saturday morning, not long after I pseudowoke up, I received a text message from Kate (sadiekate) announcing her presence in Austin. I got ready, and Erin (eirefaerie) and I went down to breakfast.
As we waited in line, I pointed out a girl in a Neptune Pirates shirt. She had awesome pink streaks in her hair. I remarked that she was a Veronica Mars fan, and we mused upon the likelihood of her not actually being associated with us, of her just being a random VM fan who happened to be in the hotel. She didn't say hi to us or anything, so she clearly hated us anyway. Except she didn't, because she did eventually introduce herself to us as soundingsea. Oh! I knew her! I was on her flist! She'd dressed up as Lilly! Sweet.
I grabbed some breakfast food (all the knives were gone, since it was past ten). And then, since I had called her to tell her we were getting breakfast, Kate arrived! There she was with her artificially red hair and her ginormous rack. We found a spot on the table with maxymama, who had brought the giant shirt she'd been having people sign for Rob and Co. (but this Co. comprised everyone, not just those here in Austin). It looked like she'd gotten most of the front signed at Stubb's, which begged the question: what did I miss?
Well, a couple of our folk did win some of the giveaways (beppergirl won...a mug? No, a button. And someone won a poster of some sort). And Rob didn't show up until midnight, even though he'd told me he'd be there by eleven. It turned out txtequilanights and Co. had frickin' RUN INTO HIM AT THE AIRPORT. And they talked for a while, which delayed him, and WHAT THE CRAP? No fair! At Stubb's, Rob went up onstage and played a song on ye olde guitar, so that sounded cool.
To counter that, we learned that Enrico was still recovering from bronchitis and wasn't able to make it. Aw, man.
I finished eating so I could sign the shirt (and be the first guy to sign it!). I changed markers three times and crossed out a couple words so that the cast and crew of Veronica Mars would remember that I am a total screw-up. It went something like this:
I guess you guys have a good show. I might have watched it once or twice. Is it the one where the God of Love solves crimes on a mysterious island? And there's a dinosaur named Logan? Wait, I love that show!
I had discovered that LadyD/ladydisdain225 had come, which was a total surprise to me, but a good one, since I wanted to meet her. I went up to her room and instead met her mom, who said she'd enjoyed reading my Farscape posts, which, aaaaahhh!! I mean, I know it's a public journal, but it still freaks me out a little bit when I discover someone's read something without my knowing. She'd only recently gone through the series herself, so she liked reading my perspective. As if she'd heard us talking, truemyth, someone else who'd enjoyed my Farscape posts, came in. Then there lots and lots of people coming in. LadyD herself. bluegreensmoke and bspalek, whom I called by their real names, but they didn't seem to notice. The former looked exactly like her pictures, extremely pretty and resembling schnappycat but with black hair. The latter was adorable and looked like a mini Bjo—well, she looked like Bjork. In came lostt1, who ran jason-dohring.com (as well as bradley-cooper.com). Melissa was very cool, and even though I didn't really know her at all, it would have been fun to hang out with her more.
Then there was a maelstrom of activity involving people I didn't know, although I recognized some LJ names, and Melissa took me, KeyserSoze, and Barbra (bspalek) back to their room to explain The Drama. It's not my story to tell, so I'm not telling it, but suffice it to say that it involves a twenty-two-year-old girl who turned out to be sixteen, which legally classified her presence in Austin as that of a runaway. I mention this because it's the sort of story your parents always warn you about, the people who lie about their age and identity, but you never think you'll encounter it yourself. It's the sort of story that gives all of us honest folk a bad name, and yet, it really happens. I also mention this because, despite not knowing her, I wanted to hug the girl who was most grievously affected by this web of lies and deceit, because she was extremely distraught. If she happens to come across this, I just wanted her to know that. I was glad to see her normal and smiling later that night because it would have sucked for The Drama to ruin the whole weekend for her.
Moving on, I went back to my room and fielded a phone call from Jess (ariiadne). Jess had only recently become hooked on VM, finally having succumbed to my constant pimping (I even appeared to her in a dream, guys...specifically to TELL HER TO WATCH VM). I finagled her a ticket since she would conveniently be in Austin on her travels. Jess and I had known each other online for...years. Four or five, probably. And we were soon to meet! I told her we were meeting down in the lobby to head to the Magnolia something-or-other for brunch. I tried to explain where we were, and she attempted to find the right bus.
Several minutes later, she asked if I'd meant the Magnolia Café. Which sounded right. Good for her, because she'd passed it on the bus and gotten off and was waiting for us there. SERENDIPITY, BABY! Except she later admitted to helping serendipity along just a tad.
All right, by my powers of deductive reasoning, I have come to the conclusion that this is the time during which Erin and I, inspired by the VM4 postings of Jack Bauer facts, sought this mysterious haven of hilarity. We tried Googling some of the keywords in the ones posted, but there are apparently a lot of other websites with the words "Jack Bauer," "bullets," "kill," and "fish." Though Courtney had been trying to tell us this before, I finally decided that, since this reminded me of the Facts about Chuck Norris, that we simply Google Jack Bauer facts.
Bingo. We laughed and laughed and laughed and then moved onto Chuck Norris Facts and laughed and laughed and laughed some more.
It was time to herd people over to Magnolia, so we gathered in the lobby, where we met Monica (outoffashion) and her sister, twentythree. We were their first Internet people! People piled into vehicles, and we were off.
There were gobs of people at Magnolia. Gobs! So many meetings. Unfortunately, most of the pictures I'm about to link are flocked by waitaminute17, so go bug her to friend you so can see them, because they're worth it. You can see my awesome Tegan and Sara shirt! And you see the girl with purple hair? That's Jess! We met and hugged and then I flitted around meeting more people.
Like frickin' Couch Baron, people! I didn't know he was coming! I recognized him from previous pictures, but now he had facial hair. He motioned to another guy with facial hair: "Guess who this is." It...didn't look like Jacob, and otherwise I had no bloody idea.
Holy crap it was Warden. Second only to Glark in number of TWoP posts. And here I was shaking his hand, like he was just some normal guy. Look, here are the three of us: goatee represent!
Couch Baron asked me who "eerie...airy..."—eirefaerie, he meant. I walked over to Erin and told her someone wanted to meet her. That is right. A TWoP recapper wanted to meet her. Because she is that awesome.
With Warden was his sister, who, according to him, described me as "being a cheerleader of types meeting and greeting everyone." Because...I kind of was. We were all here to meet each other, right? Why shouldn't I go around and figure out who the hell everyone was?
I was excited to meet tulanegina because A) as several others have attested to, she's quite pretty and B) she was the one responsible for the shirts! She took the initiative and got shirts printed for all the VIPs. You can't wear a mix CD, guys. She makes our fandom great.
I also met Arsy80/athenacqd and her lovely friend Autumn, who had snagged tickets to the VIP lunch. I met chaotic4life, who had flown in from frickin' Germany. I met some girl/aprilbegins (April), who had posted in the VM4 at some point. She was wearing an Always Take Backup shirt.
Wardrobe mentions! iheartbridges was wearing a really funny shirt ("Nice skates...wanna puck?"). Jandy (faithx5) had added the pink shirt to her ensemble, turning her even more into Veronica. Erin was also wearing pink and green.
I flitted from conversation to conversation, going where the action seemed to be. At one point, Kate pulled me aside and said, "That girl? Talking on the cell phone? Is sincerelysummer." Kate had promised to step on her foot because that's what she does to people who are bitchy to her friends. I told her that I'd already met her last night, making her intel worthless. Kate harumphed back to her conversation.
The Magnolia people were actually able to make room for us, which was pretty awesome. Thanks to Monica, I don't even have to attempt a seating order.
Even here, however, I couldn't sit still, and I had to go talk to all the other tables to see what everyone was up to. iheartbridges and petunia846 were sitting together because they're totally BFF. Pity there's no such thing as a bridgeflower, or they could be BFFF. So many people, so little time! But the various other tables worked in our favor, since Erin was at the main table. ethanvahlere had gotten the great idea to buy her the VM DVDs since she still didn't have them as a thanks for helping organize everything. He'd bought a card that he could now pass around. Unbeknownst to her but knownst to us, people were writing messages of gratitude for all she claimed she hadn't done.
Jandy and Gina, who were sitting across from me, got to see an honest-to-god *headdesk* when I noticed that the menu above iPod's head said, "All deserts are availiable with Blue Bell vanilla ice cream." Jandy asked if I wanted her to find some chalk so I could fix it. Oh, my language. How they hurt you so. We later observed that all their capital A's had little flagstaffs on the left that looked like capital I's, so there was only the one error.
Jess seemed to fit in well enough, which I expected when I found out that there were many other people who were either lurkers or weren't really involved in the fandom. We were all people here, and people will talk with other people, especially when there is food involved. Some people had hit up Magnolia to mack on some pancakes. Gingerbread pancakes, to be exact, which, to the untrained eye, could be mistaken for sliced ham.
We took fifty thousand pictures with fifty thousand cameras. Many shots included our flashing of the Shocker, which, though previously known as the international symbol for "I like to stick my fingers in two orifices at the same time," was now known as the international symbol for "I love VM and I'm not afraid to be misinterpreted for it."
The Magnolia people continued to rock by allowing people the ability to pay separately with plastic if needed. I paid for my turkey melt with cash. That's what I'd brought it for!
Afterward, many of us headed to Mozart's for the Showing of the Fleas. We rode a shuttle from the parking lot. It took us all the way down the hill and ACROSS THE STREET. It was like a rollercoaster on wheels.
We went down to the outdoor portion of Mozart's, and there on the table were the fleas, and they were FUCKING AWESOME. Oh my God, so cool. spadada had found these people who made little flea awards, and she had gotten everyone to suggest designs and award names, and she makes this fandom great. Rob's little chair even had "Veronica Mars" painted on the back. And Kristen's had Backup.
And then Gina unveiled the corresponding shirts, and they were also FUCKING AWESOME. These awards were something to be proud of. She'd even managed to get ones for Katie (Rob's wife) and Greta Mae (his daughter).
Mozart's was a good time. Laura got cake. I know you're all surprised.
I don't remember who it was, but someone brought name tags, so we all wrote our identifying monikers on stickers and donned them informationally. Erin's said "fuckslutwhore." iPod's said "iheartiheartbridges." Couch Baron's said "[real name] 'will ban you.'"
For some godforsaken reason, Sean had not yet seen "Lazy Sunday," so April showed it to him. This was not the last time we would watch "Lazy Sunday" this weekend. Especially because we watched it again right afterward. I then made a valiant attempt to show Jess "Baby Got Book," but her laptop would not cooperate.
Erin and several others were leaving for the hotel, but I figured I could stay a bit longer and find a ride back somehow. I didn't stay that much longer, though, because it seemed like most everyone was leaving. Jess and I joined Arsy80's group, which included Autumn, Couch Baron, and kerrypolka. I got a call from iPod, who wanted to make sure I'd found a ride back, and he sounded like he was a robot underwater. We were walking up to the parking lot, and I could see him anyway.
Jenn and Jandy said they had room in their vehicle, but I paid no heed because I knew that fitting six people into a five-seater was going to be fun.
Okay, see, I honestly cannot remember what the fucking hell we did from the time we got back to the hotel to the time we left for the Alamo. That would have been a good time to go watch BSG at Jacob's, but he had never answered his phone. CB had said he'd been feeling sick, so he was probably recovering.
I thought there was going to be a big gathering down in the lobby pre-Alamo, but there wasn't. Seemed a lot of people had gone over much earlier. We stragglers were going to walk on over. And hey, oh my God, it was Wai-Yin! wykbbb! backup10! Webmistress of MI.net! It was about fucking time I met her; apparently, she'd been at the hotel for hours. This is what happens when you don't give people your cell phone number.
There was some hullaballoo involving girls and dressing up and getting made up and all that other up stuff girls do, but we finally began our trek over to the Alamo Drafthouse. It was not a long walk. We crossed the bridge and yelled at the canoe people. bridgey and I attempted to remember the words to "Flat Bionic Sporking Elves." Erin and iPod locked horns over when to turn left, but you know who was right? That's right, not Erin. Her way, though, gave us a closer view of the yellow Xterra conveniently located a block from the Drafthouse, out of which had formed a line extending a ways into the parking lot.
Our group splintered a bit to see what could be done about getting us good seats. Plus, some people had to meet up with either the holders or recipients of their tickets. Jandy and Jenn were my hook-up, so Jess and I took our spot at the back of the line. Which, conveniently enough, was not too far from the fabulous Kristin (zimshan), the crazy kid I'd been wanting to meet all day. Girl is ridiculously hot, yo. Like Laguna Beach hot. With her was buffyx, whom I'd heard so much about from other people who knew her. She was Queen of the Internets long before I came along. I forget who else was with them besides, I presume, missdeviant. Who asked me which was Tegan and which was Sara? I don't know anymore.
We waited for some time until they finally began letting us in. I had a weird freakout moment upon entering the Drafthouse because I noticed some music playing in what I presumed was the box office. It was frickin' "Blue Jeans" by Ladytron! It would be weird enough to hear Ladytron anywhere, but this was particularly weird because that song was on Michael's mix. We proceeded upstairs where the crack security team asked us to check in any cameras and cameraphones...and I left mine in my pockets. I took a look at some of the cool VM shirts they were selling but didn't want to pay twenty bucks for them.
Erin had saved us some seats in the back, right behind the VIP section. Lucky for us, since the night was oversold. We began writing our orders down. Erin was buying me a Poultrygeist Pizza because...dude, Poultrygeist. It was like fate.
Raise your hand if you think I sat in my seat and waited for the event to start.
What the hell? You, in the back: off my flist.
Raise your hand if you think I walked around looking for people to talk to.
There you go.
I noticed sinca and sweetcynic23 at the bottom of the stairs, so I had to go meet them and give them hugs. A girl came up and introduced herself as "Guess who I am?" Which, um, hell if I know. It was wonderwilma, who looked very different from when she was on the show. Guess that's what completely different hair will do to you. No wonder Sydney's always wearing wigs!
I don't know who the hell else I talked to. Probably bridgey and petunia. I went back to my seat. But you've already heard all this, haven't you? Too bad, you get to hear it again in gory detail.
Erin pointed out a man in a rather dapper-looking suit standing in the row ahead of us. The VIP row. "Doesn't that look like Rob?" she asked. I looked, and...holy shit, it was Rob. I could go meet him right now. My heart was pounding. No, seriously, my heart rate increased for some bizarre reason.
Now's a good time to explain, shortly, how I know Rob.
Last year, we crazy TWoPers who didn't want our favorite show to get cancelled put together one of them Save Our Show ads for the Hollywood Reporter (because we are not Browncoats and cannot afford Variety). But then they renewed the show early, so...we changed it to an ad of thanks. And I stumbled across an e-mail address for Rob; I don't know how this person knew it. I assumed it was simply a direct line to whatever address the e-mails sent from his website posted to, but I only recently found out that, no, it wasn't. Anyway, I wanted to make sure Rob saw the ad (and I didn't have huge qualms about e-mailing him or anything since he'd posted on TWoP, after all), so on April 19, I sent this e-mail:
Subject: The ad is so rad
Hey, Rob, this is just a reminder to check out *The Hollywood Reporter* today to see the VM ad. I think it turned out really well, considering all the heated arguments we had.
(Also, this is Polter-Cow. *waves* I'm part of MarsInvestigations.net. Thanks for linking us on your site!)
New episode tonight!!
That. That is how I broke the ice. I'm such a dork.
The next morning, to my complete and utter surprise, Rob Thomas's name was in my fucking inbox:
I haven't found the ad, yet, but I'll track it down.
Thanks for all the support. (You do have one of the handles I see all the time on TWoP.)
At that time, I just assumed he replied to all fan e-mail. I sent him a couple others over the next few months, and he usually replied, but he never replied to my replies to his replies. I sent him various cool media mentions.
In August, though, I found the secret to becoming close with Rob: music. We started talking music, and, for the first time, e-mails were going back and forth. And since then, really, we've e-mailed a lot about everything from the content of certain episodes to how frickin' cute his baby is. And yeah, I still don't get it. I don't know why it happened. It just kind of did.
And now I was going to meet him. I don't know why I didn't go directly to him, but I have a memory in my head of going somewhere else first, as if to stall. Remember, the heart was pounding. But when I got back, Rob was talking to bridgey and someone else and I didn't want to interrupt and WHY DOES THIS KEEP HAPPENING TO ME? I just kind of stood and watched, and Jenn looked at me in amusement, and then the lights began to darken. I went back to my seat and watched the Alamo Drafthouse previews.
My pizza came, and I ate during the Fire Marshals of Bethlehem, who were pretty good. They sounded Rilo Kiley-ish sometimes. And Rob was sitting there in front of us, a yard or two away. And about halfway through the set, I decided I was going to finish my pizza and go say hi to him, lunchtime be damned. Fuck this shit, I wasn't even going to finish my pizza first.
I squeezed out and made my way down the aisle in front of us (and thus behind him). He was talking to someone on his left. And the conversation kept going from left to right and right to left and shut up, Rob! Jenn looked at me in amusement again. I waited on my knees.
Finally, he took a breather and I tapped him on the shoulder. He turned around, and I said, "Hey, I'm Sunil." And he was all, "Sunil! Hey!" Like, so friggin' excited to see me. Like...now that I look at my own demeanor, he seemed more excited to meet me than I to meet him. He was glad to finally meet me face-to-face.
Those of you astute readers will now remember my reasoning for not wanting to meet Rob at Stubb's. You will now be chuckling at the fact that I ended up meeting Rob in a dark room with loud music. ON MY KNEES.
...That's not going to quell those "I don't know how spectralbovine can talk with RT's dick in his mouth all the time" remarks, is it.
He introduced me to his wife, Katie, as "Polter-Cow from the Television Without Pity boards." Her response: "Sweet!" Which, what has he told her about me? He introduced me as Sunil Patel to the man on Katie's right, who was producer Dan Etheridge. He was also pleased to meet me. Rob explained that Dan was the one who had coined the famous "tidal wave of love mixed in with a million papercuts" line.
Rob, I think, told Katie I had come from Ann Arbor since she was from Michigan, and we got to talking about what I was doing and such. Katie is so awesome. Like, I'll say this many more times throughout, but she's really great. So sweet, so nice.
Rob asked where I was sitting, and I pointed behind me, and he was all, "Great!" Then I went back to finish my pizza. Erin had Wai-Yin's computer and was posting in the VM4 about my meeting, so I decided to give my own account. As I was typing, Erin kept nudging me, but I was too late to realize that frickin' Kristen Bell and Jason Dohring and Michael Muhney had just walked right fucking past me on their way to the stage.
Now, you're going to get various accounts of who said what when during the actual events, and God knows I don't remember it all myself. Later, I may try to put together some sort of compositive objective account, but for the purposes of this post and the next, please know that I'm mostly going off my own recall, which is bound to be fraught with errors.
There were three chairs on the stage for Kristen, Jason, and Michael. Michael, because he is a big dork, took a picture. Some of his fans showed their appreciation. Rob stood up with a microphone to emcee this little shindig. He made some introductory remarks about being so pleased to see everyone, many of whom had come from far away (I saw three hands raised when he asked who'd come from out of the country).
He explained that when the Marsathon was originally conceived, it was going to be a true marathon of all sixteen episodes—"22!" came the correction from the audience—all twenty-two episodes, sixteen hours is what he meant. But then Warner Bros. got wind of it and informed them that various Guilds of America would charge them hundreds of thousands of dollars (that's not an exaggeration, by the way) in fees. But they could do a clip show! Except the clips had to be under two minutes long...and they could feature only the series regulars. Which meant that Michael Muhney, despite having some great scenes that Rob would like to show, was not going to be in any of them.
Special thanks to soundingsea and Cloudyline for helping me keep things straight.
The first clip was the original cold open of the pilot, with the Air song and Veronica's stakeout. Rob said most of the stuff he'd said on his pilot commentary: the network wanted the high school show to start in the high school. This forced Rob to write what he thought was the clunkiest voiceover in history ("While my classmates work at the Gap, I'm a private eye!"). Rob's other comment was that he was quite proud of the fact that he choreographed the lovemaking. He'd gone to the director and said it just didn't look like they were having sex, so Mark told him to go tell them what he wanted. Kristen gave props to the guy in the dragon bathrobe. She also dissed her haircut in the pilot, even though I liked it.
Rob said the second clip was special because it was one none of us had ever seen, at least in its entirety, so we cheered. It was the original version of the post-rape scene (like, way original, the time clock was still on it). It was even longer than the longer version on the DVD, with an added voiceover: "I suppose that for me this particular adolescent milestone wasn't what you'd call magical. I didn't even know who I shared it with." Rob told some more stories we already knew regarding the fact that UPN was pretty tough on them up front but became a little more lax toward the end of the season, allowing them to sneak in the "SLUT" and "ABEL IT SHOULD HAVE BEEN HER" footage later on. He also lauded Kristen's ability to cry on cue, take after take. "I'm a robot," remarked Kristen.
There was a transition somewhere, but Rob went on to note that Kristen auditioned with the scene where Veronica tells off Weevil at lunch ("We could go to prom together!"). She was able to convey two things Veronica needed to be: smart and badass.
The third clip was just one Rob thought was funny: "Lousy conversation, but the sex was fantastic."
Friday night, Rob and Kristen had been at the AFI Awards, which honored the ten best shows on television. You went there, and you got honored. Clooney was there, Spielberg was there, and they were there. He wasn't sure who was in charge of choosing the clips to represent each show, but they showed the clips in alphabetical order. For the nine shows before VM, they showed a very powerful and dramatic clip. And for VM, they showed Veronica's snausage smackdown in "Hot Dogs." Which wasn't a bad scene, but it wasn't the one he would have picked. He felt the show was still thought of so much as a "high school show" that they had to pick a high school clip. He then showed the scene he would have picked, which was the scene in "You Think You Know Somebody" where Veronica gives Keith her background check on Rebecca and they argue and "You can find anyone!" and she cries and holy shit, I never realized how well shot that scene is.
Before the next clip, he warned us that the editor had forgotten to cut out Mr. X, so we should cover our eyes and pretend he's not there so they wouldn't get sued. He was showing it because he loved Jason Dohring's delivery of the final line in the scene. The clip started, and Mr. X said his line ("Don't look!" warned Rob), and it was the Logan/Weevil library scene. Most of us said the line with him: "Never. Underestimate. The size of my cojones." When the lights came up, Rob remarked, "So you know it?" And Jason mimed that the size of his cojones was not to be underestimated.
The next clip, Rob said, caused quite a stir, and he wanted to explain where he was coming from. You see, back when he was ten or eleven, he was reading Spider-Man comics, and there was a plotline where Spidey was cloned (oh yeah, I remembered hearing about this!). And the way the storyline ended, Peter had gotten a test to see whether he was the clone or the real Spider-Man, and he was up at the top of a chimneystack...was that the word? Rob knew it didn't sound right, but what did you call the thing he was thinking of?
"I think that's just a chimney, Rob," said Kristen, and it was fucking hilarious. aprilbegins pegs it as the line of the night, and it's definitely a strong contender.
Anyway, Peter was on this chimney...thing, and rather than look at the test results, he threw them down the chimney. Rob thought that was a really cool way to end that story, and thus we got Veronica shredding her paternity test results. I was one of the people who complained about that initially, but I love that it was inspired by a frickin' Spider-Man plot. Rob, you geek.
The next scene was another in which Rob loved the delivery of the exit line. Weevil asks to join Logan's poker game. Rob said there was no stage direction for the "Oh, you got me!" but Francis added the surfer dude voice all on his own.
I don't remember exactly when it happened, but the actors had been straining their necks to watch the clips on the screen behind them, so at one point they got off their chairs and sat down on the stage to look up at the screen. We laughed at the cuteness, and Rob asked whether his fly was open.
The writers were well aware of the chemistry between Kristen and Jason, and it was scenes like the one Rob was about to show that convinced them they had to get them together romantically. It was the "Annoy, tiny blonde one. Annoy like the wind!" which we all quoted along with. At least, I did.
Next up was a version of a scene cut from the pilot that ended up in "Mars vs. Mars." Veronica breaking into Keith's safe and getting blue in the face. The anecdote here was that Rob had told Kristen that the blue dye was going to hit her at the speed of light. And Kristen confirmed that those were his exact words, "speed of light." The cast and Rob had a really great rapport all night, whispering to each other and making sly comments when appropriate. You could tell they were happy to be there and they got along very well.
Rob talked about Standards and Practices like every five minutes. I think they have his number on speed dial. They just won't leave the guy alone. The most recent spat was about Veronica's drinking wine at Christmas dinner. Originally, when Keith asks Veronica if she's drinking wine now, she raises the glass and says, "Cheers." It was changed to her saying, "No." And there's a bottle of grape juice on the table if you look closely. Apparently, Keith's allowing Veronica to drink wine would make him look like a bad father.
Rob's all, "Let me get this straight: I can show a bunch of teenagers doing body shots off an unconscious girl, but I can't show an eighteen-year-old girl drinking wine at Christmas dinner?" S&P's all, "Yes."
The trick to getting things past S&P is, well, to be tricky. They can't actually look dirty to the naked eye. For instance, his proudest moment until VM was a line in Cupid: Trevor calls his brethren to arms with, "Let's get some flesh-and-bone women." At least, that's what it looks like on paper. As delivered, it was, "Let's get some flesh...and bone women." His proudest moment now is the next scene he showed, which contained the infamous "You got a trophy for a rim job?" line. (It was nice to have it confirmed that they did in fact make a conscious effort to be as dirty as they possibly could.)
The next clip, he said, needed no introduction. It was The Kiss. There was fangirl squeeing. And, see, this is why it maddens me to read comments in the vein of "I hope a lot of Logan/Veronica shippers will be there so he can see what the fandom wants!" Rob knows, people. They all know. Hell, they all want them to be together because they're hot together. But, like the Cylons, they have a plan.
It seems likely to be here that Rob mentioned that we were all invited to go to the Something Happens concert with him on St. Patrick's Day...in Dubai. It was at an Irish pub in Dubai. Chances were that if you were in an Irish pub in Dubai...you were probably in the right one.
After that was a scene thrown in to give props to the art department for the type of thing Alias does every week but they don't do very often: turning San Diego into Cuba. It was the opener of "A Trip to the Dentist," and when the newspaper came down to reveal Duncan, people booed. Oh, very classy, guys.
We got another clip from "A Trip to the Dentist," Rob's favorite episode. The end of the teaser, with Logan at Veronica's door.
"You guys are hard on Teddy Dunn," he said. I can't remember if there was more booing or if there was cheering, like, "We sure are!" He thought Teddy gave a great performance in one of his favorite scenes in the show, the "Because you're my sister!" scene, which he proceeded to show. I think there might have been some laughing (during the scene) by people who didn't agree with Rob.
We moved onto the finale for a scene that wasn't written very well (and it's nice when writers are willing to admit such things) but was turned into something great by the actors. It was the Keith/Veronica paternity test results scene, and damned if it didn't fucking make me tear up AGAIN. What the hell?!
There was a little screwup as they played the wrong scene next, and I don't remember what it was, but then Rob got them to play the right scene, which was "Who's at the door?" He said that if they'd had the budget, he would have filmed some sort of gag reel with various people like Mr. Wu and Cliff at the door.
And that was the end of the clip show.
It was time for the world premiere of Rob's directorial debut.
I will explain in more detail when the episode airs, but I had a shout-out. And I fucking missed it. I couldn't hear it over the audience cheering about something. Erin, however, caught it, and she also caught Rob saying, "That was for you, Sunil!" All I heard was "Sunil!" and I didn't know it was him. But after that, I could concentrate on the episode rather than waiting for my shout-out.
We sang along to the theme song. And it was so awesome, you guys. I wish you could have been there. Singing the theme song with over two hundred other fans is just...that's the obligatory squishy fandom experience, you know?
Watching an episode for the first time with a large group of people is fun because you get to cheer when your favorite characters come onscreen and all, but you also miss dialogue due to all the cheering. It can be a little annoying, but you've got to take the sour with the sweet. And I think the little sour was worth it, especially for the hilariously sweet moment where we all seemed to find the TWoP shout-out at the same time. Hell, I was actively looking for it, and I still found it the same time as everyone else did.
Of course I'm not spoiling you, but my first impression was that it was a good episode, though I had some issues. There was some directorial flair, but not too much. It was well paced. Good job by Rob, for the most part.
Then the Q&A, and hell if I can remember what everyone asked and how everyone answered. I'll try to get down as much as I can.
You'd think I'd remember the very first question, but I don't.
Instead, we'll skip to the second or third, because tulanegina, being the trooper that she is, made sure to get called on early in order to present the gifts. She told Rob that we folks from TWoP and LiveJournal had stuff to give to them, so could she come up? Rob assented, and Gina and spadada got to give them each their shirt and flea. Gina explained them. Now, I was really glad I had sneaked my camera in because this was an event that needed to be photographed. The episode was already over; there was no copyright at stake anymore. I took pictures as they displayed their gifts, and those may be some of the few pictures of that ilk in existence. Someone behind me looked to be taking pictures as well, but I don't know if that person knows tulanegina and spadada, who probably want to see those pictures. And maybe if they bug me enough, I will figure out a way to scan my photos in for them.
Michael asked the audience, "Did you guys know about this?" And those of us who did cheered. Rob was very pleased at the shirts for Katie and Greta. Kristen, after returning to her chair, excitedly pointed out to Jason, "Look, they even have Backup!" Michael turned his title ("Biggest Dick Without a PI License") into a dirty joke. The four of them posed with their shirts, and Gina ran back to the stage to get in the picture. As a sidenote, Gina's outfit rocks. And, yes, Rob is holding up Greta's shirt.
Okay, some questions, in no particular order or so. Definitely pipe up if you asked any of these questions! That would be amusing.
Someone asked about some of the physical mannerisms of the characters (like Veronica's head tilt, for instance) and whether they were done consciously or not. Kristen said they were tics, and the thing about tics is that the writers will notice and call you out on them. Referring to the head tilt, she tried to recall the line to Weevil about how she'd own him. Jason said, "I think it's 'If I tilted my head, I'd own you.'" From the audience: "'If I flipped my hair!'" Jason was mortified. Okay, he wasn't, but it was still funny.
Someone in the front asked what Rob's favorite noir authors were, and she listed off a few, and Rob answered that it was an easy question, since he'd only read Raymond Chandler. He was more influenced by noir movies. He listed off a few classics. He mentioned The Underneath, a Soderbergh film that takes place in Austin, to get some Austin film school cred. Jason mentioned Chinatown.
ethanvahlere asked Jason to expound upon his answer in Couch Baron's interview about his acting influences, but he didn't really expound so much as...repeat.
lex_83 describes her question as "How fucking hilarious is the whole Dick and Beaver thing? Like seriously." Which allowed Rob to talk about Standards and Practices again and how they got the old "Can Dick and Beaver come out and play?" line through, but that was their one free pass. S&P also had a problem with calling Big Dick Big Dick, and they wouldn't let it through unless it were extremely necessary to call him that to differentiate him from Dick Jr.
It was apparently spadada who asked about the difference between writing young adult novels and writing for a television show. Rob hilariously answered, "My house is much bigger now."
Since I can't pinpoint its placement, I might as well get to The Question now. A girl later identified to be ladydisdain225 stood up with a list in her hand. And she started naming various things Duncan had done, and she said that if it were anyone else, Veronica would call them out on it, but Duncan got a free pass. The first sign that things were going awry was Rob's incredulous "You have a list?" joranbelar, I think it was, noted Kristen's face distinctly falling. Some of my compatriots reported hiding their heads and tuning her out.
Rob began his usual defense of Duncan, saying it was sexier to be the bad boy like Logan, and Duncan was superlatively nice. Kristen added that Duncan was the only person who showed Veronica true compassion, there's a lot we didn't see that would show that. I didn't hear it, but LadyD is reported to have responded, "Bullshit!"
There may have been a little more back and forth, or maybe just back or maybe just forth, but in the end, Rob pointedly said, "I see things differently," and moved on.
Here's the thing. I don't think Duncan's the spawn of Satan or anything, but I think LadyD had some valid points, and I didn't agree with Rob's answer. And it did give Erin and me "Here's a list of everything [blank] has ever done wrong ever." But it was confrontational and inappropriate in this forum and totally killed the nice, friendly vibe we'd had going. To say "you had to be there" would be admitting my limitations as a writer, so...you had to be there.
It certainly didn't help when a question or two later, someone in the front asked why Veronica hasn't done anything about Dick's role in her rape. Rob gave a good response, noting that the Rashomon-like structure of ATTTD meant that we never got the whole truth. All we got was an amalgam of other people's truths. We don't really know how culpable Dick really is, and neither does Veronica. Sure, he wouldn't let Dick date his daughter, but it was possible for an almost-sorta-kinda-possible-would-be-rap
sincerelysummer gets major props for prefacing her question with "I just wanted to say that not everyone hates Teddy Dunn and Duncan," which elicited cheers from the Teddy and Duncan fans in the audience. Way to help restore some positivity to the air. But then the urge to punch returned when she practically stole my question, that bitch! I was going to ask about fandom! My question was going to be slightly different, but I felt like it might be redundant after hers, which was the old "How much does fandom influence the story?" business.
Rob started by saying what he'd said before, that the writing and shooting process was so far ahead of the fan reaction that it couldn't really have a major effect. But that's not to say they never had an effect. After reading responses that Veronica didn't seem as engaged in the bus crash investigation as she had in the Lilly Kane murder investigation, he went back and looked at the episodes and decided that they were right, so they started making a conscious effort to have Veronica more engaged in solving the mystery, which is highly appropriate anyway since we're hitting the second half of the season.
He also said that while he liked reading fan reaction, he didn't always agree with it. For instance, he liked Deputy Leo. This got some cheers from the Leo fans, which he did not think were so plentiful. He tried another one on for size: "I like Tessa Thompson." Heh. No cheers for that one, and maybe some boos, I don't know. Which were acceptable since he asked for it. He said he could understand why we were so antagonistic toward Jackie since we loved Wallace so much (lots of cheering), but: "There's an arc!"
Continuing on the subject of not agreeing with fan reaction, he mentioned that "Ahoy, Mateys!" was one of his favorite episodes, but the reaction seemed to be that it was a "good filler episode." I had had to explain to him what a filler episode was and that it wasn't necessarily a derogatory term. And I don't know whether it was now or maybe it was even Sunday night, but he said that they had a good sense of the quality of the episodes (and thus what the response might be), and he finally publicly admitted that "One Angry Veronica" really isn't so hot and he knows it and he'll take the blame, so I don't have to keep that under my belt any longer. (Under...my...belt? Shut up, it's late.)
I also don't know where this goes, but it might have followed up from the Jackie response. He said that from the things he read, we were prudes who thought that going on a date meant you were dating and going to get married and all that (I'm paraphrasing wildly here). Jackie goes on a date with Wallace, and then we see her with some random guy, and we are so ready to choke a bitch. And I definitely remember the conversations in the episode thread about how Veronica was a slut for having kissed three guys in a span of a few months. His observations were good-natured, and Kristen made some comments too.
missdeviant, one of the kegger trio, decided things were getting too serious and asked, "Would you rather eat a small piece of poo or be covered in poo?" Rob, Kristen, and Jason said covered, and Michael said if it were covered in chocolate, he'd eat the small piece of poo.
A girl in the front I later discovered was wonderwilma raised her hand. She asked Rob to move because he was blocking the eye candy (i.e., Jason and Michael). Rob was a bit taken aback, and so was I, but it was totally worth it for what I consider the line of the night, because it was just so goddamn perfectly timed: "You want the guy in the $7000 suit to move?"—Erin and I joined for the punchline—"COME ON!" It was so fucking awesome Erin and I stood up and clapped and cheered.
wonderwilma said she hadn't thought of any questions, but she had to ask some. She asked Kristen if they'd found the dog they were looking for in the Punk'd episode. Kristen said they had, but the owner was kind of sketchy...or something like that, like she hoped the dog was still okay. She may have mentioned Backup at this point, whose real name was Lazarus, since he'd been rescued from being put to sleep. He was really smart. This was probably also when Kristen called out her "asshole boyfriend" for punking her. Heh.
She asked Jason how his wife felt about his becoming a sex symbol. He said they might as well ask her, and he got her to stand up, but she didn't answer. I'm not sure he really gave an answer.
She asked Michael how he was doing after his surgery. He said he was doing all right, although recently he'd done something he wasn't supposed to that made him hurt. I don't remember.
Someone asked if there'd be a musical episode, and Rob said that he'd asked everyone besides Kristen if they could sing, and they'd all said no. Someone yelled about Percy, and he said that, yeah, Percy had said no at that time too, so he was surprised at his rendition of "Papa Was a Rolling Stone."
Someone asked why he was so fascinated with Greek and Roman mythology, and Rob claimed he wasn't, it was all just coincidence. Veronica was Mars because the drummer for the Replacements was named Mars. Neptune was the Californian equivalent of Jupiter, Florida. When he was developing Cupid, the God of Love just seemed right for the show he needed to get done. Kristen said it was the same story he told her, and she didn't buy it either.
dkissam began by saying she was going to ask a serious question—"Because I've done so well with those tonight," said Rob, and I was glad he was taking it in stride—but instead she asked if we were going to get any more Logan/Weevil HoYay. Rob said they definitely enjoyed that aspect of their relationship, but Francis wasn't so hot on the issue.
Someone asked the actors what their favorite or most challenging scenes were. I forget what Kristen said. Jason said he liked his first scene with Veronica at the lockers because it was when he felt like, "I'm such a fucking better actor than you," and they started trying to one-up each other. It should be noted that during one answer, Kristen almost cursed, and she stopped and rephrased, saying, "I shouldn't curse on stage!" And then later, Jason said something about "stuff," and he said, "I was going to say 'shit,' but instead I said 'stuff.'" Rob said, "Nice save, Jason." The banter was great and I wish I could remember more of it. Rob moved on before Michael go to answer, but he later said that he loved the end of "Nobody Puts Baby in the Corner."
Kristen was asked what she did when she read a line and thought, "Veronica wouldn't do or say that." She said that had probably only happened once or twice, ever, and the lines of communication were pretty open. Rob said that it was such a rare occurrence that if Kristen noticed something was wrong with the line, then there was probably something wrong with the line.
Surely, there were more questions, but I can't remember them, so we go to the final question, asked by amberlynne. She asked about the Shocker in the premiere. Rob asked Dan Etheridge if they could talk about this, or whether he should just give the company line. It turns out it was all Jason's idea. The script said "fist bump," and Jason devised the Shocker bump. He did it in every single take. Jason defended himself, saying, "No one knew what it meant."
Rob hilariously answered, "I knew what it meant!" There were like seventeen takes, and Rob asked for the clean take, and there was no clean take because no one knew that there was supposed to be a clean take since they didn't know all the takes were dirty. And, luckily, Standards and Practices weren't familiar with the Shocker either, so it totally got past them.
Around this time, about half the audience gave the stage the Shocker. It was frickin' awesome. Aw, it was the new giving-Nathan-and-Jewel-the-finger.
Then the Q&A was over, and we got in line for the signings. We were outside. I met RayvenFire, who was in front of me.
The line moved incredibly slowly, but we passed the time. We noticed the Drafthouse sign had changed to read "Nosferatu Veronica Mars Event Sold Out."
Inside, I looked up to see...Jacob! Finally, that fucker. I went up to meet him and drop off my backpack and jacket since he and Couch Baron were just hanging there and talking.
As I neared the top of the stairs, Michael was out from behind the table doing something, so I called to him and said I was Sunil, and he was all happy to see me. He said he loved to put faces to names, and I said I'd showed him a picture, hadn't I? And he said it was different from still life to animated and that sometimes people didn't recognize him unless he moved. Or something like that. It was funny. As I said, he's a total spaz.
We were near the end of the line, so a Drafthouse employee told us to keep it moving, get your thing signed, no posing for pictures, etc. I looked at him and said, "Are you Henri?" It was Henri! I told him I was Sunil, the one who'd given him Rob's e-mail address. So, see, really, this whole thing happened because of me. Or maybe because of eirefaerie, who asked me for Rob's e-mail address to give to Henri.
Big, big thanks to outoffashion for photo documentation of the following event.
I handed Kristen Bell my book to sign. I asked her if she remembered the TWoP pillow. She said yeah, and I said it was my idea. She thanked me and said it was on display at her house. She also loved the card that came with it, which may have referred to the card with little messages from us, or my totally awesome "We Used to Be Friends" filk.
I'd intended to tell her the whole story, but I was short on time, so I had to babble that it wasn't a serious suggestion at first, but then people started going with it, and Wai-Yin came up with "You Used to Get Sleep," and I wrote the rest of the lyrics.
Oh my God she is staring so intently at me oh my God.
She asked my name, and I said, "Sunil," and Rob tapped her and said, "This is Polter-Cow from the Television Without Pity boards."
I hope to God someone has a picture of this, because Kristen's response was "Reeeeeally?" I have no idea whether she actually knew who I was or was just humoring me because Rob thought I was famous, but her face was priceless. I'm sure Veronica has had a similar expression before, but it was a sublime combination of OMG and OMsquee!
Rob mentioned to Kristen that I'd had a shout-out in the episode, and I told him I'd fucking missed it. He thought as much because of all the cheering and laughter.
I showed Kristen her mix CD and tried to quickly explain how it was an alternate VM soundtrack.
"Aw," said Kristen, "you made me a mix. It's like we're dating!"
I put my hand on my heart and sincerely said, "We are dating."
I gave her Enrico's mix and told her to give it to him and tried to explain how they were linked.
I moved onto Rob. I'm not sure what I'm doing here. But it may be right before or right after I make good on my promise to punch him for not explaining the spy pen. It was a light punch on the shoulder.
I handed Rob his two discs and said that I tried to put together a variety of sounds, and I thought they were pretty goddamn awesome. He was thankful because he'd brought a CD player for the room, but he hadn't brought any CDs.
And now we have the one sentence I have said to Jason Dohring: "I think your CD is pretty self-fucking-explanatory." He looked at it and read the title out loud to Rob, "'Cut—Fuck.—Print—FUCK!'" I think he enjoyed the concept, at least.
I gave Michael his mix and hastily tried to explain that it was my top twenty artists, but I was being pushed through the line. My things had been signed, and it was time to move.
I noticed that Dan and Katie were chilling around the corner, though, so I walked over to them, and no one stopped me, and who would dare stop me after we actually started to have a conversation? I got a picture with Dan, and we talked. I was very tired. I talked to Katie for a bit, which was fun. She'd had a good time at Stubb's last night talking with old friends. We also talked about the fact that she was from Michigan and Kristen was from Detroit. I complained about the fact that the cast never fucking came up there. They seemed to go everywhere else, and, like, everyone I knew had already met them, but this was my first time meeting them.
Then I very stupidly motioned to the man and woman who were also there and asked Katie, "Do I know them?" And as soon as she started answering, I realized who they were because I was a complete dumbass. Kristen's boyfriend, Kevin, and Jason's wife, Lauren. I talked to Kevin about the Punk'd thing, which we'd enjoyed. He said he knew one of the producers, and he originally wanted to get her coming back from Romania from filming Pulse and have some sort of security risk in her suitcase or something, but he realized she'd kill him for doing that to her after a twenty-hour flight. So they went with the dog angle, which he thought turned out well.
When MTV first aired the episode, they hadn't blurred their phone number on the flyer that Kristen shows to the camera, and if, you know, you pause your TiVo and sharpen the image, you can see their phone number. And for two fucking weeks, they got all these calls, like, "Hiiii, this is Ashton," and Kevin's like, "We have Caller ID. You're not Ashton." And people calling to "help find the dog" or whatever. What is with people?
Someone came by with something cool, and I asked her how she'd ended up getting it, and she said, "Karma." So I said, "Carson Daly." And she said, "Karma." And I said, "Carson Daly." This exchange repeated about four or five more times. Only dachelle knew what I was talking about.
"Does no one else here watch My Name Is Earl?" I asked. No one did. Kevin asked me if it was a good show, and I said it was. I'd heard good things about it, and Victor Hammer was there, so I checked it out. Kevin didn't know that Victor Hammer had gone there. I told him that yeah, he'd left VM around the end of the first season, probably because he gets paid more on MNIE for less work.
I mentioned that Victor Hammer also worked on Wonderfalls, and I asked Lauren if they'd started watching Wonderfalls yet. She said they hadn't, and I told her it was a great show.
About that time, they were closing up the Drafthouse and shooing people out, and I remembered I needed to tell Rob something, so I said bye to the people around me and walked back to the table. See, I'm Rob's source for Arrested Development news. I told him when it was renewed for the third season, and I told him when it was pseudocancelled. So now I had to tell him about the February 10 burnoff of the last four episodes and the fact that they were calling it a "season finale." I also reminded him about the marathon on Sunday and told him to tell the others to come if they could. Michael said he might be able to stop by for five or ten minutes, but he really wanted to hear the details about his mix. I told everyone it was great to meet them, and I headed outside.
dachelle took us back to the hotel to drop our things off, and Erin let me know via cell phone what the hell was going on. We met everyone else at Fadó, an Irish pub. sadiekate covered the three-dollar cover for me.
Inside, there was much drinking and debauchery featuring eirefaerie, iheartbridges, joranbelar, sincerelysummer, carpedi7, sadiekate, schnappycat, dachelle, ariiadne, and God knows who else. petunia846 and faithx5 quietly observed the drinking and debauchery, as they are wont to do. Erin made out with bridgey, iPod, and Dachelle, and it was hot every time. Although I didn't see the last one.
They played Never Have I Ever, which I did not participate in because A) I haven't done much of anything and B) I don't drink. On learning this, iPod disbelieved me. I had to confirm it three or four times before he believed me. It boggled his fragile little mind.
I talked with lunarmars a bit. She didn't know I'd been e-mailing with Rob for so long, so I told her the story I told above. It was actually kind of nice to meet someone who didn't really know about the whole me and Rob thing.
schnappycat really liked to dance, it seemed. It was interesting to see her loosened up because she normally has such a...proper air about her. Maybe it's just her look and the way she presents herself. There was almost some cognitive dissonance there. But in any case, watching girls dance is a national pastime. As a certain rich socialite with purportedly big feet would say, that's hot.
sadiekate and I are like this.
No bar outing is complete without a "Baby Got Back" singalong.
They kicked us out at 2, and we took the party to room 608. First, though, I helped poor sadiekate to her room and pulled out the bed and gave her a glass of water because she'd promised QB I'd take care of her.
If eirefaerie knows what she's talking about, the 608 crowd that night consisted of Couch Baron, Jacob, Dachelle, CarpeDi, petunia, bridgey, ethanvahlere, Joran, some girl, faithx5, TulaneGina, and Agent Laura. Yeah, bitches. We hung out with two recappers. Because we are just that awesome.
And I hardly fucking remember what we did for those three hours. We just...talked, mostly. About VM, the episode, the event, etc. Just chilling together, like we were all friends, and not a whole bunch of people from all corners of the country who only knew each other from the Internet.
People left after 5, but Erin and I stayed up another half an hour to test the projector lissa_triana had let us borrow for the marathon.
Tomorrow was going to be another Big Day. But hopefully not as big as Saturday. Because Jesus Christ, if you actually read all that, you deserve a pizza. Or a trophy. Maybe a pizza trophy.