Lords of Kobol, hear my prayer: brevity is the soul of wit.
As I mentioned previously, the Alamo event was originally supposed to be a marathon, but then Warner Bros. put the kibosh on it. So we organized our own mini-marathon on Sunday with the help of eirefaerie (although I must give props to dkissam for first suggesting we give it a go, which is something I don't think many people know, so stop giving eirefaerie credit! She doesn't like taking credit!). I collected the money for the room rental. So, really, I should have helped Erin set up the room, but I'm a lazy whore.
For breakfast, I got a spinach-and-cheese omelette, which was very good. schnappycat stopped by. She'd been exercising. Exercising, people!
We began to gather in the Topaz/Palmwood room around ten. There weren't as many people as I'd expected, maybe only twenty or thirty. But the size would fluctuate over the day as people came and went. I think the most we ever had was between forty and fifty.
Erin gave a little introductory speech, which was very nice. Erin is great, you guys. It just has to be said. She pointed out the champagne and orange juice for mimosa making. She lamented the fact that no one brought speakers, so we were forced to listen through the projector's dinky little speakers, which were not horrible but not optimal. She explained the reason we had brought change. At other fandom events when they get together and watch their television show of choice, they have a little receptacle into which they throw change any time they like something that happens. When you like a particular line. A song. A character. A scene. A moment. A way to show your appreciation for anything at all. The change adds up, and at the end, it's donated to charity. Erin was going to donate the proceeds to the Austin Voices for Education and Youth, the same charity the Alamo Drafthouse was benefitting.
Before we started, however, ethanvahlere got up to present Erin with the VM S1 DVDs, which he'd bought at the Drafthouse last night and gotten the VIPs to sign. Erin was totally gobsmacked; it was great. Last night, knowing this was in the works, I'd even called her lame for not having the DVDs. He also gave her the card with all our thanks for doing everything she claimed she didn't do. I love my fandom, you guys. It just has to be said.
We started with the pilot, and we sang along with the credits, which was awesome. A smaller group of people but also a smaller space. Now, I don't know if this is patently obvious to anyone who's interacted with me online or not, but I like cracking jokes, and I like being funny, and I love making people laugh. So this was really a wonderful opportunity for me. Because we'd all seen the episodes, it was a little less distracting to make comments about it. I don't even remember most of what I said that made people laugh, but I appreciated it. A lot of the time, I just make jokes softly to myself because I think I'm clever, but then other people hear them and laugh.
Michael Muhney conveniently showed up after the pilot ended. Everyone piled outside to greet him, and he greeted everyone back. We told him we were about to start "An Echolls Family Christmas." He came in and went to the front. After taking a seat (and carpedi7's pillow!), he talked for a while about how great we were and how great rack_of_lamb was and how much fun it was to hang with us. He praised schnappycat for starting the comm and said he didn't think she would get more than a few members. And now they had over three hundred little babies. Although he'd checked recently, and two people had cancelled their membership! They had lines through their names! We explained to him that meant they'd deleted their LiveJournals and it was nothing personal.
He told some rambly anecdote about the great actor William Devane and all he learned from him, like to "yell up" (complain to the person who can get someone fired, not the person you can get fired). (That's beppergirl's mix he's holding there, by the way. Apparently she'd had some technical difficulties and couldn't get it to him the night before.) During that story, he totally asked Couch Baron whether he was there when something happened because he'd gone to visit the set a couple months ago. That bastard. Michael could only stay about an hour before he had to go to the VIP lunch, and even that he had to leave a little early to catch a plane back to California. We all listened intently.
Though we were all taking pictures of him, he wanted one of all of us. So we flashed him the Shocker. Okay, hey, I know people like seeing their names in posts, so let me list a random assortment (in case you don't want people to know what you look like) of people who are in there: petunia846, carpedi7, eirefaerie, faithx5, dachelle, Couch Baron, maxymama, shizam23, zimshan, bluegreensmoke, iheartbridges, outoffashion, twentythree, beppergirl, ethanvahlere, leila6, kerrypolka, shutterbug1, sincerelysummer, bspalek, violet4120, tulanegina, and blixie and dkissam are hiding in the back. I think I pegged most everyone I can see that I know. If I missed you, I suck.
It was time to start the episode, so Michael declared, "I'm going to sit next to my man Sunil." He asked me to explain the mix CD I'd made him, so I was able to do so slowly and accurately, for once. It was rather adorable that he was so insistent that I get the chance to explain it to him.
Someone suggested watching "Silence of the Lamb" instead because Michael was actually in it, but Michael was adamant that we watch the episode we'd chosen. He didn't want to fuck with what we were doing, and "An Echolls Family Christmas" was a better episode anyway. So the episode began, and we got live commentary from Michael, and it was kind of fucking awesome.
What all did we learn from Michael? I can't even remember. Paris Hilton has big feet. The actor who plays Connor Larkin is a friend of his and will be at his bachelor party. The anecdote I caught part of when I was passing around my phone dealt with the time Jason and Michael did their Habitat for Humanity thing. It was around the same time they were filming the scene where Logan's house burns down, and they wanted to comment on the irony, but they didn't.
One of my favorite parts was when Veronica visited Connor on the set, Michael was pointing out, "That's a real camera," and such. What was real and what was a prop. The next scene was Aaron Echolls playing tennis, and whoever you are, you're fucking hilarious, because someone commented, "The tennis balls aren't real, though. Harry Hamlin can't actually play tennis." I added that they were CGI.
Michael got a call from Henri during the show reminding him when to meet for the VIP lunch. After the episode was over, he said he'd go outside for pictures and autographs and whatnot, and he wouldn't leave until he'd serviced everyone. He didn't use that word, but I am doing so now. Because. He would fulfill your every request, even if it was to post on the Internet.
We got some more group shots, and...I'm the only other guy. Huh. It's too bad all the ladies want Michael instead of me. It's for the best, I suppose, since spadada has proof that I exist on a different plane.
Michael talked some more. He said that they were on to Jason since the Shocker incident.Originally, in the scene in "Rat Saw God" where Logan is asking for conjugal visits, Jason rubbed the bars up and down with both hands. That didn't fly, so they asked if he could just do one hand. That didn't fly, so they asked if maybe he could go up and not down, or vice-versa. KEEP THE FUCKING HANDS STILL was the response, basically. Michael, though, was still trying to slip stuff in, and he told us of an upcoming scene and demonstrated what he tried to slip past the censors. It's going to be great. He also said he was going to give us a belt-grab shout-out in the next scene he filmed, but depending on how it's shot, we might not see it.
Since making fun of Kristen's height is funny, he showed us how he sometimes had to walk through a scene squatting ("doing a Groucho," he called it) so as not to make her look tiny.
He was probably running late, but he continued taking pictures with people. When it was my turn, he gave me a fist-bump. Aw. Later, he showed me a picture of his fiancée, who's very pretty. As is...her sister. Anyone want to be Michael Muhney's brother-in-law?
And how can I forget the historic meeting of Michael Muhney and sadiekate? Or, as he greeted her: "Boobs!" He'd been wanting to meet her; he even asked where sadiekate was before the episode.
Before he finally left, he told us that Kristen had begged Rob to tell her how the season ended, and Michael had gotten her to tell him, and he was all, "You have no idea." He wasn't going to spoil us, but he said Kristen's words were "This has never been done before." There was so much sincere admiration in his words. He's really happy to be on a quality show. He's a fan just like the rest of us.
The marathon people started up "Clash of the Tritons," and I went out to lunch with dachelle. She has resolved to go to the Austin Java Cafe for spicy African peanut soup. I looked at the sandwich selection, and the chicken satay sandwich called my name, because...the hell? Plus, it came with soup, so I could try this thing Courtney loved so much.
The soup was very good, and I could see why she loved it. It was kind of like tomato basil with peanuts. My sandwich was also good, and I really should have added the mayo earlier. I thought that mayo would make no sense on the peanut sauce, but it worked, somehow. I mean, it should work, right, or else they wouldn't give it to you.
During lunch, I got a text message from carpedi7: i think u r kewl. It took me a moment to realize that meant they were on "Ruskie Business."
When Courtney and I returned, they were on "Weapons of Class Destruction." This was followed by "Hot Dogs." Now, for some marathon anecdotes, since I don't know when they happened (unless they're episode-specific, of course).
outoffashion got a call from her godmother...who was in the elevator with Kristen Bell (or "Veronica Mars," as she called her). They were staying at the same hotel.
During a period of light, warden96 shook my hand again (the first time being when we met). He said it was more of an honor to meet me than to meet the VIPs, or something like that. Which...okay. I didn't make a television show.
"Hey, [Joran], you know who's pretty?"
You know, I was a little disappointed at the change-throwing for The Kiss. I expected a whole wave of coins to be heading toward the screen, like in quantities that would kill a man. But it was still quite the event, and people were warning the people in front that they might get hit.
There was a little confusion about the wi-fi, and Erin concluded that everyone who had signed on with her username and different passwords had actually charged ten or thirty dollars to her account. And by her account I mean my account, since it was my card. She told people who had unwittingly screwed me over to please give me money. petunia846 gave me ten dollars. I went to the front desk, though, and they said nothing had been charged to my account, thankfully. So I gave petunia her money back. It should be noted that she's the only person who bothered to give me money because she's NICER THAN ALL YOU BITCHES.
The bathrooms on the first floor were non-functional, so the hotel had opened a couple rooms for those purposes, but bspalek couldn't remember where they were. I was going to just tell her, but then I decided to walk her all the way since, hey, sixty more seconds with bspalek would not be a bad thing. I pointed to the room, and there was a silence, and then I walked back to the marathon. According to Barbra, however, if I had stayed for about five more seconds, she would have said, "So, you want to make out?" WOE FOR MISSED OPPORTUNITIES.
Many people found my archaic little camera that actually used film cute, and I said I'd get a digiital camera if I had three hundred dollars lying around. zimshan also had a little disposable camera with film, and she thought she'd be the only person with a film camera. But no! I was there too! So why don't we pose as Film Camera twins? It was really just an excuse to get a picture of the hotness that is zimshan. spadada can relate. Then zimshan asked to take one with her camera, and that was clearly an excuse to get a picture of the hotness that is me. Clearly. Wait, maybe I'm misremembering and it's only raelee who cares about my hotness.
chaotic4life, who had flown in from Germany, had brought a giant-ass VM poster for everyone to sign. I thought it was to give to Rob and Co., but since she didn't give it to them, I'm assuming it was actually for her. And she just wanted all of us crazy VM fans to sign it so she could take us back to Germany with her. Aww.
I finally met hellopoe for, like, three seconds. I had no idea what she looked like, and I had somehow not run into her (as carpedi7 had apparently done the very hour she got to the hotel).
The marathon is hard to capture on paper. It's all about the little things. The simple fact that we were all in the same room, and you could walk over and talk to the person whose LiveJournal you commented on every week. That you could state your opinion about a certain scene, and there were people in the room who actually cared. That you could crack a joke to yourself while watching the episode, and people would laugh. That you could walk outside and talk if you wanted and then come back in and watch some more VM. In a way, our little unofficial marathon may have been a nicer experience than the full-blown Drafthouse marathon would have been.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled narrative, already in progress.
Rob had said he would stop by between 2 and 3, after the VIP lunch. I walked in and out of the marathon room, waiting, assuming he was going to call me to give a heads up—I'd given him my number so he could coordinate with me about making it to the marathon but mostly so Rob frickin' Thomas would have my number—but not knowing if he'd just show up. And I wanted to get to him first, dammit. I needed to ask him what Veronica Mars would be like on a spaceship.
Erin was the only other person who knew Rob was going to come (he had guaranteed his appearance!), and she asked me if he'd called yet and told me to give her a heads up so she could beat the rush as well. I did tell lunarmars that if she were planning on coming to only part of the marathon, she'd be well off *cough* to come *cough* between 2 and 3 *cough*.
About ten to three, my phone vibrated. I looked at the number and didn't recognize it. I rushed out of the room to answer it.
"Hey, Sunil, this is Rob Thomas."
"So it is," I replied, as if there was some other Rob who was going to be calling me this weekend. Also, I haven't mentioned it, but his voice is higher than I expected, even though I'd heard it before.
I told him where the Embassy Suites was and tried to explain where the marathon room was but told him I'd just get him myself when he got there. He said they were about fifteen minutes away. I relayed the intel to Erin so she could delay the start of "M.A.D." until Rob got there. She had to explain the delay, though, which meant telling people Rob was on his way, which meant people started hanging outside the marathon room. No, dammit! Erin and I had dibs!
We moseyed on over to the hotel entrance and waited until the car pulled up. We went outside to meet Rob and Katie, who is awesome. I pointed to the car seat and asked, "Is that Greta?" No, she'd been left with the grandparents. Aw, man! I wanted to meet teh cuteness!! DAMN YOU txtequilanights!!!
I told Rob there was parking around the corner, but he said he was tired and would just pay for the valet parking. What's twelve bucks or a trip to Dubai to a guy like Rob? He asked the woman at the front desk about the valet. She asked him if he had a key.
Rob, confused, was all, "No, I don't stay here." Oh noes! Did he have to stay at the hotel to use the valet parking? What was this crap?
Then he realized she meant his car key. God, I'm cracking up just thinking about it. When Showrunners Are Humanized!
Rob was wearing a Badass Cinema shirt provided by the Alamo Drafthouse. He said he was very impressed with them: "They're so inventive and fun and creative. And young!" They've got moxie.
As we guided Rob and Katie to the marathon room, he asked if we had anything to drink, and Erin said we had some champagne and such. Rob said he would be fine with water. Conveniently enough, dachelle was on her way to the vending machine, so Courtney got to buy Rob Thomas a Diet Coke. She's got mad beverage skillz. She also brought Katie back a bottle of water, I think it was.
Everyone had come outside to meet Rob and take some pictures, but we wanted to get the episode started. "Rob," I said, "if you go inside, they'll follow you." So he did.
We told him that Michael had made a speech, but Rob pretty much went to the front and was all, "Hey, this is cool, thanks for having me, let's watch the episode." He and Katie took their seats.
We sang along to the credits again, and it was awesome.
It's kind of hard to believe that we were watching an episode of Veronica Mars in such an intimate setting with the frickin' creator of the show right there. He would hear what we said! He would laugh at our jokes! spadada wanted me to make sure to record my joke, which I don't know if Rob specifically laughed at. When they show the video of Carmen sucking on the popsicle, Erin asked Rob if things got worse from there. I said lasciviously, "Maybe she changes flavors." Behind me, from I can only assume spadada, came a "That's so dirty." But awesomely dirty, as I got a high-five out of it. I'm not entirely sure what I meant to imply; in fact, I don't think I meant to imply anything specific at all, but I knew if I said it right, it would sound dirty. When they showed the video again, the popsicle looked different, so I remarked, "She did change flavors!" carpedi7, I think it was, pointed out that it was one of red/blue/white popsicles. Not Neopolitan, but whatever you call them.
We got a little bit less running commentary from Rob, who I think was just enjoying the experience of watching with us. He got to witness all the coin-tossing during the bathroom makeout. He mentioned that they almost cut Logan's little skip after the bathroom makeout (and I don't think I ever really noticed the skip, but clearly...many people have), and there was a horrified gasp from the audience. He said it seemed very un-Logan-like, but it stayed in.
We all cheered for Mr. Wu. Someone said that the phrase "equal-opportunity confiscator" sounded like something Rob would have said as a teacher, and Rob neither confirmed nor denied it.
The scene where Seth and Tad have a homosexual-double-entendre-off was much dirtier to begin with, but they had to keep toning it down.
I think it was zimshan behind me who, when Logan and Veronica enter the house kissing and spinning, asked Rob if the spinning was supposed to be a metaphorical connection to Keith and Alicia spinning at the end. I think she was disappointed to learn that, um, no, it was just a thing.
He and Katie even threw change. Rob threw some for Lynn's glass "urn" on the mantle. That is, he threw some change, and then he specifically said, "That was for the bong."
Rob pointed out Beaver's digital enumeration of the things he and Dick would do down in Mexico (counting on his fingers one, two, three) as a moment he loved, that made him want to keep him around for the second season. And see, these are the kind of little comments we couldn't have gotten during the episode in the big big loud Drafthouse.
When Aaron drops Veronica off at her house, originally, he was going to put his hand on her knee. There was a collective "Aaaaaahhh!!" He cut it because it went a little too far into the creepy side. I said it was good because we couldn't tell whether it was supposed to be sweet or creepy.
Then, oh man, I don't even understand what it was, but there was some discussion about Veronica's car being repaired, and Rob replied something like, "Don't you know, all cars have alternators that can be repaired within an hour." And then there was this very potent moment when Rob realized the continuity error that was being pointed out, and he jokingly said, "Someone's getting fired." Like I said, I didn't even pick up on what the error actually was, but it's so fucking hilarious that we were the ones to bring it to his attention, right there in that room.
This guy, the big pimpin' teacher with his own website, is one of the producers. Or one of the behind-the-scenes people, I don't remember if Rob gave a name.
Rob's cell phone went off during the episode. He does not have a mad cool ringtone.
When Veronica displays the e-mail containing the "Our Precious Secret" link all ready to send, Joran remarked, "Would someone really open an e-mail titled A-bomb?" I said that first, you had to get rid of that "Fwd" business.
Cheers for Loretta Cancun and Cliff.
When Mac finds out the date of Shelly's party from the video, a girl in back shouted, "That's my birthday!" And Rob was all, "I did it just for you!" Very amusing.
Rob remarked that Christopher B. Duncan was someone who did one thing really well, and he didn't know when Wiedman might come back. And oh! I totally remember a funny joke I made that made a lot of people laugh, maybe even Rob! When Wiedman holds up the bug and asks Alicia, "Do yo know what this is?" I replied, "A blow dart?" 'Cause go look! It looks like a blow dart ahahaha I'm so funny. I think Joran continued on with the miming of Wiedman shooting her with the blow dart. Anyway, when we were discussing how good Wiedman was at being menacing, I also pointed out, "Dude, he spends half the scene as a silhouette." Or maybe I just said "shadow." Perhaps I was not so sophisticated in front of Rob Thomas!
When someone commented that Weevil learned how to spell (the "SCUM" on Tad), I remarked, "S-K-U-M...B."
Originally, Veronica's line to Tad about everyone seeing his "little business" was "shriveled business."
When the episode was over, Rob got up to speak, and I went over to take his seat by Katie. Just for fun.
He related a great anecdote about Carmen's popsicle, and thanks to bluegreensmoke, I can just transcribe it for you.
"Originally, in the original script [we] didn't show anything, but we used a banana, and Carmen just...talked about what she did with this banana, but not in any—she didn't talk about it in any graphic detail, but you got the idea that it was going to be an embarrassing video, and Standards and Practices said no. That we can't imply...you can't even make people conjure that image in their head."
I think I hear outoffashion giving a WTF "Okay..."
"And I said...And we had this argument over days, and at some point I said to them, 'Wait, if we were another show, you could have a...you could have a sexy girl, um, with a popsicle in her mouth, uh, treating it lasciviously, and that would be okay. But we can't suggest in dialogue without showing it, with a banana?'"
We all laughed.
"And she said, 'Yes.'"
More laughter from us.
"And then I said, 'So then, following this logic, I can actually show her with a banan—I can show her with a popsicle, saying it's something, implying it's something...worse...' But it actually came down to the difference between a banana and a popsicle."
Laughter, and continuing laughter through the next bit, especially because of Rob's grandiose gestures.
"I couldn't even say 'banana.' I could show popsicle. And I guess somewhere in that script, we never thought, you know, a banana in a pocket that the guy could whip out felt fine..."
And then we all cracked up as we anticipated the punchline, which Erin had pointed out when we saw the scene initially, inspiring this anecdote in the first place.
"I guess in the search-and-replace 'popsicle'/'banana', it didn't occur to us that maybe a popsicle..."
Someone (spadada, I am now guessing) called out, "It's so much better!"
"...it was a bad idea in the back pocket, I don't know what that..."
Someone ('twas carpedi7!) called out, "And it wasn't even in the wrapper."
Rob was enjoying himself through the laughter. He gave an exaggerated "Happened to have one."
And now we've all bonded over the great popsicle/banana back pocket scene in "M.A.D." He thanked us for taking the time to do this because it was a very special experience to watch the show with the fans.
Rob and Katie had to leave after that ("And now you guys get to watch 'A Trip to the Dentist.'"), and we took some pictures outside. maxymama also gave Rob the giant shirt with all of our messages on it.
People with tickets for Sunday soon began to leave, despite the possibility of an orgy. I started getting people to sign my People I Won't See Again for an Indeterminate Amount of Time book. I wrote in outoffashion's little travel journal that she was going to give to Rob.
I bummed around for a bit and finally ended up heading to the Drafthouse with iPod and sadiekate and, I believe, schnappycat, who had been iffy about going but decided to come when a ticket materialized for her. Couch Baron went with blixie and dkissam. At the theater, we again sought our ticketmates and waited in line.
My Sunday ticket I had bought myself, and when I gave the woman my name, she looked at me and recognized me from last night. Heh. She was, for her own amusement, seeing what states people were from. Though she didn't ask me, I'd heard her ask the person ahead of me, so I told her I was from Michigan. I was the first one from Michigan! I rubbed it in blixie's face.
The band tonight, the Daylight Titans, were passing out stickers. I asked them what they played, besides "music." The guy said it was basic rock. Guitars and drums.
We had seats closer to the front this time, right about the level of the entrance. I sat next to sadiekate. She had told me earlier that she felt a little traitorous, but she'd been getting along really well with sincerelysummer. They'd even had lunch together. I decided that now was a good opportunity to resolve things since in-person interaction trumps online interaction in a great many ways.
sincerelysummer was sitting up near where we were last night, in the row in front of the VIPs. She sat between sinca and sweetcynic23. I addressed her by name and said she seemed like a really nice person. She thanked me. I continued to say I was trying to get rid of this grudge I had against her for getting me warned. And, as I'd suspected, she hadn't even realized I'd been warned. It turned out my impression that she had some sort of personal issues against me were unfounded, and we made up. Well, I made up. Since I was really the only one feuding, as it were. The Internet is dumb. And thus she went from being my archnemesis to another cool person I met in Austin.
sinca motioned to me. She hadn't had a chance to get a video message from me for starspentswell, but she'd bought a journal for in which to write messages instead. She asked if I'd write something since she knew starspentswell really wanted something from me. I was more than happy to oblige.
There were two unfamiliar girls to the left, so I said, "I don't think I know you," and introduced myself. Confused, they said they'd already ordered. I asked the trio if the girls were with them. They shook their heads. I felt like a dolt.
Sheepishly, I returned to my seat. The Daylight Titans came on, and the lead singer said that Rob was great, because it was easy to forget your friends when you became big and famous, but he hadn't done that. They played their set, which was pretty good, and psychedelic VM images showed on the screen.
Henri did his fanboy schtick ("OH MY GOD YOU GUYS!!"), which was terribly amusing. Tonight, they also introduced the woman who ran the Voices for Education and Youth.
The agenda was a little different tonight, presumably because they wanted to get them out in time and not have a foreverlong Q&A again. It was clip show, Q&A, episode. And I discovered that I bled a lot of Sunday material into my Saturday post while at the same time leaving out some Saturday material. So, with the help of backup10's notes, I'm going to splice some Saturday material into this Sunday post. Except you won't know which is which. Which memories are true and which are just false constructs of your own fallible mind? I'm totally going to Leonard Shelby your asses.
Rob said that a friend told him that he should maybe, you know, introduce the actors next time. So he began: "So without further ado, the amazingly talented and just dead sexy...Jason Dohring." Oh, Rob, you and your fake-outs! "The awesomely talented and"—There was a pause as Rob tried to come up with something, and I deadpanned to myself, "Moderately attractive." The girl next to me thought it was really funny, especially because everyone was completely silent when I said it—"even more sexy...Kristen Bell." Oh, Rob, you and your love of the word "sexy"! "And finally, the drop dead gorgeous Michael Muh...." Aww. Michael wasn't there.
I don't know when it was, but I was saying, "Aww, she's so adorable!" And sadiekate asked if I was having a fanboy moment. But I wasn't! She's just so adorable! Even if she weren't a TV star, she'd be so adorable!
Rob asked how many of us were here the night before, and maybe half of us cheered. I'd noticed that I seemed to recognize far fewer faces in this crowd, which was surprising since it had seemed like everyone was going both nights. Also, I didn't see this, but according to backup10, Kristen and Jason jokingly raised their hands as well. Rob said we weren't going to get a lot of new material. "The material's old. New suit." It was a different suit, black. People asked how much it cost, and he responded, "Like a guy in an $8,000 suit needs to answers questions like that"—I joined in again—"COME ON!"
First clip was the original opening. Rob said that the music cue as Weevil and the biker gang approach was composed by him on Garage Band. He even had to sign up with ASCAP.
After the second clip, the post-rape scene, we got a very amusing story. When fighting over which opening to use, the network told him to give them his opening and their opening, and they'd see which one tested better. Now, to sabotage the one the network wanted, he went through and intentionally wrote the worst voiceovers he possibly could.
The plan backfired. Not only did the network version test better, but it was sent out for review. So the L.A. Times reviewer, who really liked the show as a whole, had all these criticisms about the clunky voiceovers like "That's when my private detective senses got the better of me." Luckily, that version never aired. The reviewer also didn't like Veronica's "I'm not that girl anymore," but Rob liked it, so he kept it. And I'm glad, because I like it too.
After the "Lousy conversation" scene, iPod yelled out, "I love you, Kristen!"
All of Rob's error messages are Lilly quotes like "Clue in, Donut" and "Whoop-de-friggin'-doo." I wasn't surprised, since we already knew Lilly was his e-mail sound. This was his introduction to "Never underestimate the size of my cojones," which he would love to use if it weren't so long. It was a scene with Logan and "the yin to his yang," Weevil. We again had to cover our eyes to avoid the non-regular.
Rob related the Spider-Man story again, except this time he added the rather relevant detail that Spidey and the clone fight, and one of them dies, and it's the remaining Spidey who wants to know whether or not he's the clone. And he's sitting on a rooftop next to a—pointedly at Kristen—smokestack. Haaaaaa. Continuity!
He said that the writers loved getting Logan and Weevil together even though the two characters rarely had a good reason to interact. Doing an impression of the thought processes, he asked, "Could Weevil go play poker with him?" And then he answered very amusingly with, "In the hands of a talented writer...yes."
We got a bonus scene on Sunday night, the first half of the "Annoy like the wind" scene. And it contained the following line:
"This is why I suggested attack dogs. But no, my mother wanted an alpaca."
Half the theatre cheered, and it was so fucking awesome. I'm sure Kristen and Jason had no idea what was going on, and I don't think Rob had seen it yet either. But God, to think that kantayra's little fun thing became so well known in the fandom that we had enough of a presence in Austin to make some noise is just...cool. I love my fandom. We have an alpaca.
We got a different anecdote after The Kiss. Rob said he wasn't happy with the scene because it felt too sweet. He wanted something hungry, something...sexy was not the word he was looking for this time....Jason said, "He wrote 'devour.'" Rob said that in the bathroom makeout scene, he devoured. There was quite the positive response, of course. Looking at the scene now, he's happier with how it turned out; he can see the hungriness he wanted.
Then it was time for the infamous First Appearance of Teddy Dunn. Except tonight, people cheered! I love us. Rob also clarified that the first shot in the Cuba scene is actually stock footage.
After that we got a bonus scene with Logan and Weevil fighting about Lilly by the bus, about to kiss. When the scene ended and the lights came up, Rob grandstanded a "HoYay!" It was very well received.
When we moved into the ATTTD scenes, Rob told us he found Diane (many cheers at the mention of her name, because she rocks) a while ago when he read a script by her, and when VM got picked up, he knew he wanted her.
Then came the return of the "You all are tough on Teddy Dunn" comment. And someone (who I now know was zimshan, whom I heart so much for this) yelled, "Teddy rocks!" There were some cheers of assent. I remarked to sadiekate, "We're totally overcompensating." But I didn't care, because it was needed after last night. zimshan also let out a "Woohoo. Go Duncan!" and "We love Teddy!" at some point.
After the "Because you're my sister!" scene, Rob complained about Patricia Arquette's getting an Emmy but Kristen's not even getting nominated. "There's no one better!"
To introduce the final clip, Rob described his disagreement with Diane over the "Who's at the door?" cliffhanger. The network wanted a cliffhanger, even though he had resolved to completely wrap up the Lilly Kane murder mystery, he'd said in all the interviews that the mystery would be solved in the finale, done, finished. So he finally came up with the door thing, and Diane didn't think it would work. And we all laughed because of course NO ONE WOULD SHUT UP ABOUT IT. "Ha, ha, ha. There's a reason I get the big office."
After the clip, Kristen said they kept putting the smelliest, weirdest grip at the door. Even this guy named Coyote who walked around in a wolf mask all day, they'd put him right in her eye line. They screwed with her good. She asked Rob who was at the door so she knew where her eye line was and how to react...except he didn't know. He just knew it would be a cool ending, and while normally, he likes to have everything planned out, he knew he'd have the summer to figure this one out. He was all, "Duncan and Logan are about the same height. You're an actor; you can fake it."
Thus endeth the Sunday clip show. Here beginneth the amalgamated Saturday/Sunday Q&A. The atmosphere Sunday was a lot more mellow, presumably for any number of reasons: A) a reaction to last night, B) half the audience had already been through it, C) most of the superrabidhardcore fans had gone Saturday. Rob asked people who asked questions on Saturday not to ask questions tonight.
outoffashion got picked first, and since she was in the front row, she could very easily give Rob her little travel journal. She said she'd gotten lots of people to write in it, and they'd looked at her like she was crazy when she told them to write something. I wonder if Rob and Co. anticipated getting so much stuff and how they managed to fit it in their luggage.
Then she asked her question, which was whether we'd ever see a scene with Logan and Wallace. Rob said that yes, that was a possibility, especially if they got a third season to work with. It was hard to find reasons to get certain characters together. He related a tale of his Dawson's Creek days, how they would often promote "hurricane episodes," where all the main characters were trapped in a small room. There was one reason for those episodes, he said, and that was money. They'd gone overbudget, and a hurricane episode is cheap. No guest stars, you only have to light once, etc. He had a feeling they would need a hurricane episode of VM soon. The writers were thinking of a way to do a murder mystery entirely in an elevator, because that would be cheap.
Someone asked the old "Why is Veronica so different?" question. Rob said it's not necessarily a shift in Veronica's character but a shift in the stories they bring to her. He didn't want things to be stagnant. The questioner then, I think, said that she didn't seem to be defending the underdog as much, and Rob pointed out how she helped Jessie in "Driver Ed." He'd have to go back through the episodes again, but he didn't think that assessment was true.
A good question: so many high school shows end up sucking when the characters go to college, so how was Rob going to avoid that? Rob said that VM wasn't really a "high school show" anyway; it was a noir mystery show. He'd always planned the show to go on for five years, and he deliberately started Veronica in her junior year. So he's already prepared to do college now since he didn't want Veronica to be a 35-year-old college student. Kristen winced at "35," but Rob cracked, "But I'll be 90!"
kerrypolka, to my surprise, asked whether fan reaction affected the direction of the show. I thought she'd been there last night! Now, she added on some stuff about how noticing Logan and Veronica's chemistry affected their storyline, and I think she was kind of asking the question in broader terms, but Rob, having already heard a variation of the question, was ready to talk about it again. I pretty much smushed his answer with his answer last night, but backup10's notes inform me that it was during this answer and all the anti-Jackie sentiments that Kristen gave her lovely "Don't hate, guys. Don't hate."
Now, I had held off on asking my question after sincerelysummer last night, but I decided that it was actually a different question, and I wanted the answer, and I also kind of wanted to see what Rob would do if I asked a question. So I raised my hand.
And Rob pointed to me and said, "Sunil!"
I have no idea what happened behind me, but everyone in the seats in front of me (which I believed was most of the TWoP/LJ contingent) turned their heads to look at me, and it was SO FUCKING FREAKY. Like in horror movies when you have this group of freaky little children and you're hiding and then someone sneezes and they all turn their heads at the sound as a collective. Apparently, there was also some cheering, but I must have blocked it out because why the hell would there be cheering for me? Even schnappycat, that elitist bitch, cheered.
As always happens when I ask a question at one of these things, even though I prepared the question beforehand, I stumbled over the wording when actually on the spot: "Disregarding the whole feedback thing [what I meant to say was the whole "direction of the show" thing], what do you, personally, as a showrunner and as actors, get out of being so close to the fans? ...And have you ever regretted it? Because most people don't do this sort of thing." As magnolia888 points out, it was an especially ironic question coming from the fan whose name Rob just called out by name, but it was really something I wanted to know.
Rob admitted that "some of those papercuts felt worse than papercuts." I already knew this, but he got some audible sympathy from the audience. He said that after Cupid was cancelled, he spent five hard years trying to get another show on the air. When he finished the VM script, he knew it was the best thing he'd ever written. He was going to go to New York to pitch it, and he told Katie that if this didn't work, he was just going to go back to Austin and write YA novels because he couldn't take it anymore. But it did work, and he got us, and I love us. "I'll take the occasional criticism that cuts a little too deep in exchange for that tidal wave of love." Aw, Rob. Cheer up, emo showrunner, indeed.
Kristen said it's awesome that the fans care so much, and she'd rather be on a show with three million rabid fans like us than thirty million fans who just kind of watch the show while they're ironing or whatever. Jason said that he really appreciated that we noticed the little details, and the criticisms only hurt when they were true. This, actually, was when Rob took the blame for the "One Angry Veronica" suckage.
Someone asked the mythology question again, and we laughed. Rob gave the same spiel about its being a coincidence, and the lead singer of the Daylight Titans called out from the front, "Why don't you tell them the story of Hey Zeus?" Rob was all, "Let's not," and moved on. Heh. Now I need to ask him the story of Hey Zeus. (Whoa, holy shit! Did you guys know you can download a whole bunch of Rob's band's songs from his website? I should listen to them sometime. Wonder if they're any good. There's a Hey Zeus song called "I Hate You and I Hope You Die.")
maxymama asked about the estrangement between Keith and Veronica in the original pilot script (he was supposed to be hiding Lianne's letters from Veronica) and the fact that he had to cut it. Rob said that it was a good move to cut it and clarified that it wasn't supposed to have been a fundamental difference in the characters but just something they would have worked out in about six to eight episodes.
Someone asked if Rob had considered asking Joss Whedon to write a script for the show. Rob pointed out (with hand gestures, even) that Rob was down here in the entertainment world, whereas Joss was up here. It would have to work the other way around; it's not like he could just call up Joss and say, "Hey, you want to work on Superman?"
On the subject of feature films, he said that he and Diane had finished a script for Joel Silver (keeping it all in the family, just like Dick) based on The Last of Sheila, which is a murder mystery on a boat. Apparently, Joel wants Lindsay Lohan to star. The audience was not too pleased. But he wrote two roles in the script for which he's pitching Kristen and Jason, and the audience was pleased to hear that. He adds that they have a sex scene.
Then he gave us a line from the script. Kristen's character is lying naked on the bed (woo!), and Jason's character walks in. Kristen's character says, "I've learned a lot of tricks since college."
Jason's character responds, "I hope one of them is 'Roll over.'" I cracked up and said to sadiekate, "He's so dirty. I love it." Some accounts seem to think he was making up all the stuff about Kristen and Jason and the sex scene, but I took it at face value.
We got a question about how Duncan and Veronica's love life is boring, citing specifically Veronica's post-coital fake-spitting on Duncan's chest. Rob said that was improvised by Kristen. When the questioner went on about how hot Logan and Veronica were, Rob joked, "You want to know when they get back together? Episode 19, put it on your calendar." He wants the relationship to feel real and organic, and he's writing a five-year show, not a two-year show ("Let me tell you a story about a little show called Moonlighting..."). They never meant to imply that Duncan was lousy in bed and the Veronica/Duncan sex in "Driver Ed" lacked fireworks. In his mind, they had a very sweet, tender first time. Kristen was all, "It doesn't have to be dirty, you PERVS!"
Someone asked if Logan would ever catch a break, and Jason said mostly what he said to Couch Baron, that he's in kind of a dull apathy that only Veronica could rescue him from.
wonderwilma raised her hand, and Rob called on her. She started to talk, and then Rob recognized her as someone who'd asked a question the last night, and she insisted, "But, Rob, this one's for you!" But he'd already moved on, and it was fucking awesome. Under section 37B of the contract signed by her, it states quite clearly that all offers shall become null and void if—and you can read it for yourself in this photostatic copy—"I, the undersigned, shall forfeit all rights, privileges, and licenses herein and herein contained," et cetera, et cetera..."Fax mentis incendium gloria cultum," et cetera, et cetera..."Memo bis punitor delicatum!" It's all there, black and white, clear as crystal! You asked a question on Saturday. You asked Rob to move because he was blocking the eye candy, so you get nothing! You lose! Good day, sir!
Someone asked if Logan and Duncan would wear different colors again. Rob said the network asked them to do that because initially, people couldn't tell them apart (guilty as charged, yo). Amusingly, he noted, "Logan is clearly an autumn." He doesn't really talk to the wardrobe department that much unless he really dislikes an outfit.
Continuing on the subject of network notes, he mentioned that the writers were constantly struggling with whether to write for us (Us: "Wooooo!!"), the die-hard fans, or the casual viewers that bring in the ratings. They need more than three million viewers to stay on the air, and they need to throw the newbies a bone now and then. So when we see a line like "Celeste, mother of Duncan and the deceased Lilly," please cut them some slack.
soundingsea asked Rob to describe how he put his writing staff together. sadiekate and I both immediately said, "That's a good question." Since he'd mentioned finding Diane earlier, he clarified that he found her through a movie script, one that was optioned by...that woman who does all the romantic comedies ("Nora Ephron!" came the answer from the audience). The show has a very small writing staff, only about five people, in comparison to a show like Lost that has, like, thirty writers. There was some booing, and come on, guys. He's got friends on that writing staff, and Damon Lindelof has said good things about VM.
It was hard to find good writers for VM since the show requires such a mix of talents. He tries to find people who can write Veronica's voice, and he had to let some good writers go from last season who weren't able to capture the voice he wanted. I wished he'd talked about how he'd found each member of his writing staff. I resisted the urge to yell out, "Tell them about Cathy!"
Someone asked Rob what scenes he found particularly challenging, and he launched into this thing about not wanting "emotional exposition" (and he wrote for Dawson's Creek, he should know). He wants action to define character, not dialogue. He wants the characters to dance around their feelings. So the hardest scenes for him to write are scenes like the "Because you're my sister!" scene, where the true feelings finally come out.
jujubee cops to asking the final question Sunday night, regarding the date of the "Life's Short" party. The date on the fliers didn't match the date the party seemed to be on in the episode. Was it a clue or a mistake? Rob began all, "You must rely on the time-space continuum," but then he hilariously added, "Actually, there was a scene we cut with Veronica yelling at the Kinko's people for messing up the flyers. No, it was a mistake." I want to see that Kinko's scene, though. They should put it on the DVDs.
All in all, it was definitely worth coming Sunday, but I don't think the people who only came Saturday should feel like they really missed out. I feel a little bad for the people who only came on Sunday, though.
It was time for the episode again, and this time I caught my shout-out in addition to a Cupid shout-out and the Lost shout-out. Also, I liked the episode much more the second time around.
Afterward, we stayed in the theatre for a bit since we weren't going to wait in the signing line again. iPod was on air because he'd had an actual conversation with Kristen Bell when he went to the bathroom. I swear, that girl was in the bathroom ALL NIGHT. Like, fifty thousand people have reported meeting her when they went to the bathroom. What's awesome is she actually talked to them all. Now WHY THE HELL DID I NEVER GO TO THE BATHROOM?? Geez. And to continue the "Kristen Bell rocks" trend, Couch Baron showed off a little something she'd gotten for him, a ceramic "World's Laziest Television Viewer" with a dude lying asleep on a chair in front of a TV. So fucking cute!
We began to make our way out. At the Daylight Titans table, it dawned on me that the lead singer was theandymancan on TWoP, who'd been posting helpful updates about the Stubb's gig and Austin in general. I thanked him.
Couch Baron and I wanted to say bye to Rob, so we stood around seeing if we could get his attention. I tried calling him so I could say, like, "Hey, look at us!" But I got his voicemail. Then, I think, Kristen noticed CB and started talking to him. And it was so cute, she showed off the gift she'd gotten him to Rob. I couldn't hear what she was saying, but she was pointing out the man's very long nose for some reason. CB and I said bye to Rob, and Rob said once again it was great to meet me in person.
We were by the stairs when I noticed Katie, who is awesome, standing by the table, so I went to say bye to her as well. I asked her if she'd had a good time, and she said she had. Then she thanked me (for what?) for putting everything together, and I said I didn't do anything, I just came. I think she meant "you" as the collective fandom. Or "you" as in "everyone who is not me." I gave her a hug and told her to keep in touch; Rob had my e-mail address, and, well, my number now. She asked if I'd been the one who'd called, and I told her I was trying to get his attention. I left her as she tried to figure out how she was getting out of there.
Outside, we tried to figure out how we were getting out there. There seemed to be too many people for iPod's car. I had originally offered aprilbegins a place in dkissam's car, but I failed to let dkissam on the plan, so oops. Thus, I walked with her back to the hotel, freeing up enough seats in the car.
Party in Room 608 once again! Those in attendance included, geez...aprilbegins, eirefaerie, dachelle, carpedi7, faithx5, petunia846, iheartbridges, kerrypolka, joranbelar, schnappycat, dkissam, blixie, sadiekate, sincerelysummer, violet4120, shutterbug1, Couch Baron, and Jacob. Who brought beer. To make up for the fact that he is the Biggest Flake in the World and didn't come to the marathon. He even brought a VCR and a tape of BSG to see if we could finally watch that together, but it wasn't going to work in this atmosphere anyway. But it's the thought that counts.
You don't recap a shindig like this, you just recall some fine moments.
I cuddled with carpedi7. She has been waiting a week for me to mention this, and now it has been mentioned. She is cuddly.
I sat down next to faithx5 and asked how she was, because she hadn't talked a lot. She laughed and relayed my comment to eirefaerie, who proclaimed her a veritable chatterbox compared to the last fandom event she'd been to.
There were games of Fake Paper Scissors being played. The best one was when I observed bridges vs. petunia. bridges said, "Polter-Cow," and petunia said, "Petunias." And we all cracked up and bridges freaked out and we discussed whether a Polter-Cow could actually eat petunias, or whether petunias won automatically because they were alive.
sadiekate took some sweet pictures of me.
We searched the Internet for party games, and we didn't have a six-foot-long string to play Trouser Snake, so Joran made us play Kiss the Donkey. Except the first rule of Kiss the Donkey is you do not talk about Kiss the Donkey.
We also played some rousing games of Death Is Not an Option and Marry/Fuck/Kill. Joran is an evil bastard for both giving me a particularly evil Death Is Not an Option and killing eirefaerie.
Mostly, though, the evening was just us talking. In the room, in the hallway, in the room again. It's not something you can really write about. It's just something you want to remember. And do again, soon.
There were many sad goodbyes. The weekend was pretty much over, and the next day, we would all return to our respective states and resign ourselves to humdrum lives without each other.
But, hey, we'll always have Austin.