“Were doing Gods work, proclaimed David Shore, creator of the Fox medical drama “House. He was responding to a woman who runs a foundation for or rather, against — vasculitis (and for those who suffer from it), who thanked him for bringing awareness to the disease by mentioning it on the show. He was also kidding.
It was “Houses turn for the Museum of TV and Radio’s Paley TV Festival treatment tonight at the DGA. An audience that was a little more fawning toward the stars and creators than the “My Name is Earl crowd was the night before were treated to an upcoming episode in which House the crank played by Hugh Laurie whose medical brilliance is rivaled only by his anti-social misanthropy got to solve a crime as well as a medical mystery.
The panel discussion afterwards was a little foursquare, nuts-and-bolts affair for a while, detailing the shows creation in a fashion that if you were enough of a fan of the show to attend the event, you had probably already read in one or more articles on the series. Creator David Shore joked, “I tend to take all my characters and attach the word `hostile in their descriptions. Or maybe that one wasnt a joke.
But things got more interesting when the actors started talking out of school. Robert Sean Leonard decried the kind of scripts actors receive: “Just watch the Sid and Marty Kroft Saturday morning shows thats what most scripts you get are.
Here are a few gems from the Paley Television Festival’s tribute to “My Name is Earl,” held tonight at the Directors Guild of America and sponsored by the Museum of TV and Radio:
“Worst Actor Ever:” That’s Jaime Pressly (who plays Earl’s ex-wife Joy) on one of her own colleagues, Jason Lee’s stand-in. “He’ll have to do some lines, and I think, ‘Oh, my God, where is Jason?’” (If the poor guy was there that night, he didn’t admit it.)
“I feel like an @$$#*!&:” Ethan Suplee (Earl’s dim-witted brother Randy) after one of his many responses delivered monosyllabically (except, of course, for that last word).
And, after screening a very funny flashback episode (which has yet to air) that sort of revealed the origins of the group’s dynamic — they believe the Y2K bug destroyed mankind, so they begin living in a superstore and fumble about creating a new civlization — series creator Greg Garcia explained, “We thought it would be funny if the one thing they planned for was Y2K and it didn’t happen. And that they would be better people only if everyone else on the planet died.”
Celebrity deaths come in threes, the morbid diktat informs us. But they rarely occur over a single weekend, as was the case when TV fans lost Don Knotts, Darren McGavin and Dennis Weaver in the past 72 hours. Knotts won five Emmys for his signature creation, the fretfully goggle-eyed Barney Fife, on The Andy Griffith Show.? Weaver won one, not for what has become his best-known character, McCloud,? but for playing the limping deputy Chester on the long-running series Gunsmoke.? McGavin, contrary to what the AP story in todays Daily News reported, never won an Emmy (he was nominated once for playing Murphy Browns? father), but he did win a Cable ACE, an award so prestigious theyve quit handing them out (imagine that, in an era where a new awards show seems to pop up every other week). His most beloved character was Carl Kolchak, the glibly beleaguered reporter/monster hunter of The Night Stalker? telefilms and TV series. All three men died in their 80s after extended illnesses. I have powerfully uninteresting anecdotes about all three.
A mere two days have passed since the conclusion of the TV Critics Association’s winter press tour in Pasadena and already two much bigger TV stories have broken than any that occurred during the tour itself: Paula Kerger being named as president of the Public Broadcasting System and, of course, UPN and The WB merging into a new network, The CW. (NBC also announced “The Book of Daniel” had been canceled, but that hardly qualified as a surprise.) Only an idiot would believe these announcements werent ready to be made during the press tour itself, and only an idiot would not be able to figure out why they werent made before the collected group of journalists who are TV specialists. Why break these things to journalists who would know what questions to ask of the executives involved when you can do so later and get what essentially amounts to a free pass in subsequent reportage?
So now they’re going to have an Emmy for material you can watch on your phone. Which means some bit of flash animation a kid cooks up in his bedroom could share televsion’s most prestigious award alongside David Chase or Steven Bochco. This democracy-in-action is all very nice, but what’s next? A Grammy for Outstanding Ring Tone? A Writers Guild award for best idea cooked up in someone’s head but never subsequently pursued?