TCA Winter ’15 (BLOG): Looking for Lorre

LorreCouch

Occasionally when you’re at any given TCA Press Tour, you have to cover a show, or a few shows, you don’t really care for. Most of the time, you leave the session or set visit for this show/these shows feeling the exact same as you did before. But on a rare occasion, getting a little more up, close and personal with a show can sway your opinion a bit, making you appreciate why others are so enamored by something you can barely stand.

I won’t say that I was made a Big Bang Theory fan, or suddenly desired to catch up with Mike & Molly, after going on Thursday’s TCA field trip to Chuck Lorre’s four shows. But I do have to say that it was hard not to be impressed by the enormity of the Lorre sitcom system while sitting in front of a huge panel featuring talent from Big Bang, Two and a Half Men, Molly and Mom. Here I was in a room with the likes of Jon Cryer, Melissa McCarthy and Jim Parsons, all people who gained (or in Cryer’s case, regained) superstardom thanks to Lorre. He took a chance on them being the leads of series and now they’re all hits–the shows and the stars.

Admittedly, the panel really seemed to centre on Two and a Half Men, which was fitting considering that this is the last season and the follow-up party was on the set. But stars from every series were eager to comment on Lorre’s legacy and what it has given them, seeming very grateful for his trust in their skills and innate sense of what he wants. It’s clear that the majority of them admire him greatly, especially the writers and producers like Big Bang‘s Bill Prady and Mom‘s Gemma Baker. I actually wanted to speak with Baker after the panel, particularly following a screening of next week’s episode of Mom, but was unable to catch her in the party fray.

What a fray it was too, as we were all escorted into the surprisingly small Stage 26, which will now be called the Two and a Half Men stage (seriously, it was announced that night), and given the chance to mingle with nearly all of the panelists we saw before. I say nearly all because the majority of the Big Bang cast seemed to vanish under an invisibility cloak before I got there, save for Kunal Nayyar (a.k.a. Raj), someone I almost went up to but ultimately decided to avoid due to my limited knowledge of the show (also, full disclosure, I have a tiny crush on him and felt that wasn’t enough of a speaking point, nor professional in nature). Luckily, Allison Janney did manage to stick around and I got to talk with her for a bit about the Mom episode, glasses and her upcoming movie with McCarthy. I met her on a previous press tour and she remains as delightful and kind as she was then, proving that no matter how big you, or your show, get, you can still be a decent person.

Dat Xbox

Dat Xbox

After a chat with Janney and noshing on some boxed Thai food, I headed over to the Big Bang set for a little peruse around. I can’t talk about one part of the set because it’s a surprise for an upcoming episode, but I can say that I made it to Sheldon and Leonard’s apartment, Penny’s place, Howard and Bernadette’s living room, and the hallway so often seen on the show. As I quit the show a few years back, I can’t really comment on whether there were any new additions to any of the sets worth noting, but I can say that sitting in Sheldon’s “spot” on the couch is as rewarding as you might imagine, especially if you know that the fact that you’ve done it might make your little brother sick (I love you, Joe!). Also, the force is with whoever else owns the Star Wars-themed Xbox 360 they have lying around.

As cool as it was to check out some of the nerd memorabila, I was actually even more impressed by Penny’s living room and bedroom, mainly because I recently moved into my own place and have been trying to figure out how to decorate. I don’t think the loud colours and girly accessories are really my style, but there were pieces I’d love to call my own, particularly this one multi-coloured chair. Luckily, I got to take set decorator Ann Shea aside for a few minutes and I found out that, of course, that beauty is from Anthropologie. I also found out which other stores she visited in decorating Penny’s place, but I’m going to save that for the story I hope to sell when I get home (hey, a girl needs some $$$ if she’s gonna get herself an Anthro chaise!). And what’s more is that Shea told me my eyes and hair would match Penny’s turquoise couch just like Kaley Cuoco’s do. And here I was thinking coral was my colour!

Because I spent so much time investigating the Big Bang set, I didn’t get to venture over to the Mom or Mike & Molly ones. It’s okay though because after a full day of panels and this event, I was pretty darn tired and ready to settle in with a tea and the NBC screeners awaiting me in my room. Getting a closer look at the Lorre lore was interesting and strangely enlightening, but there are other shows and showrunners to investigate too, starting with a comedy I truly love, Parks and Recreation. Be sure to look out for my coverage of the final TCA panel ever, including run-ins with showrunner Mike Schur, and stars Amy Poehler and Adam Scott, as I head into my own last stretch of the tour.

Emily is covering the 2015 Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour live from the Huntington Langham Hotel from January 9 – 18. Tune in every day for new pieces and follow her tweets at @Cinefilles and @emilygagne.

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