House and home

I’m back, and working on a Blogcritics article about the highlight of my trip to LA, but for now I need to recuperate from my vacation and try to stave off the cold that hit about halfway through my flight home today.

It was my first time to that city, and though I’ve been talking about heading down since moving to the west coast, and I was meeting up with a couple of friends, I have to admit the timing of our trip was not entirely coincidental.

The William S. Paley Television Festival featuring House “happened” to be on while we were there. We got to see the next, as-yet-unaired episode, and to hear the entire cast and all the executive producers answer questions from a moderator and the audience. I won’t completely scoop my own article, but I thought I’d throw out a couple of anecdotes that won’t fit into my normally staid and impersonal House articles on Blogcritics. Stop laughing.

Writer Lawrence Kaplow, whom I interviewed by phone several months ago, wasn’t on the Paley panel, but he was in the audience. He had the good manners to win the Writers Guild Award recently and have his acceptance picture floated on the Internet, allowing me to recognize the one Housite to whom I could justify introducing myself as we filtered out of the theatre. While it’s possible he now curses the fact that choosing a behind-the-scenes career apparently doesn’t guarantee the ability to pass incognito after all, he was perfectly gracious.

Someone – not me, I swear – asked the panel about the ball on House’s desk. After some puzzled, “You mean the big tennis ball?” comments from Robert Sean Leonard (Wilson) and Jennifer Morrison (Cameron), Hugh Laurie remarked with a trace of Housian sarcasm: “That’s just on the outside – it obviously stands for something. But we’re not going to tell you.”

Executive producer Bryan Singer supplied one of our vacation catchphrases when he again told the story of not recognizing British actor Laurie at his audition. He was excited to find their real American for the role, saying he’d gotten tired of seeing so many “fucking foreigners.” (Actually he said “fuh-foreigners,” but when he realized by the titters that the audience had filled in the blanks and didn’t for a second believe he’d simply stumbled over the word “foreigners,” uncensored himself.)

That line provided my American friends with the perfect opportunity to upgrade their jokes about my overly polite Canadianness, and instead gleefully call me a “fucking foreigner” for the rest of our trip, where we went highbrow with a visit to the Getty Centre, went lowbrow with a visit to a psychic (my chakras are apparently blocked), and went Hollywood with a studio tour at Warner Brothers, conducted by a sardonic tour guide who either loved or hated us for our penchant for showing affection through insults. Other than that, we spent a lot of time eating, drinking, talking, laughing, and insulting each other.

I hope to never get blasé enough about travel that even a short trip like this doesn’t make me giddy and full of stories I’ll likely torture you with over the next while. But first … copious amounts of cold medication and sleep.

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