More excited than scared for Jeff Greenstein’s directing debut

Tonight I think you should watch Desperate Housewives, even if, like me, it’s not a show you regularly watch. Who can resist a Halloween episode (“Excited and Scared”) airing on actual Halloween Day?

But the real reason I’ll watch and think you should too is that it’s the directing debut of the talented and witty Jeff Greenstein, who also wrote it. (Oh and he recorded a commentary track that’ll be available on abc.com on Monday, too, though it’ll likely be geoblocked in Canada as usual.)

He apparently moved to LA with the dream of becoming a director, but took a not-too-shabby 25-year digression into writing for shows such as Dream On, Friends, Will & Grace and Parenthood, plus developing his own, including one he’s working on now with novelist Jennifer Weiner.

We barely know each other, but I care because we have an odd history that I get a kick out of and that’s given me an appreciation for his intelligence, humour and talent. And it feels good to see good people succeed.

We’ve never exactly met – though you could say that I’ve met him but he hasn’t met me. I’ve interviewed him a couple of times since and we’ve kept in touch, but our paths first crossed at the Banff TV Fest a few years ago. I was in the audience for a session where he was to be sole speaker, except he brought BBC producer Jon Plowman to help. I wrote a very brief blog post at the time saying that Plowman didn’t need to help much because Greenstein sure can talk, so luckily he was funny and informative.

Almost 2 weeks later, I started writing a full article for Blogcritics that included Greenstein’s session along with House writer David Hoselton’s. Literally as I was finishing the final edits, an email alert notified me that I had a message from a Jeff Greenstein with the subject line “I sure can talk.” It took my confused brain a few moments to sort out the fact that the man I had been writing about for the past hour – a man I didn’t think knew I existed – was writing to me at the exact same time. I know in my head that a world without coincidences would be freaky, and yet the coincidence freaked me out a little.

It was a good-humoured email that saw the genuine if jokey compliment in my original assessment. I don’t regret saying it, either: he really can talk. He also sure can write, and now I bet I’ll be saying he sure can direct. Let’s find out.

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