April 29, 2006

Akeelah and the Bee & the Summer Blockbusters

Once in a while, I'm lucky enough to catch a great movie! This past weekend's find was "Akeelah and the Bee." Wouldn't it be great if Hollywood makes more wonderful family movies like this?! It's a must see!

As to the rest of the movies soon to come, Newsweek predicted this summer's blockbusters to include:

1. Pirates of the Caribbean: the Curse of the Black Pearl
2. The Da Vinci Code
3. Superman Returns
4. Little Miss Sunshine
5. An Inconvenient Truth
6. Talladega Nights
7. Brothers of the Head
8. The Devil Wears Prada (chick lit into chick flick!)
9. Nacho Libre
10. Mission: Impossible III
11. Miami Vice
12. The Science of Sleep
13. The Break-Up
14. Monster House
15. Click

So catch them as they arrive if you're as big a movie fan as me! Meanwhile, you have to see Akeelah and the Bee! :O) There is NO other better movie out there right now! :O)

April 26, 2006

Leaving Stars Hollow & Gilmore Girls

Found another interview with Amy Sherman-Palladino by Entertainment Weekly.

Town Meeting

''Gilmore Girls'' creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her writer-director husband, Daniel, tell Ken Tucker about the behind-the-scenes drama that prompted their decision to leave the show.

Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino and her writer-director husband, Daniel Palladino, are leaving the Girls. Their network, The WB — set to join UPN in forming the new CW network — sent out a statement that read, in part: ''While we are disappointed that Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino have decided not to stay with the show next season...we want to thank Amy for creating and nurturing this wonderful series for the past six years and giving us one of the most memorable mother/daughter relationships in television history.''

But I wanted to know what was really going on. So Amy and Dan spilled these beans:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What's the past week been like?

AMY I drove for the last time through the Stars Hollow set and they're already using it for the next few months for an Eddie Murphy movie. They've changed the entire town, so that felt symbolically weird... I assume Luke's Diner and everything else will be back by the time they start shooting the new season of Gilmore in July.

DAN We talked to the cast, and that was very emotional. I had to catch Lauren Graham [who plays Lorelai Gilmore] before she left for Virginia to work on the Bruce Almighty sequel, and we had to call Ed Herrmann and Kelly Bishop [who play Loreleai's parents] because they were in New York, and it was sad, because this season in particular we all bonded in a way we hadn't in previous years.

AMY It was like the early Actor's Studio without all the communism.

And what did you want that The WB wasn't giving you?

AMY A puppy.

DAN Well, that and — look, we've been working for the last two years with one-year contracts, working seven days a week for the past six years, and we wanted not a two-year pick-up for the show, but a two-year contract for us, so we could relax a little bit and not just think 300 days at a time, always wondering whether we'd be here. And we hit a brick wall with that, and also with our request for more personnel, more writers, a staff director for the [stage set] so that we didn't personally have to go down on the set and oversee the directors and make sure the knickknacks were on the right shelf at Lorelai's inn. So last Thursday, when we saw none of that was coming together, we made our decision [to leave].

AMY We went to the studio around the Christmas holiday and said, ''Here's what we're looking for and let's talk now before the season ends and things get crazy with [your] attention distracted by fall pilot development,'' but we got frozen out. It was like Footloose, when they're revvin' up the tractors, playin' chicken. It took too long and before everyone knew it, we were loading our desks on a truck and driving off the lot.

How did you envision ending the series if you'd stayed on for another season?

AMY As far as the series ending next season, that's not a real thing — they've got a new network, they're gonna need product, and this show has done very well. Why shouldn't it go on, with its built-in audience? I've had executives saying ''This will be the last season'' since season 4... We have a very specific idea of how we wanted the series to ultimately end, and there's a myriad of ways to get there, which could have accommodated another few seasons.

What was that ending?

AMY I can't tell you that! It wouldn't be fair to the people who'll be running the show now. It doesn't mean we had the right way, it was just my way, and that's what I always prefer: my way. [Laughs] So it's gonna be someone else's way.

DAN It'll end with all these canisters exploding and Jack Bauer running in with a gun.

AMY Oh, I love that Jack Bauer — I think he'd make a great guy for Lorelai, and think of him sitting at the stuffy Gilmore parents' dinner table!

DAN I'll tell you something — we always wrote the show so that when a season ended, and they told us it would be the last one, we made sure there were enough things still happening, still dangling, that they'd have to pick us up for the next season.

AMY It's our problem with authority. If they told us it wasn't gonna be the last year, then we'd have made sure it was the last.

DAN We'd have done our version of Springtime for Hitler.

What about the fact that Graham and Alexis Bledel (Rory) were contracted for only one more year — how did that factor into your long-term thinking?

AMY I think they could have gotten the girls for another season if they made the right deal. Because Lauren and Alexis can go off and do the movies they want to make around our production schedule — we made it work for them, so they could do that. We're such a tight-knit team, oddly more so than any year previous; we're very attuned to each other.

So what's in your future?

AMY Extreme alcoholism. [Laughs] We both have books we've optioned for movie projects. We're talking to MTV about doing a show with [producer] RJ Cutler — not a reality show, something else, a great idea. We're meeting with MTV this week to see about that, in fact.

And what's the legacy of Gilmore Girls for you?

AMY We created an alternate universe that we loved living in, loved having viewers get immersed in. I did everything I wanted to do, really — it was a gift from God. And look, f---ed-up family drama: that's a goldmine; problems never get resolved. There's a richness to conflict and love and stress that makes for great experiences.

April 24, 2006

Gilmore Girls losing its parents

If you're a big Gilmlore Girls fan like me, you must have heard of the shocking news this week! The talented and creative husband/wife writing team of Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino is leaving the show after this year's Season 6 wraps up. TV Guide's Michael Ausiello's "raw and uncensored" interview of Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino gives us more details on this sudden departure of the dynamic writing team. I read the entire interview in one sitting and am now feeling worse worrying for the future and integrity of the show next season.

I've fallen in love with Gilmore Girls from its very first pilot episode back in 2001 and have been dreading the day it's off the air. With Amy & Dan, the creators if not "parents" of Gilmore Girls, no longer at the helm, that end is imminent. Even if there is still one season left for Gilmore Girls, will the new writing team led by Dave Rosenthal know the citizens of Stars Hollow well enough to write dialogues and story lines worthy of and stay true to this cast of quirky, lovable characters? I feel so protective of the show and all its people. I just don't want anything bad to happen to this show! Ever!

Gilmore Girls has been television's most darling family show for the past 6 years. It's on every Tuesday night at 8:00 PM. It's the pride & joy of WB. If you haven't watched it yet, get the DVDs and start with Season 1. You'll fall in love!

And in case you want to read up on the insightful interview, here it is.


Team Palladino: The Interview

I'm going to dispense with the fancy introductions this one time and cut right to the chase: I just hung up with exiting Gilmore Girls show runners Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino and here's the complete Q&A, raw and uncensored. I'm anxious to hear what you think.

Ausiello: So let's start with the obvious question: Why are you leaving?
Oh, my god! Nobody told me! I just bought new curtains!

Ausiello: I was hoping this was all just a big punking.
Ashton Kutcher is standing behind me.
Dan: The short answer really is that we just could not come to terms with the studio for a new contract.
Amy: And we tried. We went to them very early — what was it, January? — to say, "Let's talk about this now."

Ausiello: Well, let's get into the longer version of the story, shall we?
Oh, you're adorable.

Ausiello: The word on the street is that you guys wanted a two-year pickup. True?
I don't think "pickup" is the right word, because this was a personal deal; this had nothing to do with the show. Our deal ends, or ended, already. Basically, what the f--k am I doing in editing? I should be home. So, we, personally, as individual writers did not have a deal going forward. The show is picked up and the actors have a deal but we didn't have a deal. It wasn't so much about a pickup. We have gone year to year to year, and this year we decided that this charade is ridiculous. We want to be able to be around to protect the show for next year, the year after, for however long the show is up and running.
Dan: We were doing one-year contracts for the last two years and we felt like...
Amy: It's very exhausting to do a one-year contract.
Dan: We felt like we wanted to be able to see more than 300 days into the future; we felt like we had earned that. And that was definitely one of our points. We wanted to play a significant role on Gilmore Girls for at least two more years, because as Amy has told you before, we feel like this show... it can weave and bob and change and mutate and keep going, because it's about family, it's about relationships, and it could keep going for two, three, who knows how many years.
Amy: [And] they have to launch a new network. They need product. Maybe they'll be very lucky and they'll have like 12 hit shows right off the bat this year, but we sort of felt like... we find ourselves in the position every year of doing this. Every year, it's like, "Oh, it's the last year! One more year! Come back for one more year!" And it's like, you know, kids, don't tell me "one more year" anymore. I'm so tired of hearing "one more year." It's exhausting. I firmly believe that as long as... I mean, Lauren Graham, every show she does something different. She grows more as an actress. These actors aren't done with their journey yet. And we feel like, sure, maybe it's the last year, but chances are, if it's a solid lead-in, if it does good numbers, if it helps them launch something, why wouldn't they want another year? That's not insane.

Ausiello: From the studio's standpoint, the cast isn't committed for an eighth year. So why would they go ahead and give you guys a two-year deal without a guarantee that any of the actors will be back?
(Sarcastically) Because we're special. Well, but you also get development. It's not like they're paying us to sit around and have cocktails. Because, believe me, if I was asking them to pay me to sit around and have cocktails, I'd understand them being a little upset. Look, it's business. Every time you pick up the trades and you read that some show runner is getting a two-year deal, that show could be canceled the following year, and then that deal continues. Also, deals have options... there are all sorts of things that go into deals. What we were asking for was not crazy. It was not insane. It was not the moon. It was really about, frankly, protecting the show and about keeping us around so that as the show goes forward they don't have to panic every year: "Well, how do we move the show forward and who's going to be at the helm?" It would allow us to plan for one year, it would allow us to plan for two years. You know, a big part of making new deals with the actors would be telling them what that second year would be. Telling them what their stories will be. Telling them what their lives would be like. That's all stuff that we could have provided for 'em.

Ausiello: If the show didn't end up coming back for that eighth season, what would have happened?
Then we would have cleaned [Warner Bros. TV president] Peter Roth's house for a year. For a whole year. I would do the laundry, and Dan would dust the CDs.
Dan: We never even got that far into the process. They just wanted to sign us for one year. We never got to talk about the logistics. We just sort of hit a wall with that request.
Amy: My biggest frustration, actually, was the fact that there was no dialogue. It was like we went to them and said, "This is what we would like," and they came back and said, "This is what we'll give you — take it or leave it." There was no chance for Dan and I and the studio to talk about what any of that would mean. And that's a little sad, a little frustrating, but you know what? It's business. They have a business model they need to stick to and we understand that.

Ausiello: When I spoke to you guys last year, Amy, you said you conceived Gilmore as a seven-year show, ending with Rory's graduation. Did you change your mind?
It's not that. I conceived this show to be able to go seven years, because that's the whole point of conceiving a show. To me, if you're going to pitch a show and it can't go seven years, go back to the drawing board and figure out a different pitch. So, for me, if you're going to end the show at Year 7, that's fine, that is great. It would have been great to end at Year 7. It would have been, frankly, great to end at Year 6, because we could have found an end this year.
Dan: But we wanted to break Bonanza and Gunsmoke's record.
Amy: Yeah! Also, when you look at 7th Heaven being around for 10 years, there's no reason this show couldn't have gone on for 10 years. You know, if I felt like the show was just this train wreck, if I felt like the actors were sloughing off, if I felt like people were asleep at the wheel, it would've been different. But when you see stuff happening, and when scenes and moments happen that you didn't think could happen before, and when you add a kid like Matt Czuchry to the show and all of a sudden it brings in different layers and different stories and different textures, it's like, it doesn't have to end. And I'm not saying that next year won't be the last year. It could be, or it could go on. But from a business standpoint, us doing year-to-year deals at this point in our careers did not make any sense. It just didn't make any sense. And, frankly, it's very stressful for me every year not to know, "Do I end it this year? Do I not end it this year? What do I do?" Which has been the way it's been every single freakin' year.

Ausiello: From the fans' POV, you've been with the show for six years, next year could be the final year, you have the chance here to wrap things up in a nice bow, tell this whole story, give everyone closure, the whole thing. When it became clear that the studio wasn't going to budge on the two-year deal, did you ever consider going, "Look, screw it. We're going to stick around for this last year anyway. We're going to make it a great year. We're going to send the show out on a high note."
Honey, there were many other issues that weren't about the two years. There were many production issues that we simply, physically, could not continue the show without — certain production concessions from the studio. And that, frankly, is a reality, also.

Ausiello: Can you say what any of those were?
For the six years, we've been working seven days a week, 'cause we knew every aspect of the show. We'd break every story, we'd edit, this last year we directed seven between ourselves, we have written 90-something scripts.
Amy: We also take a pass at all scripts that go out and by the time our season ends, by the time I'm done editing and by the time I'm done with sound mixes and everything like that, it's mid-May. We start back June 1. We work through every holiday... Christmas, Thanksgiving. It's been quite a load.
Dan: So, having done that for six years, we really wanted to expand our personnel base. We wanted more writers, more bodies in that writers' room, we wanted a director on staff, which I think every other hourlong show has, except ours. Not having that director on staff means Amy and I have to be down on stage supervising other directors, which leads to the seven-days-a-week thing. So we were needing more personnel. And we never got around to convincing people that that was absolutely necessary.
Amy: And part of the reason we went to the studio so early in the game is because we wanted to be able to go out and find writers then. And find a director-producer then. So that everything would be in place the following year. Because at this point in time, shows are being picked up, people are putting their schedules together, the marketplace is thin. Great people are being snapped up. And we went to the studio and said, "Look, give us a chance to get everything in place now. Let's have everyone sign up for next year. Let's start working on next year this year." I think it's a couple of things. Businesswise, we spoiled them, because why spend money on other writers when you don't have to? [Laughs] There's a little bit of that. And I also think that everybody thinks that everybody's playing poker, and who's going to blink first? And we were like, very honestly, like, in an Andy Hardy movie going, "No, seriously, we really want to put on a show in the barn if you just listen to us, mister!" And it just never got to that point. And it wasn't until things really came to a head that suddenly people realized, "The insane people are actually serious about this."

Ausiello: Moving away from the business part, how does it feel to be passing the show off to someone else just before what could potentially be its final year?
It's horrifying. It's like a freaking nightmare. And I know I speak for Dan, too.... Well, maybe I don't but I am speaking for Dan now, if we can't ensure the quality... every year we've tried to push the bar higher. For better or worse, whether people like it or don't like it, we tried to make our stories more complex. We try and push the quality higher. When we go on location we want to make more of that. We want to do more interesting things. You know, this year we did our troubadour thing, which has been a long time coming. We personally push everything higher, and a lot of times in Year 6 or 7, show runners take steps back. Their lives get easier. And our lives only get harder. And partially it's because we want to make things better and better and better until there's no more better to make. But also, if we can't do that as the kind of creative people we are, it's something.... I can't be a part of something that I can't ensure that I'm giving 100 percent anymore. If I'm saying, "I'm tired, I'm exhausted, I feel like I'm going to flip out and be a Margot Kidder in the hedges with my teeth gone at Episode 6 if I don't get some help," somebody should listen. Because, seriously, me without my teeth is even scarier than me with my teeth. We really wanted to be able to say, "Here's how we ensure the show — for the life of the show." If it's next year or the year after, we can ensure it. We have been begging for these things every single year, and every single year it gets harder and harder and harder, and it got to the point where it's like, "No. We've done a lot for you. We've done a lot for you. We've done a lot for this network and we've done a lot for this studio. We need you to do something for us. We need some relief. We need more writers, we need a director-producer, we need to know that this isn't the year that you get the last year of your show and I end up drooling into a cup."
Dan: I was willing to give 110 percent, which is 10 percent more than Amy.

Ausiello: Let's talk about the $5 million figure that's being thrown around. It sounds like they backed the Brink's truck up and you told them to move it.
First of all, it was all in shekels. Ha! Ha! Shekels! It's a funny word.
Dan: We would never comment on the specifics of money.
Amy: We were raised better than that.
Dan: I haven't even told my parents how much our house cost nine years ago. We never talk about money. It's gauche, it's not classy. But having said that, I can tell you that we've never been unhappy with what we've been paid on this show.
Amy: Ever.
Dan: Ever. We were compensated very generously by the studio. What broke this deal was not at all, in any way, shape or form, about our compensation.
Amy: It was a nonissue.

Ausiello: Let's talk about the creative. I don't know how much you guys read of what's out there, but there's been a rocky reception to some of the stuff that's happened this season, specifically regarding Luke and Lorelai and the return of Christopher. What is your reaction to what you may or may not be hearing?
Look, we went through this in Season 4. We've been through this before. People love you, they hate you, they love you, they hate you. That's the nature of drama. We don't read a lot of that stuff because, frankly, we don't have the energy to do that. I will say what I've said before in this position, which is we've only done story lines that felt to us like the true place to take the characters. I think that if you don't grow and move you die. I've always felt that. Luke and Lorelai are two very complex human beings. They are two people in their late thirties who, for some reason, have never comingled with anyone, never lived with anyone, never been married. And that kind of person brings baggage to a relationship. If you ignore that baggage and say, "Now they're in love and happy and they're skipping around the town square and everything's delightful," then I think you're doing a disservice to the characters and the story line and, in the end, I think we'd be getting slammed for, "Oh, Luke and Lorelai are so boring! All they do is skip in a circle now." I think that no matter what you're going to do, it's going to go up, it's going to go down. I feel that Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel have done some of the best work of their careers this year. And I think they deserve story lines that take them to new places. We have a responsibility to our actors, who are here 24 hours a day, who can't eat a pretzel because you have to be perfect and thin and gorgeous in front of the camera, and who have never let us down. Who have never stopped committing to the stories. And if they're going to do that then we've got to make sure that the stories are digging deeper, are getting more complex, are pushing forward, otherwise everybody will just sort of take a nap. While I never like people to be upset, especially our fans, because our fans have been so unbelievably loyal to us and have kept us where we are now... I mean we're up against the biggest year of American Idol ever and someone's still tuning in. So we're very fortunate to have these people in our lives and hopefully they will, as they've done before when they've gotten upset, hang around long enough to find out that things that go up also go down, go sideways and eventually come back around again. But I think I feel very comfortable in saying we did the right thing for the characters that we've created and we stayed true to who they were and we took them to new places. And that's also how you extend the life of a show. If you just kept them static and everything was happy and everybody was like, "Mama, look, a pretty tree!" How long can you look at a f--king pretty tree before you want to kill yourself?

Ausiello: Based on the mail I've been reading, a lot of fans don't buy the April obstacle. As you know, they were pissed off before she ever appeared on the screen. And at the time, you asked them to have a little faith. So, cut to April 24: April has driven a wedge between Luke and Lorelai. If the spoilers are to be believed (SPOILER ALERT), Lorelai will end up in Christopher's bed in the finale, and now you guys are leaving. It looks like you asked them to have faith, then you split Luke and Lorelai up, threw her in bed with Christopher, and quit. What do you have to say to that?


Dan: I've got nothing to say to that.
Amy: Yeah, that's something. You know what, that's a good story line. We should use that.
Dan: You know, in the very beginning of the series, in the first year with Alexis Bledel with that beautiful baby face as Rory, if we had said in three years we're going to have this girl lose her virginity to a married man, our heads would've been chopped off, put on pikes and paraded around Burbank.
Amy: Which Warner. Bros. is still negotiating for, by the way. [Laughs]
Dan: I'm basically repeating what Amy said: We try to follow the characters and we also try to make it as interesting as possible. And I've always felt with spoilers, a lot of people hear about a plot point seven episodes down the line without taking into account what happens in the episodes in between now and then. I've always sort of been astonished by that. That's why I say if in the first year you had heard that [about Rory], a lot of people would have turned off their televisions like, "This is going to turn into a soap opera." And that was a very controversial story line for us.
Amy: People were not happy with that.
Dan: And even in our writers' room we had a lot of heated discussions about whether that's going to hurt the character and all that stuff, but Amy and I felt like that's where she would go, that's where her heart would go, that's her own flaw, because it wasn't the right thing to do. And we followed through on that flaw. In Year 5, we showed the ramifications of what happens when you sleep with your ex-boyfriend who is married. What are the ramifications for that man's wife? What are the ramifications for him? So, again, I completely agree with Amy that we've always just tried to follow the characters, tried to keep it interesting and always tried to keep it true to the characters, and the people who come after us are going to be doing the same thing.

Amy: And also I just really want to stress, we did not quit. Everything we put in place this year, we put in place so that we could continue it next year. And that's just the bottom line. This entire story line was in place so that Dan and I could continue it next year. So, if anyone thinks that I threw something at the fans — and why I would want to throw something upsetting at the fans when all they've done is support the show — it's a little nutty. We threw the story line out there because we knew where we were going next year. Dan and I knew. Now it's open to many different places for the next crew that comes in. I know it's not up to us to tell them where to go. They have to make that decision on their own. But everything we put into place we put into place fully expecting to continue it. This has been an awful, heartbreaking thing. When a deal falls apart because somebody wants a gazillion dollars and I demand that my parking space be painted pink and that every time I show up somebody sings "Once in Love with Amy," then fine, walk away. But what we asked for from the studio had nothing to do with money. Dan and I never even got around to discussing price, because we just wanted our other issues to be talked about first. We earned that, we deserved that, we should've gotten that and we should've been coming back next year. And that's my feeling. I'm very, very sorry we're not. This show has been my heart and my soul for six years. I dragged Dan away from a lovely room of boys doing fart jokes over at Family Guy to come play with the girls and, between the two of us, we have kept this show as fresh and alive and as hopping as it has been. And we have done nothing but devote every single aspect of our lives for the last six years to this show. We haven't had time to do anything else. We haven't breathed anything else. It never occurred to us. And now that it's over, we're very, very sad. But I need it very clear out there that we did not walk away. And what we asked for was absolutely, ridiculously within our rights to get. And I feel like without it, the show really would've not done well next year because we just couldn't have maintained this high-wire act that we've been on for this long.

Ausiello: What happens to your seven-year plan now? What happens to the last two lines of the show that only you know?
Well, I think that you have to look for another two lines now.


Ausiello: So, there's no hope that your story...
It's not my story anymore, honey. No one's consulting me. No one's talking to me. No one's asking me about anything next year. I don't know what's in the budget. I don't know who's being hired. The minute the studio decided they're moving on, they moved on. I'm out of the loop.

Ausiello: Well, I can tell you that Dave Rosenthal is taking over.
We know Dave Rosenthal. We hired him.

Ausiello: Is the show in good hands?
Dave's a great guy. He's a great guy. He has credits up the arse.

Ausiello: One of those credits is Good Morning, Miami. [Dan chuckles]
Amy: Well, he also did Spin City.
Dan: Don't look too closely at Amy's and my credits going back. You'll find something in all of our résumés. We hired David as an executive producer, perhaps even in anticipation of either leaving or getting more people so that we could delegate a little more, and it's really, really worked. They'll have to hire a bunch of new people.
Amy: They need to hire some major writers because they don't have a staff right now.

Ausiello: How should fans feel about Dave?
First of all, the fans are not focused on Dave Rosenthal. Dave came to the show with us, he saw our style of story-breaking. The fans should take a step back, take a breath and give it a shot on its own merits. It's really going to come down to how much support David gets, because it's a very, very, very big job that he's inherited. He's inherited everything that Dan and I do, and they've got to make sure to support him and give him what he needs so that he can continue to focus on the quality of the show.

Ausiello: Might you guys consult?

Ausiello: If next year is the last year, is there a possibility of you guys going back to do the finale?
There's been no talk of that.

Ausiello: But is it a possibility?
We're living a day at a time here, Mike.
Amy: Dude, I plan on being on crack in an hour. I'm going to be with Whitney Houston in that bathroom of hers.

Ausiello: So you wouldn't rule out returning for the finale?
A lot of it's gonna depend on where the show goes next year. I have very strong, emotional feelings about things — some are rational, some are not. [Laughs] It's going to be a whole different trip next year, with different story lines that don't come out of my head, so I think that's something that's really hard to talk about at this point. Especially since I plan on being drunk the entire year.

Ausiello: How did the cast take the news?
They're all going to kill themselves. No, what are they going to do? They're all sweet and they're all very supportive, and I'm sure they're all surprised and a little freaked. We've been keeping them apprised of everything. Months ago when we went to [Warner Bros.] and nothing was happening, Lauren and I talked. I said, "Nothing's happening. We've gone to them and we're hearing nothing." I don't think this is a complete and utter shock, because they are my actors and my first responsibility is to them. I certainly wouldn't want them shocked. And then the minute it fell apart, I went and talked to them directly and told them. That was before we wrapped.

Ausiello: Are they concerned about next year?
We didn't have that talk. Our talk was more, "I love you, we'll e-mail, we'll have drinks, now we can go shopping, I'll miss you," and End Scene. And then Lauren had to get back on a plane and go to Virginia because she's shooting a movie. Look, they know David. David's been here. I think that any change is jarring to people. We've been together as a group since the pilot. We went to Niagara Falls together. We're a tight-knit group. It was not a group that was ready to be broken apart, so I'm sure that's going to freak some people out. But they're pros. And they're great. And they could read the phone book and people are going to love it, because they're that good. So I don't think that they should be throwing up or shaking. I'll do that for all of them.

Ausiello: Will you watch the show next year?


Dan: I... I... yes. We will.

Ausiello: What would've happened next year in your plan?
I can't do that. Someone else is going to get stories going and I can't...
Dan: And honestly, Mike, while we always have a notion of where we're going, we're never 100 percent sure. We get into it in June as we're starting each year, and we dive into all the complexities and think of all the possible scenarios.
Amy: And we can't tell you because new people are coming in and it's not cool for us to say, "Well, we would've done this!" Give these new guys a shot. It's a hard show. I'm sure they'll be just as dedicated and care just as much about it as we did. It could be the best year ever.

Ausiello: Can you at least tell me if, per your plan, Luke and Lorelai would've gotten married?
I can't. I don't want to do anything like that. I just don't. Because I don't know where they're going. They could have this great story line planned out that has Luke and Lorelai joining the Russian mafia and being on opposite sides of covert actions, which, by the way, sounds pretty good. I may call Dave right now.
Dan: I don't like that story.
Amy: [Laughs] For me to go, "That's what I would've done, here's my plan... " Look, that's something that I've got to deal with, man. I've got to wake up and go, "S--t. That last scene that I was going to do? Not going to happen." That's something that I have to deal with.

Ausiello: If next year is the final year, will you tell me what those last two words were?
Yes, I will. I promise you. You've got my word.
Dan: They're sitting in a safe-deposit box in Switzerland.
Amy: Last four words, actually.

Ausiello: Really?

Ausiello: What are you going to do now?
Drugs. Lots of drugs. No, I'm working on a little something for MTV with RJ Cutler that I'm kind of excited about that I've been trying to find time for the last 185 years, and now I have time. And other than that I think we're going to travel, and then Dan and I are going to figure out what's next. We're going to do some movies, some TV and we're going to keep ourselves out of the mall. We're going to keep really busy. We've got to look at this not just from sadness, we've got to look at it like, "S--t. All those little notebooks with story ideas we've been jotting down for over six years? Now we get to do something with them." Once I sober up, that's how I plan on looking at everything.

Ausiello: Should I assume you won't be working with Warner Bros. ever again?
Oh, honey, you can't say that. Who thought we would be at the WB past Year 4? I have no f--kin' idea what my life is about now. Warner Bros. made a business decision. I don't think they made a creative decision. We made a creative decision, and that's where we couldn't meet. We were thinking from two different sides of our brains.


April 21, 2006

Shocking News for Us Gilmore Girls Fans

I'm still shocked over this news and so I can't write much. Perhaps this TV Guide article can fill you in for now. :O(


Team Palladino Says "Goodbye, Girls"

My fellow Gilmore Girls fans, the news we've all been dreading has now been made absolutely, 100 percent, painfully official: Series creator Amy Sherman-Palladino has opted not to renew her contract and will be leaving at the end of the season — and she's taking husband Dan with her.

"Despite our best efforts to return and ensure the future of Gilmore Girls for years to come, we were unable to reach an agreement with the studio and are therefore leaving when our contracts expire at the end of this season," said Amy and Dan in a statement. "Our heartfelt thanks go out to our amazing cast, hard-working crew and loyal fans. We know that the story lines from this season will continue into the next, and that the integrity of the show will remain long after we leave Stars Hollow."


Yeah, I'm speechless, too. I've had more than a week to mentally prepare for this outcome — heck, I even wrote a story and watched helplessly as it was accidentally pushed live for a brief period last Wednesday — but I still can't believe they're actually leaving. The thought of Gilmore Girls heading into what is likely to be its final season (and its first on a brand-new network) without its mama or her right-hand man is unfathomable. But it is happening. And it's a total bummer.

I won't know for sure why they're bolting until I actually ask them (hopefully in the next few days), but as I reported on Friday, the primary sticking point was apparently the length of Gilmore Girls' renewal. AS-P wanted a two-year pickup, a demand that Warner Bros. refused to meet since Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are only on board for one more year. Instead, the studio was ready to pay them just shy of $5 million for a one-year deal, an offer that was apparently good enough to refuse.

According to a statement released by Warner Bros., "While we are disappointed that Amy Sherman-Palladino and Dan Palladino have decided not to stay with the show next season, we are very confident that Dave Rosenthal, an experienced writer/producer with the show, will make the transition seamless moving into the seventh year of Gilmore Girls. We want to thank Amy for creating and nurturing this wonderful series for the past six years and giving us one of the most memorable mother/daughter relationships in television history."


For now, I leave you with this quote from Graham, given to me around this time last year when it looked like the Palladinos might not return this season. I think she sums the whole thing up pretty well:

"I think it would be terrible [if Amy and Dan left]. We've had our ups and downs, but it's not a show that has ever had anyone else with the vision that she and Dan, who really are a force together, have. You can feel when someone else is trying to write Gilmore Girls-ish dialogue, you can just feel that it's... I know some people think that we talk too much, or the tone is not for everybody. Sometimes I just want to take a breath or have a reaction shot. I get it. But this is the person who is telling the story. So someone would be stepping in trying to replicate that, and I just think it's a bad idea."


April 20, 2006

It's All About the Funnel Cakes

You know you're no longer a kid when you see a carnival and all you want to do there is eat! The rides don't thrill you any more, instead you just want to have your Italian sausage sandwich, some curly potato chips (my favorite), and of course hot funnel cakes!

And one more thing, instead of riding on the ferris wheel with your friends, you opt to stand below and ... take pictures of it instead.

But that's OK! As long as you still stop for a carnival in your neighborhood ... life is good!

April 19, 2006

dream a little dream for me

I love this image so much! It's amazing the beautiful things we can find when we take a walk around our neighborhood! It definitely pays off to always have my camera with me wherever I go (though that often annoys my friends and family).

Ahhh ... talk about camera, I'm currently admiring the works of photographer Ngoc Minh Ngo. Her pictures are in magazines everywhere. Martha Stewart Living even features in its May 2006 issue an article on Ngoc and her family (pp. 151-157). I'm so proud that this talented and amazing photographer is from my other beloved country VietNam!

Another talented photographer is Catherine Jamieson. Her book Create Your Own Photo Blog is finally published. My copy from Amazon arrived last week, and I'm vigorously reading it right now. The book also comes with a companion website ... all in all there's much to dig in! I walk to work it, eat with it, nap with it, and even watch American Idol with it! :O)

But for now, on with the dreaming ....

April 17, 2006

Interviewing Lane

We rarely hear from Keiko Agena (Rory's best friend Lane), so I was quite happy to have found this interview by Popgurls.com.


PopGurls Interview: Gilmore Girls' Keiko Agena
Written by Amy

Keiko Agena has been in a whirlwind of matrimony both on-screen and off. Her Gilmore Girls character, Lane Kim, gets married on April 18th, and Keiko herself exchanged vows mere months ago. Once things settle, she can kick back and enjoy being a newlywed (both scripted and not). But before that, though, she talks to PopGurls and shows that she's as sweet and fun as Lane, the best best friend any Gilmore could ask for (even if she refuses to choose between Dave and Zack).

What do you love most about Lane?

Well, there's two main things. One is that she's always trying to find a way to make everything work. She's so stubborn and she won't give up. And she tries to balance everything and thinks she can – she tries to make everybody happy. Which of course, leads to more problems than anything. But there's something about that side of her personality that I find attractive even though it causes her so much pain.

The other is her passion for what she wants to do. She's a little bit blind in that way. I think I like her faults as much as I like her good points.

For six seasons, you've been playing a character much younger than you are. What's frustrating about it? What's fun about it?

I think the frustrating part was more when I first started playing Lane. When [the show] first started, I was 26 and she was 16 and that difference feels huge -- more marked than it does now. Going from a high school to a college age – that feels like a big gap. As she's grown up – she's sort of on her own, trying to make a life for herself – those are a lot easier to relate to. (laughs) That just continues for the rest of your life... trying to define yourself, and do better – trying to make it.

We've seen Lane with and without her trademark glasses. What do you like better? The glasses seem to fit Lane.

They kind of are the character -- I like it without the glasses, myself. But I think it's just because those were my glasses that I wore to the audition. So I'm kind of done with the glasses but I know that a lot of people don't necessarily agree with me.

Lane is pretty passionate about music. Has playing her influenced your musical tastes?

Little by little. [Creator] Amy [Sherman-Palladino] and [executive producer] Dan [Palladino] are such music freaks. [Producer] Helen Pai, who [Lane] is based on, handles a lot of the music aspect -- especially when we get together as the on-screen band and practice and perform. She's also a music freak. Those three get together and chitter-chatter about the great music that they love – some of that has definitely entered into my world.

Also, my husband's a musician -- so some of the stuff he listens to, I now listen to.

What are some of your current favorite bands?

I have to say, I'm partial of course, my husband is in a band called Los Desnudos. They're this crazy jam band that has this punk vibe to it.

Is that "The Naked"?


My bits of Spanish come in handy from time to time.

Very good, very good [laughs]. I give you an A! Now I'm sort of addicted to that, and with all that's going on [in the music when they're performing live] – it's hard to go back to the music that I liked to before.

I think I listen to a lot of random things – I've never been much of an obsessed fan of a band.

What are some of your most memorable concerts that you've been to?

I usually see little local bands. There's one called The Rogers Sisters – they're based out of New York but they came to LA once – they're great.

And there's Eric Weavenreid – I'm not sure if that's how you spell his name. It's fun music – he was an interesting fellow, he would come in a new outfit every week. He'd have a strange character and [as the show progressed] strip his wig off, [and other parts of his costume]. I liked the theatrical aspect of it (laughs).

Sometimes, depending on the night, in the middle of the show he would ask the audience if they were interested in a reading from "Teenage Monologues." He had this book which was really, really badly written, overly dramatic monologues for young girls. It was just the best thing.

What is your favorite song to dance to?

My husband would hate this, but "Superfreak." But anything funky is the best.

Speaking of bands, on Gilmore Girls, former Skid Row frontman Sebastian Bach plays Gil in "Hep Alien." As a pretty well-known music icon in the 80s, I think it blew people's mind to see him show up on the show. What's it like to work with him?

Oh, he is Gil. People would think, "no, that's not possible," but he is soooo Gil. Yeah, yeah he was a rock star in the 80s, but he has this childlike, wonderful side to his personality that is so excited about everything. He really does make the day go by faster when he's around. He's just having so much fun and he's not afraid to show it. Sometimes it's this jaded industry and you'd think that he'd be more jaded than everybody, but he's just like a kid and it's a pleasure to work on a day that he's working.

Kind of like an infectious fun?

It really is – [Sebastian] puts people in a good mood. And it's so funny when we have days that we film in front of a crowd of extras. He's such an entertainer, he can't help it. (laughs) If there's a mic in front of him and it's on, he'll be telling jokes and getting them all rowdy, then the A.D. has to tell everybody to quiet down.

Mrs. Kim started off as an abrasive, overbearing mother but has become quite a popular character in the past two seasons.

That's cool. (laughs) Oh, I love that.

Mrs. Kim just… rocks. Which is probably not what fans would have expected in the first season. The relationship between Lane and Mrs. Kim has changed a lot over the six years, is that something you were expecting?

I think that's the wonderful thing about the way [the show is written]. They're always going for what's not expected. Over the years, we know Mrs. Kim as this certain kind of woman. And then we come to find out four or five years into [the series] that she traveled the country in an all-girl tambourine band. It's this wonderful little gem that only Amy and Dan can think of – it's just odd but somehow it still make sense. That's the best kind of treasure – something totally unexpected and yet you still believe it, it still fits into the character of who she is. Any time that these things are revealed, we have a new appreciation for people.

And I think that's so true about our own parents. These people in our lives that we think, "yeah, yeah yeah, I know what you're about. I know all about you, I know why you do all of these things" and then you just find out information that will blow your mind and you go "oh my gosh, they really were young at one point." I think people become more well-rounded the more time you invest in learning about [your parents].

What are your favorite Lane/Mrs. Kim moments?

There's a couple. ["In the Clamor and the Clangor"] where Lane gets kicked out of the house. She's been away all night because she wanted to play a gig that she knew Mrs. Kim would never let her play. And so Lane finally comes back in the morning and walks up into her room and realizes that Mrs. Kim has spent the whole night going through the room, freaking out and finding all the little hiding places. It's this final big confrontation of all of these years of trying to get away with everything and realizing that something has to change. That's not going to work anymore.

Lane complains and complains and complains but she really doesn't want to leave. And Mrs. Kim doesn't want to kick her daughter out, but she can't help it. And I just loved performing that scene so much and Emily [Kuroda] is a wonderful actress. You even feel for Mrs. Kim in that moment even though you would think that she's doing a terrible, horrible thing, but she's in so much pain over it.

The other one is that coming full-circle, when Lane moves back into the house after having the fight with Zack. [In "The Perfect Dress"], she's bummed and sitting at the kitchen table with her mom. And her mom breaks out the alcohol (laughs), "Let's drink together." When I read it – I just burst out laughing. It was fun for us, as actors, When we were sitting there and having this drink together, thinking about how all those many years we've sat together, filming, at that kitchen table thinking "this would never happen between the two of them." And yet it did. It was so sweet.

So, tell me, what's the deal with the mysterious Papa Kim?

I don't know! Where is my dad? (laughs) That should be in ALL-CAPS, with exclamation points and question marks:

"WHERE IS MY FATHER????!!!!!!?????!!!!??!?!?!???!!!?!"

I don't know, and you know what? It’s one of those things that I don't know how it will ever be resolved. Because I know that he existed in the beginning, because we talked about him, but then he wasn't there at the wedding. I'm still waiting for Amy to pull a rabbit out of her hat, and how she'll wrap that up.

Do you have a personal theory? Dead in the attic in an antique chest? Working a Vegas lounge act? What?

I think that he must be an undercover CIA agent and his cover is that he's traveling as a missionary in different parts of the world. I'm totally kidding – I have no idea. Hopefully he doesn't have another family somewhere, that would be sad.

And they've already done that with Luke and April.


In Stars Hollow, there seems to be a bit of young marriage – we already know that Dean's didn't go so well. How do you think Lane's will go?

If I were to take a guess – that writer's room is so locked, they never let any of us in – I think Lane's will go well, partially because Dean's didn't. The two of them [Lane and Zack], even though they're so opposite and in some ways, seem to be not good together – I think that they will find a way to make it work.

Do you think that Lane is too young to get married?

I don't think so. There are challenges -- one of the dangers of getting married so young is giving up your dreams, or getting settled too soon. For Lane, I don't see her dreams getting diluted because she's married. I don't think it's necessarily a bad thing to get married at young age.

It depends on the person, and the people getting married.

It really does depend on the person. I don't think it's one of those across-the-board things that you are doomed to failure. There are a lot of people who have gotten married at a young age that have wonderful marriages.

There's been a lot of grumblings online about Zack's worthiness – do you think that Zack [played by Todd Lowe], is good enough for Lane?

(laughs) Oh, it's so hard for me to say. For her, I think so. I know that Zack is very immature, he's got some issues. But Lane does too. They both have some growing up to do.

Lane is a bit more mature, though.

Oh yeah. I think she always will be (laughs). It's not hard to be more mature than Zack. But, I think that there are things about Zack that make her happy, that's all that's important.

All things being equal -- between Dave [played by Adam Brody] and Zack who would you prefer Lane to be with?

Dave Rygalski? Awww… Can I go to The O.C.? Make a little guest appearance?

Dave Rygalski [was] written in a much sweeter way [than Zack]. When we met Dave, he was willing to do anything for her and was very sweet. So it's hard not to like him – he's a good guy. But also, we just met him. I think it's hard to say where that character would go. Zack's a llittle egdy, a little rough around the edges. I love Todd – Todd is a sweetie. I can't answer the question – it's too hard.

You did the audiobook for Millicent Min, Girl Genius How was that different from other acting?

I really had a good time – it's a totally different experience than being on set. You're just sitting in a room by yourself and because it takes a little bit of time to record the book, you can get into the rhythm. It feels a little bit like your own little cocoon. I would love to do it again, actually.

Are you still working with hereandnow?

No, but some of the people that I've worked with in that group are putting together something new that we'll probably test out in June. We don't have a name for the group yet, but there's 11 of us who really like working together in hereandnow, but are busy doing other things. We are going to try to get together this one show and see if that process works for us and see if we can do it again.

What the show about?

Because of our schedules, we're going to create it in the space of a week. We'll probably advertising the show before it's set, which is one of those things is a leap of faith that it'll all come together – but I love these people and I think that they're talented. We have a way of working with each other – it's somewhat improv-based – and within that week we'll have time to put it together. We already have the bones and the framework of what kind of show it will be.

What other things do you have coming up?

Right now, I'm taking it pretty easy, actually. I just got married, so I'm enjoying life.


We eloped in December. We got married in a helicopter over Las Vegas. We didn't tell anybody – we just snuck out there. Then called people about two days later.

What inspired the helicopter? That's a new one.

I was going online and trying to find out what we should do. I had wanted to go to Vegas and do it that way. And the helicopter sounded like the best bet. It was just great. It was a great day, it was perfect. And when we came back – my girlfriend threw us a little party. It was like a cute little reception, so I feel like I had the best of both worlds.

That sounds lovely. This is a big year for weddings for you, both on-screen and off-screen.

I know – it's too much, how similar both the situations were. They're both musicians, I was roommates with both of them before we got together.


Yeah, it's too much of life imitating art or art imitating life.

Since you eloped, did you get to have some random, vicarious thrill through Lane getting married in a more traditional manner?

Actually, it was kind of wonderful in a weird way. Because I got the chance to have this custom wedding dress -- the dress goes through phases because Lorelai works on it and does all these operations on it.

One of the weirdest things was when we were doing the rehearsal -- I'm in the dress and the door of the church opens and everybody stands and turns around and looks at you and that music is playing. It was the weirdest thing to walk down that aisle in the dress with people looking at you. I know it's on set, but the fact that I just got married in real life – it was freaky. It kinda tripped me out a little but.

You know what's interesting? In the beginning, I was like "wow, I love it!" 16 hours later and you don't feel as excited. I was like, "yes, I'm in this dress. I'm very uncomfortable, I'm ready to be in my jeans."

You got the best of both worlds – and I bet it reminded you of why you eloped.

Oh, it did. God bless people who can do the whole shebang, I just never wanted to do it. Every time I hear about big wedding stories, I just say, "thank god we eloped."

April 16, 2006

Life Lessons

Once in a while, I come across such a great read, it's meant to be shared!

In the May 2006 issue of Real Simple magazine, five amazing women all of whom over the age of 100 share with us their wonderful wisdom. I'm learning so much from their wise words.

Frances Johnson, 100
Upper Marlboro, Maryland
Born: May 30, 1905

  • If it's not terminal, why worry? And if it is, you can't do anything about it.
  • If you don't know what to do, don't do anything.
  • A meal's not done until you have dessert.
  • Stay active and keep your mind sharp.
  • You can't control other people. You can only control your reaction.
  • Dogs are meant to be spoiled.
  • Something good usually comes out of bad events.
  • Don't hold on to anger - you'll just make yourself miserable.
  • To make a pot roast with the beset flavor, cook it very, very slowly.
  • When playing Scrabble, don't use up your S's right away.

Edna Anderson, 100
Peoria, Arizona
December 24, 1905

  • Keep walking. You'll be so happy you can walk when you're old.
  • Don't throw too much money at children before they can handle it.
  • Avoid a fast talker when looking for a husband. Go for someone who's steady.
  • Volunteering gets you away from your own worries.
  • Make sure your kids get to play outside; it's good for their health.
  • Encourage your kids to take on responsibilities, like a summer job.
  • Moderation, with food and in your social life, keeps you young.
  • Don't let popularity go to your head--you could wind up more unhappy during difficult times.
  • More is not necessarily better. Going for first or biggest leads to unhappiness.
  • There are still happy times ahead after loss.

Mary Cavaliere, 106
New York, New York
September 18, 1899

  • Always cook with fresh vegetables, never canned.
  • Marry a man who's more in love with you than you are with him.
  • Italian leather is the best.
  • If your face is dry, soften it with oatmeal.
  • If there's a God, he's one God for all of us.
  • Keep your secrets to yourself.
  • A person never gets too old to love.
  • Forgiveness really is divine.
  • If you expect perfectino from everyone, you'll be all alone.
  • You're better off alone than with bad company.

Melva Radcliffe, 105
Spring Lake, New Jersey
March 3, 1901

  • Anything you love is important.
  • Don't be afraid to travel.
  • Don't go abroad and eat at a chain restaurant. Eating at a foreign place is part of the trip.
  • It's very important that children all have a job to do at home.
  • Good table manners count.
  • Kids don't need expensive toys. If you give them $20, it's like giving them a nickel.
  • Children love praise. They'll do something again and again just to get you to praise them.
  • You'll always need your girlfriends.
  • Clean your teeth three times a day.
  • Think twice before plastic surgery--you might look prettier without it.

Evelyn "Tootie" Yeater, 102
Walnutport, Pennsylvania
February 19, 1904

  • Make sure you go to school--an education matters as much for a woman as a man.
  • Try to sit down to dinner together as a family.
  • Never feel sorry for yourself.
  • A mother should respect her children, just as they should respect her.
  • If you're not wild about cooking, get a microwave.
  • Don't put too much stock in vitamins; just eat fresh tomatoes.
  • Eat what you're hungry for.
  • Don't worry about your weight.
  • If you worry about being old, you will be old.
  • Look for a husband who makes you laugh.

Btw, the above photograph was taken in Cinque Terre, Italy. One of my most favorite places to visit. :O)