Who Watches The Watchmen?

February 20th, 2009

spoilersep2.jpg I’m popping Excedrin like they’re M&Ms. Worse, I’m washing down my beloved acetaminophen, aspirin and caffeine concoction with a thirteen dollar beer.

Aaaaaaaaah, Los Angeles.

I landed thirty-two hours ago, and drove straight to the Pacific Design Center where we were taping our movie show, “Spoilers.” Episode two features the cast of “Watchmen,” including Billy Crudup (“Almost Famous”), Jackie Earle Haley (“The Bad News Bears”), and Patrick Wilson (“Beautiful Children”), plus director Zack Snyder (“300”). My Chemical Romance also ran our little screening through.

Count on me, though, to hang out with the smartest celebrity in the room, my new favorite Californian, actor, author and blogger Wil Wheaton. Wil, of course, starred as Wesley on “Star Trek: Next Generation,” not mention a lead role in a little Rob Reiner flick called “Stand By Me.” He showed up to offer some expertise our sneak peek of JJ Abram’s “Star Trek” reboot (which he did hilariously and effortlessly).

Now, I wasn’t responsible for the department when we shot the premiere episode of “Spoilers” late last year; I was “the online guy.” Well, times have changed. As a result, the experience is completely different: I know the objective, I know the budget, and I know the stakes.

And, after just thirty-four hours on the ground, I know in my bones that a television show unfolds not unlike a rock show. Like, say, a holiday benefit. One person has the vision, enlists a bunch of co-conspirators and then — through compromise, limitations, technical difficulties — watches as that vision is inadvertently altered.

Nervous as I was during the taping, I enjoyed my time with Wil. His values are spot on (enthusiasm, expertise, authority), and he’s exactly for whom the show is produced. He noted our missteps (from a production and tone standpoint) and offered me (the consummate “Watchmen” novice) immeasurable insight. He’s fun, funny, passionate and — best of all — completely, unflappably intelligent.

Much as I enjoyed hanging with Wil, though, I relished my proximity to the audience’s enthusiasm. They were stoked: dressed in costume, chock’d full of smart questions, and hoarse with applause. And the stars noticed. Best moment of the whole night (headache and all)? Jackie Earle Haley and Jeffrey Dean Morgan diving into the audience just long enough to high five their doppelgangers.

As I’m increasingly want to repeat to The News Team, “Those of us in the broadcasting industry need to remember that we work for the American public.” Of course, I’m just quoting Mister Rogers.

The movie, by the way, is amazing for the novice and expert alike. As Wil writes about his evening-ending comment to Zack:

When I approached the mic, I felt my hands get cold and I couldn’t feel my feet. This is typically what happens to me when I’m really nervous.

I cleared my throat and said, “Hi, my name is Wil, and I’m from Pasadena.”

He said, “Hey, I’m from Pasadena, too!”

“AWESOME!” I said, and felt stupid.

I steadied myself, as the entire theater faded away and all I could hear was the sound of my own voice, coming out of someone else, very far away. “I just wanted to tell you that I’ve wanted to see this movie for twenty years.”

I took a breath, and was horrified to feel some very real emotion rising up in my chest.

“I just wanted to say thank you for making it worth the wait.”

Indeed, Mr. Wheaton. Enthusiasm rules!

As do our ratings, so please do tune into “Spoilers” this Saturday night at 8pm ET!

Oh! The Excedrin? Works like a charm. And the thirteen dollar beer (Harp via room service)? Delicious.

So good night, Hollywood Boulevard, goodnight.

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