Monday, July 21, 2008

Dispatch from NBC: Freak-foot monkey-foot!

"Monkey, monkey, rat, rat... no, you're kind of monkey-rat."

This was the quote of the day, and possibly the quote of the tour, courtesy of "Kath & Kim" star Selma Blair. Part of me almost doesn't want to explain it, because the magic of "no, you're kind of monkey-rat" is almost greater when it's context-independent. But after the jump, I'll give it a shot...

Blair seemed in a particularly snarky mood today. There are lots of dumb questions that get asked in TCA sessions -- "Your sons, are they both boys?" was a classic -- but usually the panelists have been coached not to show their displeasure with them. (Jonny Lee Miller was exceedingly polite when somebody asked him if he could get Angelina Jolie to guest star on "Eli Stone" last week.) Selma either didn't get the memo or didn't care, and our world is the funnier for it.

First, somebody noted that she and Molly Shannon, who plays her mom on the show, aren't that far apart in age (IMDb has Shannon only 8 years older than Blair), and asked how hard it was for one of them to play the other's parent or child.

"Actresses play different people all the time," Blaire replied. "It's weird. It's this thing called acting, and so you just, like, play different characters that aren't your age or anything. I mean, I think. I don't know."

She later added, "If (you) squint your eyes when you're watching it and you don't put it on hi-def, if you're, like, squinting and put some Vaseline on your eyeballs, I look so young."

After another reporter noted that Ben Silverman is both an executive at NBC and a producer on the show (as he is with a whole lot of the NBC line-up, and there's no conflict of interest whatsoever!), Blair quipped, "Quite a catch. Yup. My eyes on the prize!"

Then, at the end of the session, we got "monkey, monkey, rat, rat," courtesy of somebody asking Blair -- whose hair doesn't resemble her character on the show, or her role in "Hellboy" -- whether she wears wigs for the series. She went on a long rambling answer -- "This is probably the most boring answer to a question you've ever had," she said in the middle -- but as she kept going, she began to realize that she could just keep going, and going, and going, on the subject of wigs and extensions, and it seemed to amuse her.

"Hopefully they will be done correctly. I think I'll be getting Russian hair instead of the Indonesian done last time," she said, then explained that her wigs have to be "a three-quarter wig because apparently I have a very low forehead line, which a lot of people comment on all the time. I am apparently from the monkey family. I hear that all the time. People are either rats or monkeys. I'm a monkey. I know. Look at your friends. You're all either a rat or a monkey. It's true."

She then looked at her co-stars and producer Michelle Nader and declared "monkey" (Mikey Day), "monkey" (John Michael Higgins), "rat" (Molly Shannon) and "rat" (Nader) before changing her mind and dubbing Nader "kind of monkey-rat."

This then inspired Higgins (one of the Christopher Guest players) to travel down the rabbit hole with Blair, leading to the following exchange between the two of them:
JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS: I broke my toe yesterday. I'm in excruciating pain. This guy at a party is an orthopedic surgeon. Said you have -- there's two feet. That's the Grecian foot and whatever the other foot is. The Grecian foot is when your biggest toe is the biggest toe and then you go down. The other foot -- and you know who you are -- is the one with the second toe either the same length or a little longer --

SELMA BLAIR: That's me.

JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS: -- than the first toe. You're a freak. The freak foot.

SELMA BLAIR: I'm a monkey freak.

JOHN MICHAEL HIGGINS: Freak foot monkey foot. And apparently they can't -- you don't tie the toes together if you have a Grecian foot. So did you get all that?
Afterwards, we all agreed that "Freak-Foot and Monkey-Rat" would be an awesome title for a superhero show starring Higgins and Blair (or vice versa), and that many of us would probably rather watch it than what we could make of "Kath and Kim," based on the clips we saw.


Anonymous said...

I'm surprised that no one pointed out that the actresses in the orignal Kath & Kim are actually only 6 months apart in age! Also, on Joey, Drea de Matteo was only 5 years older than Paulo Costanzo, but they convincingly played mother and son.

Matthew said...

I have to say, that sounds like a rather fun panel to go to. Te whole wigs exchange sounds hysterical.

Personally, I can't stand the original Kath and Kim, and the idea of a worse version of the show just fills me with dread. Which is a shame, because I like Selma Blair and John Michael Higgins

Mo Ryan said...

But Alan, Ben Silverman said in the NBC executive session that Kath and Kim is really fantastically awesome and beyond great.

So that must be true, right?

David J. Loehr said...

That reminds me of one of Gene Siskel's rules for what made a disappointing film, that you'd rather watch the cast sitting around and talking than watch the film they've made.

Maybe Ben's never actually seen the show, he's just hung out with the cast...

Anonymous said...

I actually have the exact Siskel quote. His credo for film judgment: "Is the movie that I am watching as interesting as a documentary of the same actors having lunch together."

Ebert has a somewhat similar companion quote: "At some point, every bad movie stops being a movie, and becomes a documentary about actors trapped in a bad movie."