Paley Fest 2017 Adventures

It’s no secret that I’m a huge TV junkie. In fact, I usually put it in my social media bios just so everyone knows. I’ve done recaps for shows on an entertainment site and I aspire to be a writer of my own show someday. I’m fascinated by it. Some people love the film industry, and I fully support that, but I’m fascinated by the process of television and how the story doesn’t die. Instead, these characters and towns become our safe places. Our escape from work and our own families, and they become part of our own lives. It’s real and we’re part of their journeys.

For any TV fan or aspiring staff writer of a TV show, I highly encourage attending Paley Fest, which is presented by the Paley Center for Media, and happens over a couple weeks, where casts from your favorite hit TV shows gather around for panels to discuss the season, talk about plots and characters, and of course, meet the fans. The Paley Center hosts various FREE exhibits and screenings in Los Angeles and New York City throughout the year.

I attended the panel for Parks and Recreation a few years ago, and absolutely loved the experience, despite the migraine I had that day. Every year, I anxiously await the list of those who will be there and am sad when I can’t make it. But, this year was different. I decided to attend two. One night, after watching “This is Us,” my mom and I decided to buy tickets. I didn’t care where we sat, I just wanted to go.

I haven’t met anyone who hasn’t liked the show or who hasn’t bawled their eyes out on just about every episode, or at least teared up at the heartfelt lines and the realistic family scenarios. We are all Pearsons, because week after week, they have let us into their homes and we’ve let them into our hearts.

Since we didn’t have to be in the Dolby Theater until later that evening, we spent the day at Hollywood and Highland. We had lunch at Hard Rock Café, saw Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone’s handprints (I totally GEEKED out over that and took a lot of pictures) AND I bought the Kyle Chan necklace that Emma Stone wears in “La La Land” and I am in love with it.

We even saw “Beauty and the Beast” at Graumann’s Chinese Theater, which was a total bucket list moment for me. It’s every bit as magical and nostalgic Hollywood as you’d imagine. So many movie premieres have been held in that very room over the years. All I could do was zone out and imagine the gowns, the celebrities, the headlines…The magic. The cinematography of “Beauty and the Beast” was breathtaking. The songs. The costumes. The dancing. Everything a movie should be.

As for the “This is Us” Paley Fest…Let’s just say I cried even more than I did watching the show. We watched the pilot, and then the ENTIRE cast came out, including Dr. K and Miguel and William. I mean, it doesn’t get much better than that! Even Sterling K. Brown, who wasn’t scheduled to appear, flew in just for the event. I was SO excited, because he is my favorite.

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  • Milo and Mandy reenacted a scene from “Friday Night Lights” as part of marriage counseling for their characters.
  • Justin Hartley is the real MVP and has seen every episode of “Friends” 34,000 times – therefore he gets me. And the last thing that made him cry was a book that his daughter mad him and said “I want to marry a guy just like you.”
  • Chrissy Metz says she cries at just about everything.
  • They all know how Jack dies and gave an impression of the face they made when they found out, which has all of us going, “hmmm…”
  • Milo said he based Jack’s character off of his dad and how he treated his mom/kids growing up, and had everyone in tears over the speech he gave.
  • The cast is even cooler in person than you’d imagine. They’re the kind of people you’d want to do all of the major holidays with. They give you all of the warm and fuzzy feelings.
  • …So many other things that night that had me falling in love with that show all over again. I can’t wait until September! They start working again in July. EEK!

While I ended up with a migraine (again) because of so much excitement, I decided to do it all again at the “Scandal” Paley Fest the following Sunday. 

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I swore that I would never watch “Scandal.” Actually, now that I think about it, I think I said the same thing about “Grey’s Anatomy.” I promise I love Shonda Rhimes; she’s one of my favorites now. It was something about the hype and how everyone just loved them so much. But, when my mom started watching “Scandal” and said she thought I’d like it, I decided to give it a chance. I knew Scott Foley, who I’d seen as the cute and dependable Noel Crane on 90s show “Felicity,” was on it, so I was interested to see his role and what the rest of the story lines offered. After a few episodes, I was hooked.

And ultimately, that led us to attending the “Scandal” Paley Fest just a few weeks ago. I had no intention of going until we came home from the “This is Us” panel and had a blast. There were still good seats left, and I kept looking and eventually decided to go for it. I was pumped and sold on the fact that I was going to meet the cast, because our seats were in the lower level. However, it didn’t exactly work out quite like that – But, more on that later.

This panel was at 2 p.m., so we just killed some time on Hollywood Boulevard, including the Disney Store, other souvenir shops, because Lord knows that I don’t have enough Hollywood gear and grabbed an iced tea to get some caffeine before the doors opened.

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While the panel was celebrating the 100th episode of the show, we watched the pilot again. It reminded me of why I loved the character of Olivia Pope and the heart of the show so much. There was a rhythm and this element of surprise; suspense that kept you on your toes wondering what was going to happen next. It was this mystery you had to piece together as you watched, and I LOVED it. Everyone was so excited and so very obviously Team Fitz. Am I the only one who doesn’t quite understand??

Jesse Palmer, former NFL player and current correspondent on “Good Morning America” was the moderator of the panel. The main cast was all in attendance, including my favorites, Scott Foley, Kerry Washington, Bellamy Young and Katie Lowes, and Tony Goldwyn, although I really do love all of them – together, they’re unstoppable. They discussed the crazy twists and turns of the season, some of characters, favorite moments and more. I walked in not thinking it was going to be very emotional, but the cast is seriously one of the best around – they love the show, what they do and the fans. When Kerry Washington kept tearing up, so did I. They are a fun group of people. If I was to visit the cast of a show on set, I’d pick “Scandal” hands down.  Plus, Scott Foley did his infamous dance.

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When fans on the lowest level rushed the stage, that was our cue that the panel was over.  I was prepared to follow behind, until they closed the aisles off. That’ll teach me to buy the $94 tickets in the fourth row next time, if they’re still available close to the Paley Fest. *Le Sigh* I didn’t get photos with the cast; instead, I watched them take photos and sign autographs for other fans at the stage as they made their way across to everyone, which might sound depressing, but it was still totally worth it.

If you’re a TV fan or there’s a certain TV actor you’d like to meet, this is the best way to do it. It’s usually in mid-late March each year, so start saving and thinking about it now. Find out more about the Paley Center and their free exhibits, here: https://media.paleycenter.org.

That’s all for now,

Shelby

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