Most of us are dorks. Let's face it. Everyone has those little guilty pleasures that they want to keep secret for fear of someone finding out and forever deeming them "weird." Who wants the "weird" label? The truth is that most times when someone does uncover a dirty secret indulgence of ours it ends up not being that big of a deal. The other person, to our surprise (and relief), usually says something to the effect of "Oh, yeah...I know...I do that, too!"
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to tell you one of the many things that puts me on the "weird" list - a place that I'm honored to be. I make no attempt at hiding that fact that I am, in many ways, a real D-O-R-K. How do I know that? Well, I answered "yes" to more than 3 of the following 5 questions.
1. Would you rather shop for electronics equipment over clothes?
2. Have you ever gone to or wanted to go to a Sci Fi Convention?
3. Can you name the actress who plays Xena Warrior Princess?
4. Do you know the name of the spin-off series created from The X-Files?
5. Do you or did you ever like to study rather than "get wasted?"
There it is. The DLT - Dork Litmus Test. Needless to say I passed with flying colors.
I work in television so normally it's not a big deal seeing someone famous. It's always cool, but I'm not the kind of person who gets "star struck." I usually give it a little "wow...that's neat" moment in my head and move on. I also hate it when people want to take pictures with stars or get their autograph. Just leave them alone. I'd much rather just say hello and, if I am a fan of their work in some way, let them know it. BUT...there are a select few persons (the number of which I could probably count on one hand) that if I were to be around, could revert me into super dork mode. It's a very child-like feeling to be a fan of something so much that the thought of getting close to it makes you almost speechless. Well, my friends, It happened to me. Let me explain...
My favorite show of ALL time is, without a doubt, The X-Files. I never actually watched the show while it was on the air in the 90s but started watching the reruns when they started coming on late at night. At first they just scared the crap out of me, but then I started watching more diligently and the true brilliance of the show began to emerge. My good friend Larry was a fan of the show and had purchased a box set for his viewing pleasure (Season 4, I believe). He was determined to make me a true fan after I had told him that I was really enjoying the show. (PS - I still remember the very first episode I ever saw. I can't think of the name at the moment but it was the one that took place at a carnival with all these weird sideshow people...a puzzle man in particular. There was this one guy who had a deformed Siamese twin who would detach itself and go around killing people. Ah, what great stories). Anyway, so Larry invited me over to spend the night at his house and our goal was to watch as many episodes as we could. We tried to stay up the entire night but I think we crashed somewhere around 4:30 am. It was a valiant effort and, I can honestly say, made me the fan I am today.
If you haven't seen the show, I encourage you to get a season on DVD. When I started buying them, one season was 150 bucks. Now you can get 'em for 25 bucks a pop - a virtual STEAL. There are about 6-7 discs per season and each episode is roughly 44 min long. That's a lot of watching for 25 bucks. Not only is it a great buy economically, but the show itself will hook you simply by watching the pilot. Chris Carter is someone I would absolutely love to meet. Each episode is so carefully crafted that they are more like mini-movies than anything else. Some episodes are stand alones, just your good 'ole monster story or mystery. Others follow some sort of theme, whether it be the search for Mulder's sister, the alien conspiracy, Scully's abduction, or simply who to trust. It's television at its finest. (find the complete episode guide here)
I say all these things so that you can better understand how cool of a day Thursday June 8th was for me. I met one of the few celebrities that could cause me to become one of those people I hate. I didn't embarrass myself too bad but definitely found myself a little giddy. It was very bizarre. Who was this person, you might ask? Well, only Gillian Anderson - THE Special Agent Dana Scully from all 9 seasons of The X-Files. It was a day that I will tell the grandkids about.
Here's the recap of the day I met Gillian:
So, I was at work when my boss got an invite to see a special Emmy screening of the BBC mini-series BLEAK HOUSE followed by a Q & A with some cast and crew. By this point, I had already seen the Emmy screener we got in the mail of BLEAK HOUSE because Gillian Anderson plays one of the leads so - my interest was piqued. BLEAK HOUSE is absolutely phenomenal if you haven't seen it. Of course, Gillian is brilliant, but that's not why I liked it. It's beautifully acted, beautifully written, and visually stunning. It's a must. I knew that my boss wouldn't want to go to the event but knew that this may be my one and only chance to see her in person, as Gillian Anderson now lives in London. I called around and ended up getting to attend the event on my own merit AND was allowed to bring a guest with me. Who to bring? Hmmmm..... The choice was simple: my roommate and recently converted X-Files fanatic Sydney (you're welcome). When I told her over IM she started freaking out. It was great. We joked about the Q & A and how it would probably go something like this:
Gillian: "It's Gillian, actually..."
Sydney: "Right, so Scully....what was it like being abducted by aliens and/or kissing David Duchovny?"
So June 8th rolls around and all day long I just kept hoping that everything would work out. My biggest fear would be that we would get there and my name wouldn't be on the list. Ugh, that would suck. I made sure to leave work at 5:30 pm on the nose in order to make it over to Sunset Blvd to The Directors Guild Theater which is where the event was held. I met Syd outside and she and I headed on in (we were getting really jazzed by this point). It was such an eclectic crowd, a crazy mix of young and old. There was a reception going on when we got there but we decided it would be best to just stand by the theatre door so that we would be the first ones in. We couldn't risk getting a crappy seat - not for this. They opened the doors at 10 til and we made a beeline for the front row. It was reserved so we settled for the second. We were sitting there realizing what losers we were and watching the rest of the crowd file in. Even though this was a BLEAK HOUSE event, we could TOTALLY spot who in the crowd were avid X-Filers. There was this one guy who sat behind us who had all the classic signs: sandals with socks, mismatched clothes, glasses, and a long grey ponytail. Gotta love 'em. The theatre filled up quickly and the lights went out. Apparently they were screening everything first and then bringing the actors to the stage to chat. When the lights were completely off, the panelists were ushered into the theatre and directed to sit on the front row. At that moment, I heard someone say "Gillian, you can sit here." And there she was, sitting right in front of me. I grabbed Sydney's hand and looked at her with one of those "I can't believe this is really happening" looks and she gave me the "This could not get any better" look back. Good times.
After the screening, there was the Q & A session with Gillian, writer Andrew Davis, and actor Charles Dance. The moderator was some gal who was the editor of VARIETY and, I'm just being honest here, she didn't do a good job. Anyway, you could tell that Gillian was a little annoyed by her but she still managed to answer all her questions with eloquence. You could tell she's smart just by the words she chose. Love that. I kept looking at Sydney and whispering "She's tired" as if I knew Gillian personally and she had told me how sleepy she was on the car ride over. I have no idea why I kept saying that. I don't know her at all! I just felt like she was tired, that's all. Sydney and I laugh about that now, too. She'll just randomly look over at me, touch my arm, and whisper "She's tired." I'm such a loser.
So, the juicy part. The Q & A is over and everyone is leaving the theatre. Gillian and crew come off the stage and sort of hang around to meet and greet. Sydney and I stood there wondering if we should go over and say hi and, if we did, what would we say? We didn't want to be uncool, but we did want to meet her. Plus, this was a BLEAK HOUSE event and I didn't want to make this about The X-Files when she was there promoting her new piece of work. We wanted to represent that cool sector of X-Files fans - the ones who have an active social life and fashion sense but who just REALLY love the stories and performances. As we were pondering all of this, I was fumbling with my camera just in case. In a moment of extreme nerd-dom, I said "We have to do this. It's now or never. This is one of the ONLY things I'll allow myself to get weird about." With that brilliant utterance we decided to go get a pic. As we made our way to her, she was being ushered away from us and we could tell that our opportunity was slowly slipping away. She put her coat on and started heading up the aisle and that's when I knew that was it - we had missed the boat. Just then, through some kind of alien miracle, she turned back around to leave out the back door instead. As we watched her come back down the aisle, I knew that if I didn't say something she would just slip by. Sydney was no help, as she had turned into some sort of wide-eyed mute by this point. In that moment, I did it - I reached out and grabbed Gillian's arm to get her attention. She looked at me and I kinda froze. I had her attention, now what? I fumbled for what seemed like forever and then I asked her if it would be "terribly inappropriate to ask if she could take a picture with us." She said "No, not at all." YAHTZEE!!! I passed off the camera to an older lady and Syd and I gathered around Gillian, of course remembering to put our arms around her back as the photo was being snapped. The whole time I kept thinking that this lady was going to take the pic, Gillian would walk away, then we'd go to look at it and the picture would be of a chair or something. After the flash went off, we thanked Gillian and I apologized for snagging her on her way out. She didn't mind :) We reviewed the pic on my camera as she walked away and, I'm happy to report, it did indeed turn out ok. Phew.
So, that's the story of how I met Scully. It was a victory for dorks everywhere.
Here's the pic. Notice her restrictive coat. She totally wanted to put her arms around us, too, but she couldn't considering the fabric and the cut.