PASADENA, Calif. — I attended star parties during the Television Critics Association tour for a quarter of a century and truth be told got more than a little bit jaded about meeting celebrities near the end.
So it is nice to bring along someone who gets excited at the sight of a star while checking into the hotel where the tour is being held this year.
“Who is that?” asked my stargazing, beautiful girlfriend Patricia (BGFP from now on).
I turned and saw Mariah Carey, now one of the judges on Fox’s “American Idol” and told my BGFP that it was indeed Mariah.
“She’s a Diva, she’s got lots of handlers,” replied BGFP before turning TMZ on me. “And she is a little heavy and that skirt is a little short.”
She had passed my celebrity test to the point that I decided I had to score her an entrance into the Fox All-Star party at the hotel that night. With the help of a Fox Friend in high places, I got her in. Her game plan initially was to stay for five minutes because she thought she might have been embarrassed because she wasn’t dressed fancy enough.
Now Fox All-Star parties are known for two things. They usually are the best parties of the tour and the most crowded. In fact, they are so crowded that reporters can’t usually hear the stars they are interviewing a foot in front of them. That’s why I stopped trying to interview them in the last few years of being a newspaper critic.
This party exceeded those expectations on all counts. It was crowded, it was impossible to hear and it was fun for a new stargazer.
BGFP and I devised a new game plan as we fought our way through the crowds. It was decided that after she spotted 10 celebrities, she would be satisfied that she had enough material to tell one of her jealous sisters and she would leave to write her an email.
Quickly, she spotted (No.1) Naya Rivera, Santana from “Glee,” from the back and admired her stylish dress. “She’s beautiful and the most stylish person here,” said BGFP. “She’s gorgeous and has great hair.”
Now dresses and hair are not usually something I notice so BGFP obviously was an asset.
We walked a few more feet and she spotted (No.2) Jane Lynch from “Glee” or as my BGFP calls her Sue Lynch or Joan Lynch. She isn’t as big on names as she is on shoes. “She is soo pretty in real life that it is hard to picture her in that track suit,” said BGFP of the suit Lynch wears on the Fox show. “She has a sharp outfit on and is very personable.”
A few minutes later, (No.3) Stephen Nathan, an executive producer of “Bones” who is from Buffalo, came up to me and we chatted about the show starring Buffalo’s David Boreanaz being picked up for a ninth season. No surprise there, since it was Fox’s top-rated show in the fall.
Then BGFP spotted “the kid from Williamsville” on “Glee.” She didn’t know his name. That wasn’t a surprise really. She doesn’t watch a lot of TV and, as I said, isn’t big on names. She doesn’t even have cable and I still date her. Happily. I told her the star from Williamsville is named Jacob Astor.
“He’s a hottie, the best-looking person guy here, has a great smile, you should talk to him,” BGFP said. Now BGFP had become my boss. So I broke my party rule and took a tape recorder to talk to (No.4) Jacob Artist, the Williamsville kid who joined “Glee” this season as a bad boy with a good heart. He told me he had been back in Williamsville over Christmas and was treated terrifically. “It was cold, but really nice,” said Artist, who is treated differently now that he is a TV star. “It is pretty surreal and bizarre, I’m just Jacob from Williamsville but…”
Here’s the but. He said when he went into Tony Walker’s in Williamsville a girl started hyperventilating when she saw him. “I was like, ‘do you want a picture?’ ’Can I give you a hug?’ She was really sweet. It was hilarious.”
Artist added he just wrapped up filming a movie, “White Bird in a Blizzard,” in which he plays the college boyfriend of Shailene Woodley of “The Secret Life of an American Teenager” fame.
As I turned from Artist, I spotted T.O and pointed him out to my BGFP. She quickly placed (No.5) Terrell Owens ahead of Astor as the best-looking guy at the party. “He’s sooo handsome,” said BGFP. “He doesn’t look to be big enough to be a football player.” She told me to talk to him. I was beginning to wonder if she was getting too bossy.
I reminded T.O. that we had met in Buffalo when he did his VH-1 reality show and asked him what he was up to. He said he was just part of a Fox reality series, “Stars in Danger,” which aired Wednesday night. He was one of the celebrities who performed Olympic dives. “I wouldn’t say I was good at it but I definitely made some dramatic improvements,” said Owens. He added he was scheduled to work on another episode of NBC’s “Go On” with Matthew Perry on Monday.
No. 6 was one of the stars of “Bones,” who was talking to T.O. before I interrupted him. It was Michaela Conlin, who plays Angela. “She’s a knockout and has a great dress and shoes,” said BGFP. As if I didn’t notice. That she was knockout I mean. I still don’t know dresses or shoes.
We then moved about 100 feet to the right and I gave my BGFP a quiz. I asked her who the actress in front of us was. I told her she co-starred in one BGFP’s favorite old shows. She needed another hint: “American Dreams.” It was (No.7) Vanessa Lengies, who now is on “Glee” as Sugar. She was Roxanne on “Dreams.” “She’s extra cute,” pronounced BGFP.
BGFP then spotted a handsome guy she knew had to be a star. No.8 was James Purefoy, one of the co-stars of Kevin Bacon’s new show “The Following.”
BGFP then was thrilled to spot Rachel of “Glee,” who is better known as (No.9) Lea Michele. “She is very short and cute,” said BGFD.
She spotted Artie (No.10). Of course, she didn’t know his real name is Kevin McHale, but then again either did I. BGFP then spotted a few more “Glee” actors to get past the Top 10. Her mission fulfilled, she headed to leave when she spotted Kevin Bacon.
Or who she thought was Kevin Bacon. Once again, she proved she is bigger on hair than on names. It was Kiefer Sutherland, former star of “24” and current star of Fox’s “Touch.”
“He’s so much better looking in person than on TV, he’s less intense-looking,” said BGFP. “He’s extra handsome in real life.”
There you have it. I think BGFP earned the right to go to one more party. By tour’s end, I’m guessing that she might become jaded, too.