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there's this website called 1iota that allows you to enter lotteries to get tickets to free events in and around hollywood. that was how i got tickets to see paul mccartney and rob zombie over the past few months. i have been in the lottery for months to get tickets to see talking dead (which if you don't know, is a live broadcast that happens after walking dead where they interview cast members, people involved with the show, and celebrity fans) but i've never gotten in. the audience for talking dead is small (40 people) so i assumed that most of the tickets went to VIPs (they do) and that I'd never get a shot at attending.

being that this past weekend was a holiday weekend as well as shopping insanity and the hollywood christmas parade, i think there were less entrants and i ended up getting tickets. i was psyched since this was something i'd been trying to get tickets for for like, a year, plus it was the mid season finale (i hate how they've rebranded the holiday break). i was sort of less than psyched since my appreciation for the show has gone down a lot over the past year and it really is a timesuck to go to one of these things. but it would still be a cool experience so why not.

doing this really is a time suck, they tell you to get there around 3 (the live show is at 7) so it's a lot of hanging out on fairfax. ethan and i ended up being the first people in line, so i hung out and read while ethan headed over to the grove to do some shopping. finally after a million hours, they let us into the CBS lot, confiscated our phones/kindles/electronic devices, and herded us into viewing rooms. Since this was a "big deal" episode, we were watching it WAY before the east coast did, after which we spent a good hour asking questions to the producers so they could pick which ones would make it to air. at this point i learned that they tend to go for really basic and stupid questions (i guess for the sake of brevity) vs ones that are either critical of the show or ones that just require more thought in general (which makes sense since it's a live one hour show). so (my) questions like "how is it being justified that someone left a baby strapped to a carseat on the ground during a crisis" or "in this universe has no one heard of the term zombie prior to the outbreak, is that why there are so many other ways to refer to the walkers?" or "are there things from the comic that didn't make the show that in hindsight you're bummed about? or are there things that happened on the show that you wish you could incorporate into the comic?"* or "Daryl as a fan favorite seems to sort of be having a Legolas type arc of increasing bad-assery happening, how conscious are you of responding to fan favorites?" don't make the cut. instead questions like "how does daryl feel about the fact carol is gone" or "is maggie sad that ____ is dead" are more appropriate, which really is kind of stupid and kind of boring since a) they're fictional characters and that shit will hopefully play out over the second half of the season and b) it seems more interesting to ask questions about the creative process in general vs asking questions about fictional people doing fictional things or having fictional feelings. but whatever, i was feeding my questions to Ethan (who is not a huge fan, but is a big attention whore) since I didn't want to be on TV anyway, so in the end I'm happier than hardcore fans got to get up and ask questions that in the end were fed to them by producers anyway.

watching the episode with a group of hardcore fans was kind of awesome because people got really into it when good or bad things happened (and last night's episode was pretty action packed so a lot happened) but it also got sort of awkward at times since I ended up laughing at things that were supposed to be serious. i think this is in part because a)i tend to laugh when i'm anxious and b) i am steadily getting toward the end of really caring about the show and as such moments that were supposed to be filled with grim determination were just funny to me. i'm not going to get too into the episode since it's only the day after and people might not have seen it yet. i do feel that the show is just getting kind of worse at times goes by. a common criticism is that it's turning into lost with zombies and i can totally see that. (though to be fair i hardly watch tv and lost with zombies is still better than most of what's out there)

the taping itself was fun mostly because chris hardwick (that is such a good porn name) is really good at what he does. beforehand he was hanging out in the audience, he blew through doing the promos and podbusters in one take, and was really good at putting the guests at ease in between commercials. the studio was sort of less than ideal if you were in the back (we were) as it was kind of hard to see the stage. but it was still really cool and if i ever got the chance to do it again, i totally would. plus we got free toys.


*we couldn't ask that because it repeatedly gets asked about Daryl, where I was more interested in the universe on a whole, not the Dixon brothers.
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