Thanks to my high-level Hollywood connections, I got to tour the lot at the Warner Brothers studio. I ate a Reuben at the commissary (seasoned with movie magic!), saw Will Smith walk by wearing a pink t-shirt, and secretly posted a blog entry from the studio store that triples as a Starbucks/Jamba Juice.
Studio store prices:
Citizen Kane, Special Edition - $13.60
Dukes of Hazzard, Unrated Edition - $14.35
Most exciting to many fans will be my tour of the fictional town of Stars Hollow. It's a huge set, impressive in its extensive size and variety of fake buildings. I tried to contact all of my Gilmore-loving friends to share in the magic by cell phone, but only Michele was available. I think the only way she could have been more jealous of me was if I had been visiting a habitat for tiger cubs staffed exclusively by Japanese teenagers.
Ironically, Luke's has a sign expressly forbidding the use of cell phones.
You can also go into most of the fake stores, since they shoot there and all. I felt like I didn't know enough about the show to truly appreciate sitting in the ice cream parlor, or climbing the steps of the gazebo in the town square. I tried to fake it. "Oh look! That's where Rory kissed Jess!" I'd say, pointing to a random spot on the lawn. "And that's the same place Rory and Lorelai talked about that terrible movie which Lorelai secretly liked and then they got some junk food!" I think my traveling companions were impressed.
Later I almost destroyed the Gilmores' fake mailbox by leaning on it too hard. Leaning on the boat wasn't dangerous at all; just sort of gross and splinter-y and full of filthy water.
The ER set wasn't as exciting, because it really accurately approximated a dirty urban hospital exterior. The main objection I heard from our groups was the distinct lack of Clooney in the area. There were lots of extras walking around in scrub gear, but we didn't try to holler at them. Actually, they could have been lead actors from the show - the last time I saw an episode, Ming-Na Wen was still in the cast, and still using her last name.
I saw the guy who plays Steve the reporter on The West Wing, talking on his phone outside the set. Even though he's not actually famous at all, I didn't want to bug him, so I posed for a photo about twenty-five feet in front of him, with him (hopefully) visible in the background. Unlike Will Smith, he was not wearing a pink t-shirt.
Of course, our visit would not have been complete without a visit to the set's museum, where you can see Balki's and Urkel's costumes in glass cases, though photography is strictly forbidden. They also display Charlie Sheen's "costume" from Two and a Half Men, a show that I've still never watched. I doubt this is the case, but wouldn't it be awesome if the show followed five mutants - all of them half-shark, half-man - and their crazy adventures. Combined, they'd be two-and-a-half men. I would watch that show.
There is an entire floor devoted to Harry Potter. Our group was torn as to whether the scariest thing in the museum was:
a) a highly realistic model of Vanessa Redgrave's bleeding head, complete with blinking eyes, used on an episode of Nip/Tuck, or
b) the be-scarfed guide of the Harry Potter wing, waving maniacally at visitors even when they'd fled down the stairs to escape his endless trove of Potter trivia and thinly-disguised creepy Anglo/pedo-philia.
In case anyone is wondering, the Sorting Hat placed me and Louise in Gryffindor, while Kir and G-Duck ended up in Hufflepuff.