If you tuned into the red carpet live coverage of the SAG Awards on E! yesterday you may have noticed the screaming banshees standing in the bleachers and wildly flailing their arms as if they were Titanic survivors waving down a rescue squad.
I, for lack of a better explanation than the one I will supply later, was one of them.
While Ryan Seacrest and living mannequin Giuliana interviewed the sequinned and the sexy, I sat in the sun, nursing a hangover with some Bayer, my digital Canon ELPH charged and ready to snap some shots of Leonardo and America Ferrera.
It was truly the epitome of starf**king. Elisabeth and I were surrounded by less-than-sane, middle-aged couples, manic mothers and daughters, and tabloid-subscribing seniors - all regulars of this bleacher madness, their camera lenses zoomed in on any passing celeb. One woman sitting in front of us had purchased a heavy-duty-looking camera with an extensive telescopic lens just for this ocassion. "This is our fourth time here," she gushed as she and her husband, who had a camera of his own, patiently waited to see if Reese Witherspoon was going to make a late entrance. "They know me at Costco whenever I go to develop my film. I'm the Awards Show Lady."
I won't argue with you on that one, ma'am.
While riding the shuttle bus to ground zero, one mother-daughter duo and a posse of the daughter's friends had been devastated to find that there were no baseball caps in this year's goodie bags. Just an issue of the current People, a can of black-cherry-and-french-vanilla Diet Pepsi, and a bottle of spearmint Listerine (you know, for all the make-out sessions with Martin Sheen and Cloris Leachman). No baseball caps! No SAG Awards apparel!
The world might as well end. Right. Now.
Once we were situated on the bleachers, another mother-daughter duo behind us screamed at every other star that walked by. If a familiar face whose name they couldn't remember stepped onto the carpet, they would shout out the name of the television show he or she was from instead. "Sopranos!" they yelled at several greased-up cast members. "Ugly Betty!" they shrieked at any actor who wasn't America Ferrera.
"Are they serious?" Elisabeth asked.
During the event I couldn't help but wonder how these (to put it bluntly) star-obsessed freaks could be associated with the questionably sane insiders who had gotten them tickets to these ringside seats. Maybe they were radio contest winners. Maybe they entered a sweepstakes on Good Morning America. Maybe a tap-dancing llama would crawl out of my ass.
Elisabeth and I kept our cool. Having had our fair share of in-the-flesh experiences with many Hollywood players, we quickly grew desensitized to the glam parade. We didn't need to fuel the fan frenzy. We didn't need to wear out our vocal chords. Most of the celebs were already eating it all up, posing for the cameras, waving to the crowd, flashing their killer smiles. It's no secret; they live for this.
Standing next to us, announcing every entrance with the help of some cue cards, was Entertainment Tonight's Kevin Frazier. Little did we know we would also be helping the guy pick out the famous faces he had passed over once the floodgates were opened ("What's that guy's name? The one on Deadwood?" "Um, Timothy Olyphant."). A river of actors flowed into the Shrine Auditorium. Patrick Dempsey avoided the press, as did T.R. Knight and most of the Grey's cast (My guess: no one wanted to revisit the Golden Globes fiasco). Jennifer Hudson sparkled in a plum-colored gown.
Julie Andrews, the night's lifetime achievement recipient, was gracious as ever.
Cate Blanchett stood out as a golden goddess.
Anne "I'm-Not-A-Princess-Anymore" Hathaway was darling enough to sign autographs.
Will Smith proved why he was such a bleacher favorite and later did the same.
Steve Carell showed up and later appeared to be joined at the hip with Greg Kinnear.
Eva and Nicollette flaunted their assets.
And Rachel McAdams arrived late on the arm of nominee Ryan Gosling (What was with the cotton candy streaks in her hair, I have no clue).
At that point, the sun faded, a chill swept in, and the doors to the auditorium were closing. For some odd reason I started to crave a big steak dinner and was ready to get into my car and head home.
Thank you to the illustrious Jessica Glassberg for inviting us to be spectators in this star-studded festival (she worked on the telecast).
We came. We saw. We don't have to do it again.