The Lowest Rung On the Hollywood Ladder, Part 3
Catholic School Girls R' Us.
One of my favorite things about doing background work is playing dress up. Not necessarily in the production company's clothes, but every now and then I'd get to do some fun stuff and not have to worry about bringing my own. And the clothes wouldn't stink. And they'd fit right.
This wasn't one of those shows.
Gilmore Girls, for those of you that A) live under a rock or B) have better things to do with your time than watch the shit programming by the WB, takes place in a private school. Where uniforms are mandatory. Now you can't just have two or three students at a school. Oh no. You have to populate your fictional school with equally fictional school boys and girls.
Not that I'm fictional. I'm.... aw, forget it. For all you know I'm a forty year old man with a spare tire and a bald spot the size of Tallahasee.
Anyway. The day of the fateful "First Fitting."
It was the usual 18 to look younger crowd. I'd pulled my hair back into pigtails that day. Not only makes me look younger, but it also makes me look like Jan Brady. Marsha Marsha Marsha! The oval glasses also help with this. I am a diva on the cutting edge of fashion, I am. I am also built like a pear. Narrow at the top and wide at the bottom.
You'd think that a pleated skirt would be ok, right? Easy to do at the waist, and kinda flaring out in the hips when and if necessary. Right? Easy? Right?
The first skirt was three sizes too small. The next skirt was three sizes too big. They were the last two skirts left.
I opted for the bigger one, asking for a few safety pins to sinch in this plaid gunney sack I'd been handed. The white button up blouse was also the same cut as the skirt, and hung down on me like a blanket. The little stripy tie around my neck was too short.
Although the kneesocks and the saddle shoes were pretty hot, I will admit.
I was decked out like some wet-dream gone horribly, horribly wrong. The only possible way I could even be remotely even considered sexy was if maybe I took everything off. And even then, there was only a 50-50 chance.
I was outdoors on a cigarette break, and one of the female leads on the show came up to me. "You got a spare smoke I can bum?"
"Sure." I handed her one, thinking that, like all the other girls and boys on the set, she was blessed with an immature face and was of legal age.
"Thanks. My mom won't buy them for me anymore."
Buh? Oh shit. I just gave a smoke to a real, honest to god minor. I nodded a "you're welcome" and beat it, before some set teacher figured out who it was that was handing out smokes to the minors. Although, considering that her mom was, at some point, buying her cigarettes, maybe I wouldn't have been in that much trouble... Still. Mind boggling.
I ran into another gal extra in the loo a little bit later, who had gone red in the face and was sweating.
"No! I can't breathe in this damn skirt! It's too small! The wardrobe lady told me that it was the only one they had."
"When did you get here?"
She named a time that was a good half an hour earlier than when I'd arrived. So our wardrobe ladies were stashing the skirts, and deliberately handing out wrong sizes. Nice.
"You wanna trade? Mine's too big."
So the switch went off. Yes, that's right, we weren't only in school girl outfits, we were swapping them, too. Oh, the hedonistic life of an extra. The madcap hilarity. It's like being in one of those goofy romantic comedies, only with less mistaken identity sex.
The day itself was pretty tame. Lots of the usual; miming speaking, looking animated, but not so animated that you distracted from the scene. When lunch rolled around, I headed over to the WB commissary. Which is ok. Not the best I'd ever been to (The Paramount commissary takes that honor, with Sony running a close second) but still nice. Whilst standing in line, there was a group of suits standing in front of me, all of whom had out their Blackberries, and having the mythical Hollywood "lunch." There was no one behind me. The head suit said, "Yeah, they're all with me." And gestured back.
I was rolling my eyes. Oh, please, can we not do our little executive bullshit ego trip in the lunch line? Can we pull our heads out of our asses for a whole three minutes and not anger the peons who actually pay for your precious entertainment ? So what came out of my mouth next surprised even me.
"Am I included on that tab?"
Said in my usual sardonic tone. In case you couldn't tell by my written style, I have a sarcastic streak a mile wide. I was expecting to get a laugh, and then a, "shut up, peon." Wait a minute. Strike that. Reverse it.
Only what I got was a bemused look, and a nod to the cashier. The suit did indeed pay for my lunch. And the rest of the suits looked at the head suit like he was singing excerpts from The Mikado completely naked. The suits wandered off, leaving me holding my turkey sandwich and my coke. The cashier let out a low whistle.
"He must have liked you," she said to me.
"Who was that?" I asked.
"No idea, but he sure did dress important."
Back on the set a few hours later, I ran into my mysterious benefactor, who was hanging out with JoAnne Palantonio, the executive producer of Gilmore Girls. Hah. My mysterious benefactor was a friend of hers... in a dark... suit...
Oh shit. He's probably in the Mob. (Yes, I have a very active imagination, why do you ask?) I just got lunch from a Mobster. He's going to ask me to return the favor now, I just know it. I'll wake up tomorrow with a horse's head in my studio apartment and a note from Don Corleone.
"That's a wrap!"
I've never been so glad to hear those three words. I hauled ass back to wardrobe, grabbed my voucher, and was gone.
I've seen way too many movies, I swear I have.