Halfway through my birthday month and I have got the best gifts already. First off, I got a new job (yay!) which means I can finally start planning the vacation I had been coveting for the past two years (double yay!). Secondly, a week ago, I received a most fantastic surprise birthday present from my fellow blogger/writer-wannabe/conspiracy theorist, Ceil, who had apparently been planning this surprise for three months (more on that another time).
The latest “gift” required a 4.30am alarm this morning, and an international phone call to join in a press chat with none other than my favourite TV showrunner, Jeff Eastin – creator and executive producer of WHITE COLLAR. How many people can say they have talked to their favourite writer whilst in bed? OK now I know I’m going too far with this and I don’t want to find my next gift in the form of a restraining order.
So, a word of warning, this piece of writing is the result of lack of sleep and over-excitement from this morning so I apologise in advance that there will be grammatical errors, possibly incomplete sentences and may not make complete sense (I have voices in my head arguing about White Collar conspiracy theories).
Armed with my long list of questions and being a little smarter this time around (my first press call was with the funny, talented and generous actor, Willie Garson), I managed to score myself second in line for the call. Being a bundle of nerves and trying to keep my brain and my mouth in sync at 5.30 in the morning proved more difficult than I expected. Maybe it’s time to use “English is my second language” as an excuse…
For those who have ever seen me on Twitter “spamming” Jeff with questions and comments, you will know I have a habit of tweeting the most random and often-inappropriate comments and questions, so having this opportunity to speak to Jeff directly meant I needed some advice from those more composed than I to avoid sounding crazier on the phone than I do online.
For starters, Ceil told me that screaming “I LOVE YOU” would probably get me kicked off the call and permanently blocked from all future communications with Jeff or anyone associated with the USA Network. Another person suggested lots of coffee to give me the morning boost. “Take deep breaths!” was another. Finally, “just have fun” was the advice from Joe Henderson and Jim Campolongo (both writers and co-producers of White Collar).
So here we go.
My first comment to Jeff was on behalf of all my fellow Tim DeKay fans: “Thanks for giving us Shirtless Peter after three seasons of campaigning!” “Well, we’ve been trying to do it for a couple of seasons,” said Jeff. Well, let’s not stop here, Jeff!
Having had the privilege of previewing the mid-season finale that will air on September 18 in the US, I asked if the reminders of season one we have seen in the recent episodes leading into the mid-season finale trip down memory lane had been planned from the start of this season. As someone who always starts a story with an end-game in mind, Jeff reminded us that real relationships will always have their conflicts and their good times and having the boys happy all the time would be boring and unrealistic.
There has been a lot of heavy emphasis on Neal’s father in the current season – so what’s the craziest theory Jeff has seen floating around? No, Jeff confirmed that Peter is NOT Neal’s long-lost father so don’t expect any Darth Vader surprise moments on this show. George Clooney is Neal’s Dad! (Or as someone tweeted me, more appropriately, Danny Ocean is Neal’s Dad – I like this one). What about Neal’s mother? Well, we may find out more about her in future seasons (for the record, I am happy to report that Tim DeKay and Matt Bomer are contracted to at least seven seasons so there’s a lot more criminals to be caught!).
If you’ve watched the episode “Ancient History”, you will know Neal’s birthday is March 21. Inquiring minds wanted to know: what’s the significance of this date? It’s Jeff’s father’s birthday. And if you love the Burkes’ “baby”, Satchmo, as much as I do, you will probably have noticed that he has been missing so far this season. Fear not, dog lovers! Satchmo is alive and well and will return in the second half of the season. Phew!
Last but not least, given my fascination with anything and everything that goes on in the writers room (which I hope to visit one day!), I asked Jeff which of the writers come up with the craziest/wildest/funniest scenarios around which many of their storylines revolve and develop. I was afraid this was a question akin to asking a parent who his favourite child is, but after a brief pause, Jeff suggested Channing Powell, Jim and Joe, before declaring himself to be the originator of the best ideas – “and I’m not just saying that because I’m the boss” *insert laughter*.
Well, I did have a few more questions for Jeff, but he is a very busy man, now responsible for two shows (Graceland, Jeff’s new baby, is set to premiere next US summer, so we still have a long wait ahead). So I shall keep my list tucked away for another time.
A full transcript of this interview is now available at LenaLamoray.com so follow her at @LenaLamoray on Twitter or friend her on Facebook! My advance review of the White Collar mid-season finale is available here.