For six weeks this summer, from the end of July to the beginning of September, I will be a regular cast member on a TV series. It's a sitcom (title TBA), created by a grad student for Frequency TV, the on-campus and online station run by the TV department at Columbia College. And even though it's only six episodes, and isn't a multi-million-dollar production with a network pickup, I'm ridiculously excited.
There's a very simple reason for that: I love TV. It seems like a weird thing for an actor to say, but it's true. As an audience member, I love television more than I love movies, and... well, differently from the way I love theatre. Inside -- and not too far from the surface -- I'm still the little kid who lived through every week in delicious anticipation of what would happen next to Jaime Sommers or Wonder Woman or the Doctor and his companion. Heck, when the BBC revived Doctor Who in 2005, that little kid was right there on the surface.
A handful of times in my life, I've been so impressed/energized/inspired by an actor's performance that I had to tell them so in an actual ink-on-paper fan letter. Almost all of those actors were on TV series, adding new pieces every week to characters who grabbed me for one reason or another. At any given time, there are three or four series running that I will not miss. At the top of that list right now is In Plain Sight. It's an exception for me -- the number-one slot is almost always occupied by a sci-fi or fantasy show -- but Mary Shannon is a heroine tailor-made to hook me in, with a heart of gold, will of iron, tongue of snark, and a full subscription of thorny personal issues. If someone asked me the old-standby interview question about my dream role, that would be it: A character like Mary, or Vicki Nelson, or Sam Carter, or Sara Pezzini.
And while the quirky office manager on a six-week sitcom might not seem to have much in common with those world-saving ladies, it's my chance to taste the creative side of a mode of storytelling dear to my heart. To live with a character over time, in a story that keeps going.
All of which is my very wordy way of saying "Wheeeeeee!"