I’m pretty sure I said those exact words after stepping away from my photo op with Tom Lenk. It was a brief moment. I went up to him after The Thrilling Adventure Hour show, said hello and told him how much I loved him, had somebody snap a few, and went on my merry way. I did get in a word about my fan piece, for which he already had a flyer. That was pretty darn cool. I guess that means we’d both heard of each other before we actually met!
It was a very interesting evening for me. Fun-filled, delightful, intense. I flyered like crazy before the show, making my mightiest efforts to find the people who would actually be into the piece. It’s always a daunting thing to go out and push your propaganda, but here’s the way I look at it. I’m not asking people for money. I’m not even asking them for very much time – a few minutes of youtube thumb-twiddling. And if they’re excited about Buffy, they’ll be genuinely happy to know. I caught one guy named Joe who looked like he would probably be a Buffy fan. Boy was I on! After I accosted him and got to talking, I noticed a “Sunnydale High School” T-shirt peeking out of his button-down (the very same T-shirt I, in fact, own). It was a wonderful feeling to see people’s faces light up when I mentioned the word “Buffy.” Like a secret little language we all shared.
I noticed Juliet Landau shortly before the start of the show. She seemed to be occupied with other people, and I, in turn, was occupied with how petrified I was to talk to her. Under any other circumstance, I’d be less intimidated to meet someone the second time around. But having just put the fan video up, ironically I felt shy. What was I supposed to say to her? “Hi, I met you a couple of months ago and proceeded to write a love song about a character you played 10 years ago and slap it up on the web for all to see.” What if she hadn’t seen it? What if she’d seen it and not like it? Would that be better or worse than her not seeing it at all?
I found her after the show (which, by the way, was absolutely AMAZING and everybody should go see). As it turned out, she indeed hadn’t learned of my video, since her Facebook site gets rather inundated. I gave her a flyer and told her to check it out. Ice broken!!!
We exchanged a few more words later on in the night. She is an extremely kind and down to earth person. With her, as with the others I don’t know very well whose work I admire and respect, I feel a little bit torn in two. There is the plain-old-person in me who says, “This is a cool guy/gal who is an actor and person just like me.” And then there is the fan girl who is jumping out of her skin with puppy dog delight saying, “They were that… person who did that… thing that was so… freaking… cool!” Which brings me to the essence of my most recent fan song.
“Wherefore Art Thou Juliet?” is all about coming to terms with breaking the fourth wall; the moment when you realize that the gorgeously crafted illusion of a character is … well… an illusion. Of course, a lot of the lyrics were exaggerated. I knew Juliet was American, and not psycho, and – much as it pains me to say so – not actually a vampire. We all know this, on a cognitive level, about the characters we love in movies and TV. But they become so real to us, in a way more real than any actual person, because they only exist in a few intense, carefully crafted moments in which they are boiled down to their essence. Don’t get me wrong, Juliet – along with most every actor I’ve admired from afar – has impressed me thoroughly face-to-face. But in a way, it’s inherently a letdown to meet the person behind the mask once we've fallen so deeply in love with the mask.
So knowing both sides of the equation, how do we proceed? One can be jaded and say, “Why waste time on silly flights of fancy?” I prefer to remain fanciful; to respect and protect the precious illusion; to honor the love story, even if it mostly remains tucked away in a corner of my imagination ... or a box of Buffy DVDs.