Press Tour Diary Day 5: Dax Shepard, Yo Gabba Gabba and how the sausage is made

tca-otis.jpgPress Tour takes a mini break Saturday (July 31) for business as usual. That means that all the other journalists get a real break from covering panels, but that Television Critics Association members have certain duties.

First up is the morning meeting during which many members make motions, others second said motions and then votes are taken. It's all incredibly important stuff, but hush hush enough that I must not reveal anything. Apparently, divulging TCA secrets could result in either expulsion or being taken out back ... what for, I shudder to imagine.

Newest member Otis (pictured above) is also in on the TCA secrets, but he's rather disappointed in the proceedings because he was promised he'd learn how the sausage is made. TCA Secretary, you need to pick your words more wisely and less deliciously.

tca-dimsum.jpgSpeaking of ... later in the evening the critics shed their laptops and get gussied up for the 26th Annual TCA Awards (and dinner).

Since the awards is still held at the same hotel, some of the fare is similar to what you've seen before (roasted veggies, ravioli, carved beef), but probably the best highlight is the dim sum station. Whichever officers and board members voted for this, I heartily thank you. The spinach dumpling and shrimp har gow are particularly good.

Also appreciated is the multitude of cheeses and crackers.

tca-dax-shepard-500.jpgThe TCA Awards is our chance to honor the shows/people we've been criticizing (or lauding) throughout the year. Perhaps we view some shows with more cynicism than the average TV viewer, but we take TV very seriously. These shows are our raisons d'etre.

Every year, an esteemed TV actor deigns to host our awards, and we land "Parenthood" star Dax Shepard. He kills to the packed house, and we take back anything we *may* have said about him.

Highlights of his routine:

  • He apologizes for the red suit. Major points.
  • "You may recognize me as the star of 'Scrubs.'"
  • He's inordinately proud of catching the swine flu ... from Kristin Chenoweth. Next up for him is no doubt a Tony.
  • He treats us to a killer Owen Wilson impersonation. His Arnold Schwarzenegger? Not so much.
  • He gets the rock star treatment at the Los Feliz Costco because they've all seen "Employee of the Month" multiple times. "It's their 'Backdraft' to firefighters."

tca-damon-lindelof.jpgSomeone else who delivers a pretty good routine for his acceptance speech is "Lost" EP Damon Lindelof, who proceeds to read all the angry tweets that came after the controversial finale (eg. "Give me the last six years of my life back.")

He also thanks the critics: "Thanks for being John Locke to my Jack Shephard, even you, you bastard Alan Sepinwall."

Of course, every critic has their favorite speech or celebrity they're the most excited to see. "Modern Family's" Manny ( Rico Rodriguez) is looking dapper with his glasses and mature since he turns the big 1-2 on Saturday.

I'm a huge nerd/dork so I get excited that the Discovery Channel's "Life" wins for outstanding news/info program, and later when the "Yo Gabba Gabba!" producers announce some very special visitors. See for yourself:


So yummy, no? And did you see the great Oz behind them talking?

What else is yummy? The TCA outdoes itself with the post-awards desserts. I try at least five different varieties.

Well, that's it for Saturday. I'm sadly not covering the Sunday, Aug. 1 press tour day for ABC, but I believe my colleague Carina MacKenzie will keep an eye out for some "Modern Family" shenanigans. I'll be back for Monday's big FOX blowout.

In the meantime, read previous Press Tour Diary entries: Day 4: NBC's swag madness, Day 3: Showtime and The  CW, Day 2 and Day 1: CBS and Warner Bros. set visit

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Photo credits: Getty Images, Zap2it/Hanh Nguyen