Saturday, February 28, 2009

Where do I know you from?

Where do YOU know Audra from?

Living LA creates a certain problem that I doubt is found quite the same anywhere else. The celebrity overload, coupled with the early onset of senility soon blurs the lines between your real life and TV.

Around town, in the time I've lived here I've seen Kiefer Sutherland, the dad from the Fresh Prince of Bel Air, the daughter from Gilmore Girls, Rachel Griffiths, Christina Ricci, Giovanni Ribisi, Jason Lee and Meg White, to name a few. Most of those people are recognisable enough that you know it's them when you see them and even if you can't fully identify them, you can be pretty sure they aren't your neighbour, since they are doing something expensive and you don't live in a particularly fancy neighbourhood.

But what about the guy from the deli meats commercial buying cat food at the store? Or the cell phone ad guy walking his dog? These are people we see on TV all the time, but they are nameless. Sometimes you'll go out and be introduced to a friend of a friend. A few months later, you might see them again. Where do you know them from? TV or real life? It's easy to get confused. When I saw Gran Torino recently, I recognised the ginger Catholic priest character as having appeared in a Verizon commercial a while before. Just a few weeks later after I saw the movie, I saw the same guy walking his dog past a coffee shop I was sitting at. The recurrence of these people on TV and in my life is very real. The frustration of not always knowing how I know people is intensified for me, given the fact that I am famous for having a great memory.

This jolly red-head has a career spanning cell phone commercials, Clint Eastwood movies and dog walking on Franklin near the Scientology Celebrity Center.

Just recently, as we pulled into our neighbourhood Trader Joe's, I saw a guy that looked familiar. As I have always marveled at matching people to TV shows, and even before living here saying "That guy in the background was also in the background in Ghostbusters." I quickly set to place him. I pointed him out to Gregg to see if he could help, only to be told he was in our friend's band and that was where I knew him from. Not that I needed him to be from a movie or TV, but I was certainly barking up the wrong tree.

After we left Trader Joe's on that same day, we drove up through Sunset Junction and I saw a familiar face crossing the street. I knew I had seen him before because he resembled our friend Todd, but he had bigger facial features and much lighter hair. I guess you could say he was a boorish version of Todd. As he crossed right in front of the car, I skulked down into my seat. I didn't want him to make eye contact because once again, I had no idea if I knew him from real life or TV. I asked Gregg if he knew who he was and he did not. As far as his resemblance to Todd, Gregg saw one as close as Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger in Twins. If it I did know this guy from real life and he smiled, waved, or even worse, stopped to talk, I was fucked. Luckily he didn't see us so that can of worms remained closed, though his image is burned into my brain and the mystery prevails.

Probably the earliest such example of this is still my favourite. After a show at Spaceland, Gregg was talking to a girl. I thought maybe she looked familiar, but her voice for sure had stuck with me (not in a bad way!) I must have met her before, but for the life of me, I couldn't recall where I knew her from. Gregg seemed to know her, so clearly I was a bitch. Soon, I was in the conversation, the girl very friendly and familiar, so my self loathing grew as she still didn't ring a bell. Gregg had been drinking and as I couldn't drive the stick-shift we came in, Gregg asked her for a ride home. She was happy to! God, I'm a bitch. I still had no idea who she was. We drove home, the car containing her, Gregg, me, our friend Mike and her friend Beth. As we arrived outside our building, I thanked her and moved to leave until she stopped me to say, "By the way, I'm Audra!" I wasn't supposed to know her after all! I introduced myself back and sighed a sigh of relief. Still, she WAS familiar. I didn't invent that. What the hell? "How do you know that Audra?" I asked, not satisfied until I got to the bottom of it. "I just met her tonight." Gregg answered. This mystery continued to haunt me.

A few days went by, and out of the blue, Gregg said "Oh, when I was talking to that Audra, she told me she was on that Breaking Up With Shannen Doherty show!" THAT WAS IT! Being long time 90210 fans, Gregg and I had both been excited about a new show in which someone in conflict with someone else would call in Shannen Doherty to confront the other person and present them with an ultimatum or just flat out dump them. Gregg was out of town when the show first aired so I recorded one of the two episodes that were on. My friend Sam and I watched it and both enjoyed making commentary on it and agreed it was awesome. As soon as Gregg announced that Audra had been on the show, the mystery was solved. That's why she was so familiar. I had never met her before. I knew her from TV. Once Gregg told me, I couldn't cue the show fast enough to get re-acquainted with Audra as she got Shannen Doherty to go in and tell her boyfriend Tasty that he needed to marry her, or else!

Tasty and Audra on 'Breaking up with Shannen Doherty'* (in two parts)

Shortly after, I was back in Australia and got to share this story with Sam and got to enjoy her explosion of mirth as I revealed the punchline that the mysterious Audra had been the subject of our viewing pleasure just a month or so before.

Tasty didn't look like this when he was on 'Breaking Up With Shannen Doherty'.

He looked more like this. You can see why it's hard to keep up with these people.

Once I figured it all out, and after some befriending on MySpace, I gleefully reported the story to both Audra and her now husband, Tasty. We have all remained friends and Tasty is a big fan of my blog. Hi guys! *waves*

So, I guess the moral of the story is, don't move to LA if your memory is starting to fail.

*Thanks to Lindsay for finding the episode on YouTube!