[Hey, this is Adam The Amateur Gourmet and it’s official: I am back from Barcelona, Spain and this is our very last guest post. Last, but certainly not least. My friend John Kazlauskas, who you may remember from our trip to Paris or his trips to Iceland and Peru or his nephew Nico, now lives in L.A. and works as a writer’s assistant on ABC’s Brothers and Sisters. Are you a fan of that show? Well you’re really going to love this post–you’ll get to see what the writers eat behind the scenes. Ok, John, this is the last one so make it good…take it away!]
Welcome to the Writer’s Kitchen at ABC’s Brothers & Sisters! In the fast-paced, cut-throat world of primetime television our writer’s kitchen offers security, it offers hope and it offers – at any given moment – more than five pounds of sliced turkey.
And keeping the kitchen stocked with our writers’ favorite snacks is an important part of keeping the show running. At least I like to think so – my job depends on it.
Executive Story Editor Jason Wilborn needs at least 63 Chocolate Chip Clif bars and seven gallons of Chai tea to get through a single page of the show.
Our Emmy-winning Executive Producer Molly Newman loves crystallized ginger.
While Script Coordinator Matt Donnelly eats anything that’s not nailed down.
But infamous on the 4th floor is our show’s Co-Executive Producer David Marshall Grant who fuels each script he writes with mountains of cottage cheese.
Today started like any other day for Marc Halsey (the show’s other Writer’s Assistant) and me. During downtime in “the room” where the stories are worked out, Marc and I restocked the sodas in the fridge and made sure there was fresh coffee brewing when David came in looking for some of his beloved cottage cheese…
But there was none to be had.
Now I just started a few weeks ago, but I know this is bad. There was some in there just yesterday. Someone must have eaten it. This spells trouble.
“We are so fired,” Marc blurts out, nervously pacing in circles.
And David is getting angry. His script is due in an hour. He needs cottage cheese and he needs it now. Marc checks his watch, “Maybe I can make it to the store—“
“There’s no time!” I yell, perhaps a little too loudly. Then, quieter: “I just bought some yesterday. We’ve just got to find it.”
My first stop? The offices of Ojai Foods.
So Marc and I checked the Writer’s Room…
Not here either.
And it isn’t in Sarah Walker’s refrigerator.
It is nowhere to be found. I guess we’ll have to just buy some new cottage cheese. So Marc and I head to the Commissary across the Disney Lot where we film in Burbank.
The lot has been the site of many famous movies and TV shows and as a self-proclaimed Disney Nerd (or DisNerd for short) I still get excited walking down Dopey Drive thinking about all the history here:
Mary Poppins, Davy Crockett, The Love Bug, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and Bedknobs and Broomsticks were all filmed on these soundstages. Peter Pan, Fantasia and Bambi were all developed in the old Animation building. A flood of happy childhood memories rushes back – these movies remind me of a simpler time. I smile, finding myself quietly quoting Bambi under my breath: “He can call me Flower if he wants to.”
“What?” – I’m snapped out of my daydream by Marc, who looks more and more distraught. “What did you say about a flower?”
“Nothing,” I lie.
“We need to get David his cottage cheese,” Marc reminds me. So we head into the Commissary (or “the Comm” as some of the abbreviating writers call it):
and what’s on the menu? More bad news:
THEY ARE OUT OF COTTAGE CHEESE!
We are screwed. We need help. In a BIG way. Marc starts to panic.
But I have one more idea.
“This is not the time to go looking for the Jonas Brothers,” Marc yells.
“Trust me.” I grab his hand and we’re off.
So where does a DisNerd go when he needs guidance?
There can only be one place. I go see the man himself. I go see Walt Disney.
He’ll guide us. He’ll give us advice. He just has to. He’s never let me down before. Well, except for Fantasia 2000, but we all make mistakes.
“You’re wasting our time,” Marc yells,
“Walt will help us. I just know he will.”
But Walt doesn’t help us. He just stands there with Mickey Mouse, his arm outstretched.
“Screw this, I’m going to the grocery store. I’m not getting fired over cottage cheese!” Marc says.
I silently plead with Walt. Feeling my hope flagging, I tell Marc: “He can’t let us down. Not now!”
Marc mutters: “You seriously need help, dude. This is just a statue! He can’t help us. All be does it stand there all day pointing into the distance…at…at…”
We both see it.
I wipe the tears from my eyes (“It’s just allergies!”) and follow Walt’s finger again, just to make sure it wasn’t a mirage.
He is pointing right at the missing Cottage Cheese.
Of course! Brothers and Sisters star Matthew Rhys is always in our kitchen. He probably doesn’t even realize what he’s doing. On any other day, the cottage cheese would just be a delicious source of low-fat protein. But today is not just any other day. A script is due.
I run past Matthew, grabbing the cheese from his hands as I go.
Racing back to Stage 6, Marc and I run up the four flights to David office and see him staring at a blank screen. Tears have begun to well in his eyes.
I throw the cheese to him and he grabs it. His color returns. A smile crosses his face. Hope is restored.
And with that David finishes writing episode 402.
And I think now even Marc believes in the magic of Disney.
Special thanks to David Marshall Grant, Marc Halsey, Matthew Rhys and Sara Sugarman.