Who: Lori, Lauren, Theresa, Andrew, Tracy, Katie

What: Beautiful chaos

Where: Los Angeles, Altadena, Pasadena, Los Feliz

When: April 27-30,2017

Why: 44th Annual Daytime Emmys
Sites Visited:
Superbad
The Bachelor
Stepbrothers
Beverly Hills, 90210
Father of the Bride
Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Halloween
Melrose Place
Charmed
Thriller
The People's Court
The People vs. OJ Simpson


Before I say anything that might come off the wrong way, I just want to state for the record that I love LA. If I had some free time or any musical inclination, I'd be like Randy Newman back in 1983 and write a whole song about it. It's got all the studios. There are palm trees. The Lakers always seem to have a good time there. It's the best. 

But damn it to hell, I don't think I can plan another trip there. 

This year, for the third year in a row, The People's Court was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Legal/Courtroom Program. So, for the third year in a row, that meant I was going to LA for the ceremony. Fantastic news! Incredible news! The best news! I love LA! 

What I don't love? Trying to find new things to do in a city I've already scoured two times in the past. Hey, I could go see the Grey's Anatomy hospital! Nope, I've already seen the Grey's Anatomy hospital. Oh, what about all the Modern Family houses! Nope, have already seen all the Modern Family houses. New Girl? Back to the Future? The Golden Girls? Nope. Nope. Nope. If ever there was a time at any point in the past that I had liked a TV show or a movie, I had already sufficiently stalked it. Cue the violin, folks... TV Traveling is hard.

I spent weeks trying to figure out what to do on the west coast. I Googled. I read Trip Advisor. I rewrote a dozen itineraries. And then when all was investigated, I finally said screw it. C'est la vie. Hakuna Matata. Basically a lot of stuff in a lot of different languages. I would figure it all out when I got there.

I was going to LA! 

The trip began on a Wednesday night, when after a long day at the office, 7 producers packed into a shuttle van and headed to the airport. New to this trip would be Lauren, a first-time Emmy nominee and eager first-time TV-Traveler, and also husband and wife team, Andrew and Tracy who couldn't wait for their chance to be trapped inside a car with me as I dragged them to movie houses.
 


Peace out, east coast!!

For 6 hours, we all tried to lull ourselves to sleep in spaces where even a poodle might have a hard time getting comfortable. Then at 3am NY time, we hopped off the plane at LAX, spent 45 minutes trying to pick up a rental car, and then at 2am LA time, threw ourselves into bed at the Hollywood Roosevelt so that at 7am LA time, Lauren and I could be wide awake, dressed and back on the open road heading to our first destination.

TMZ, here we come!

When planning and planning, and then re-planning this trip, one of the main requests we as a group had to the big man down the hall was to visit the TMZ offices, headed by longtime TPC contributor, Harvey Levin. We were all so excited about it. It would be so much fun! we said.  

Then everyone found out we'd have to be there at 8am and our rockin' group of 7 was dwindled down to an eager group of 2. And by "eager," I mean, EAGER.

Usually, when it comes to not sleeping, never eating and running ragged around a city over absolute nonsense, I'm all alone in the universe. 


Not on this trip. Lauren was no friggin' joke.

Located in Marina Del Rey, with a parking lot that allows Angelinos to plug in their electric cars, the TMZ office looks pretty much exactly like it does on TV. Big open spaces, a whole lot of desks, and for a brief few moments, me in the background forcing Lauren to get photographic proof of me standing in the same air space as Harvey Levin.


Nailed it.

We hung around for about an hour and a half, watching them film that day's episode of TMZ on TV and taking advantage of the office's ridiculous snack room. Which in addition to a whole lot of energy bars, has its own Starbucks machine. Which dispenses hot chocolate. For free. 



Not sure how we ever managed to leave, but after a significant amount of freak outs, Lauren and I said our goodbyes and made our way out the door. 


(Superbad liquor store)

Hey there, Superbad liquor store and parking lot!!!

Located in Glendale, CA in what I would say is not the best neighborhood in all the world, but also not the worst, the Superbad parking lot was right out of 2007, with some names of stores changed, but the awnings still the same and the presence of McLovin' still in the air. 

Lauren, as a first time TV-Traveler was a little wary of a parking lot photo shoot because you know, CARS. But ever the eager beaver, with a little helpful prodding ("JUST FRIGGIN' DO IT!!!"), she got the job done. 


(Superbad liquor store)

Lauren even got the added bonus of getting to go inside the Superbad liquor store and watch me buy an orange juice and a lottery ticket. Those of you just clamoring to go on one of these trips with me, take a number. The demand is just too great. 


Once the liquor store was done, we drove for a little over 3 minutes to the supermarket where Jonah Hill tried to buy alcohol but failed. 

(Superbad grocery store)

Once a Good Shopper, but now a Jons, this spot was more congested than the pretty empty liquor store parking lot, with a lot more people seemingly sleeping in their cars and paying way more attention to the weird girls taking pictures in front of a grocery store. So, after just a few quick shots, it was back in the car for us and off to our next destination...


The Bachelor mansion!

Located in the faraway land of Agoura Hills, the Bachelor mansion is in a secluded area not open to the public, but through a very generous hookup, Lauren and I, along with the rest of our TV producer clan, were able to tour the mansion of the very kind family who move out of their beautiful home twice a year so that producers can glob it with paint and dozens of bachelors and bachelorettes can try to have sex in their living room. 


The rose ceremony room!!



Chris Harrison comes through here!


The pool!


A very excited group hoping to accept a final rose.


Once that was done, we all took off and came to realize why the area is called Agoura HILLS, as we winded down the loopiest roads ever, with no GPS service on our phones, to get back down to rest of civilization without me upchucking all of my TMZ snacks. 

Luckily, we made it back unscathed, and because we had some more free time, Lauren and I decided to fully embrace Los Angeles tourism and have someone drive us around on a tour bus.

In my two other visits to Los Angeles, I had only ever visited the homes of regular people who at one time allowed movie studios to film on their property, never actually the home of a celebrity... or rather the gate the led to the home of a celebrity. 

So, let's do this, Ultimate Hollywood Tours!!!

Our tour guide for the next two hours would be Jeremy, who we had been told had very nice arms, and our fellow tourists would be a man from China who spoke very minimal English and a woman from China who spoke none. PERFECT.

While the tour was full of information, our cameras did not come with any memory of such. So an hour later, trying to decipher what the hell I saw? Not that easy. 


Somebody famous lives here!



Another famous person lives here!!


Someone else famous lives here!



Carrie Fisher definitely lived here! (RIP).


We also got to visit a spot where we were able to stand and view the entire city of Los Angeles, which I'm not going to lie, pretty much earned the $39 ticket price.


Lauren's photography skills? Not so much.

During our two-hour tour, Lauren and I also got to learn all about Jeremy, who may not have wanted to give us his entire life story, but who we decided was going to give it up anyway. Jeremy is currently in the midst of starting up a life-coaching business, quite possibly to prevent others from having to drive strangers around in a bus. He is from North Carolina but has no accent. He does not watch daytime television and had no idea The People's Court was still on the air. Jeremy is going to do a much better job of keeping up with the news of daytime court shows in the future. 

Once we had seen dozens of beautiful houses from far away distances and Jeremy had officially had enough of the loud girls in the back, Lauren and I headed back to our hotel for a 10-minute respite before heading out to a 4-hour dinner and then falling asleep for a few hours before getting up for...

The TV Travels morning tour!

At an extreme loss for new locations and desperate to make use of my trip, a few days before our flight, I threw a few addresses into my phone and ala life coach, Jeremy got myself a tour group.





Lauren, back for some more action.





Theresa, from many a past TV Travel, but now with a fetus inside her.





And Andrew and Tracy, who really had no idea what they were in for. 





(Stepbrothers house)


(Beverly Hills, 90210 Walsh family house)

Two years ago, the morning after my first Emmy Awards, I went to this house, which still looks right out of 1992 waiting for Brenda and Brandon to come tearing down the driveway, and I had an entirely religious experience on a sidewalk by myself with a selfie stick. 

Looking back, my selfie photos have always been less than stellar. So since we were close enough and I was hiding from strangers, I decided to go get myself another one. 


Yup, not too pleased with this one either. 



But back to the Stepbrothers house! Pulled back into the same spot we'd been in 15 minutes prior, and yup, same people still milling around those windows. With nowhere else to turn, however, we braved it out onto the street.
 
Will Ferrell stood here! So did John C. Reilly!

We were outside for maybe a minute and a half when a man and a woman walked out of their house with two tiny dogs . 

"How'd you find this address??" the guy asked as I felt every ounce of food I'd eaten in the past 24 hours get ready to exit my body.

Google, I told him. Google. See from my eyes, I come in peace to only stand on a public sidewalk and not cause harm to your grass!

The guy then said okay, and told us about the time a tour bus drove down their street. And how the crew filmed in their house for a month while they still lived there. And built a tree house in their yard. And how nice John C. Reilly is. And how nice Will Ferrell really isn't.

And then he asked if he wanted us to take this group shot before he went down the street to walk his dog.


Lesson of the day: Never be afraid of the people in the window. 


The Father of the Bride house!!

Because everyone was a fan of the movie, but mostly because I wasn't a fan of my previous photograph, we parked the car and walked on over to the fake home of Steve Martin's fake family that yes, I agreed with Andrew, did look much bigger on screen. 

During our visit, a gardener was hard at work on the lawn, so many photos were taken while trying to avoid his van in the driveway. But even with the distraction, the house is just as pretty as it was when Martin Short stood outside and shoveled fake snow from its path.


Not really a fan of this photo either... 



I had seen this movie once a long time ago as a teeny tiny child and my memory of it was completely nonexistent, but just a few minutes away from the Steve Martin landmark, I was getting my photo.

(Pee Wee's Big Adventure house)

Paul Reubens was here! So was I!


The bushes are the same! The bushes!!

Theresa then posed for this photo...


...and scared the shit out of herself when she saw a gardener on the grass.

Michael Myers is no joke.

When I did my research, I took note that one of the houses on this street was featured in the opening credits of Mama's Family, and made plans to take a photo in front of it. Then I forgot and just got these:



I also made plans to see the actual house Jamie Lee Curtis supposedly lived in where the owners are so awesome, they leave plastic pumpkins outside for photo-ops, But then I wrote the wrong address down on my itinerary and was too frazzled to look it up again, So I settled on this: 

For more Halloween locations: visit here.

Sometimes it's not possible to get everything you want out of life.

With that, I ended my first ever 5-person TV Travels tour and brought everyone back safely to our Los Angeles hotel so that 45 minutes later, we could all be back in my car sans Andrew for hair and makeup appointments. We had an Emmy show to go to!!

Then Theresa got a call saying the makeup artist got a flat tire and couldn't come to the salon. 

Then we got into a car accident. (Damn you, Brazilian driver making a left turn INTO my car!!).

Then we couldn't find parking.

Then we were a half hour late for our appointments. 

Then I had to spend 20 minutes on the phone filing a claim with Geico. 

But then... the makeup artist showed up... and we all got our hair done within an hour ...and also got this lasting souvenir from my car-accident causer's car: 


So... worth it?

Late beyond belief, we rushed our little patooties off, threw on a few evening gowns, and all made it into far fancier cars for the 44th Annual Creative Arts Emmy Awards.


Let's do this!

Now, when at an Emmy ceremony, I suppose one's main goals should be 1) to win and 2) to celebrate the magic of television. But since I celebrate TV magic on an everyday basis, on this particular evening, my main goal... was to hunt down celebrities. 


Hey, hey Loni Love!! (Pure delight in every way).



Alex! My man!!



Sajak!!!



It's NJ Burkett from WABC in NYC!! We know people he knows!

By the end of the ceremony, we would all be big-time Emmy losers, but with Trebek in the mix, I was "Potent Potables" for $500.


And really, who could ever be a loser with a cheeseburger by their side in the middle of a fast food restaurant at close to 12am? 


Not this gal.

Emmy night festivities lasted until way after 2am, but whose eyes popped open at 7 ready to greet the day??


These gals.


Back then, when I took my original photo, again with a damn selfie stick, I seemed to forget that the apartment complex wasn't just used for establishing shots -- the actors had actually filmed in front of it. I had gotten the angles all wrong! A TV Travels travesty! 

So Lauren did her charity work for the day and took the 15 minute trip to Los Feliz with their close-together homes and limited parking so I could get this photo. 


She is a giver, that Lauren. I will never say otherwise. 




Everyone, meet Katie.

Katie's favorite show in the whole wide world is Charmed. She's seen every episode multiple times. She can recite all the dialogue. Her devotion is no joke. Last year when I mentioned that I had found the address of the Charmed house, she freaked out and begged me to use my rental car to introduce her to this special monument. Then on the trip, she discovered she had better things to do, like hang out with friends, drink, and basically engage in any activity I assume people without crippling neuroses do with their free time. So the Charmed house went unvisited.

This year, Katie wanted to right her own wrongs.

Hello, Halliwell Manor!!

Located on a street filled with beautiful Victorian houses in the midst of houses ready to bulldozed at any second, the Charmed house was what I assume to be everything you could ever wish for and more based on Katie's squealing the minute we pulled up to it.

On the upstairs terrace, two women stood outside but immediately started to retreat when they saw us walking down the sidewalk. 

"You don't have to!!" we called out to them (lies).

"It's okay! We're used to it!" they called back. 

These are the kind of people you want living in a TV house. People who not only acknowledge their tourist attraction home, but say, come on down, freak out at your leisure.

And freak out, Katie did. 

Multiple times.

After years spent doing my own squealing on public sidewalks, it was nice to finally see someone else take a stab at it. 


She did a pretty good job.



In 1982,  Michael Jackson's girlfriend ran into this rundown scary looking house because it was her only escape from very persistent zombies. 


In 2017, I think I might take my chances with the zombies. This house has seen better days. 

When Katie had finally made peace with her Wiccan adventure, Lauren and I brought her back to the hotel and picked up Theresa for yet another TV travel. 



Every month, Harvey Levin stands on the streets of Santa Monica and interviews regular Joe Schmoes about their take on small claims issues. This day, Joe and Schmo were going to be us


In 1999, I was a high school senior when I somehow stumbled onto an episode of People's Court with my fine commentary of "I don't think he would've gone to all that trouble if he was lying." It remains to this day my only ever speaking role on television...until June 9th when my fantastic insight about never loaning friends money will make it onto TV screens all across the country.


You're welcome, America.


We watched them film for about a half hour, soaked in all the knowledge we could to take back to work on Monday, and then it was back into the car for us, to go back to Los Angeles for a grand old tour of Paramount Studios. 

When going through the painstaking task of planning this trip, I suggested this tour on a whim because for the life of me, I couldn't figure out what the hell else we should do. I wasn't really into it. I don't watch any shows filmed on the lot. What in the world could we possibly see?

Turns out A LOT. Because Paramount is friggin' INCREDIBLE.

Our tour guide for the afternoon was a young man named Ricky, who after just a few moments with us, probably deeply regretted his day job.

Ricky is from Sacramento and wants to one day be a movie producer. He sometimes sits in on Dr. Phil tapings and has a friend who used to work on Judge Judy. The reason I know this is because while Ricky was trying to give us the history of movie-making, we were asking questions about the history of Ricky. Knowing exactly who's driving you around on a golf cart for two hours is a pretty important aspect of tour-taking. (Ricky, if you're reading this...HEYYYYY!!).

But back to business...

While photos were prohibited from any indoor studios (proof I touched all the food in Lily Tomlin's Grace and Frankie refrigerator will have to be nonexistent), we were surprisingly free to take entire photo shoots near anything out in the open air.

So...


Hey, Brooklyn 99 Police station!


Hey, Kerry Washington's apartment building in Scandal!


Tom Cruise had his breath taken away here during Top Gun!


The street where Jerry Seinfeld stole a babka!

Then, we pulled into a parking lot and learned how Paramount fills the whole space up with 4 1/2 feet of water to shoot ocean scenes in front of a huge billboard that stands in for the sky. 


When Charlton Heston parted the Red Sea in The Ten Commandments...he was standing in this parking lot.


Holy (pun intended) SHIT.

We then got to sit on Tom Hanks' Forrest Gump bench:


 And force Ricky to take this selfie:


When Ricky makes it big, I'm going to whip out this photo and hope he takes enough pity on me to let me bypass the $55 fee for another tour. "Come on, Ricky!! Look!! We were besties for 120 minutes back in 2017!!" - me in 2025.


Like taking photos of me on the third floor of our hotel!



The Hollywood Roosevelt located on Hollywood Blvd, the home of the first ever Academy Awards, is a hotel rich in history from its famous former occupants like Marilyn Monroe and Shirley Temple to its current supernatural appearances from Montgomery Cliff and Errol Flynn.

But most importantly, it's where Marcia Clark and Christopher Darden almost banged in episode 7 of The People vs OJ Simpson. 


The scene was uncomfortable and creepy, much like I was, standing in the middle of a floor I wasn't staying on, taking photos in front of the rooms of absolute strangers. 

But like that would ever stop me?

With that mission complete, it was time to get fancy for an upscale evening at the fine dining establishment, Craig's, where damn it, if I didn't see a celebrity, I was gonna be mighty pissed. 

Frequented by the likes of George Clooney and John Stamos, Craig's was the ultimate hotspot for Hollywood sightings. So I was gonna go, I was gonna eat my $21 cheeseburger, and I was gonna watch the paparazzi go friggin' nuts. This was my last night in Hollywood. I needed this. I deserved this. 

Lauren, Theresa, Andrew, Tracy and I were in the restaurant for an hour and a half, and only one time did the paparazzi's camera flashes make it into the restaurant -- for the judge from The People's Court

I resigned myself for failure as I waited for my fellow patrons to get their Craig's-labeled doggie bags and piles of Craig's-emblazoned napkins, when right in front of the exit, there she was:



AMY ADAMS.

(JACKPOT).

She was talking to the owner and was shaking his hand. She had finished her meal and was ready to go. A full paparazzi moment was about to be mine.






The minute she walked out the door, the lights started flashing to a degree that would probably make a lay person blind. A few seconds later, the five of us were out right behind her... living the dream.

In the midst of all the chaos, Kathy Hilton, the mother of Paris was outside being interviewed,  while I followed Amy to her car like a creeper with absolutely no shame.





Amy, like a pro who clearly wanted to be photographed, walked slowly to her car... then gracefully opened the passenger door... stood for a minute... then glided inside... sat still for a crazy amount of time...  then had the car slowly back out of the space. 


Amy Adams: workin' it.

Lori Mooney: stalkin' it.

Once the paparazzi died down and everyone tried to figure out who they'd just taken a million pictures of (Isla Fisher or Amy Adams??), the group of losers made it back into the car and tried to find, without an address or working memory, the spot from our Hollywood tour where Lauren and I had seen the entire landscape of Los Angles. It would be so pretty at night! Everyone would love it!

We ended up seeing nothing. But we did get to watch Andrew eat his leftover cheeseburger in the backseat of the car and Theresa get nauseous over the smell of Andrew eating his cheeseburger in the car as I drove around desperately trying to find Mulholland Drive. So, all in all, a damn good way to end the evening.

The next morning we woke up to this:







Without over-planning, without a 4-page, every-minute-of-every-day typed-up itinerary, I managed to hang out in the TMZ offices, then get interviewed by Harvey Levin for an entirely different TV show, and then stumble into the background of a TMZ paparazzi video that not only got an article on the site, but a conversation on the TV show that I had watched the filming of just days before. And I got to go back to Melrose Place.

Just call me Mufasa, folks. Three days in Los Angeles and I've already completed my circle of life.



Until next time, Los Angeles! I definitely won't be ready for you, but somehow we'll make it work.   






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