Friday, February 25, 2011
Editorial - The NBC "Bad" Experience Store
Pictured above -- Kristian Alfonso (Hope) at the NBC DAYS Experience Store
I love living in New York City. Despite the terrorist attacks, blackouts and transit strikes, I know I get to meet people and do things that I would never have done if I had stayed in Mesquite, Texas. Meeting soap actors (lots of them!) is one of the benefits of living in New York City. However, any time I hear that DAYS OF OUR LIVES actors are going to show up at the NBC Experience Store, I always groan. This store at 30 Rockefeller Plaza is a shrine to NBC’s television shows, mostly living off their glory days of SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE and SEINFELD, selling key rings, tee shirts and all other kind of trivial stuff that will get stowed away in the closet and never seen again. But despite the tackiness, the worst thing about the NBC Experience Store is…well, the bad experience…particularly if you’re going to a signing.
Don’t get me wrong. If only one actor is involved, the store can handle it okay. I had a great time meeting Peter Reckell (Bo) and chatting about the Hope/Bo/Carly triangle and congratulating him on his Emmy nomination. It was a pleasure meeting Deidre Hall (Marlena) and finding out what she is up to these days when she is not acting…which is mostly gardening, going to charity events and spending time with her family. These were signings where you got some good conversation with the actor, a decent picture and felt like it was worth the time.
Unfortunately, today’s 2/25/11 event at the NBC Experience Store was a joke. On paper, it sounded great. Who wouldn’t want to go to a signing of DAYS OF OUR LIVES: 45 YEARS – A CELEBRATION IN PHOTOS with Kristian Alfonso (Hope), Galen Gering (Rafe), Crystal Chappell (Carly), James Scott (EJ)…along with Sheri Anderson, Greg Meng and Eddie Campbell? The lesson to be learned though is that less is more. Sure, having more actors brings in more fans and sells more books…but the signing itself was rushed and chaotic. If I had not already met a lot of these actors before, I would have been really upset. As it is, I’m just annoyed.
For some mysterious reason, the autograph tables are set up in a small space in front of garish glaring TV sets all advertising DAYS OF OUR LIVES. No matter what camera you bring to these events, you will not get a decent picture. If you have a press pass and can take a picture upstairs, maybe you’ll be okay. But if you are a lowly fan who has just shelled out $30 for a book to be signed, you are forced to either blind the actors with flashes or have the pictures half in shadow. Either option sucks.
The NBC security guards (who I like to think of as the NBC Gestapo) were in fine form. “Take your pictures while they sign your books!” Yes, right, because pictures of the tops of the heads of James Scott and Galen Gering as they’re bent over, furiously autographing, is really going to impress my friends. “Keep the talking short! If you want to talk to them, email them!” Oh, silly me, I forgot that I have Kristian Alfonso’s email address on file and I can just send her a note any old time! The actors, used to taking direction, were dutifully passing the books from one to another as if they were factory workers. I think the NBC Gestapo intimidated them too. No time for fan interaction or posing. The books must be sold, sold, sold! Sorry, Galen Gering, I saw you in person but I felt as if I were just seeing Rafe on TV. I never got a sense of the actor off the TV screen; and if that’s the case, why not just stay at home and order the book on-line?
So the moral of this story is…if you’re a DAYS fan and want to meet a lot of actors, spend the money and meet your favorite at a fan event. If you go to the NBC Experience Store to meet a lot of actors, be prepared for disappointment. There’s something wrong when I exchanged more words with the NBC Gestapo security guard than with Crystal Chappell!