Get To Know Micki’s Mom – Alex Meneses Joins Walker!

Tomorrow night we get to meet Micki Ramirez’ (Lindsey Morgan) mom, Adriana, on the new CW show, Walker. If you’re reading my episode reviews of Walker, you know that I’m really enjoying the complicated characters the show has introduced and the genuine struggles they’re all going through. So I was excited to have a chance to chat with Alex Meneses, who will portray Adriana, alongside Lindsey Morgan and Jared Padalecki, when the show returns on March 11. Now that I’ve learned more about Adriana (and about Alex), I’m even more excited to see where this show is headed.

Here’s my chat with Alex from a few weeks ago. She shared some insights about Adriana, avoiding Jared pranks, and the considerable acting and life experience she brings to the role – as we get ready to meet Adriana!

Lynn: It’s so nice to meet you, I’m really enjoying Walker.

Alex: I know, isn’t it good?

Lynn: I was rooting for the show because it’s Jared Padalecki – he has chapters in two of my recent books. The chapter he wrote in Family Don’t End With Blood is like a 30 page autobiography, very personal and powerful, so I admire him a lot, but you never know with a new show whether it will be good or not.

Alex: It is good. He’s put his heart and soul into this show, and it shows. As you know, he’s a wonderful person. I’m crazy about him and his whole family.

Lynn: Absolutely. You’re playing Adriana, Micki Ramirez’ mother. What is your favorite thing about the part and what have you enjoyed the most about filming for the show so far?

On the Walker set (tweet @RealAlexMeneses)

Alex: I love Adriana. I love the fact that she is a woman of color, a Latina, and she’s a psychologist. She’s an educated woman, not just a Latina mommy who’s crying and cooking all the time. Which sounds fine – that’s who I am basically at home – but it’s really fun to play someone who’s taken a path in their life that might not have been easy for her or her family and accomplished something. I’ve enjoyed it so much. The cast and the crew, I have to tell you, you’re gonna love writing about this show, because they are wonderful. They’re so nice, and Austin is fabulous, I love it.

Lynn: Me too, it’s wonderful.

Alex: It’s like a big town. The neighborhoods have been here for a long time. There are so many places that are wooded, and nature is respected there. The people are very friendly too. When you’re spending a lot of time in a place, it’s much easier and such a delight when they – my new Walker family – are nice. I’ve been in this business for a very long time, and that’s not always the case.

Photo Vince Trupsin

Lynn: I’m looking forward to learning more about the relationship between Adriana and Micki. At first I read the description of Adriana and thought ‘oh she’s like me!’ – I’m a “psychologist and published author” too – but then I read “manipulative and invasive in her daughter’s life” and decided NO since I also have a daughter in real life and I try not to be either of those things! Have you been able to find things to relate to in the character as a mother yourself?

Alex: (laughing) I was reading your question and started laughing when you’re like oh, like me… wait, manipulative and invasive?!

Lynn: Then I was like, nope!

Alex: Well, Adriana is, but when you say manipulative, when it comes to someone that’s very close to you like a son or daughter, a husband or wife even, it’s hard to see it, I think. I think Adriana has a difficult time seeing that she’s being manipulative. And anything she does for Micki is out of complete and utter love. Adriana desperately loves Micki, and you’ll find out why in the coming episodes. Of course because she’s her daughter, but it’s more complicated than that. She has had to protect Micki from things that happened earlier in their lives. She loves her daughter and she’s devoted her life’s path to being a better person for Micki. That’s how I see it, that she needed things to be in order because their early life was so out of order.

Lynn: That makes sense. One of the things I really like about the show, as a psychologist, is that they do a great job of going deep into all the characters, and not just the leads. I feel like my episode reviews are always a deep dive into what’s going on with the characters internally and psychologically, and it sounds like there will be a lot to dig into with Adriana and Micki too.

Read more

Supernatural Rewatch – With Some BTS Insights on ‘Bugs’!

The eighth episode of Supernatural does not get a lot of love – in fact, it’s one that’s routinely skipped on rewatches or ridiculed for its “bad writing”. But honestly? ‘Bugs’ is a great episode, especially now in retrospect. All those early episodes are frankly amazing, with both the acting and the writing top notch and the cinematography off the charts gorgeous.

Bugs are not my favorite thing, so there are some parts of this episode that are indisputably cringeworthy, but it goes with the territory. The guest stars on this episode are also amazing, especially Carrie Genzel (who wrote a wonderful chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done and would memorably return to the show in Just My Imagination) and Tyler Johnston, who played a young Matt here and would later return as Samandriel.  See the end of this review for some (cringeworthy and also hilarious) behind the scenes insights from Carrie and Tyler about the filming of this episode.

So, what’s not to like?

I watched, as always, with some of my friends and fellow Supernatural fans, via zoom. Which, after a year of the pandemic, is how most of us live life half the time anyway!

The open is, as is often the case, pretty scary – a guy working in a housing development falls down a hole, breaks his ankle and is trapped. While his friend gets a rope to try to save him, he looks around and to his horror hears the sound of thousands of beetles coming for him. He screams for help as they crawl into his ears, his mouth… by the time the other guy shines his flashlight into the hole, guy number one is dead dead dead.

Everyone doing the rewatch: Ewwwwww

Cut to the boys, as always. Sam’s reading the paper in a bar, about the “local death that’s a medical mystery” as Dean comes down the stairs, grinning and shuffling a fist full of bills. I’m struck sometimes now by how carefree early seasons Dean is, despite what they’re already facing. He is genuinely thrilled that he’s won a bunch of money in a poker game or whatever.

Sam: You know, we could get day jobs…

Dean:  Hunting’s our day job. Besides, we’re good at it, it’s what we were raised to do.

Sam: How we were raised was jack.

Dean: Says you!

The brothers are still new to being back together, Dean still sensitive and defensive about the hunting life that Sam left behind and Sam still critical of all the things that he left to get away from.

Also they are extremely distracting because they look like THAT.

The newspaper suggests maybe mad cow disease, which – remember that?

Dean: Wasn’t that on Oprah?

Sam: (incredulous) You watch Oprah?

Ah, the things we (and Sam) were learning about Dean Winchester. So much softness underneath that performatively gruff (sometimes) exterior.

The Impala streaks across some beautiful Vancouver countryside on her way to Oasis Plains. Sam and Dean pose as Uncle Dusty’s never-before-mentioned nephews, rolling easily with the guy’s skepticism and flattering him enough that he forgets about it soon enough. They’re good at what they do; John taught them well. And, as I’ve pointed out many times already on this rewatch, they’re SMART.

They amass some intel, like the guy’s brain disintegrated in an hour or less and that, unlike mad cow disease, there was no sign of dementia, lack of motor control, or anything else weird.

Sam and Dean look down the very deep hole.

Dean: Only room for one, you have a coin?

Sam: Dean, we have no idea what’s down there!

Dean: Okay I’ll go if you’re scared. You scared? Call it in the air, chicken!

Sam: (exasperated) I’m going.

Dean: I said I’d go!

Sam: I’m going. Don’t drop me!

Me: I could sit here and listen to their brotherly bickering and banter all damn day. I miss it so much it makes my heart ache.

That accomplished, they get back into the Impala and pass an open house that’s advertising Free BBQ, and Dean pulls over.

Dean: I know a good place to start. I’m hungry for BBQ, how bout you?

SaM: Free food’s got nothing to do with it?

Dean: Of course not, I’m a professional.

This time the banter is good humored, the brothers gently teasing each other, smiling when the other isn’t looking. Dean looks around at the brand new housing development as they get out of the car, saying that it would freak him out growing up in a place like that, manicured lawns, etc.

Dean: I’d blow my brains out.

Sam: There’s nothing wrong with normal.

Dean: I’d take our family over normal any day.

Both brothers know they’re not talking about Oasis Plains. I really appreciate it now, how neither of them will let it go – they go round and round and round, each stuck in their own perspective of why Sam left and what that means. That strikes me as so realistic – it’s what we do, we get stuck on this stuff, and it gets in the way of our relationships with people we love. I so enjoy watching Sam and Dean struggle with it, knowing that eventually they’ll work it out.

Larry the developer welcomes them to the open house, taking one look at Sam and Dean going house shopping and assuring them that “we accept homeowners of any race, religion, color or…. Sexual orientation.”

Dean: (deadpan) We’re brothers.

Larry: (awkward) Oh.

Read more

Looking Back on Supernatural – A Chat with Writer Davy Perez

It’s no secret that Davy Perez is one of my favorite Supernatural writers. If you read my episode reviews regularly, you’ve heard me say that more than once, and he’s the only writer who wrote a chapter in the new book There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done: Actors and Fans Celebrate the Legacy of Supernatural, all about his journey as a writer and his experience on the show. There’s an online book club that’s currently reading Peace, and they’re inviting the contributors to join in their discord chat when they’re discussing that chapter. I pop in when I can, so I joined them when Davy’s chapter was the topic of conversation – and so did he!

It was Davy’s first time using Discord, so the only emoji he could find to try to express himself was the watermelon – which has remained the Book Club’s favorite emoji and is now used for all kinds of positive expressions in Davy’s honor.

The book club always has great questions and Davy had some great answers, so I’m sharing them here with the rest of the fandom (with Davy’s permission of course).

BC: What was it like to write an episode for Supernatural?

DP: I used to watch a lot of shock horror (in the) 80’s and kinda channeled that.

BC: How much influence did the network or the studio have on the writing?

DP: The network and studio give notes, but don’t mandate or dictate anything.  They are more there to
guide you toward the ideals that they want the show to always be (striving) for.  The writers/producers are still in charge of the story in the end.

BC: You said in your chapter that you had only watched a few episodes of Supernatural when you were hired, so you were not overly influenced by what had come before and had fresh takes on the characters and story line direction.

DP: In general, writing an episode is a lot like doubting yourself every step of the way (while also having
to) believe in your own genius. Also, specifically with SPN and with any show, you always do the work, from beats on the cards, to outline, to then just working on the scenes.  I aim for an act a day when
(working) on a script.  I actually found that whenever I watched an old episode, I found inspiration for
bringing something back, or looking at something from a new angle.  I was hired to bring in fresh ideas, for sure, but I like innovating from existing stuff vs. just fabricating from thin air.

BC: What do you think have been your most significant contributions to the characters’ development?

DP: My most significant contribution might be either the glasses or the sweaters (in Mint Condition and American Nightmare).

gif itsokaysammy

(Me: mm hmm)

DP: Maybe the cowboy hats too  (in Tombstone).

BC: (wholeheartedly agreed on all of the above)

Read more

Remembering Supernatural and the Magic of the Mullet – with Chad Lindberg

Chad Lindberg is one of the first Supernatural actors that I got to know well, way back in the early seasons of the show. When Kathy and I were researching and writing Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls, we sat down with Chad to chat one day at a very early convention, and immediately hit it off. In fact, in the middle of our interview, after we’d gotten into a deep discussion of fandom and why it’s so compelling, Chad jumped up and said “You have to meet my friends – they’re making a movie about the same thing you’re writing about in your book!”

That’s how we met Tony Zierra and Elizabeth Yoffe, the filmmaker and producer behind the film “My Big Break,” which starred Chad Lindberg and Wes Bentley among others. We partnered with them and Chad to screen the film and share our thoughts on fandom and stardom in multiple cities, which meant some wonderful dinners and a wild time on Bourbon Street and lots of great conversation. Some of our adventures with Chad are in the pages of one of our first books, Fangasm Supernatural Fangirls. On occasion, he’s even helped us out at convention vendor rooms and with impromptu livestreams!

So let’s just say, I really miss Chad! He contributed a chapter to the new book by the actors and fans of Supernatural that celebrates the legacy of the show, There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, which was released in 2020. I hadn’t spoken to Chad since he put that chapter together, so we connected by phone near the end of the year.

Chad: Good to hear from you!

Lynn: OMG you too! When I talked to you last year about writing your chapter in There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done, the world was a completely different place.

Chad: It certainly was. Every day continually astonishes me. And not in a good way.

Lynn: I know what you mean. I’m wondering, because you wrote your chapter a year ago and it’s about your personal journey with Supernatural and how it impacted you, how has your journey continued over the past year?

Read more

Behind the Scenes of Supernatural’s “Last Holiday” with Director Eduardo Sanchez

We’re still all dealing with the final episodes of Supernatural as well as the reality of the show ending, which means a lot of sadness and loss, so I thought it would be a good time to start looking back and remembering all the things that made the show so special – and putting something happy on everyone’s timeline. So stay tuned for a month of new exclusive interviews, and join me as I return to the beginning of where it all started and begin a rewatch from the pilot –  which means episode reviews with the benefit of hindsight now that the entire series has aired.

Supernatural wouldn’t have inspired so many strong emotions as it ended if it hadn’t been important to so many of us, and there’s a reason for that. A few reasons, actually.

Eric Kripke created some endlessly fascinating characters and cast some of the most talented actors around to portray them. The writing team has fluctuated through the years, but every season has had amazing episodes that are unforgettable. The crew became family with the cast since they all stayed with the show, many since the beginning, making its filming nearly seamless. And finally, the directing. Cast members like Jensen Ackles, Misha Collins, Richard Speight, Jr., Matt Cohen and Amanda Tapping took a turn at the helm with some wonderful episodes, and Supernatural also invited some other eminent directors to contribute to the show. One of those is Blair Witch director Eduardo Sanchez, who returned to direct the memorable episode “Last Holiday” in Season 15.

So, first up in our feel good Supernatural stuff leading up to 2021, my chat with Eduardo all about directing his last episode of the show.

(Below are some of the photos he posted to bring the fans with him on his last episode)

Last time in the director’s office
“Sometimes video village is in hell…”

I first spoke to Sanchez a few years ago about the Supernatural episodes he’d already directed. I was fascinated by his insights about the show, so I was excited to know that he’d be back to direct Supernatural again in its final season. At the time, I was putting together a book of chapters from the show’s actors and fans with their feelings about what Supernatural’s legacy would be for them (There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done). One of the fans who wrote a chapter, Tedra Ashley-Wannemuehler, wrote about an episode and characters that had a significant impact on her life – and it turned out to be Eduardo’s episode, The Chitters (also one of my favorites).  Even more exciting, I had already asked the two actors who played the main characters in that episode, Cesar and Jesse (known as the “hunter husbands” in fandom), Hugo Ateo and Lee Rumohr, if they would like to write chapters for the book about their experience doing the show – and they both did. Their chapters and Tedra’s chapter bring so much insight into how that episode portrayed two gay characters and what that representation meant to each of them. I’m sure directors and actors don’t always know how influential, sometimes life changing, their work can be, but in this case I was thrilled to let Eduardo know. And yes, I sent him a copy of There’ll Be Peace When You Are Done after this chat so he could read those chapters himself.

We chatted this time over zoom in the midst of a pandemic, shortly after Eduardo’s last Supernatural episode, Last Holiday, had aired. Eduardo had some fascinating behind the scenes insights into the episode, directing in general, and doing it during a pandemic. (Included here are more of the photos he snapped to share his last episode with the fandom on twitter).

Before we delved into Supernatural, we both asked how each other how Covid was treating us.

Eduardo: I’m in New Orleans right now doing a tv show, the first one I’m doing since Covid started, and it’s so isolated. I went to visit a friend yesterday, and he’s part of the crew too, so we can’t really eat together. Part of the agreement we make is we won’t put ourselves in risky situations. He and I are both A level, which means if we go out, they have to shut down production and that costs money. But it’s the last season so we’re making the best of it.

We both agreed it was both scary and infuriating.

Lynn: We’re in a stressful time – which means we need art and media even more to get through! You’re doing a lot of last-season-of-a-series directing.

Eduardo: That’s true. The Supernatural episode was emotional for sure.

Lynn: It’s interesting that you ended up directing some episodes that were really important. The Chitters for sure, and this one was important too. It was a very emotional episode because everyone was aware that it was our last chance to see these brothers get all the things they didn’t get in their childhoods – holidays, birthdays, packed school lunches, grilled cheese sandwiches. When you got the script, were you thinking about that?

Eduardo: I didn’t think of it in that way when I read it at first, I thought it’s kinda like one of those episodes that could come at any time. Like The Chitters, there wasn’t much mythology or story arc in the episode. And I love those episodes because you can have a lot of fun and they’re not as heavy. I got the script right after I did a show called “Next” in Chicago, that [the weather] was really cold, and I read that it was all in the sound stage and I was so happy, because I thought, that’s gonna be sweet!

Lynn: (laughing) And warm!

Read more