Wednesday, March 10, at 10pm. That is the tentative date for the episode of Ugly Betty starring the Fobots. I know that’s what you really wanted to find out, so I’m putting it right out front for you. Now, if you want to hear the details…
Rich Devine, head set decorator, and Ilana Gordon, set decoration coordinator, met me in the parking lot of Silvercup Studios East and helped carry in three trunks full of bots. And then…FOBOT BEAUTY PAGEANT! They needed 14 bots and I’d brought up 26, so after a grueling swimsuit competition and a surprisingly competitive talent show, the winners were announced and the losers sent packing.
Afterwards, Rich took me on an amazing behind the scenes tour of the “Ugly Betty” set. If I’d stopped to think about it, I probably wouldn’t have been so surprised at the jaw-dropping immensity of the set. I mean, the “Mode” offices are huge, and all of the main characters have their own homes as well, and there they all were, under one ginormous roof. I don’t want to give too much away, but on one part of the set, some guys were doing a very convincing and painstaking job of making some furniture–I won’t say whose–look like it had been destroyed by fire. I commented that it would probably be easier to just torch it for real, but was assured that this was quicker than getting the appropriate permits to light up in New York. Some actual filming was going on in the office set, but I couldn’t see who or what it was about–just lots of bright lights and about 20 people standing around and waiting. And waiting. Probably not a coincidence that most actors start out as waiters. I tried to take a lot of pictures with my phone, like the small-town geek girl that I am, but the lights were pretty dim except for the shooting area, so they mostly came out blurry.
And then, before I knew it, the tour was over, I was in the art department signing some papers, and on the way home to my puppies. But Rich, Ilana, Pamela, and all the people I met just couldn’t have been any nicer, and I think I can safely say now that it’s not a scam. Because, to build such an elaborate set and then hire dozens of people to impersonate cast and crew just to con me out of 14 robots—well, that would just be silly. Even if they are REALLY good robots.