On Monday, April 27, I visited the set of the NBC sitcom Undateable.
The cast was gathered for their first read-through of their first-ever live episode.
And this is what I learned:
1. No one eats the food.
There will be bottles of water, Coke, Diet Coke, cookies, cheese, etc. But no one will eat them! There are bottles of water set up for all the actors and execs, but obviously, no one wants to be the actor chowing down on Fritos during a table read when it's their line. And I didn't want to make any noise, so I just took a bottle of water so I would blend in with this hip Hollywood crowd.
2. There will be A LOT of people there.
I didn't get the name of every executive in the room, but I was like, damn, this is a lot of people. Probably about 25–30 people gathered in the room to listen to the read-through. Imagine having to make that many people laugh with your script when the actors have never even read it before.
It's enough to make anyone nervous, but the actors were pros and everyone was ready to have a good laugh.
3. You might get to meet one of your TV idols.
4. There might be a special guest star!
It's a live show, which means you pull out all the stops! I assumed there might be a special guest star, and to my surprise and delight, it was Queen Victoria Justice. Brent Morin, who plays Justin Kearney on the show, thankfully only referred to her by her full name of "Victoria Justice" as us mere mortals should.
Sadly, I did not get face time with Victoria to pitch her my sitcom Doing Me Justice! where she plays a law student who fights for "justice." But the good news is Victoria was just as excited as I was to be there, and she quickly Instagrammed her new role.
5. A good cast will make it seem like you're watching the episode already.
6. You'll hear some amazing jokes, but they may not stay in the script.
Since this was the first read-through, some jokes will get tossed, and some will get beefed up. I can say immediately that I was cracking up the most at jokes about CSI: Cyber, how hot Scott Foley is in Scandal, and some appropriate jabs at the How I Met Your Mother finale.
7. There might be even ~more~ guest stars, but someone else will read their lines.
I can't mention any of the surprise guest stars, especially since some of them might not actually turn up in the live show, but an opening bit with a popular British musician and another with a former WB-era star will be definite highlights if they show up.
In lieu of the actual guest stars to read their parts, Bill Lawrence read the parts aloud himself.
8. The cast's work is never done, even after the table read.
When the hurly-burly's done, when the read-through is lost and won, the cast doesn't just go home. They've already trekked out to Warner Bros., so of course they're gonna film some sweet promo for the network.
9. The cast will reveal to you one word that describes how they feel about the upcoming live show:
If every sitcom process is as fun as the Undateable experience, then it's no wonder people stay pressed about moving to Los Angeles to become actors. Maybe it's for the money too. IDK.
Undateable's live episode airs Tuesday, May 5 on NBC at 9 p.m. ET/8 CT.
Two broadcasts will air — one on the East Coast and one on the West Coast.