I loved your thoughts earlier on the panel. Why do you think Gillian shut down emotionally? Do you think it had to do with WBD and his dislike for her? I couldn't believe the moderator asked what their first impressions were of each other. WBD wrote a book saying that she was a terrible actress (in the early years) and very lucky to have landed this role for goodness sake. Gillian brushed it off pretty well and then tried to make nice with him, asking about his holiday, but it was awkward.
I have gotten so many anons about this and every single one of them asked “why” she shut down, while no one challenged the notion that she was a bit off - which I find interesting. I wish my answer was as juicy as some of the speculation (”Their relationship was on display! She had to rein it in!”) but you know me…I need to get drunk to be THAT fun. ;)
Anyway, I have a few theories about this. Let’s examine:
- The people who sat there together are not close. David and Gillian are close. That’s it. WBD trash-talked Gillian and will clearly do anything for a buck - which he readily admitted during the panel (and David and Gillian noted). That man is all kinds of slimy and I sort of hate that he’s Canadian. Yuck. Can some other country please take him? Let me just add that he was also at the Toronto Expo I attended in 2012 and WBD and Gillian did not even acknowledge one another, much less do a panel or photo ops together.
I don’t want to blather on too much about Mitch, except to say I would be willing to bet significant funds that he and Gillian are not close. So we are dealing with this awkward reunion where David and Gillian are each other’s rock - and it shows.
- As many have pointed out, the moderator was a disaster and the questions were woefully uninspired. Every single question either a.) prompted a story we’ve heard a dozen times; or b.) was so trivial, no one even wanted to answer it. The only question Gillian noted as “good” was the one about Lauren and Robbie and I thought she answered that one very articulately.
- As a result of the poor questions and chemistry, I suspect you could feel it in the room. Gillian is a performer, a stage actor who has a keen awareness of audience reaction. I would speculate that she felt the crowd discontent to a certain extent - which may have caused her to shut up unless she had something funny or interesting to say.
- I also wonder if Gillian, sitting on a panel with two people who get far less exposure than she does, just wanted to give MP and WBD a “turn.” A 45-minute panel isn’t long to begin with (every panel of hers I attended was one hour and that was just Gillian) and with four people speaking, it can get eaten up pretty quickly. I had a feeling she didn’t want to launch into a long-winded story about being moist in the anteroom or anything else. She seemed to keep her one-liners (some of which were quite funny) and questions going, but she didn’t seem to want to tell any stories about the old - or new - days.
- At some point, I think Gillian sort of gave up her schmoopie/”I was talking about you” antics and turned on business mode - which functions well, does its job, answers questions, but with an aloofness we are not used to from warm, giggly, flirty, funny, red-from-the-chest-to-her-forehead-on-Kimmel-Gillian Anderson.
- Which brings me to the overall lack of sentimentality in general among them. Mitch’s story about marrying Arlene was sweet and all, but that’s all anyone gave up in terms of “sharing.” I wasn’t expecting a “for me” moment but it would’ve been nice to see these people, who did work on an iconic show that has endured all these years, launched a revival and is now incredibly alive in the fandom, connect about something.
I could also talk about how bitterly disappointed I was that no one asked David about Streetcar, but I won’t. I didn’t cry about that. Not at all. But I will say that motherfucker would have sentimental-ized the fuck out of that question and Gillian would’ve welled up listening to his compliments…but don’t worry. IT’S FINE.
- Finally, there is no way this panel could live up to fan expectations. It was truly set up to fail, unfortunately. Short of David and Gillian literally making out or at least sitting on each other’s laps, there was going to be disappointment. Unfortunately, we rely on Silly!Gillian to lose her shit in fits of giggles and hide behind David and remember nothing and talk about David’s penis. However, Professional!Gillian came out to deal with an awkward situation, incompetent mod and vacuous questions.
On the bright side, we’ll always have David biting her sleeve like a hungry Golden Retriever.