Last week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was called “The Isolation Permutation,” and it was about my character, Amy Farrah Fowler feeling left out by her girlfriends. She spirals into a depression that includes playing “Everybody Hurts” on the harp (yes, it was really me playing), getting drunk in a liquor store parking lot (no, I wasn’t really drunk) and attempting to seduce Sheldon, her “not-boyfriend” (settling instead for possibly the most awkward cuddle in sitcom history).
The episode pulled in our third highest ratings ever, with 16 million people in America tuning in, and despite one reviewer noting that I am “not as attractive as Kaley Cuoco or Melissa Rauch” but am still amazing, the reviews were glowing and it’s super exciting.
You might be interested to know, however, that I was not watching along with the millions of Americans who tuned in. You see, I hate watching myself on TV. I hate hate hate hate hate it. I hate how I look, I hate how my voice sounds (kind of like Bea Arthur on a hoarse day), and I hate how my body looks bumpy, lumpy, and androgynous under several layers of over-sized clothes designed to hide my lady-like curves.
I am a very technical actor, and I am overall very tuned in to timing, editing, and camera shots of the scenes I participate in. So if lines are edited out, or if lulls in dialogue which we use as transitional gaps for acting purposes get clipped by editors, it doesn’t match what I experienced when I filmed, and I don’t like that. When things look, sound, or feel different on TV than they were when I performed them, it feels wrong. Wrong how? Wrong in the way that people with OCD get a “wrong” feeling when they can’t flip switches the “right” number of times. It’s just really really wrong.
The most significant reason I don’t watch myself, though, became very clear to articulate this past week when I did in fact see “The Isolation Permutation” as it was aired on our set for our studio audience a few days before TV viewers saw it. I watched along with our studio audience and I cringed throughout. Specifically, during the scene where my character seduces Sheldon. Performing that scene was by far the most interesting, gratifying, intense, and exciting scene I think I have ever performed as an actor. I don’t mean to wax poetic about my “thespian process,” but what I do is not done lightly. I take my work very seriously, and I work hard to create emotions and responses from audiences, as well as from the actors I work with. Read the rest of this entry →