Episode 4 Shoot
September 14, 1999

Tape night. Studio 23. 6pm. The crowd is in place. They've seen the pilot. The lights are down. "Ladies and gentlemen... the cast of Oh Grow Up!!" And with that, the five of us rush out to center stage and wave hello to the enthusiastic audience. It's showtime.

And how did showtime go tonight? Good, really. This episode had its flaws, but it also had its charm. We were coming off Episode 3, which was truly exceptional and richly textured with many interesting layers. This episode was different. It was a lot more of a basic sitcom comedy of errors -- mistaken identity, tortured lovers, secrets revealed -- but my God, if it worked for Shakespeare, surely it could work for us.

The highlight of the week was yesterday, actually, when we shot the "fireball scene." In the course of cooking dinner, Ford inadvertently sets his chef's hat on fire. Obviously that was something we needed to pre-shoot. The pyro team was brought in to generate the explosion and ignite my outfit. A fire safety gentleman was also on hand, as were three separate fire extinguishers, "just in case."

Many people wondered if I was concerned or scared, but it seemed like I would be very safe. These guys do this for a living, I assume. They're not lawyers by day and fire experts by night or anything. It was like preparing to get on a roller coaster. Yes, it's going to go fast and upside down and stuff, but only once in a great, great while does anyone get hurt on one. So you take the chance, not really concerned about the worst case scenario, though it may be somewhere in the back of your mind.

All of my clothes had been coated with a flame retardant, and when we got to the actual burning, a protective cap was put on my head under the chef's hat. We shot it all pretty much as you see it. There was some dialogue, I bent down, the fireball went off, I stand back up with my hat on fire, and we finish the scene. The only thing you don't see is one of the pyro guys crawling into the scene while I'm bent down and holding a flame to my head so that I'm lit when I stand back up.

On the first take, I was burning for about 3 seconds before Ford realized he was on fire and screamed and Deke put out the flame. I was surprised to hear that I was even on fire, I couldn't feel a thing. So the second take I decided to let go for while. Ford got up, looked around, sniffed the air noticing a funny smell, and then he realized it was him. It seemed funnier to let the flame go for a little while but no one really laughed all that hard on the set. They may have been concerned that my scalp was going to catch while I was goofing around. Certainly there was a limit to the amount of shenanigans I could pull before I needed hair replacement. But I still never felt any heat. It was very simple. Very painless. And I hope very funny.

Episode 104 | Behind the Scenes | Oh Grow Up