Comic-Con is wonderful opportunity for fans to get way too close to their favorite television stars, and one of the few venues where anyone with a Comic-Con badge can get near enough to Ian Somerhalder to smell him (he smells like cotton candy and chrysanthemums, in case you were wondering). The 'Con is also a TV blogger's dream and one of the rare places where one can shove a personal voice recorder in an actor's face without fear of being handcuffed.
But Comic-Con's hectic schedule means time is always limited with talent, and any second an actor or producer isn't talking about a topic we find interesting is wasted time. Yet we hear the same, less-than-interesting questions over and over, and sometimes all we can do is watch the interviewee stumble through another rephrased, canned response. Fresh off a weekend full of roundtable interviews, here's a list of questions we never want to hear asked again at Comic-Con. (Note: We're guilty of having asked some of these too, so we're not trying to say we're better than anyone else; part of the reason for this list is to remind us to aim higher next year. Also, for the most part, the roundtables at this year's Comic-Con were excellent.)
1. "What do you think of Comic-Con?" / "Are you surprised by the Comic-Con reaction?"
I understand the intention behind this one, because Comic-Con is absolutely insane and we're all caught up in the moment. But in asking a good question, you shouldn't be able to anticipate the answer. And the answer to this one is always, "Oh my God! It's crazy! The fans are really supportive, and it's great to be here," as they check their watch. Until someone answers, "I fucking hate this place," let's leave this one off the notepad, please.
2. "Tell us about your character."
Again, I understand the intention, but this is also known as the "I've never seen your show" question. Nothing that can be readily answered by Wikipedia should be asked during an interview. Exception: This question is okay for actors on new shows that haven't debuted yet.
3. "Do you hang out with the rest of the cast in real life?" This one's pretty self explanatory. Yes or no, it doesn't really matter.
4. "What can we expect from the upcoming season?"
This one is specific to network shows that are returning in the fall, of which there are many at Comic-Con. The problem is how the event is timed. Most fall shows are just about to start filming the upcoming season or have filmed one episode. How many times did we hear a confused actor say, "You know as much as I do" when asked that question? As many times as that question was asked.
5. "Can you tell us about some of the pranks you play on the set?"
This question yields an interesting answer once out of every thousand times it's asked, yet it still gets asked ALL THE TIME. Are pranks any funnier when actors pull them? Do the people who ask actors this question of actors also ask it of everyone else they meet? Is hearing a story about fart powder better than examining the motivations behind a character's actions as it relates to the series thematically? Okay, sometimes it is.
6. "Did you do any training for the (archery/katana slicing/balloon animal making/noodle slapping/fake acting) that your character is known for?"
Yes. A lot. They did a lot. Did you study during finals week? Did you do some jogging before you ran that marathon? Did you sit down and eat 30 hot dogs in 10 minutes before competing in the Fourth of July Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest?
What do you wish TV writers would ask when they're interviewing actors? And what common interview questions irk you?
For more on San Diego's spandex-travaganza, click on over to TV.com's Comic-Con coverage.