27 Things I Didn’t Say Out Loud While Watching Teevee

(feature image via shutterstock)

Not everybody has the extreme pleasure of viewing television shows and films with a human IMDB who is capable of providing loud and enthusiastic pop-up-video style trivia tidbits and filmographies in real time. Alas, some people who do have this privilege aren’t interested or able to speculate about the resumes of everybody who shows up on screen. Furthermore, they enjoy hearing the program they’ve sat down to watch rather than hearing aforementioned pop-up-video-style commentary, for some reason. As you may have gathered, the human IMDB I’m referring to in this situation is me. Nobody besides Carlytron talks over the teevee quite like I do! Sure, some things need to be said when they need to be said, but apparently “that’s the guy from Lost!” is not one of those things.

So, a few weeks ago I decided to start writing down all the who-is-that-actor things I wanted to say instead of saying them. Sometimes I write them down even if I’m watching TV alone, just to get it out of my system. I’ve found this to be a really effective strategy and I would recommend it to anybody suffering from a similar situation on their sofa. Besides I’m pretty sure my girlfriend is gonna read this list and think, wow I wish she had told me about the guy from Lost, you know?

I recently asked Laneia if she thought it’d be funny to put these notes into a listling and she said yes, which means at least one person is about to enjoy what I’ve gathered for you below.

Maybe you can guess what we were watching!

1. Ohhhhh it’s Jennifer Love Hewitt!

2. Look, the sex worker is Patricia Arquette! Remember her from Boyhood?

3. Oh that’s that guy from Nashville, Tami Taylor’s husband? I feel like he always plays like, politicians or something.

4. That guy is in everything! He was in Selma and The Wire remember I was telling you about him after Selma?

5. You know that other guy in Selma who I thought I’d seen in a comedy or something but didn’t know which one? It turns out he was in the Big Gay Sketch Show. So random, right?

6. That guy is only in crime shows, I swear! He’s been like in four crime shows. He was Olivia’s boyfriend in that episode of SVU we saw the other day when she had that weird dinner party?

7. I thought that was Hannah Horvath’s father but then I realized he was someone else’s father on a different show. But also I think he played a psychiatrist recently, he’s been in like 200 things. I imagine him sitting in a chair with a notebook looking at somebody sitting on a couch.


9. Is that Grace Helbig?

10. No it’s definitely not Grace Helbig.

11. It’s Charles Grodin! And Anthony Rapport! From Rent!? This is crazy. He went to my high school. When did Charles Grodin get so old though?

12. That’s Michael Urie! His boyfriend was like in my web of friends in high school. We smoked pot at Pine Knob at an Ani concert.

13. She was Steve’s mom on Sex and The City! She’s always playing people’s Moms.

14. It’s Lili Taylor!!! Omg I love her I want to do a Top Ten Lili Taylor roles. I feel like she’s going to live forever ! Omg you weren’t born yet when she was like, a THING.

15. I didn’t know he was gay, that actor? Did you know that? I was flipping through an Out 100 and he was on it! I wonder if he talks like that in real life.

16. OMG Desmond from Lost just rescued Olivia!

17. She said “the truth about cats and dogs” just then because she was in that movie, The Truth About Cats and Dogs. That was such a weird movie ’cause the whole premise was that she was too ugly to get a man, but she isn’t ugly! It’s so weird. Movies.

18. Update: that guy I thought was maybe Hannah Horvath’s father? He’s actually Hannah Horvath’s therapist.

19. And that’s the girl from Life Partners! The straight one. I know I knew her from somewhere.

20. Wait is that the guy who was Adam’s Apple or whatever on Glee?

21. Oh it’s the lady from Desperate Housewives!

22. It’s Miss Claudette!!!

23. Oh man, where do I know that guy from? I feel like he played an office drone but without the beard? Okay I just looked it up on IMDB, he was in 30 Rock.

24. That actress I feel like she’s always in old timey things, like Back to the Future III. I think she used to be a  big deal. Mary Steenberger or something, I think she’s married to Ted Danson.

25. Mary Kay Place! Always the sister or the friend’s mom, never the bride.

26. It’s Jason from True Blood! He doesn’t sound Australian or Southern he just sounds normal it’s so weird.

27. Well, we just came totally full circle because the guy who plays Hannah Horvath’s father is the lawyer taking to Cabot in that scene. Fuck I’m a genius.

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Riese is the 41-year-old Co-Founder of Autostraddle.com as well as an award-winning writer, video-maker, LGBTQ+ Marketing consultant and aspiring cyber-performance artist who grew up in Michigan, lost her mind in New York and now lives in Los Angeles. Her work has appeared in nine books, magazines including Marie Claire and Curve, and all over the web including Nylon, Queerty, Nerve, Bitch, Emily Books and Jezebel. She had a very popular personal blog once upon a time, and then she recapped The L Word, and then she had the idea to make this place, and now here we all are! In 2016, she was nominated for a GLAAD Award for Outstanding Digital Journalism. She's Jewish and has a cute dog named Carol. Follow her on twitter and instagram.

Riese has written 3200 articles for us.


  1. You watch a lot of SVU I think. Who doesn’t? Or maybe just me imposing my thoughts on your comments.

    Also did you think it was grace helbig in vanderpump rules? Can I out myself as a vanderpump rules fan? Is this a safe space? Anywho I thought she was at scheana’s wedding with Vail. Turns out it was the professor chick from Bloomington. I love when I feel smart connecting TV dots but it’s like no one else cares when I try to tell them. I appreciate what you did here. Keep up the good work.

    • You’re right we watch shit-tons of SVU. I’ve never seen Vanderpump Rules! This is a safe space to like it though. It seems like it’s always on that channel where it’s always on, you know? I thought I saw Grace Helibeg in a commercial, if I remember correctly.

      • If it was the left-swipe anti-smoking commercial, it IS Grace Helbig, and my girlfriend and I had the same reaction. (Had to look it up later to decide for sure.)

  2. I will out myself as another Vanderpump Rules watcher. Guilty. But every time it’s over, I’m more and more pleased with my luck for turning out gay. So there’s that.

    • Also!

      16) I miss him on the show! Even though I had forgotten he was on the show until he showed back up…

      24) Justified? I’ve heard it’s good but I can’t make myself watch it. I need one more person to tell me I should before I take the plunge and commit my life to more television.

    • At first I dismissed Vanderpump Rules as a show of pretty white people acting crazy and then when I was watching Housewives: BH and the show mysteriously turned into Vanderpump Rules, I ended watching the latest season they had on VOD. Like how did I watch Kim thinking she relapsed into Jax and his nose job!?!


      Plus the one things that drives me nuts are the incredible, beautiful and successful women Jax dates, like hooooooooow!?!

  3. Was Miss Claudette in Last Tango in Halifax? Was just trying to describe who she was today but couldn’t remember her character’s name!

  4. I am definitely terrible at also talking over things (except with baseless speculation about allusions/references and also plot), this “writing it down instead” business seems like a really good strategy for not annoying the hell out of everyone.

  5. Totally texted #16 to my girlfriend. Followed by, “Desmond always saves the day”.

    • But he totally turns out to be a creepy pedophile pretending his sister died on SVU. Is this a spoiler alert. We are talking about like 5 seasons ago right? I watch too many reruns.

      • oh wow i’ve never seen his SVU episode! i forgot that he was on Scandal the first season until he showed up on Scandal last week.

        • Oh this is all making so much sense. You guys are talking about Olivia pope not my olivia (benson) in #16. I’m on the netflix scandal schedule so perennially a season behind. But yeah Desmond is not a good guy on SVU. He’s in a few episodes. Sorry it apparently was a spoiler!

  6. I’ve been watching Empire because Cookie is everything to me. I talk back as if she is going to respond but I do get a lot of validation from her.

    • Cookie and Jamal are my favorite part of Empire. They’re so adorable together and the relationship just seems like the most genuine amongst the web of DRAMA (which is also delightful, don’t get me wrong, but some adorableness is good).

  7. I think this was last week? Anyway, after harassing various people about Don Johnson, I just put this general problem out there in a blog post. The answer was Nash Bridges.

    And now I’m shamed enough that I should go finish the post that’s been in draft for I don’t know how long.

    But anything that concludes “fuck I’m a genius” is a winner.

  8. I’ve only ever seen Jason from True Blood in True Blood and I 100% can’t imagine him talking with anything other than a Southern accent! Even though the accents on that show are so bad, I still have this thing where I’m convinced that the actors talk like that in real life.

  9. I have a problem like this.

    Except instead of trivia facts it’s snark about the writing and acting skills involved in making a show.

    I get banned from the living room a lot.

    • you should come to my living room. I love the snarky comments as well! Fortunately/unfortunately I spend all my time alone so nobody else gets to enjoy my delightful habits.

      I also think this is why I am overwhelmingly obsessed with recaps- it is the next best thing to a snarky TV buddy

  10. I think we all thought the same thing during #17, but also I had never seen “The Truth About Cats and Dogs” and so that episode inspired me to watch it which was a bad decision because it is suuuuuch heterosexual nonsense.

  11. I know she primarily does comedy, but how did Grace Helbig never end up on Law & Order? She lived in NYC for years. All NYC actors end up on L&O. That’s, like, a rule, isn’t it? You don’t audition, you get a summons from Dick Wolf.

  12. OMG RIESE LILY TAYLOR. oh fuck fuck fuck please let’s! let’s do a list!! I LOVE LILY TAYLOR!

    i don’t watch any Law & Order but i do talk over the TV because i have two sons and there’s a fuckton of misogyny and awful shit in movies/shows, so i am COMPELLED to point out every single thing. i like to wait and sit quietly, just long enough for everyone in the room to think that either i’m asleep, or i’m going to let this one go… and then…


    “that’s actually the definition of forcing yourself on someone. that’s sexual assault. she’s unconscious and can’t give consent. this shit is not romantic! slade just so you know [slade interjects with ‘no, i know’] this is forcing yourself on an unconscious woman. eli? this shit is not romantic. don’t you ever.”
    – me during sleeping beauty

    bless this list.

  13. I totes had an OMG IT’S MISS CLAUDETTE moment watching The Good Wife the other day. (My wife and I just started watching. She talks over the TV just as much as I do when it comes to OMG IT’S XYZ!)
    Also, today I figured out that Robert on The Fosters is totally the gay one from Dawson’s Creek. (How old are we?)
    Also also, Brandon’s dad was Fabrizio in Titanic. Whenever he comes on the screen we scream “I go to Ameeeeerica!” Oh, Fabrizio…

    • oh yeah i recognized Jack from Dawson’s Creek right away! It is really weird to me to have him be a Dad who isn’t gay on The Fosters

  14. I just started watching Being Human last night and I should have had a “that’s the guy from Lost!” moment but instead I just stared really intensely at Mark Pellegrino’s face until I gave up and imdb’d. Oh yeah, Jacob! He’s a vampire. Who knew.

    Clea Duvall was on Better Call Saul last night!

  15. At leaat its not pausing to have like a 2 or 3 min convo/explanation/asking whats going on kind of thing…lol

  16. THIS is my life! But I am shameless and still believe that everyone enjoys my encyclopedic knowledge of tv trivia.

  17. Is it wrong to consider not wanting to talk through movies a deal breaker? I am nearly incapable of staying silent when the TV is on.

  18. My friend and I are also walking IMDBrs. I always send or get gr8 tidbits about shows we are watching via sms as she lives far away now. This list made me happy.

    What was Dawson in? Also I legitimately want to call our next baby Pacey and my girlfriend is considering it WHAT DO YOU THINK?

    • I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that I saw Dawson in an SVU episode.


  19. “That’s Anthony Rapp! He went to my high school!” I SAY THAT EVER SINGLE TIME I SEE HIM IN ANYTHING.

    • Uh, I’m from the same town as Andie McDowell, but that somehow doesn’t seem to compare.

      What is funny, though, is that they started to build a road named after her and then ran out of funding. It runs parallel to the post office, goes about 75 yards (headed nowhere), then just stops. As in “this is where the town officially ran out of fucks. And cash.”

  20. That’s so weird, I haven’t said any of these things out loud watching teevee either. It’s like you know me.

  21. “So, a few weeks ago I decided to start writing down all the who-is-that-actor things I wanted to say instead of saying them. Sometimes I write them down even if I’m watching TV alone, just to get it out of my system. I’ve found this to be a really effective strategy and I would recommend it to anybody suffering from a similar situation on their sofa. ”

    Riese I think you just saved my relationship (jk) (but really)

  22. I watch a lot of tv shows with my family, and we are all kind of obsessive about identifying people and discussing their other roles while watching whatever we’re watching. But I especially do this, even when the connections I’m making have nothing to do with anything, and my family hasn’t even seen or heard of what I’m talking about so it’s completely pointless, but I STILL CAN’T HELP MYSELF.

  23. I feel like on the “27 Signs You Went to an Arts High School” list, the number one thing would be: “You totally saw the murdered girl on How to Get Away Murder make out with Cliff Nunley in the stage pit during Kiss Me Kate tech rehearsal” or “You vaguely recognize everyone on Law & Order SVU”

  24. I just had a days long FB chat with a friend about late 90s/early 00s short-lived Australian soaps so this makes me feel better about how much of my brain is taken up with this stuff.
    Also, the Mary Kay Place thing is the TRUEST THING.

  25. my favorite person to watch teevee with (i’m gonna call her B, in case she reads this, because that is what I call her) TALKS ALL THE TIME, and that is exactly why I love watching teevee with her. She calls out every single thing that is fucked up or doesn’t make sense or is ridiculous and it is SO much fun. we could be watching the most intense dramatic thing and I’ll be in tears on the floor laughing hysterically with while B screams at the tv for being ridiculous and overdramatic.

  26. I’m *really* enjoying this comment thread, because you can just tell that everyone (ahem, not me? yeah, forget that) who pretty much has to watch TV with their hands over their mouth to avoid getting smacked with pillows is overjoyed to get the chance to let it all out.

    Basically, this is TV group therapy time.

  27. Oh how I wish this was in quiz form, because I totally would have aced it! Regardless I feel alot better about how and how much TV I watch!

  28. I guess local knowledge of the LA ecosystem involves knowing lots of details about actors, the same way people here in BC can identify trees by the texture of their bark or whatever.

  29. This list makes me want to share with you guys a game that my wife and I play when watching (older) films. It’s called “Sister Act”, since that’s the film we were watching when we discovered it; you look up the actors in a film as they appear and be the first to declare that they have since died. It’s incredibly morbid but kind of fun!

    Me: “Hey, do you want to play Sister Act?”
    Mrs. Me: “Oh no, which of them is dead now?”
    Me: “The taxi driver guy, like twenty years ago! I had no idea!”
    Mrs. Me: “Wow!”

    Okay, maybe I’m not explaining it properly, or maybe we’re just easily amused. But anyway, it’s fun!

  30. I don’t mind the walking IMDB thing, I’m one of them. BUT I can’t sit for more than 15 minutes to watch tv with my parents because they repeat every punchline and explain why it was funny. Whether it’s a movie, tv, or even a damn commercial–it happens. Or there’s a comment about something going on. It doesn’t matter that they’ve seen said tv show (think of how many times the same NCIS and Castle episodes are replayed), movie (I hate you ABC Family and Harry Potter Weekend), or commercial multiple times–they make the same exact comments every single time. My mother rewatches movies over and over again (some movies several times in one day) and will say the exact same thing every single time the scene plays.

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