NBC’s most venerable primetime hit, entering its 20th season, isn’t out of ideas yet, says one of its stars. But that’s hardly cause for celebration.
“Unfortunately, there’s still storylines,” said “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” star Ice-T at the Cinema Society event celebrating NBC’s fall season launch at New York City’s Four Seasons Restaurant on Thursday. “Unfortunately, the stuff we deal with is going on more than ever. We were pre-the #MeToo thing, we were talking about that 10 years ago. So, I mean, you can’t make this stuff up. Life has unfortunately given us unlimited amounts of material.”
“SVU” has for decades now generated its narrative energy from the investigation of assaults, but the rapper-turned-actor, who walked the red carpet with his wife Coco, noted mixed feelings about aspects of the #MeToo movement. “I have a kind of interesting feeling about it. Some of the stuff 20 years ago — right now, people are being charged with stuff that happened 40 years ago. I’m like, ‘Eh!’ You know, I don’t know. But at the same time, I don’t think anything should be brushed under the carpet, and maybe our show is giving women the ability to step up and speak on it right away.” He went on, “I was back there in the Studio 54 days, and a lot of things that went on then wouldn’t be okay now. Society changes, and change is good.”
Other guests at the event included Ice-T’s costar Mariska Hargitay, “Late Night” host Seth Meyers, “Saturday Night Live” performer Heidi Gardner, and “I Feel Bad” star Sarayu Blue, who noted that her character drew on the influence of a past favorite sitcom mom: “She has a real ‘New Adventures of Old Christine’ feel, and she also has a Lucille Ball feel to her, because she’s sort of a disaster, and you see how much she’s flailing. That quality is so visible in this show and it’s fun to get to break that open.”
And though his “Making It” isn’t currently airing, fashion arbiter and of-late “Making It” judge Simon Doonan has remained engaged with NBC: He claimed to have spent the previous evening watching the “America’s Got Talent” finale and crying. “It was very emotional,” he said, after accepting a glass of rosé snaked past a wall of reporters by his husband, home-furnishings designer Jonathan Adler. “I agree with everything that Heidi Klum does and Simon Cowell. I really watched ‘AGT’ very diligently, looking for tips [on reality-show judging]. Stay focused, have your sound bites ready.”