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>But I Play One on TV

>Elissa told me that Parker Posey’s character in the new Fox sitcom The Return of Jezebel James is a HarperCollins children’s book editor. Any reports?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Anonymous says:

    >No, but why do I think the clueless masses are about to start querying her?


  2. Anonymous says:

    “SARAH TOMPKINS (Parker Posey) has everything a fancy girl could want in life: her own imprint at HarperCollins’ children’s division; a great big loft in Brooklyn; a young, energetic and only slightly terrified assistant, BUDDY (Michael Arden); and a perfect, no-strings-attached relationship with successful businessman MARCUS SONTI (Scott Cohen). She’s about to publish the sequel to her successful young adult novel, The True Adventures of Jezebel James, she can do the splits, she’s basically a size 2… so what on Earth could make this better? A baby.”

  3. Anonymous says:

    >It’s on FOX-She has to work at Harpercollins. I wonder if she worked on the Laura/Jenna Bush forth coming picture book. LOL!

  4. diceytillerman says:

    >I caught the first five minutes and there was a wonderful detail: another character thought she wrote childen’s books, and then resisted the distinction when she tried to make it. As a reviewer myself, I’m most often mistaken for a children’s lit writer (and after that, an editor, heh).

    Sure, plenty of fields have roles that are behind the scenes and not quite understood by folks who don’t know that field. It’s common. But it was lovely to see this close-to-home example of it.

    Rebecca Rabinowitz

  5. literaticat says:

    >Well, I hope the show gets better because it is from the creatrix of GILMORE GIRLS — the pilot and first ep. were pretty disappointing (weird delivery! grating characters! horrific laugh track!)

    Still, I will probably keep watching it as long as it is on because the product placement is so audacious and fun. This is my impersonation of two bookseller sisters watching it:

    “Look! Look! It’s charlotte and wilbur! And Aslan! Ooh, ooh, I read LUXE, isn’t that cover gorgeous. OMG, my friend is in that anthology, I am SO calling her! Wait, pause for a second, there’s a dump for Goodnight Moon? I’ve never seen that before. Curse this stupid woman and her baby-mama-drama, can we please get back to panning through the office?”

  6. Monica Edinger says:

    >So far the only decent thing is the faux publisher’s office which looks pretty much like HarperCollins. I mean, the conference room has quotes on the walls (couldn’t read them though) just as they do. And the very, very, very young editor has a humongous and way fancier office than any I’ve seen there (not that I’ve seen many, but still…).

    BTW, have you seen Dedication? About a children’s book writer (Marty the Beaver) and his illustrator who dies and then hangs around as a ghost while the writer attempts to write a sequel. I was looking for something fun on In Demand and should have gone for Nancy Drew.

  7. Monica Edinger says:

    >Actually you can see the conference room on a clip here:

  8. Monica Edinger says:

    >And photos here:

    The space is pretty accurate, wouldn’t you say? (Hey, HarperCollins editors: are you considering Brambles McGee, by chance?) Sorry, but I get a kick out of the way television represents stuff I know a little about (a la your opera post). Schoolrooms always look circa 1960.

  9. Anonymous says:

    >A show on which HarperCollins IS the product placement.

    That’s meta!

  10. Roger Sutton says:

    >No, it’s authenticity. 😉

  11. Anonymous says:

    >Fox is owned by News Corp which also owns HarperCollins, and there we are. I’m going to throw up. Fortunately, I don’t watch TV.

  12. >I basically felt like I was watching an extended product placement for the HarperCollins frontlist and Hello Kitty. Maybe people who don’t know as much about the children’s book world wouldn’t find it quite so grating. I love Parker Posey, but not sure if I can keep watching…

  13. Anonymous says:

    >I’m confused. So this editor character wrote the Jezebel James book, or she didn’t?

  14. Anonymous says:

    >Many years ago, when I was a children’s book editor, a colleague complained that her parents didn’t understand what she did for a living – wondered if maybe she WROTE the books.

    For once in my life I had the perfect response: ” That’s nothing, my mother thinks I CORRECT THE SPELLING.”

  15. >From what I gathered, not having watched the whole show, Jezebel James was the name of Parker Posey’s wacky, cynical, free-spirited, red-haired sister (played by Lauren Ambrose from Six Feet Under)’s childhood imaginary friend. The sisters are estranged, but by the end of the half hour, PP’s character convinces LA’s character to carry PP’s baby. Parker Posey didn’t write the Jezebel James book but “commissioned an author,” then edited it. The insider-y stuff was entertaining, but the show itself was pretty formulaic. Maybe we’ll get some wicked Parker a la “Devil Wears Prada”; earnest Parker is a bummer.

  16. >I just watched Friday’s episode. They showed the outside of the HarperCollins building. Was the homeschooled genius author from the midwest who dressed as a Viking supposed to be a takeoff on a homeschooled author who has said in interviews that he used to appear at schools in costume?

    Parker Posey’s character has a fantastic apartment. And a staff. Editors must be rich!

  17. >Gail: I didn’t watch this show, but I’m guessing the homeschooled genuis is supposed to be Christopher Paolini.

  18. >Oops. Duh. That’s probably who you meant, Gail 🙂 I’m very slow today.

  19. Anonymous says:

    >Today’s NYT reports that the show has been cancelled.

  20. missbarnes says:

    >Yeah, I saw that one coming! Did anyone else find the way Parker Posey said Coco (“Coww-coww”) impossibly annoying?

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