Hanging out with celebrity (and real life) Moms from hit ABC television shows


ABC Cocktails with Moms

From Left to Right – Alexis Carra (“Mixology”), Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”), Frankie Shaw (“Mixology”) and Ming-Na Wen (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

I’ll admit it. I get a bit giddy when I know I’ll have the opportunity to interview a celebrity. I can get so star struck that I forget the questions I want to ask. I’ve even been known to stumble over my words.

Never in a million years would I ever think that I would one day have the opportunity to meet famous people.

Most of the time I get to meet celebrities in what I call “controlled situations”. Usually it’s at a press junket with other media/press people and we can only admire the celebrity from afar and if we’re lucky we have the opportunity to ask the a few questions directly. The celebrities are also super busy and don’t have time to stop for a photo. It’s not that they don’t want to – it’s more so that they are just so busy and they can’t stop.

DON’T GET ME WRONG!!!! I love and appreciate every opportunity I get. 🙂

On a few occasions I have been lucky enough to attend after parties for red carpet premiere events. There you can have the chance, if you are lucky, to steal a few moments with your favorite celebrity. You have to keep in mind that there are usually a dozen or more people fighting for the opportunity so you consider yourself very lucky when you have the chance to chat with your favorite celebrity – even if it’s just for a few minutes.

Most recently I attended the red carpet after party for Muppets Most Wanted. I had wanted to meet Tina Fey and Ricky Gervais but they were the stars of the night and it was impossible to get within ten feet of them. That’s OK. I did get to meet and briefly talk to some people I was anxious to meet. One of them was Josh Groban. Swoooooooooooon!!!! I love his voice. He has the most beautiful singing voice. I had imagined him as a kind, soft spoken person. In real life he’s just that. I was blessed to have a few minutes to chat with him about music and the influence it has on children. He even posed for a picture with me.

I took my picture with Josh Groban but I didn't like how I looked so I cropped myself out of it.

I took my picture with Josh Groban but I didn’t like how I looked so I cropped myself out of it.

Prior to this event I also attended the after party for Frankenweenie where I had to opportunity to have a very long conversation with Tom Kenny (the voice of SpongeBob and many other characters). I had interviewed him on the phone and truly enjoyed talking to him. It was wonderful to have that opportunity again.

When I meet a celebrity the conversation is always about their television show, movie or new book. I never have a chance to ask them what I really want to ask them. Still, it’s always a thrill to meet someone that I admire. 🙂

When I was out in Los Angeles a few weeks ago, ABC gave me and several other wonderful bloggers the opportunity of a life time – to have cocktails and a casual conversation with several fabulous women who play moms on television (most are moms in real life too). The ladies were looking forward to meeting and chatting with us as we were with them.

Imagine… sitting around chatting with your favorite celebrity while enjoying appetizers and cocktails (I was drinking water and soda). We could talk about anything. We didn’t have to focus primarily on a show or movie. We could finally ask questions we really wanted to know the answers to. How awesome is that?

In attendance was…

  • Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”)
  • Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”)
  • Jami Gertz (“The Neighbors”)
  • Toks Olagundoye (“The Neighbors”)
  • Amanda Fuller (“Last Man Standing”)
  • Malin Akerman (“Trophy Wife”)
  • Frankie Shaw (“Mixology”)
  • Alexis Carra (“Mixology”)
  • Ming-Na Wen (“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.”)

I have to admit I was super excited to meet the ladies, especially Patricia Heaton because I LOVE “The Middle”. I have also adored Jami Gertz forever (Lost Boys, “Still Standing”) and I think Wendi McLendon-Covey is so funny. I loved her in Bridesmaids. Malin Akerman was also someone I was looking forward to meeting (actually I looked forward to meeting everyone). She was the guest stars of the talk show “The Chew” last year when I was in the audience.

To make things easier the bloggers were broken up into groups and the ladies were rotated around each group so that everyone had a chance to take with the ladies. Sadly it didn’t work out exactly as planned. I never had the chance to meet Malin, Frankie, Alexis or Ming-Na.

 Patricia Heaton The Middle

The first lady I had the opportunity to chat with was Patricia Heaton. She was great in “Everybody Loves Raymond”, but like her best as Frankie from “The Middle”.

Patricia is a mom. She has four sons. They range in age from 15 – 21. One of her sons is the same age as my son (her youngest) and she has another son that is the same age as my daughter.

Patricia and I had the opportunity to chat, one-to-one, for a good 5+ minutes. It was surreal! Here I was talking to one of the stars of one of my top 5 television shows. It took me a good minute or two to get over the initial shock, then it was super easy to talk to her – as if I’ve known her for years. Suddenly she wasn’t Frankie from “The Middle”. She was Patricia – mom, wife, actress.

Patricia told me that she and Eden Sher (her TV daughter Sue from “The Middle”) are very close and they do a lot of things together. She told me that she considers herself Eden’s mentor. She told me that actress Linda Lavin was like a mentor to her. Patricia and Linda stared in the series Room for Two back in the early 90’s.

I learned a little bit about her TV sons too.

Charlie McDermott (Axl on “The Middle”) is very shy. I found that hard to believe, but she told me it was true. It wasn’t until we met him on the set of “The Middle” that I realized that he really was very shy. It’s hard to believe that, especially since many of the episodes he’s running around in just his boxer shorts.

Patricia told me that Atticus Shaffer (Brick fro “The Middle”) is a fan of “The Walking Dead”. So it Patricia! For Christmas she gave Atticus a gift basket filled with “The Walking Dead” action figures and books. This was good to know because I had a chance to chat with Atticus a few days later and I had mentioned that I knew he was a “Walking Dead” fan and we chatted about how much we love the show.

The Middle Patricia Heaton

Patricia Heaton (“The Middle”) and Me.

I still can’t believe that I met Patricia Heaton! Every time I watch “The Middle” I can’t help but think back to the Cocktails with Mom opportunity. Visiting the set of “The Middle” was equally as awesome.

After Patricia I had the chance to have a lengthy conversation (at least 10+ minutes) with Wendi McLendon-Covey. Wow! Wow! Wow! She is super sweet and SO EASY to talk to. Maybe I was more relaxed after talking to Patricia, but I wasn’t “star struck” with Wendi like I thought I’d be – even though I was overjoyed to meet her.

The cool thing about talking with Wendi is that she was more interested in asking ME questions then the other way around. She was interested in learning more about my blog and my family. It seemed like “I” was the celebrity being interviewed. LOL!

Wendi McLendon-Covey ("The Goldbergs") and me.

Wendi McLendon-Covey (“The Goldbergs”) and me.

Wendi and I talked about how times have changed since we were kids and how the world is a more scary place. She doesn’t have children yet (her cats are her babies. :-)). She tells me that she would probably be very cautious about everything her kids did like I am (I gave the example of how I used to watch them walk downstairs to get the mail – and it’s only 3 short flights of steps downstairs).

I also had the opportunity to meet and chat with Jami Gertz. I have liked her since I saw her in the movie Lost Boys. She also stared in one of my favorite sitcoms, “Still Standing”. The show is no longer on the air but I can catch it in syndication from time to time.

Jami Gertz ("The Neighbors" and me.

Jami Gertz (“The Neighbors” and me.

When our daughter was little she looked a lot like Jami’ daughter on the show, Tina. Her TV daughter (Soleil Borda) is about the same age as my daughter too (Soleil is two years older than my daughter). I told Jami about how my daughter was Soleil’s doppelgänger. She thought that was pretty cool.

Jami’s personality and mannerisms are the same as they are on TV. Her perkiness is the same in “real life” and she was always smiling.

Jami stars on the ABC series “The Neighbors” along with another lady who was at the event who is also fro the series, Toks Olagundoye.

I’ll be honest. I never really watched “The Neighbors” before. I would flick on it from time to time, but I never really watched an episode form beginning to end. After chatting with Jami and Toks I have made it a point to watch the series every opportunity I get. It’s silly and funny. It’s about aliens trying to adapt to living on Earth. Jami and her husband are non-aliens who are friends with their alien neighbors. It’s funny because the aliens take things so literally. Toks plays the alien Jackie Joyner-Kersee.

Toks Olagundoye ("The Neighbors")

Toks Olagundoye (“The Neighbors”)

Lastly I had the opportunity to chat with Amanda Fuller. She plays the role of Kristin Baxter on the ABC series “Last Man Standing”. She’s Tim Allen’s oldest daughter on the show. She’s been acting since 1993 and has appeared on dozens of televisions shows and movies. She mentioned that this is not the first time she’s played a teen mom (on the show she had a baby when she was a teen). She’s been a teen mom a few other times on TV.

My husband and I watch “Last Man Standing” every week so it was a thrill to meet Amanda too.

Amanda Fuller ("Last Man Standing")

Amanda Fuller (“Last Man Standing”)

Sadly I didn’t have the chance to meet or chat with the other ladies at the event.

All of the ladies were more than happy to pose for photos, but individually and as a group.

Combine with yummy appetizers and cocktails, this was an amazing evening.

I want to personally thank ABC for putting this event together. It was one of the highlights of my trip to LA. It was amazing to have the opportunity to chat with these lovely women one-on-one and in a group about anything we wanted to (within reason of course – ha ha). Having the opportunity to get to know these ladies gives me a new appreciation for their television series. Now every time I see them on TV I smile and think back to Cocktails with Moms. It was a once in a life time experience that I’ll never forget.

“The Middle” airs Wednesdays at 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Last Man Standing” airs Fridays at 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Trophy Wife” currently on hiatus. Facebook & Twitter.

“Mixology” airs Wednesdays at 9:30 EST / 8:30 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

“Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” airs on Tuesdays (a 2-hour event scheduled for 4/14/14 @ 8:00 EST / 7:00 CST).  FacebookTwitter.

“The Neighbors” currently on hiatus. Facebook & Twitter.

“The Goldbergs” airs Tuesdays at 9:00 EST / 8:00 CST. Facebook & Twitter.

To learn more about the shows or to watch full episodes visit http://abc.go.com/.




*I was not compensated for this post. My travel expenses to the event were covered.

About Kimberly

Kimberly Vetrano resides in the suburbs of New York City with her family and "mini zoo" consisting of five cats, a dog and a Goldfish. Kimberly is a teacher's assistant for a Kindergarten class. When she is not working or blogging, Kimberly enjoys taking photos of nature and hanging out with family and friends.


  1. What an amazing opportunity! I would be star struck big time! My kids would love the fact that you also got to interview the voice of Spongebob before. What a great job you have!

  2. wow – cool! I love Patricia Heaton. That is cool 🙂

  3. Wow, I can’t even imagine what it must be like to meet someone in real life that you are used to seeing on television, it must be amazing, I would definitely be tongue tied. Thank you for sharing this great post.

  4. Mary Happymommy says

    What a cool opportunity! How nice to hear about Wendi McLendon-Covey being so sweet. I loved her in Bridesmaids!

  5. Nancy Loring says

    I love Patrica Heaton. She is such a good actor mom. Everytime she speaks it’s like my mom is talking.