With all the chat going on about the ‘flipping the bird’ shot from the TV Guide shoot, I thought I’d post the piece from my book “Pleasure Thresholds” about that photograph.

The TV Guide Cover Shoot
Spring 1997

When it filtered through the cast that TV Guide was going to feature Babylon 5, there was much speculation on who would be a part of the cover and who would be involved in the article. I knew I would not be on the cover, but I was pleasantly surprised that the article would involve a photo shoot with all of us. Then, we found out that the photo shoot would be on our day off, and without pay. There was grumbling, especially amongst those who had to wear a ton of makeup! In general, though, the cast was pleased sci-fi in general, and our show in particular, would be taken seriously enough to be the subject of an issue.
If I had to put my finger on one feeling that was pervasive on that early Saturday morning, it would be exhaustion. We were all tired at the end of a long week. Missing our families, play time and sleep, we dragged ourselves into the sound stage to get ready and meet our photographer, who I can describe as freakishly chipper; it grated on the nerves this particular morning.
We spent about two hours shooting various combinations and lineups. No one had much energy, and it faded fast. Like the Richard Simmons of photography, this guy kept cheering us on. But now we really had no more ideas. Standing against the bare wall of the sound stage, frustrated, exhausted and cranky, we all—in one moment—flipped him the bird…and he took the picture before realizing what was going on. We all perked up a bit after that, but the photographer decided he’d better quit when he was ahead, and we were finally able to go home.
That should have been that.

About a week later, Joanne, Joe’s assistant, came to get me on the set and told me I was summoned to his office. She was shaking her head and, as we walked back, she said, “What did you do this time?”
Joe sat back as I came in and said, “I have a picture I’d like you to sign.” Joe can be tough to read on the best of days and he was a blank slate today. Was that a hint of anger or amusement? Puzzled, wondering why he had to call me to his office in the middle of a shoot day to sign a photo, I said of course I’d sign. He pulled out an 11″x14″ glossy pic of the cast, against the sound stage wall, all shooting the finger to the camera. He was completely stone faced. Not at all sure how to react, I kept my face as calm as I could, took the Sharpie he offered, and signed the photo, the first cast member to do so. “Is that all?” I asked, and scooted out of there as he nodded. I had no idea what was going to happen; was I finally about to be sucked out an airlock? But as the other cast members signed the pic throughout the day, it was apparent he was pulling a Mickey on us and thoroughly enjoyed our discomfort. He has it hanging in his house somewhere I hear tell.