So here is a fact: The latest Q ratings (which poll entertainment consumers to gauge stars' popularity) are out, and America's favorite primetime TV star is Pauley Perrette of "NCIS." The TV veteran (formerly a series regular on "Time of Your Life" and "Murder One") originated the role on CBS's late "JAG," in 2003, and has played it ever since, both on "NCIS" and its spinoff, "NCIS: Los Angeles."
Let me just...look, think about all the dozens of shows on TV, and all the stars of all those shows — everyone from Eva Longoria to Patrick Dempsey to Mariska Hargitay. Picture them. Imagine you had to put them in order, from the ones you don't care about all the way up to the one you're always happy to see, whose talk-show appearances you never miss, whose TV commercials fill you with joy. Who's the ONE STAR you literally CANNOT GET ENOUGH of. Is it Pauley Perrette?
Oh my God, it IS?!
Guys, for real, I watch so much TV, you don't even know. My TV is basically on all the time. And I'm not a snob: I watch all kinds of stupid, indefensible junk, from "House Hunters International" to reruns of "Beverly Hills, 90210." So the fact that "NCIS" — a show I have never watched a MINUTE of — is the most popular scripted series on television makes me feel like I am out of step with society.
In fact, the biggest barrier preventing me from sampling "NCIS" is Perrette! The last time she was on "Late Night," I found her nervous twitchiness off-putting. Her Expedia ads bug. And I know she probably has to let them put her in pigtails and Goth gear to play Abby on "NCIS," but she needs to quit dressing like that in real life, because she is 42 years old.
Here are the top five occupants of this Q rating list:
1. Pauley Perrette, "NCIS"
2. Cote de Pablo, "NCIS"
3. Jim Parsons, "The Big Bang Theory"
4. Mark Harmon, "NCIS"
5. David McCallum, "NCIS"
At least Parsons can say he's been recognized by his peers for his performance: He's been nominated for three Emmy awards for playing Sheldon on "Bang," winning his first last year. Harmon and McCallum have been Emmy-nominated in other roles, but thus far, Emmy voters have declined to honor their work fighting crime navally.
The tastes of the TV-watching majority rarely coincide with those of Emmy voters, so I probably shouldn't be surprised by these results...except maybe by their consistency. People REALLY like this show, I guess! And meanwhile, "Terriers" got cancelled after one season. America, I want you to take the rest of the day to think about your choices.