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She's all that

My Boys' star Spiro is 2007 Mailbag Celebrity Crush

Posted: Tuesday July 3, 2007 12:09PM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 11:57AM
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Jordana Spiro was nominated for the Mailbag Crush as far back as January.
Jordana Spiro was nominated for the Mailbag Crush as far back as January.
Courtesy of Andrew Eccles/TBS
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You know that if it were up to me, the Mailbag would be reserved solely for serious, inquisitive college football matters. But I wouldn't be doing my duty as a responsible journalist if I were to ignore the wishes of my audience, now would I? So strictly as a favor to you, the readers, I decided to "take one for the team" last week and interview a stunning young actress with only the slightest, tangential relationship to the sport I cover.

(If by chance you happen to agree with the first sentence ... you might as well go ahead and skip to Page 2 this week. Don't worry, I won't be offended.)

Ladies and (mostly) gentlemen, I give you the 2007 Mailbag Celebrity Crush, Jordana Spiro, star of the critically acclaimed TBS sitcom My Boys.

You've seen the pictures on this page. Playboy last year pegged her as a "Woman on the Verge," writing, "We can see her giving Kate Hudson a run for her money as the hottest girl-next-door blonde on the block."

But it wasn't until I received this e-mail from Brian in Middletown, N.J., that the 2007 Mailbag Celebrity Crush was affirmed.

Regarding this year's Mailbag Crush ... how about Jordana Spiro? I think she meets all of the qualifications -- she's 30, so she's certainly old enough to ogle (unlike Julianne Hough). She's cute, she's sort of an unknown for now (like Jenna Fischer was last year), and the best part: she currently stars in "My Boys," a series on TBS in which she plays a SPORTSWRITER based in CHICAGO (and Stewart, aren't you a Northwestern man?).

It was meant to be.

If you've never seen My Boys, a Friends-type show about a sports-and-beer-loving young woman whose friends are all guys ... well, you're probably not alone. The show debuted last November with low expectations (it was, after all, a sitcom on TBS) and little fanfare.

While no one would confuse it for the next Seinfeld or Cheers, the show turned out to be surprisingly funny, getting picked up for a second season that starts later this month. It plays as more of a "chick" show, what with all the long conversations about relationships and friendship (most annoying part: all the baseball analogies). That, and you have to be willing to suspend your disbelief that a Chicago Cubs beat-writer would somehow have time for dates, weekly poker games and night after night at the bar with her friends.

Of course, all those reservations seem to get magically pushed away every time Jordana appears on the screen.

I caught up with the newest Celebrity Crush on the phone last week for a quick Q&A.

Stewart: Tell us where you were when you found out about your selection? I have images of an early-morning wake-up call on the West Coast, like when an actress finds out she's been nominated for an Emmy.

Jordana: I was sitting in a restaurant in Chicago eating a Potbelly. I was so excited when they told me, I went up to [executive producer] Betsy Thomas and said, "Guess who's the 2007 Celebrity Crush?" I was psyched. I figured I should start calling all my ex-boyfriends and anyone else I know who'd be jealous.

But then I started to get worried -- like maybe I should start doing some sit-ups or something.

Stewart: I wouldn't worry about it. I'm sure you're in better shape than 99 percent of this audience.

In doing research for this interview, I looked you up on Wikipedia, which I know isn't always 100 percent accurate.

Jordana: That's OK, that's how I do all my research.

Stewart: Nonetheless, for the sake of accuracy, I figured I should run the info by you. According to that site you are A) Jewish, B) from Manhattan and C) currently single. Purely for the benefit of my readers ... has any of that information changed?

Jordana: No, that's all accurate.

As part of her newfound glory as Mailbag Crush, Jordana Spiro will have to get used to the red carpet treatment.
As part of her newfound glory as Mailbag Crush, Jordana Spiro will have to get used to the red carpet treatment.
Steve Granitz/WireImage.com

Stewart: You just made me ... er, our single, Jewish readers very happy.

Your character on the show, P.J., is a hardcore Chicago sports fan who watches the Bears on Sundays. This begs an obvious question: Who's her favorite area college football team?

Jordana: I'd have to say the Wildcats.

Stewart: Good answer.

Jordana: It seems like they can use all the help they can get.

Stewart: Now that's harsh. However, part of P.J.'s backstory is that she went to journalism school at Northwestern. Let me ask you something -- how old is P.J.?

Jordana: Well, let's see. She was 28 last season, so I guess she's 29 now.

Stewart: And I'm 31. So theoretically, in some sort of alternate, fictional universe, P.J. and I went to school together. Maybe you should have me on as a guest star one episode -- I could be the guy she went with to the Kappa Sig Miss Saigon date party with sophomore year who she runs into 10 years later.

Jordana: Anytime. (Note: Jordana did not sound particularly enthused in her response).

Stewart: As a sportswriter, I have to ask: How does P.J., a purported beat writer for a major league team, manage to have such an active social life? Does she not have to cover the road games?

Jordana: (Laughs) It's a TV show, all right? If she had to be away for weeks at a time, the show would be a little bit boring. Obviously, we're suspending reality quite a bit. There are certain points where I'm like, shouldn't I have my laptop with me so it would at least look like I'd been working off-camera? But they're like, no, no.

Stewart: Your people were kind enough to send a preview of the upcoming new episodes. In one of them, you're invited to be a featured guest on a farcical version of one of those Around The Horn-type talking-head shows. Was this your writers' way of showing America that sportswriters are intellectually superior to sports broadcasters?

Jordana: Yes. ... Uh oh, now I'm going to be in big trouble the next time I go on a sports show.

Stewart: Nah, you've got nothing to worry about -- most of those guys can't read.

On the show, you and your friends spend a whole lot of time at a sports bar called Crowley's (based on the real-life Chicago bar Guthrie's Tavern near Wrigley). Back here in your former hometown, our "Crowley's," at least among the college football crowd, is a place called Blondie's on the Upper West Side. As the new reigning Mailbag Crush, you have a standing invite the next time you're here -- visiting your family, work, High Holidays, etc., -- to come eat some wings, drink some beer and watch some football.

Jordana: I'm there. Count me in. (Note: Jordana sounded much more excited about this part.)

The new season of My Boys premieres July 30 (you can also watch last season's episodes on TBS' Web site. In the meantime, props to readers Adam Buser and David D., for somehow guessing Jordana's identity based off three intentionally vague clues last week, and Thom Roose, who claims to have first nominated her in January when "I was in such a funk after the national championship game that all I had left was my dream of seeing Jordana in the Mailbag."

You're all welcome.

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