Neal Justin and Sarah Palin/photo courtesy of Roger Catlin
LOS ANGELES -- NBC's cocktail party Tuesday night for TV critics was set up to be a bust, as executives decided to only invite talent from upcoming shows and bar current stars. That meant the biggest names expected to show up were Matthew Perry and Crystal the Monkey, not necessarily in that order.
But--look--is that Sarah Palin?
Heck, yes.
The former Alaskan governor was there to support her hubby, Todd Palin, one of the participants in the new reality series, "Stars Earn Stripes," in which "celebrities" participate in an intense seven-week boot camp, hosted by former presidential hopeful Gen. Wesley Clark.
Mrs. Palin did her best to cede the spotlight to her husband, but she did speak to us poolside as she sampled a number of desserts. Some excerpts:
Q: What do you think about your husband doing this show?
A: Todd’s on fire. He’s a commercial fisherman, a world champion snow machine racer, he’s got all this physicality that requires a lot of mental toughness too that you guys will be surprised to see manifested.
Q: For a change, it must be nice for Todd to be in the spotlight instead of you.
A: Heck yeah!
Q: Were you worried about him doing this?
A: Oh, heck no.
 Q: Would you do another reality show?
A: Not necessarily.
Q: How about your daughter's reality show, what's that experience been like?
A: It’s been great and I love the show. I think it’s clever, it’s absolutely real and I’m proud of the girls.
 Q: Why is she doing it?
A: I know that no matter what, Bristol or Willow or Track or Piper and someday Trig, no matter what they do they’re going to be criticized but it’s like Bristol said all along: the critics are going to criticize, the haters are going to hate, you might as well dance. That’s why she did dancing with the stars and that’s why she’s doing what she’s doing today. And her show today I think is very positive, its very realistic in terms of showing what single motherhood really is. It’s not like the ‘Teen Mom’ partyin’ woo hoo fun glamorizing single motherhood. She’s showing that it’s a lot of work and it’s not an ideal situation and you make the most of the circumstances that you’re in but it’s not something to glamorize or to sort of encourage young girls to emulate.
Q: If "Stars Earn Stripes" has a second season, would you do it?
A: Oh my gosh. I would have to be doing a whole lot of push-ups.I don’t think physically I would be able to handle what it is that they’ve gone through. It will blow you guys away when you see what they do. I’ve seen some clips of it and just as a witness to the bumps and bruises at the end of the day, it amazes me. But like Todd said, our son is over in Afghanistan. He and every other member of the military go through this in real life and for the real cause. What they go through is nothing compared to the real thing.