With Thanksgiving upon us, I am reminded once again that there is nothing quite so important in life as family.

Except maybe fake family.

Confession time: I don't think I ever truly grasped the awesomeness of the fake family (hereafter known simply as "FF") until last Friday, when I was invited to spend the day with the fictional Walker clan on the set of ABC's Brothers & Sisters. I mean, I adored them on TV, but I had no clue that they'd be even more fraktastic in person. In addition to unconditional love, support and big, warm hugs, my FF - specifically sister Kitty, brothers Justin and Kevin, and mother Nora - gave me something my real family never could (those thoughtless bastards!): access to heapin' piles of scoop.

So, as an early holiday gift from me to you, I present you with 10 things I learned while hanging with my FF (and yours).

1) Mother and daughter love each other in real life, too. Conventional sexist wisdom says that if you put two A-list actresses in the same room together, they'll claw each other's eyes out. But nary a hiss was heard between Calista Flockhart and Sally Field. In fact, right before shooting their first scene of the day, the estwhile Ally McBeal walked up to Field and greeted her with a big - and this is the telling part - long hug. (Less certain is Flockhart's relationship with TV sis Rachel Griffiths, who had the day off. But several sources laughed off recent tabloid reports that the two are feuding.)

2) Everyone loves to pick on the youngest. David Annable wasn't kidding when he told me that "as the baby of the group," he gets picked on mercilessly by his older "siblings." While we were chatting in his dressing room, a crew member interrupted to alert him that a woman named Brianna was at the main entrance of the Warner Bros. lot demanding to see him. The actor, who knew no one by that name, was bewildered and a little excited, kind of like I was when I got my first stalker. But it was just exec producer Ken Olin playing a joke on him.

3) Wanna spend Christmas with Matthew Rhys? Follow the burning-log smell. Upon entering Rhys' dressing room, I found the U.K. native Googling for Manhattan eateries that feature open fireplaces. Why? He's spending Christmas with his real family (or RF) in the Big Apple - the halfway point between their home in London and his in L.A. - and "Mom's only request was that there be an open fireplace at the restaurant."

4) Sally Field loves TV Guide. She really, really loves TV Guide. Before the B&S publicist could finish introducing me, Field gushed, "Thank you so much for all your support. I can't tell you how much we appreciate it." Nonetheless, I let her try.

5) The role of Rebecca has Emily VanCamp written all over it. Admittedly, I'm extremely biased when it comes to assessing the former Everwood alum's chances of scoring the plum part of Patricia Wettig's love child. But I was pleased to discover that exec producer Greg Berlanti isn't the only powerful B&S ally that VanCamp has. Fellow EP Ken Olin is also a fan. Unfortunately, ABC has to weigh in, too, which is why our pick will only be one of several actresses auditioning in the coming week. Bah humbug!

6) There are four stars of Brothers & Sisters. As the old saying goes, you can always tell who the real star of a show is by the size of their dressing room. Well, on B&S, the award for most square footage is a four-way tie between Sally Field, Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths and... elder statesman Ron Rifkin.

7) Dave Annable owns a new TV. Nothing like a back-nine order to inspire an impulse purchase. What was Annable's? "I bought a 50-inch LCD," shares the former Reunion hottie. "My mom was like, 'What the hell are you doing?'" (Extra fact, free of charge: Annable is an AAdict. "I definitely read Ask Ausiello. I just wanna know how you get all your info. You get info about our show that I'm like, 'S--t, this is happening?'")

8) Not all female Republicans take after Ann Coulter. "She's probably the most famous female Republican, so I think people expected [Kitty to be a clone of her]," Flockhart acknowledges. "But obviously, there are lots of Republicans. I never wanted to play the cliché of what a conservative means to people." Flockhart also points out that we get to see Kitty's life outside of politics. "We see her dealing with her siblings and her mother and all of these complicated relationships. I'm sure if we saw Ann Coulter at home, she would be slightly different." Flockhart pauses for a second, then adds with a laugh, "Or maybe not."

9) Rob Lowe may be here to stay. Although he's only committed for six episodes (the first of which aired this past Sunday), producers are hoping they can convince their West Wing man to stick around for a while longer. His leading lady appears equally smitten. "We hit it off really well," says Flockhart. "I like him very much." (Extra fact, free of charge: Exec producer Jon Robin Baitz - who previously worked with Lowe on NBC's political drama - spent the previous weekend vacationing with Lowe and his wife.)

10) They really are one big, happy family. I know, I know. My eyes roll into the back of my head whenever someone says that, too. But in the case of B&S, it's true. Really! In addition to the Flockhart-Field embrace, I saw many examples of FF bonding on the set. Producers Olin, Baitz and Berlanti pop in and out of each others' offices like lifelong friends; Rhys and Annable are inseparable; Flockhart and producer Michael Morris were seen having a deep conversation during their downtime.... The list goes on and on. "It's really as close to a family as you can get off camera," says Annable. "I'm sure every cast says that, but it's so true on this set." It is! Really!