Dr. Phil and Me

Okay, yesterday was a crazy day in TV. A few days ago, I was contacted by the Dr. Phil show regarding my video, Helicopter Moms. They wanted to use the piece as part of their show about “Free-Range” Moms” vs. Helicopter Moms. Apparently, they have way more OCD-inclined helicopter moms.

The standard-bearer for the free-range moms was NY-based mom Lenore, who started freerangekids.com after catching flack for allowing her 9-year-old to ride the subway by himself. I told the Dr. Phil people that I try not to be a helicopter mom, that I think it’s better to be more relaxed, as that is how I was raised. They were like,”Um, yeah, maybe we will just use your vlog.”

Sensing my 15 seconds of syndicated-daytime-TV-fame slipping through my fingertips (although, I used to do some comedic commentary on Ricki Lake as the show’s token white girl – besides Ricki), I called back and said, “You know, I really want to back up the free-range mom.”

The only snag was their taping started immediately after the Fashion Team taping ended. My producers were cool: “Okay, you can miss a segment and leave 15 minutes early.” Great.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, the Dr. Phil people wanted photos of my family at home; I sent them about 9. They wanted home movies of Vivien, and I gave them that. They needed a release from my husband, so we did that, and then they CHANGED THE TIME. Now they wanted me there while the Fashion Team was still taping!

I shoot the Fashion Team (which airs Tuesday at 8 pm on the TV Guide channel – plug!) on Tuesday mornings. It’s only about 10 minutes from the Dr. Phil set. I had a knot in my stomach as I asked to leave earlier. Again, my producers were very understanding – Dr. Phil does get 10 to 20 times our audience – but I did need to shoot most of my segments.

So, on the day of the shoot, I’m all dolled up (great dress, right? I don’t even look pregnant!), thanks to the wardrobe department at TV Guide, which is one of the best parts of my job (as is the professional makeup). I am trying to be calm as the clock is ticking and our Fashion Team shoot is inching along. My co-host, Lawrence Zarian, is very sweet and says he is happy to a few segments without me. Our guest is the costume designer of “Mad Men” (AMC, Sundays at 10pm). She is new to the on-camera world and during our interview she stumbles over a word and starts to break to ask, “Can I do that again?” but before she can, Lawrence Zarian and I jump in. On the break, she says, “I thought we could stop.” I wanted to scream, “If you want to be here all day and blow my chance to be on Dr. Phil, go right ahead!” But instead I say, “It’s better to keep going since they have to stop to make each edit.” Which is true: it takes forever.

I race out to my car, texting the Dr. Phil show that I am on my way, as I was 15 minutes late already. They have a golf cart waiting for me at the studio gate. The show is ready to go, and the warm-up guy – one of the hardest and most unsung jobs in show biz – is vamping for time, making jokes and giving away Dr. Phil mugs and books. I am finally seated in the front row. The studio is so cold my teeth are chattering.

Lenore starts with the doctor telling her story. Then it goes to a super over-protective mom. I’m waiting… then there’s another over-protective mom across the aisle from me. Um, where are those pictures of my stepdaughter and Viv hand in hand? Finally Dr. Phil introduces me. He shows part of my vlog, I think it got a good response, but I am thinking, WHICH ONE OF MY MANY WITTY ANECDOTES WILL I SHARE WITH DR. PHIL? I am not sure how much give-and-take there will be. He addressed me and I blurt out in a nutshell that I came to think I needed to get over myself and be a calmer, more open mom. He asked, “Why?” So I told him why, then he turned to the A guests (those on stage) and explained the lesson I helped illustrate.

More segments, but no more of me. On a break, Dr. Phil looked down at me, smiled and nodded. I’m thinking, “Um, I have more to say, um, where’s my home movie?”

These kinds of talk shows are very well-produced, but maybe too well-produced. There’s no forum for give-and-take. But then I’m sure not everyone would be as television-savvy as I would be, and they may really blather on. Also the show became a parade of the disasters of the overly controlling mom. Though Dr. Phil did have good advice.

I don’t know when it will be on, but I will announce that here on Cool Mom, of course, when I know.

I hope I get my MiniDV back.

5 thoughts on “Dr. Phil and Me

  1. Great blog. Great dress. Great day! And I still have some of the Dr. Phil cookies I took (and schlepped a mere 3000 miles home. Like they don’t have cookies in New York.) Anyway, it was totally fun and I can’t believe you got to meet the wardrobe lady for Mad Men. Here’s what I wrote about her/ it! (Basically, that I lust after everything on that show, from the hats to the men underneath ‘em.)
    http://www.nysun.com/opinion/mad-for-mad-men/82782/
    Bye. — Lenore, the non-helicopter (usually) mom

  2. Kelley, I pay someone to make it look like that. I love a clean house but figured out a long time ago I am lousy at keeping it clean. I once scrubbed my floors for hours, looked around and went, “this looks like I moved the dirt into different places” that’s when Mr Lee came into my life. Mind you I had a studio apartment!
    Lenore,
    I am so C grade Doctor Phil guest, I got no cookies! My other Mad Men connection is that the show creators wife was the architect on the remodel of the house we live in. They remodeled it before we got our paws on it. Thank goodness. And she is helping us tear our mold hut ( garage) down.
    That tears it, I’m getting the dress.

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