BYU TV

Since I’m still kind of new to this blog world I haven’t done much press for this aspect of my life. I’ve done interviews and such for my radio, TV or stand-up work. So, I was flattered when I got an email last year from BYU TV to appear as a guest on a show they were doing about mom bloggers. I was also surprised that 1) BYU had their own TV station and 2) that they would want a heathen like me.

Now, I’m a big old agnostic, but I kind of have a soft spot for Mormons. Partly because my husband was raised one, and though he has left the flock, I think he and his siblings are nice people with good values, so not a bad way to grow up. And Utah is my favorite place to ski and frolic in the snow. So, I asked the non-coffee drinkers (right there, I couldn’t join up) if they could get a nice gal to watch Vivien, and I would bring her along and make a fun trip out of it. They said yes.

So many months later and so many emails and phone calls from BYU that I snapped at them, “You have pre-interviewed me more than Oprah did!” we were off. It was the first time Vivien and I have taken a trip just us two since Rex was born. Though I was a tad nervous that there would be icy roads, and my Southern California brain wouldn’t know what to do, what I should have worried about was if my daughter could drive. When I went to pick up the rental car they had reserved for me I couldn’t take possession of the keys because they had rented it under Vivien’s name. They took an hour to straighten out that a 4 year old could not drive the car. Not even if Toyota fixes their pedals. Miraculously during the wait, Vivien was fine jumping around the dark garage, even though I had plied her with the last treat I had.

Sidebar: We avoided disaster when the rental car lady said to me, “Um, that could be a problem.”  I turned to see Vivien putting her tongue on a metal pole! I guess we have to watch A Christmas Story. Fortunately it wasn’t that cold, and I explained why that was a BAD idea.

Off we went into Salt Lake (what a convenient, civilized airport) for a quick nosh. Then off to Provo. It was a modest hotel but fine, and there was a sweet little river running along side it. Any signs of nature is pretty exciting to these LA women.

We drove the minute to the BYU studio where I met the other bloggers on the show. Some local gals and my Momversation friend, Mindy Roberts. I feel like I already knew Mindy from Momversation and from our emails. She is a delight in person. Also present was Kadi of The Girly Gazette. She has 7 kids and a tiny waist (be-atch!). It took us 5 minutes before we bonded. Smart gal and anyone who can be sane with that many kids, well, better man than I!

A nice gal named Mary was put in charge of Vivien. It took Vivien 2 seconds to warm up to her, ’cause hate to generalize, but Mormons are nice people. They fed us all dinner. Sometimes cold chicken Parmesan hits the spot after a day of travel. And Vivien went to the theater next door and saw Princess and the Frog. Perfect.

Now, everyone was very nice, and they had make up and soap opera lighting, but it all took a while. Lots of time hanging out in the makeup room since our call times were not staggered. And the poor makeup gal, how she could work on any of us with only over head fluorescent lights I don’t know. Before we started taping they did ask us to please not say “God” or “Jesus.” Fine, I think I can do that. But I was thrown when one of the producers thought my knee length dress might show my crotch.

Me, ever subtle and polite: “I’ve worked in TV for 14 years, and I’ve never shown my snatch and don’t plan on it.”

For the show, I joined Mindy on the couch, and she moved over in Ed McMahon, Andy Richter fashion. Nice host. Blogging, vlogging, blah, blah. Then we had our View-like segment where we conferred on various blog related subjects. FTC rulings and such. My privates were covered, and I didn’t commit blasphemy.

Everyone was very nice and thanked me for my participation. Vivien had had a great time. Then one of the producers said that this was a pilot, and it might air in September.

WHAAAAA?

I said, Look, this was kind of pain to get here. I left my baby; I trucked out here because I want to get more eyeballs for my site. I’m making it a fun trip with Viv, but the point of the show is too expose coolmom.com to other people. If after all this this never airs, I will be irked. And the part I didn’t say was, “Brother, you LDSers can spend this much money on a show that never airs?”

The senior producer assured me that it would air.

Vivien played for a half an hour in the cold, icy snow piles in front of the studio. I enjoyed seeing her happiness, but kept saying, “Tomorrow I’m going to take you to a place that has way more snow then this.”

But more about that later…

My Clip on Dr. Phil

For those that missed it, here is my very brief part on the Dr. Phil show about “extreme parenting.” It sounds so salacious!

This is longer than a usual Cool Mom bit: between two and three minutes, which, for me, is about as long a video as I can ever watch online. The mom I was backing up is Lenore of Free Range Kids.

Did I change the face of daytime TV? Nah, but it was fun to be on the show.

And I hope, someday, to fit in that yellow dress again.

Guess Who’s On Dr. Phil!

I’m thinking of starting my own cable show called “My Life On The G-List” (I wish I were D-list). Anyway, when you are on the G-list, once in a while you get a cool glimpse into the A-list life. Such was my experience on Dr. Phil. Watch it Monday. I have to say, as much as one can make cracks about the syndicated dynasties like Dr. Phil, he actually gave very good advice and the right take on the show I was on. But when you watch this, you’ll see that Dr. Phil was holding out on me.

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.