Thursday, November 26, 2009

Jersey Shore: oh to be so tan...

I like bad television. I'll admit it. I often watch it in private, too embarrassed to expose my love for watching morons at their worst. There's a new show that I not only cannot believe has been made, but I am so excited to see...Jersey Shore on MTV.

I should preface this that even at my advanced age (somewhere in the abyss of my 30s), I'm still a fan of MTV. There's a lot of junk on MTV, but then I think there's a lot of redeeming real-life television shot documentary style that entertain and educates young people and old people like me on trends in the lives of young people. I love the True Life series, as it seeks to expose the real lives of teens and young people with all sorts of life conditions--from dealing with adoption to drug use to interracial dating--all of which dealt with in an nonglamorous manner, gritty, and well...real. Coming soon on MTV is a series on teen moms that shows the bad and ugly of being a 16 year-old mother. This is a show that I hope serves as birth control for many, many years. I feel like these shows that do not glamourize but show the grit and reality of life are a service to young people as they make life decision and informative to old folks like me as we parent our children.

Now back to Jersey Shore. Being a California girl, born and raised, it is often hard for me to understand the Jersey lifestyle, clothes, and the like. The tanning, the over-buff and clearly 'roided out dudes, the dramatic and over made-up gals--it's all so intriguing to me because it's not even remotely close to my life. If you haven't seen a clip or trailer for this show, check out the clip below. The entire thing has my jaw on the ground. I love a train wreck and won't be able to divert my eyes from this spectacle.
Yes, yes, I know what you are saying. It looks like just one more crap television show. So maybe it is. You are probably saying that this show can't be real. Well, as the wife of a television producer, I can tell you this. No one can "edit" you to look bad...not even the best editor. The producers and editors will string together your most interesting and colorful moments and that's the participants doing .

As an armchair sociologist and a woman obsessed with learning about the lives of others so very different than my own, I will be setting my DVR to watch this show. I cannot wait to see the drama, the hairspray, the tanning sessions, and the nights at the club. I can't wait to hear that awesome Jersey accent and be thankful to have been raised in the golden state.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Vampire Diaries

I'm not certain if this is something I should admit publicly, but I have never read any of the Twilight books and haven't seen the movies. I really didn't see the appeal of the vampire stories. (Please don't hate me Twilight fans!) I mean, could vampires be appealing or interesting or have depth of character?

When the Vampire Diaries premiered on the CW, my husband was excited at the idea of a vampire show on every week. I mocked him and told him he was ridiculous. So...then I watched the Vampire Diaries. I watched the first and second episodes with him. He lost interest and I...became obsessed. I love this show! It is awesome--compelling, hot guys (too young for me, of course), smart dialog, good acting, and interesting twists and turns in the story lines. I look forward to each week's episode as a "supernatural escape" with vampires and witches mixed with a tragic love story and family tensions.

The great news is that it's not too late to be bitten by the Vampire Diaries. The CW will start a Vampire Diaries marathon on Monday, December 14 that will go through Friday, December 18. Each night, the CW will show two hours of "The Vampire Diaries" per night, in order. This is perfect timing, as if you are new to the Vampire Diaries or missed an episode, the last new episode of 2009 aired this last Thursday, November 19.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sesame Street

Thinking back in life, perhaps one of my earliest memories is of Sesame Street. Back in the days before the 24-hour cartoon and children's programming cycle, the Sesame Street hour was a cherished hour for families. For moms, it was undoubtedly a time for a quick shower, call to a friend, or chance to clean the kitchen without grubby hands following close behind. For children, Sesame Street was a chance to get away to a magical place of friends and sharing, monsters and learning.

When I was very, very young--about 2 1/2 or 3--I was pretty sick. Sesame Street was an opportunity to get away from the sickness. I would sit in front of the television, with my bowl in which to throw up in every few minutes or so, and take a magic carpet ride to that street so far away. I loved my sweet, lovable friend Big Bird and the silly frustrations of Kermit the Frog. I squealed with delight when Grover would get it all wrong as a waiter and loved trying to figure out "which of these is not like the others...which of these doesn't belong." (You know the song.)

Sesame Street not only provided me a happy place of wonderment and escape, but it provided a place for me to learn. It provided me background knowledge on counting and number sense. I learned letters, phonemic awareness, and the concept of blending sounds in order to make words. It taught sharing and kindness. It taught me the qualities to look for in good friends.

Over the summer I had the chance to sit in on a press breakfast on the new Sesame Street. It was magic...I'm not kidding. We watched a short retrospective on Sesame Street presented by President Obama. I was an emotional trip back in time. And then, after the breakfast, I met the REAL Maria, Grover, and Cookie Monster. I just cried...like a moron. I've met celebrities in the past...but none as big as these...in my opinion at least. I must have looked like such an idiot, but these were three of my very first friends. I felt like I had known them forever. I loved them and knew them so well through our relationship back in the '70s, '80s, and today. I was instantly the three year old standing in our little house in Gardena, California again. I had reverted back to the day I had packed my dark yellow suitcase with who-knows-what and announced I was running away to Sesame Street to be with my pals. I didn't care that it was in some place called "New York" (according to my less-than-amused mother), I was going to take a magic carpet...just like the song said. Finally my magic carpet had arrived.

To top off my awesome Sesame Street experience, Abby Cadabby made a special video for my two sons.  It is something that our family will always treasure.

On the eve of Sesame Street's 40th birthday, I salute the hard work of the Children's Television Workshop (CTW) and its fine educators past and present. Today, the CTW continues its mission to provide children fantastic learning opportunities through television--something that critics said was not possible before it aired. I applaud their effort to educate children on the issues that matter most in their homelands around the world. I thank them for creating happy television friendships, memories, and learning opportunities for my children. I wish Sesame Street a happy 40th birthday and a blessed and successful 40 more.