I hate reality TV….well, most if it anyway. I am so over the fate of Jon and Kate. And while I confess to Idol worshiping during the final few rounds each season and enthusiastically texting my vote to support the underdog, I have little interest in keeping up with the preening, Botoxed, Married to the Mob Jersey girls on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. Because of my contempt for most of the low-culture products proliferating on the cable channels today, it’s a bit baffling that I agreed to let my six-year-old daughter Lexi get cast in a reality show.
I can’t name the show because I signed a confidentiality agreement so terrifying that it threatens legal action if my subconscious so much even attempts to dream about the show. But I promise as soon as I am legally in the clear or after I have too much to drink, I will give everyone the heads up which show to set their TIVOs.
What I think I can blather on about is my experience at stage mothering or in my case, stage smothering. I swear I couldn’t help myself. Before the first frame was even shot, I morphed into the biggest show biz nag – “Lexi, don’t touch the blue Gatorade, you’ll spill it on your outfit. Don’t twirl so much – your hair! Enough with the chocolate!”
For the record, they should never have had blue Gatorade for children to drink – from the blue mustaches to the impossible clothing stains – seriously folks, what were they thinking?
Now let me shed a little light on the whole TV gig. It’s not glamorous. Yes, there are moments when the cameras are rolling that get exciting. But for the most part, watching the filming of a TV show is about as riveting as watching Sotomayor’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. It’s a snooze.
The days go like this – show up and sit around, nosh on some craft services snacks, be shuttled to a location and sit some more. Camera rolls, get shuttled to another location where you nosh some more and sit some more and sit EVEN more and nosh again and then, just when you can’t imagine noshing on anything else, it’s time for the cameras to roll and at this point your daughter, who has been sitting and noshing on candy and snacks all day, is ready for either a nap or a meltdown.
So why did I do this? My daughter loves the camera almost as much as she loves the mirror. I can’t say that I’m proud of either obsession but I’ve thought that perhaps we might as well make the most of her inner diva and do something productive with it. Now most people would argue that being on a reality show may not be the most productive use of a child’s time, but it was sort of a test run to see if Lexi had the temperament and interest in all of this TV stuff. Plus we do have her unfunded college account to think about.
I’m sure I’m going to get some flack for this….that I am creating a child monster or worse – a Lindsay Lohan. And I agree that almost nothing good seems to come out of these childhood stars…think the entire childhood cast of Diff’rent Strokes, Danny Bodaduce, Tatum O’Neil and Britney Spears. Hollywood seems to churn out children who inevitably wind up on the “What the Hell Ever Happened to…” lists.
So while Lexi had a great time shooting her show and I felt like a proud stage mama watching her in the wings, I’ll be honest, I’m not investing in professional headshots anytime soon. Schlepping Lexi to the “go sees” around the city and worrying that her curly hair looks too unkempt or that her clothes are full of Goldfish crumbs would drive me insane. And while Lexi may be able to handle a TV career with her already overstuffed schedule this fall of ballet, gymnastics, soccer, piano and First Grade – I am unready for the commitment. I think Hollywood will have to wait.