Friday, February 7, 2014

Next Stop, Reality TV

Big Ang - ParentUnplugged - Stacy Snyder
What does it mean when someone sends you a link to an open casting call for a reality TV show?

I wonder because I got an email from a friend a few days ago, with a forwarded casting call for different moms to appear in a new reality TV show.  The email had the subject line, TV Opportunities, and my friend’s personal note above the body of email was “Thought of you guys!  Maybe you are interested?”

The first thing that comes to mind is that maybe this friend, who does not have children of her own, just thinks that every mom is in-freakin’-sane, based on the mouthful she gets from each of us every time we talk.  Speaking for myself, I usually have diarrhea of the mouth when we get together with her, as I’ve usually been devoid of adult conversation for hours or days on end, and the jumble of words that comes out in conversation touches on issues like naptime, homework, preschool snack, and annoying entitled parents.  It sounds like Charlie Brown’s teacher….wah wah wah wah wah wah.  Honestly, if I didn't have kids of my own and was on the outside looking in at today’s overly protective, over-scheduling mothers, I know with absolute certainty I would think the same thing!  For crying out loud, I AM a mom, and I think that now. 

My second thought about the reality TV show suggestion was that she was just trying to connect the dots and hook people up with opportunities.  This particular friend is not only a generally caring and network-positive person, but she also used to have the dream of wanting to be a soap star.  From the time I met her about 20 years ago, and throughout the next decade, during which we were roomies for a few years, she followed her goal by attending college for acting and TV, hung out with the prerequisite artsy fartsy folks, and even moved to Los Angeles after graduation to be more available to audition for her “stories.”  Conversely, ever since she’s known me, I wanted to be famous, not as a soap star, but as the next Oprah Winfrey talk show host.  So maybe she keeps up with the TV opportunities for herself, even though she lives back in Chicago now and works in the academia world, and just thought the series might be a vehicle to my onetime quest for fame and passed the info along.

Or, it could mean that my life as a gay mom to two girls and a partner/almost wife to my girlfriend, and the life we lead in the middle of a completely straight, yet totally open community, is like a circus.  Maybe it's just a circus to her because she doesn't have kids, or is no longer gay, as she once used to think she was.  OR maybe she knows lots of moms and I'm the only one whose real-life stories sound like a dumbed-down mom-version of Mob Wives, with all the kid-fights and trials and tribulations of parenthood, and I'm Big Ang, the over-the-top character who in no way can be taken seriously.  I'm dramatic and I embellish my stories to others.

In fact, I heard my 10-year-old point out to my partner just this week that, “’Little Mama’ tends to reword or rework the stories she tells describing real events that took place to make a different version that's more interesting.”

Um, smart kid.  Maybe she's the reason my family would make a good reality family.

Or maybe we’d be a good TV family because I've never heard of a ‘Big Mama’ and a’ Little Mama’ as heads of household on a TV show before.

Or maybe she forwarded the opportunity because she thought it would be a good fit for me and she’s giving me a compliment, as it calls for “moms with big TV personalities, but know how to keep their family in line.”

Whatever the case, it made me stop and laugh, and of course consider if I could find a way to get my girlfriend to sign off on having her life documented in a reality TV show, and trade my staunch opposition to exploiting young children for the purpose of fame for their signatures on the dotted line.