TV Watching With Stef

Do ‘real’ actors who’ve worked their way up feel this cheapens their art? I do. Whatever… or, in the vernacular, what-ever.

I came home last night, changed into pajamas and came downstairs. It wasn’t long before Stef came and joined me in the family room. She had finished her nightly round of extreme exercise. She seriously looks like she should be in a fitness infomercial.

On these slow, summery nights, I am her friend of last resort. “Some parents would kill for that,” Helaine said when I told her the story. That’s not lost on me.

“What are you watching,” Steffie asked as she sat down. It was a documentary on National Geographic Channel. The narrator was going through an intricate explanation of how the Dogo Argentino or Argentinian Mastiff had been bred to hunt. I’m a sucker for documentaries.

There are few crossover shows that appeal to both of us. Stef doesn’t spend a lot of time on NatGeo and I don’t hit MTV or VH1. However, I knew if I wanted her to stay (I did) we’d have to switch channels.

Before long it was “Legally Blond The Musical: The Search for Elle Woods” on MTV. It’s a reality show where the winner becomes the new star of Broadway’s Legally Blond.

Do ‘real’ actors who’ve worked their way up feel this cheapens their art? I do. Whatever… or, in the vernacular, what-ever.

“This is like living in a sorority house,” I said as we watched the girls backstab each other from a suite in the Empire Hotel&#185 near Lincoln Center. Still, within a few minutes I knew who I wanted voted off the island… or however they are dispatched.

I asked if the shows are edited for drama and to lead the audience to conclusions, but I already knew the answer. A script is written from this raw footage in much the same way a story was crafted around Abba’s music to create “Mama Mia.” What we see only has a peripheral connection to what really went on.

I wanted Cassie S. to get bumped. Instead they canned the girl I thought most looked the part. So much for my Broadway acumen. Stef says Cassie S. got the shiv in a later episode. Phew. I was worried.

It was petty and catty and judgmental. It was a modern rendition of the book “Animal Farm.”

I have lost brain cells in the process. It’s an hour of my life I’ll never get back. I got to sit and schmooze with my daughter. That’s the payoff. I understand why some parents would kill for that experience. It’s totally worth it.

&#185 – Stayed there once. The bathroom on a 737 is larger.

Inside 9/11: Zero Hour

I am about to write about a TV show while I’m watching it. That’s very unusual for me.

I came home, washed up and headed downstairs. My plan was to play a little poker, watch some television and call my Cousin Michael in California.

I watched Jon Stewart as usual and then started grazing on my preferred channels. Interestingly, Helaine, Steffie and I have different channels we frequent – and there’s little overlap.

Channel 111, NY Times/Discovery had a documentary on US Special Forces in Afghanistan. 110 Discovery Science had Nubia: Kingdom and on 109, National Geographic Channel was Inside 9/11: Zero Hour. I started working my way down.

I got to Channel 109 and realized this was not just another 9/11 documentary.

Following the timeline of 9/11, this documentary had found all the footage and much of the available sound (two way radio transmissions, phone messages, ATC communications, etc.).

The story was told in the same order it unfolded. It was a story that couldn’t be told when it unfolded, because of the fragmented nature of what we knew at the time.

This is very powerful TV. I am literally quivering as I watch it. It was terrorism and I’d been lying if I said I wasn’t terrorized by what transpired.

If you see this show repeated (and it is cable after all. Everything gets repeated), make sure you watch it, tape it, or both.