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Oct 19 2012

When Did I Become a Yeller?

By at 10:14 am

woman yellingWell, shit.

I think I’m turning into Mrs. Wolowitz. (If you don’t know who I’m talking about, she’s the Jewish mother on The Big Bang Theory. You never actually see her, as her primary mode of communication involves yelling guilt-inducing rants from the other room.)

Just last night, I found myself in the kitchen, loudly and firmly “announcing” (ahem) to my daughters in the living room that if I had to come in there one more time, there would be no TV show tonight. Yes, I do dangle the possibility of 20 minutes with Olivia or Caillou (gag) over my daughters’ little heads on a regular basis. I’m ok with that; we all need to learn that our actions have consequences and that Mommy can take away your fun if you take away hers. In this case, the girls needed to figure out how to share the latest American Girl Doll magazine (I haven’t yet introduced them to the idea of the catalog, a magazine from which things can actually be purchased). From the way they were managing it, you’d think I’d asked two starving orphans to split the last morsel of bread. Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 1 2012

The Kid-Dish: David Arquette, Gwyneth Paltrow, and a Tori Spelling Birthday Party

By at 2:51 pm

All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.

David Arquette was seen escorting 7-year-old Coco to a doctor’s appointment. Coco’s outfit begs the question: can you ever be wearing too many ponies? (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

- Gwyneth Paltrow has an interview in the latest issue of Harper’s Bazaar, where she opens up about her surprisingly communicative husband, her multicultural nannies, and the fact that if Apple is “a lesbian, she’s a lipstick lesbian.” (Celebrity Baby Scoop)

- We’re sure Mayim Bialik is happy for her Big Bang co-star Simon Helberg (who plays Howard on the show), who just confirmed that he and his wife are expecting their first baby this spring. Mazel tov! (People)

- We’re sorry to rub this in your face, Tamara Reese, but Tori Spelling threw a Hello Kitty birthday party for 3-year-old Stella and the dessert table is… really something. I mean, I think I see a wedding cake on there. (LilSugar)

Nov 7 2011

Mayim Bialik on The Isolation Permutation

By at 3:38 pm

mayim bialik big bang theoryLast week’s episode of The Big Bang Theory was called “The Isolation Permutation,” and it was about my character, Amy Farrah Fowler feeling left out by her girlfriends. She spirals into a depression that includes playing “Everybody Hurts” on the harp (yes, it was really me playing), getting drunk in a liquor store parking lot (no, I wasn’t really drunk) and attempting to seduce Sheldon, her “not-boyfriend” (settling instead for possibly the most awkward cuddle in sitcom history).

The episode pulled in our third highest ratings ever, with 16 million people in America tuning in, and despite one reviewer noting that I am “not as attractive as Kaley Cuoco or Melissa Rauch” but am still amazing, the reviews were glowing and it’s super exciting.

You might be interested to know, however, that I was not watching along with the millions of Americans who tuned in. You see, I hate watching myself on TV. I hate hate hate hate hate it. I hate how I look, I hate how my voice sounds (kind of like Bea Arthur on a hoarse day), and I hate how my body looks bumpy, lumpy, and androgynous under several layers of over-sized clothes designed to hide my lady-like curves.

I am a very technical actor, and I am overall very tuned in to timing, editing, and camera shots of the scenes I participate in. So if lines are edited out, or if lulls in dialogue which we use as transitional gaps for acting purposes get clipped by editors, it doesn’t match what I experienced when I filmed, and I don’t like that. When things look, sound, or feel different on TV than they were when I performed them, it feels wrong. Wrong how? Wrong in the way that people with OCD get a “wrong” feeling when they can’t flip switches the “right” number of times. It’s just really really wrong.

The most significant reason I don’t watch myself, though, became very clear to articulate this past week when I did in fact see “The Isolation Permutation” as it was aired on our set for our studio audience a few days before TV viewers saw it. I watched along with our studio audience and I cringed throughout. Specifically, during the scene where my character seduces Sheldon. Performing that scene was by far the most interesting, gratifying, intense, and exciting scene I think I have ever performed as an actor. I don’t mean to wax poetic about my “thespian process,” but what I do is not done lightly. I take my work very seriously, and I work hard to create emotions and responses from audiences, as well as from the actors I work with. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 17 2011

I Went to Work on Sukkot

By at 3:31 pm

Mayim Bialik on the set of Big Bang Theory. Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

I work on “The Big Bang Theory” and I was required to work on the first two days of Sukkot. We had rehearsal and run-throughs of the script for producers, writers, and CBS; there was no filming involved. Normally, I would have been in synagogue, but this year, I wasn’t and it’s okay. This is my life right now, and here are 3 ways I made it work for me (in addition to making festive meals, drinking kiddush and lighting candles at home.)

1) I hired a car service to drive me to work. Sure, being in a car is halachically different than driving a car myself, but it’s not how i would choose to observe the holiday. That being said, it was relaxing and a nice change of pace to commemorate the holiday this way. And, no, my driver wasn’t Jewish, so I didn’t cause any Jew to break the holiday on my behalf. That would’ve been a bummer so close to Yom Kippur, because I totally just atoned for everything I have pretty much ever done, thought, or fantasized about. Gotta keep the slate clean.

2) I didn’t use my laptop or my phone from work. What a lovely break this was, and it made it really feel like a yontif (holiday)! I normally keep my laptop constantly running at work, and I respond to dozens of emails a day about meetings, publicity, my book being edited, etc., right when they come in. I am a real slave to technology, and for those 2 days, I really embraced the aspects of observance that force us to focus on ourselves, and not on the things we distract ourselves with.

3) I dressed fancy. I grew up with parents who were snazzy dressers, and who encouraged me to have special “shul” clothes. It always made holidays and Shabbat special, and I have carried this pattern into my own adult life, and have passed it on to my sons, who also love dressing fancy for shul, even though they call it dressing like “Maccabeats” (of Yeshiva University fame). Anyway, I dressed in shul clothes for work this year, and it felt really special. I don’t tend to wear sparkly dresses to work in general, or my hair in a French twist with pearl studs. I didn’t wear heels, since we work long days, but I put on proper make-up before the holiday started (it’s customary not to put it on during the holiday) and really felt like I had brought the holiday with me to work by dressing fancy.

One day, I hope to be in a position to set my taping schedule around the 8,000 Jewish holidays that I want to observe according to halacha, but for now, I remain a Jew in exile, a soul yearning for its way home, and a happily employed actress on “The Big Bang Theory.”

I wasn’t sure if I should be so public about me working on the holiday, but I have never claimed to be perfect in observance, and I hope that by sharing ways I make observance fit my life, I can give someone else the support to know that it’s it’s not all or nothing as we learn and grow, that while we are on any particular path, we can still enjoy it even if it’s not moving exactly where – or as fast as – we want it to.

Aug 11 2011

Mayim Bialik Heads Back To Work

By at 11:05 am

Mayim Bialik on the set of Big Bang Theory. Image Credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS

The Big Bang Theory filming season starts this week and I am thrilled to be starting my second full season with this fantastically quirky and immensely beloved show. This is my first season as a “regular” and although I don’t work every week, this will be an interesting and somewhat challenging time for our family. My husband stays home with our homeschooled almost 6- and almost 3-year-old sons and Mama going back to work is big news in this house.

Here’s the range of thoughts I am currently experiencing:

1. Starting work again after a hiatus is always exciting. We have no clue what our writers have in store for us, two of our lead actors (Jim Parsons and Johnny Galecki) are nominated for Best Actor Emmys , our show is nominated for the first time as Outstanding Comedy, and I love working with my castmates, especially my buddy on set, Melissa Rauch.

2. Leaving my boys after a full summer makes me wonder what rhythms will emerge without me by their side. As they get older, I thought leaving to go to work would be easier. After all, they are more cognitive, more reasonable, and more practical, I reasoned. They understand that Mama works to make money for the things we need and the things we want and they are happy and content with their father and our wonderful homeschool community. However, older also means more expressive: “Mama, don’t go to work.” Older means more explicit: “Mama, I miss you when you are gone.” And older means more passionate: “Mama, I am angry when you leave.”

3. Being at work means “alone” time sitting in a small dressing room with a phone, a laptop, and my thoughts. I will likely get a lot of writing done–my book is done, so maybe I should start a new one with all of my spare time!?–meaning a lot more blogs being written, I will have time to study with my chevrusa (study partner) at a time other than in the wee hours of night since I will have flexibility to talk to her from work, I will have the ability to take advantage of all of the amazing fresh fruit on set and thus can do a raw cleanse (yay!), and I will also have a lot of time on the internet to research homeschool stuff for our boys.

4. My time is not my own anymore. The time I get home is determined by people I respect and admire, who don’t know how well I can cut a potato into french fry-like strips. My schedule revolves around the show business machine of comedy, which knows not the machine of a household. And my life is one of a shift that working parents everywhere know well.

5. I know my job may not look anything like yours, but the tension I feel is the same as yours, I promise you: to be pulled in these different directions is a mighty pull, and to love not only your children, but also your choices is a love I am grateful and working hard to navigate.

Jul 20 2011

Mayim Bialik Backstage at The Talk

By at 11:17 am

The Talk 7-19-11 Mayim Bialik from Much and House Public Relations on Vimeo.

Mayim did a live taping of The Talk yesterday. Here’s what you didn’t see….

1. The appropriate bra for that dress was in the car, which my husband had taken out yesterday morning as I got ready. Why was my bra in the car? Because we drove home at 1 am the night before from Sacramento, and I got undressed and into my pajamas in the car for the ride home. I found a decent substitute but you know how it is when the right bra for the right outfit is not within reach: it just starts the day off wrong.

2. Those tanned arms of mine? Bronzer. I have the worst farmer tan ever.

3. I didn’t know I would have to walk across the stage before my segment. If I had known that, I might have downgraded from 4 1/2″ heels to 4″ heels. I had terrifying visions of tripping and falling on my face on live television as I waited backstage before they introduced me.

4. On shows like this, you are told ahead of time what you will talk about. So, no; I didn’t “out” Sara Gilbert as a lesbian. She knew we were going to talk about the Chelsea Handler mistaking me for Sara Gilbert story I originally wrote about for Kveller.

5. Yes, host Leah Remini played Anthony Russo’s EMT partner on “Blossom.” Why no one mentioned that is beyond me!

6. Yesterday was the Fast of Tammuz. That means from dawn to dusk no food, no water (it kick starts the 3 weeks leading up to the commemoration of the destruction of the Second Temple by the Romans). So I was quite hungry and thirsty and a wee bit punchy.

7. I didn’t get to announce on national television that I write for kveller.com! The segment was too short to mention a lot of stuff: not my book, not the Emmy nominations that “The Big Bang Theory” just received, not that I am going to Comic-Con this Friday… When asked if my kids listen to music, I almost answered that my children love the Yeshiva University Maccabeats as their primary musical obsession, but I don’t know if “The Talk” audience would have jumped on that horse. No worries. There’s always next time.

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