Jul 9 2014
You don’t mess with Joan.
CNN reporter Fredricka Whitfield learned that real quick when her interrogative line of questioning prompted Joan Rivers, who was trying to promote her new book “Diary of Mad Diva,” to angrily storm off the set.
But not before the Jewish comedienne delivered this epic monologue: “I’m going. All you’ve done is negative. I’ve made people laugh for 50 years, I am put on earth to make people laugh! My book is funny! I wear fur that was killed 15 years ago! I work for animal rights! Stop it with this ‘And you do this, and you’re mean, and you do that.’ You are not the person to interview a person who does humor!” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 1 2014
So I saw this Verizon commercial going around on Facebook that had really good intentions. The purpose was to help encourage girls to go into STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics). And while I fully support that idea, the way they did it really ticked me off.
If you haven’t seen it, it starts with a young girl (maybe 1 year old or so) running towards the camera and a parent calling her a “pretty girl.” Then it moves onto the girl growing up and exploring and trying new, mostly science/engineering things, and the parents continually stopping her from trying these things and reprimanding her for getting dirty or whatever else. The commercial ends with the girl, now in high school, looking at a sign for the science fair, but then getting out lip gloss–choosing instead to focus on her looks. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 11 2014
All the Jewish celebrity parent gossip you (n)ever wanted to know.
(Courtesy Jeopardy Productions, Inc.)
- While Rabbi Sari Laufer is not technically a celebrity, she’ll get her claim to fame as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” tonight. The reform rabbi and mother of an 8-month-old baby told JTA that she was was terrified of missing the question in the “Jewish” category. (JTA)
-And the name is…(drumroll, please…) Oliver Finlay Dallas! That’s right, Ginnifer Goodwin and Josh Dallas had a baby boy. If you read Kveller diligently, then you already know that a few weeks ago Ginnifer talked to Jimmy Kimmel about the challenges of naming a baby boy with the last name Dallas. Mazel Tov! (People)
-Mila Kunis, who is expecting a baby with Ashton Kutcher, plans to join the list of celebrities who had a totally natural childbirth (Kveller’s Mayim Bialik made this list, too!). No epidural, nothing. (Us Weekly)
-Speaking of our very own Mayim Bialik, she can’t name all the Kardashians, but she sure can tell you which lobe of the brain contains the visual cortex. Catch Mayim in People’s video series, “Up Close.” (And we thought we were being original with the whole Up Close thing.) (People)
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Jun 10 2014
There are plenty of parents out there who are adamantly opposed to the idea of young children watching TV. And I should know, because I used to be one of them. For the longest time, I refused to let my toddler sit on the couch fixated on a screen. I wanted him to spend his time playing with puzzles, building with blocks, and moving around–not glued to the television.
But one day I had no choice but to try a TV-related experiment. My son’s day care lost power overnight during a storm, and I found out the next morning that the center would not be able to open that day. Unfortunately, the timing couldn’t have been worse, as I had a (pre-nap time) work deadline looming and needed at least an hour to complete a major project. Rather than ignore my son, I decided to try turning on the television to see what would happen.
At first I wasn’t even convinced he’d have the attention span to sit there watching Barney (yep, I went old school), but after a few minutes he seemed fairly content. I, on the other hand, was not. Even though we were only talking about two back-to-back kids’ shows, I couldn’t shake the feeling that this one concession would kick-start an unhealthy habit that I’d previously gone out of my way to discourage. In fact, following that incident, I made a promise to myself that TV would be limited to “emergency” situations alone. And for some time afterward, it didn’t actually go on at all while my son was around or awake. Read the rest of this entry →
May 20 2014
Imagine what children’s TV would be like without Peggy Charren. You can’t! Peggy took on the burgeoning television industry of the 1970s and won. She fought to keep advertising out of children’s programs, to keep quality children’s shows on the air, and to place limits on programs designed to sell toys to kids. Some people thought she was in favor of censorship, but Peggy vehemently disagreed: for her, content for children was all about context.
Journalist Janet Beyer tells her story:
The product of a liberal upbringing–Peggy learned union songs and noted, “We belonged, as did a lot of people, to all those organizations that were on McCarthy’s enemies list.”–Peggy majored in liberal arts at Connecticut College, then became film department director at WPIX-TV in New York City. She married and had two kids. At home with her young daughters, she grew concerned over too few educational TV programs for kids and too many violent, toy-focused shows. In 1968, armed with her TV experience and skill for organizing, she founded Action for Children’s Television (ACT), a nonprofit dedicated to diversity in children’s TV choices. Originally a small group of concerned mothers, ACT grew to become a grassroots organization of almost 20,000 volunteers. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 28 2014
Last fall, I watched a reality show on MTV (whose target population is, of course, adolescents) called “Generation Cryo,” in which a lesbian couple’s daughter went on a search for her sperm donor and her biological half-siblings. Not only was I fascinated at learning how this impacted the different children and how a parent could best support them, but I was so moved at the realization that “donor kids” around the country could see themselves, their families, and their experiences reflected on a TV show. And their peers could be exposed to such an alternative family structure and begin to see it as not so abnormal, opening up opportunities for conversation and disclosure.
My wife and I are also watching “The Fosters,” which appeals to me both as a queer woman and as a social worker in foster care. It amazes me that there can be a show on ABC Family, targeting middle school and high school kids, showing a blended family with same-sex parents, not to mention the real complexity of co-parenting with an ex-husband, incorporating teens in foster care into the family unit, and wanting biological parenthood for the partner who has never given birth. The network doesn’t shy away from the real details of this, either. The parents do not act like friends or roommates. There is just as much physical affection, cues that sex is about to happen, and fighting as would be included in any other family TV show. The show even delves into some areas that are specific to queer couples, such as the tendency to stay friends with exes and the jealousy that can create for the current partner. They have it right on.
But this isn’t just about me seeing ourselves reflected on TV (though it’s ridiculously validating, I admit!). It’s about the exposure for people to whom this type of family and life is otherwise foreign. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 28 2014
Jon Stuart hosted Jason Bateman on “The Daily Show” recently. Bateman was promoting his newest film, “Bad Words,” but of course the conversation devolved into nonsensical Yiddish before he even sat down. Then, naturally, the pair moved on to bizarre Passover rituals.
Hilarity ensues. See for yourself.
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Mar 13 2014
Like many little girls, my daughter went through a Princess phase. I never had a problem with it. Frankly, I’m thrilled my youngest child has somehow managed to pick up a knack for those feminine graces which I incontrovertibly lack. She was Belle from “Beauty and the Beast” a couple of years running for both Purim and Halloween. That lasted up until she watched “Fiddler on the Roof” and, 15 minutes before the start of Halloween 2012, decided she now wanted to be one of Tevya’s daughters, instead.
I was OK with that, too, even when she stressed that she wanted to be “the daughter that got married and had a baby,” not the one “who read too many books.”
This Purim, my first-grader has a new passion. Read the rest of this entry →
Mar 6 2014
This winter was rough. There is nothing like a Polar Vortex that can undermine a lifetime of painstakingly implemented household rules and limitations. That tight ship you run has long been sunk by a tidal wave of television shows. Well, since Purim is around the corner (March 15th, to be exact), why not make the most out of your child’s newfound obsession with “Dora,” “Wonderpets,” or whatever infuriating cartoon your kids are into these days.
Here are some costume ideas inspired by your child’s favorite–and your most reviled–T.V. shows of all time. The more annoying the character, the more kids have a tendency to love them to pieces, so these guys are sure to be a hit:
1. My Little Pony.
This is the perfect choice for little girls who love to get glammed up. There are so many ways to do “My Little Pony.” Think: glitter, fake lashes ($6.99), pink hair extensions ($9.99), and make-up. Star Song ($29.99), Pinkie Pie ($29.27), Rainbow Dash ($26.79)–take your pick. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 25 2014
I worked my first Winter Olympic Games in 1998, as a member of TNT’s production team (where I immortalized one skater’s costume as “She looks like she was mauled by a lion while escaping a brothel.” I noted it off-handedly, but commentator Rosalynn Sumners liked it so much she repeated it on-air. It was like the movie, “Broadcast News.” I say it here, it comes out there….).
I spent close to a month in Nagano, Japan, working 28-hour days with no weekends, and came home so exhausted that I proceeded to spend the next 48 hours near-catatonic in front of the TV, catching up on all the shows I’d taped. (This was before Tivo or downloading or watching on demand, so I actually had to pre-program my entire primetime line-up weeks in advance. All on a tape that could only record for eight hours. Truly the dark ages, kids.)
My oldest son was born in 1999. And though I tried to continue working in figure skating production, his refusing to acknowledge my presence after I’d returned from yet another business trip when he was 18 months old pretty much put the kibosh on that plan. Read the rest of this entry →