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Mar 28 2012

Behind the Scenes of My Old Navy Commercial

By at 11:27 am

So by now most of you have seen the Old Navy “Bee Bots” commercial I did with “Blossom” co-star Joey Lawrence:

Note that we never use the word “Blossom” at all and there is no direct reference to it. Ah, licensing.

Here’s 10 other fun things about that commercial and the experience of filming it:

1. Uncertainty. I was not at all sure if I should do it. I debated it heavily and had many sleepless nights about the script and the contract and if I wanted to be in a commercial for a large corporation with God-only-knows what policies and labor laws at all. I was super trepidatious. (And please don’t post all over Facebook if you have a problem with Old Navy. Email my publicist instead and I will look into it!)

2. Previous experience. I have only been in one other commercial, a McDonald’s commercial in 1987 where I supplied the “bass” for a musical rendition of the McDonald’s theme song. No, I didn’t have to eat any McDonald’s food for that commercial. And no, the fact that my favorite Yeshiva University Maccabeat sings bass is not lost on me. Kismet? Perhaps! Women who are born with a voice like Bea Arthur are automatically drawn to both singing bass and liking guys who do the same.

3. The bangs. The “bangs” I wear under my sunflower hat in the commercial are clip-ons. I am sort of obsessed with Zooey Deschanel and think I look more like her in this commercial than my alter-ego Blossom. What–am I wrong!? Okay, wishful thinking.

4. The costume. Originally the costume designer had me in pants and emailed me sketches showing her initial designs. I gently informed her I observe the laws of tznius (modesty) and don’t wear pants and she barely batted an eyelash. The sketches were tossed and she designed a skirt to convey the same look.

5. Handmade. The outfit was all handmade for me, including rain boots spray-painted the perfect shade of pink to match the details on the skirt and my lipstick. These things are important for Old Navy’s fresh, clean, kitschy look!

6. The sound stage. We filmed in a sound stage an hour south of Los Angeles. It was rainy outside and freezing in the sound stage and I had on thick socks pulled up to my knees under the skirt. The models wore coats and parkas over their cute spring dresses in between takes to keep warm.

7. Filming. The footage you see took two 12-hour days of filming to obtain. We filmed every single line I said a million ways a bunch of times from several angles. Apparently, that’s just how commercials work. It was very tiring to repeat the same line over and over and over and over, especially when they only used a few snippets of the footage!

8. Joey. Joey Lawrence and I only overlapped in filming for a few minutes. He filmed his part and then jet-setted back to Vancouver where he was filming a movie. I think he looked great and there was adorable footage of him bopping along with his pesticide-spraying pack on his back that I wish they could have used. It was so cute.

9. The bee-bot. There was an actual hovering remote controlled bee-bot (think toy helicopter) to fly onto the set and buzz around. On the first rehearsal with the bee-bot, it crashed into the flowers on the set, the propellor splintered and the mechanic who spent hours building it literally looked like he might recite “Baruch Dayan HaEmet” (traditional phrase uttered upon hearing news of a death) over this thing. I almost wanted to join him. (They used computerized graphics for the actual commercial.)

10. My boys. The commercial is only going to run for two weeks, so the only downside I see to this whole thing is that for two weeks my husband has been forbidden from taking our boys shopping at Old Navy (something they actually do frequently). My kids barely have any idea who I am to the public or what I do as an actor. I do NOT want them seeing mama on every TV screen at Old Navy and freaking out. My 6-year-old would likely act cool, as he is wont to do these days, but sweet 3.5-year-old Fred might not make it past the screens before having a freak-out as to why I am on the TV at Old Navy when I’m supposed to be “at work.”

Crazy life, son, I know. Mama’s on the TV screens at Old Navy. But when you get home, she’ll be in fuzzy slippers and a robe cleaning under the oven for Pesach and asking why no one seems to know how to pick up a toy or a dirty sock and insisting that she’s not anyone’s maid.

Maybe my boys would like Old Navy Mama better. Tough. That big flowered hat is impossible to clean under an oven in. Plus, it just looks silly when you wear it with a robe and fuzzy slippers.

Just for old time’s sake:

About Mayim

Mayim Bialik is the grandchild of immigrants from Eastern Europe and the mother of two young boys. She is best known for her lead role in the 1990s NBC sitcom Blossom, as well as her current role as Amy Farrah Fowler on CBS' The Big Bang Theory.

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