Unless there's a lot of money in the offing, it doesn't seem like there's any reason to get involved. That's what I've always maintained anyway.
A while ago, an old friend who has been almost famous for most of her adult life (she was just on a reality show herself), found out that there was a casting call for a show about stay-at-home dads. She signed me up. She hoped I didn't mind. Of course I didn't. It would be a lark.
When I talked to the casting agent on the phone, as I was walking around Sea World with the kids, he laughed at the responses I gave to his questions. He had read my blog. He found me interesting, which I find irresistible.
Of course I would never actually allow a film crew to set up shop in my house and follow my family around. Would I?
I mean, what kind of life is that for a couple sensitive little kids? What profit would there be in it? Not much--if any--money, most likely. I have no desire to become a TV personality. More pageloads on the ol' blog? Well, yeah, that's something I have an unhealthy interest in. Maybe a big-time writing gig? Somehow? Yeah, right.
Mostly, I just wanted to go as far as I could with the process, up to the point of being asked to do the show, so I could learn more about the behind-the-scenes chicanery. Without actually, you know, allowing my family to be turned into a sideshow. Unless...
More to the point, my wife wouldn't hear of it. She doesn't even want her image to appear on my blog. So, even if I were seduced by the siren song of pseudo-fame, she would wisely put the kibosh on it.
I answered some questions on an email survey. There were a few thinly-veiled queries that amounted to how much are you and your wife going to fight, and about what? Of course. Well, in that regard, we would make for pretty boring TV. With some diligent editing, someone could make it look like all we do is nitpick and roll our eyes at each other, and maybe the right musical cues could make that seem ominous; but the drama would be sparse and offer little catharsis to viewers. So I invented some gnawing conflicts to include in my response, just to keep the game going.
Next, we had to make an audition video. That ended up being kind of fun even though my wife initially wanted nothing to do with. My nephew pointed the camera at us and asked questions supplied by the casting director. Talking about our relationship to an 18-year old, shaggy-haired hockey player was so absurd that we all giggled our way through it. You would think it was hella-cute if my wife allowed me to post it here. There was also plenty of footage of the kids riding their homemade bikes, cruising in the dogwagon, and clambering on their parents.
Then I waited for a response.
Here's where it gets weird:
For the next two weeks, I felt like I had cameras on me at all times. And I think it briefly made me a better person.
I've talked before about how blogging has, in a weird way, kept me accountable as a parent. Not like I don't omit a lot of stories about my worst moments, or embellish the ones about my best. However, having this compulsion to report on my own progress does keep me, if not honest, at least self-vigilant. So I can only imagine what having a camera crew on me 24/7, and a producer bent on controlling the narrative, would do.
My kids are closing in on three now. They can push my buttons like no one ever has in my whole life. All the buttons. The one that makes me squish them and smother them in kisses because they're so unbelievably cute and hilarious and sweet; but also the one that makes me seethe and growl and grind my teeth.
I have yelled. I have thrown things (toys, cheese sticks). I have held them firmly and clenched until I can see floaters in my peripheral vision. Of course these reactions do nothing but mildly disturb the children and make the old man feel like a piece of shit. I see it all happening as it happens.
But in the days when I was "rehearsing" for my TV debut, I was the picture of patience and reason. All the angry buttons had been disconnected.
You don't like those socks, honey? Well, let's just keep looking then. I'll bet pair number 54 will be just perfect!
Oh, my goodness. Did Daddy just accidentally lick the top of your yogurt cup? I can see how that would make you to scream and sob and throw your spoon across the kitchen. Let me just get you a whole new yogurt. There, there. Let me hold you while you scream it out.
Now, now, sweet pea. We don't bite our sister. Let's just gently pry our jaws open...
Of course I would be happy to carry both of you up and down the stairs all day long while you scream and kick each other. Daddy LOVES to hold his little princesses!