Children and Show Business?

I live in a factory town. The product here is television, don’t get me started on how all the movie productions have left Los Angeles.

I grew up with kids who were working actors. As an adult I became friends with more than a few folks who had spent their childhoods auditioning and sometimes working. I watch the kids in the neighborhood go off to casting calls, and spend summers on set.

I’m not enchanted by Hollywood, and I haven’t made a secret of believing that children shouldn’t be on the big (or little) screen. This week when we taped Momversation I was asked to lead a discussion about kids and Hollywood with Jen and Trish. I knew all about Trish and her daughter’s less than wonderful experience with modeling, but I had NO IDEA that Jen had not one but two kids on a TV show.

This week on Momversation be sure to watch as a firmly wedge my foot in my mouth…. because really, that’s why y’all watch, right?

And then if have another six minutes to give to the web today, Tom Hanks nails it with Toddlers and Tiaras. Incidentally when Mr. G. caught me watching Toddlers and Tiaras his lecture included the phrase, “by watching this you are culpable.”

Enjoy. Guilt free. You are not culpable.

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6 Comments

  1. My daughter was in modeling and loved it. The only reason we are not doing it right now is because she started kindergarten and I felt that it was more important than going on photo shoots. When she is old enough if she chooses to pursue it, I will do whatever she needs to achieve her dreams but the whole stand there and be silent drove me crazy.By law I was required on set but I couldn’t say anything.To watch them struggle to get a giggle out of a 3 yo that I could have told them how to but was not asked made me insane:) Plus, there was a LOT of sitting and waiting which was hard for an active little one. We only did it because she had seen Eloise and wanted to be a “Movie star” I think its all dependent on the individuals. It worked for us, right now it would be something else that needed to be done while trying to get school, ballet, play dates, soccer, etc done. Now my 3 yo wants to do it. I told her we will see:) But Im pretty sure she wont like it when she has to step away from me:)

  2. That Tom Hanks skit is so funny. And Mr. G is correct… I suppose watching does make us culpable. But it’s hard not to watch the train wreck that IS “Toddlers & Tiaras”.
    I let my daughters watch one day. 10 was suitably horrified. 5 however wanted the fake teeth. So I guess watching is not a great idea, even as a “life lesson”. She would love the dresses the make-up… not quite what I thought her reaction would be.

  3. That video totally made my night! I stopped watching T&T because I did feel guilty, though even if I didn’t watch it, those parents would still exist in all their crazy. I often wonder if they watch the show and see themselves the same way the viewers do or if they are able to justify and blame on editing.

    I am not really fond of children working, even if that’s modeling or acting and they love it, though I guess we wouldn’t have had Full House, and my childhood, and the eighties!, would have not been the same. My husband and I share the belief that if our kids want to act, it will be in school or extracurricular activities, and they can pursue a career when they turn 18!

  4. SO GLAD you blogged about this. (You seem to always blog what I’m thinking but can’t find time to blog!)

    Yes, the Toddlers & Tiaras skit was funny, but….how on earth did they explain that to “Sophie,” the girl who played his “sexy” daughter?

    I was disgusted that he actually used that adorable girl in the “funny sexy baby” routine. They could have done the same thing with outtakes or animation, no? I wondered what the conversation was like with her off set. Why did she have to be exposed to that?

  5. Loved both videos.
    You already know I’m not necessarily on the same page here – but that’s probably because we had such an amazingly positive experience with local theater (not to be confused with television – different planets!) with my daughter last spring & summer.
    She told me she wanted to audition (at 7) learned the monologue in one night, got called back, got cast, made every rehearsal and performed in 18 live shows in front of an audience and loved every second of it.
    We had 2 rules: 1) it doesn’t interfere with school. Grades have to stay up, homework has to be done (her teacher helped remind her to do part or all of it during their ‘break time’ during the school day) and no late nights during the school year. (We have an 8p bedtime – 8:30 in the summer) 2) if she accepted the role, she had to commit to learning all of her lines and being at every rehearsal and performance – because the rest of the cast was counting on it. She did both.
    Is that like television? No, not at all. Is it show business? Yes. Just the old-fashioned kind.
    Those 2 rules? They stand until she graduates from high school – then she can have the opportunity mess up (or not) her life in her own special way like the rest of us.

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