If You Don’t Like the Michael J Fox Show You’re a Bad Person

09.30.13

I watched Family Ties growing up. I saw Back to the Future (on VHS and TV) and he was in a zillion movies as the super likable guy. Michael J Foxx has made appearances everywhere I watch and listen in the past few years since his Parkinson’s Disease has become his co-star. Every appearance, every interview and every PSA has the world (myself included) cheering for Michael J Fox. He wants to dance at his daughter’s wedding. I want him to dance at his daughter’s wedding. Only a monster wouldn’t want Michael J Fox to be cured of this punishing disease.

Along with 7.2 million other people I tuned in (rather, programmed my DVR) to watch the pilot episode of the Michael J Fox show. I watched the pilot and then I watched the second half hour and though it wasn’t particularly late I yawned, a lot. It just wasn’t a funny show. I wanted to like it, but I didn’t. Perhaps it will get better. I’m leaving it on the DVR and I’ll give it a scan but here’s where it’s clever.

Because the show is titled The Michael J Fox Show you can’t dislike the show without seeming to dislike Michael J Fox and MJF is unquestionably the most sympathetic man on TV. You can’t dislike the show with the shakes jokes or you hate disabled people and you aren’t inclusive and…

So I didn’t like it. It’s not funny. It’s missing humility and characters with depth. Of course it’s a sitcom and sitcoms don’t typically have much depth and it’s fair to note that I don’t love sitcoms as a rule but I’d never dream of missing an episode of Parks & Recreation.

I like Michael J Fox and I have at least three handicapable friends! There is genius in plastering Mr Nice Guy all over a network show because even Gawker gave it fake-love and pretended it was funny.

Oh someone just shoot me.

michael j fox show

 

Where Is Average Joe and Joanne?

09.11.12

I’m hard at work on a new show and my friend Adrienne and I were in search of subjects for the pilot. Without giving too much detail away I’ll just say that we went to a local mom hangout just after drop off this morning to go shove a camera in people’s faces and talk to them. I swear I was so incredibly nervous when I spoke to the first two strangers and the second two strangers were a little better but when I ran down a canyon after the third set of strangers and got in front of them with my camera I was like, “Oh, I know you.” Because they’re on TV, in fact you know them because they’re on a ridiculously popular reality show.

The two after that were famous too but I’m too suburban to know who they are. They’re younger than I am and the only clue I’ll give you is this.

We had some lovely ladies, a couple of jerks and a couple who wasn’t a couple but rather they’d met while performing on Broadway.

Living in LA is too weird, our Average Joe is a SAG member and signs release forms while muttering, “My agent’s going to kill me.”

 

I Don’t Want to Know the Actors in a Show I Like

02.29.12

Recently I was talking to someone about the show Breaking Bad. I am absolutely hooked on it after having downloaded season one for a long flight. I’m now part way through season four and the shows are looking a little familiar, I might have tuned into them on the TV. The lady I was talking to works with the show producers and started telling me a bit about her job. I had to stop her and I had to stop her immediately. You see I never want to know about actors. I just want to see them act.

I loved Will and Grace until one of our friends got a semi regular role. All of a sudden I went from watching a show that removed me from reality to a watching my neighbor act. Which is about as much fun as watching a school play. There have been dozens of little shows ruined for me but none so awful as Justified. Last year I loved Justified. I think I even knew which day of the week it was on. In December Alexander went to tennis camp with two of the star’s children. I did everything I could to not see him but it was useless. He went from being a redneck lawman to an LA dad and the show is all but ruined for me.

Some people love knowing about actors. Late night television (and some daytime too?) thrives on the celebrity (or emerging celebrity) interview. As much as I love for my friends and neighbors to have successes, I’d like them to limit their acting successes to shows that I don’t love.

Toddlers and Television, the AAP and Sesame Street

10.27.11

Well that went well. Dr. Ari Brown spat out the words Mommy Blogger a few times with a little more disdain that Sister Susan uses for syphilis or satan. James Steyer was magnificent at promoting his website and chastised me more than once for arguing the science.

Because ya know I’m like Michelle Bachman if I argue the quality of the science. Yet I do question the quality of the science.

We talked about how low income kids watch more TV and it might not be children’s programming. Perhaps because it’s less safe to play outside? I’m thinking that’s true in the cities, but not every low income home is urban. I strongly suspect that with NPR talking about less screen time for children (particularly in the San Francisco Bay Area) it’s preaching to the choir.

There was great concern at the top of the hour about apps, smart phones and computers, but that wasn’t discussed. Lesli Rotenberg joined us as a representative of Sesame Street and everyone fell head over heels. She might as well have been Grover. Who doesn’t love Sesame Street?

The discussion on KQED’s own site centered around the fact that these families had screen free homes. Irony anyone?

I’m tired of of women like Dr. Ari Brown who have an agenda that is dismissive of real life. It’s exhausting to me that folks think that because you’re a blogger you’re uneducated. It’s tiring to hear from the “experts”, as new media has evolved I’ve seen the curtain pulled back and much like the Wizard of Oz there are often tiny men with big megaphones.

Your infants and TV? The AAP’s recommendations are sound. Limit media.

Okay, got it? Limit media. Houses with TVs on all day? You suck, the AAP says so and I totally agree with them.

Don’t give your one year old your iPhone… well odds are are 1 in 6 that there’s fecal matter on it already.

The recommendations suggest nesting cups or wooden spoons. You should totally use these toys for your kids while you’re milking the cows and churning your butter.

I understand that people worry about too much media. There was a time that lawmakers were concerned about radios in cars.

I also know that there is a richness in new media. Good content should not be ignored and Bugs Bunny won’t make your child violent, he simply will not. If a Baby Einstein video introduces your infant to Mozart and a Brainy Baby DVD teaches them colors go for it. Also if you think your child doesn’t have to be learning every single second of their day, you might be right too.

 

UPDATE: Here is the podcast.

Dr. Dimitri Christakis: International Expert on Media and Child Health… and Marketing

06.30.11

Like many moms I remember bringing the kids to the pediatrician and they’d give you the all the developmental milestones that the kids were supposed to hit. Their pediatrician would let me know what foods could be introduced and maybe talk about water safety or something similar. When Alexander was toddling I got the “We are recommending no television until children are two” speech. Which made me giggly because Jane was pre school aged and looked forward to a video in the afternoon. I just looked at the doctor and he shrugged knowing full well that in real life televisions are watched.

I didn’t feel badly about letting my kids watch TV because my brother and I had been weaned on Sesame Street and I’m pretty sure we learned a good bit of our numbers there. I knew that my brother and I were smart and successful and that TV hadn’t interrupted our development. I wasn’t planning on giving the kids eight hours a day of screen time, I just needed 45 minutes in the late afternoon to get dinner on the table (oh and maybe to even pee alone).

In May and August of 2007 Frederick J. Zimmerman, PHD, Dimitri A. Christakis, MD, MPH, and Andrew N. Meltzoff, PHD published a study that concluded that babies who watched videos had less words than children of the same age who had not. This has launched Dimitri Christakis’ career from MD to “International Expert on Media and Child Health”. From his webpage at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

Dr Dimiti Christakis website that explains why he is an expert

What happened today is that the university admits that they violated the public records act. In the process of suing Bill collected a huge amount of data including an electronic copy of the raw data. The two huge red flags today are to analyze the data and see if it is a valid study.

Today’s settlement is about public records it’s not about the science.

In the course of the lawsuit they gave Bill Clark (co founder of Baby Einstein) a hard copy of the data in November of 2009 and they redacted the data including the month and year that the children were born. This made it impossible to recreate the study. Four months after receiving the hard copy an electronic version was given to Bill under oath and some of the numbers are different.

Why would there be two raw data sets?

The principal investigator, Zimmerman, ordered that all of the data from that project would be destroyed. The University says that they found a back up copy of the data, and presented it to Clark. Strange.

The average daily time that babies who watched videos in the study was 8.7 minutes. The researchers reported the results in terms of babies watching video for an hour a day.

Next up is to take a hard look at the two sets of data that should be identical but are not. I for one am waiting with baited breath.

Also worth noting is that researchers at Harvard see the science differently, they also don’t go after specific brands in their research.