Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The long-term impact of Jon and Kate on other families in their shoes

The exploitation of the Gosselin eight is in the back of the minds of Houston parents Lauren and David Perkins as they request privacy for their new sextuplets

Lauren Perkins, in one of the few pregnancy photos the family has released.
(Graphics added)
America's newest parents of sextuplets so far seem to be doing everything right. 

The Texas couple, who tried over a year and a half to get pregnant and were told by their doctor that the odds of having sextuplets was only 1%, requested privacy at this time, and said on their web site (which only has a handful of comments in their guest book from well wishers): "The family is not taking interviews at this time" and would only release further photos with permission. The family also mentioned the Gosselins in an FAQ on their web site: 

"Will you have a tv show, given the opportunity?
Heck no.  I don't think being on tv was root cause to the demise of the Gosselin family (Jon and Kate 8) or the Masche family (Raising Sextuplets).  I think being on tv exacerbated pre-existing problems."
It's stories like this that make us wonder how many families may have been subtly influenced by America's obsession with "freak shows" and the consequences on their subjects, one of the most famous examples being, of course, the Gosselin eight. Is this the good that will come out of the Gosselin tragedy? Here's wishing Lauren, David, and Babies A through F (the parents have not, and we hope never will, released their names) all the best and that they trust their instincts and keep their family private.

"If you had sextuplets, you would do what Kate did too" thankfully doesn't seem to ring true for this young couple, not yet anyway. God speed.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Child actor Mara Wilson: Film acting is 'not very fun', auditions were 'brutal and dehumanizing'

She stole our hearts in Mrs. Doubtfire and Matilda, but the pint-sized, adorable little girl is all grown up now, and wants nothing to do with film anymore: 'Only about half of the people asking me, Are you still acting? seem to take what I want into consideration.'

Wilson and Robin Williams, 1993

Now that Mara Wilson, 25, is an adult and has a voice, she's started an interesting blog (launched in December). A recent post in which she describes how she feels about her career as a child actor is getting some attention. Mara is a graduate of NYU and a playwright.

Said Mara on celebrity: "The celebrity aspect is nothing short of ridiculous, and auditioning is brutal and dehumanizing. Every time I see a pretty young girl on the subway reading sides for an audition, my only thought is, 'Man, am I glad I’m not doing that anymore.' I never feel nostalgia, just relief."

On demanding, creepy fans who can be very selfish: "I didn’t write Matilda or direct the movie, I just played the part. Still, what I did was important to them. I can understand why they want me to continue acting. But interestingly enough, only about half of the people asking me “Are you still acting?” seem to take what I want into consideration." (Reminds us of Kate's fans, who demand to know when the next special will be made without any regard for how the children feel about filming again.)

In an interview with her college newspaper in 2009, Mara had this to say about an encounter with fans: "I came to NYU for academic purposes and it was strange to me when I lived in Weinstein and I would find people knocking on my door late at night, like Thursday night at 12 am. I would open the door in my pajamas and there’d be a crowd of freshman girls, saying ‘Are you Mara?’ ‘Uhhh, yeah’. And they’d say “Well, we just really wanted to meet you.” And then they’d look really disappointed, because they probably expected at least for me to be wearing more than my pajamas. I felt bad, like I was letting them down because I wasn’t being glamorous, because I wasn’t the exciting person they thought I would be. And then they would often ask me to party with them. And I never did, I mean, I am really not a partier, and second of all, would you party with people you didn’t know who showed up at your door late at night on a school night? Would they have done that? No. There were safety issues."

On tedious days on the set (Mara began acting at age five): "Here is something no real celebrity will ever tell you: film acting is not very fun. Doing the same thing over and over again until, in the director’s eyes, you “get it right,” does not allow for very much creative freedom. The best times I had on film sets were the times the director let me express myself,* but those were rare."

And though she has never spoken of it publicly, Mara's mother was diagnosed with stage four breast cancer during the middle of filming Matilda. Mara, who was just eight years old, had to go on with the job and finish. Her mother died shortly after.

On Dancing With the Stars: "And no, you will not ever see me on Dancing With The Stars. Sorry.

Here's wishing Mara lots of success in her career, and we extend our gratitude for her part in a modern classic: 

Thursday, April 12, 2012

TLC hires convicted criminal for reality show

The network strikes out again as they team up with a scammer

Apparently TLC is still not all that interested in background checks-shmackground checks. Their newest reality show Mama's Boys of the Bronx looks like harmlesss enough drivel about Italian men who still live with their mothers (Sbadiglio! Us Italian Sicilian-Americans just call this normal), however some discerning San Diegans and fans of 10 News out there recognized a familiar Mama's Boy as none other than Anthony Zoccolillo, a con artist the 10 News under cover reporters helped to put behind bars four years ago. Oops!

Zoccolillo was videotaped by the 10 News I-Team in 2007 as he entered a vacant house in Pacific Beach that he was trying to rent out. When he realized he was on camera, he took off running, refusing to answer the producer's questions. He was later arrested and charged with conspiracy and grand theft. He was sentenced to two years in prison.

An anonymous viewer who called in the sighting had this to say: "He bilks people out of money and now he gets a reality show? That's just not right."

Hey, shocked and appalled anonymous viewer, this is not the first con artist TLC has worked with. We could give you an earful about what is just not right about this learning exploitation channel.

Monday, April 9, 2012

A very Gosselin Easter

From thousands of plastic eggs, to baking in a shower cap, to setting a place for "Kate's future husband" at the dinner table, to denying she knows anything about this week's upcoming custody hearing, to blocking a loyal fan and paying cruise customer from Twitter, Kate's Easter was a sometimes hysterical more often creepy glimpse into her descent into madness.

And the paparazzi arrived just in time to capture it all.

FYI, until further notice, Realitytvkids.com now has a policy of blurring the children's faces in photos.


Friday, April 6, 2012

Fred Savage has no regrets about child stardom: Love the work, not the fame

The Wonder Years boy wonder says that Little League churns out a lot more murderers than showbiz ever did, and that he would have no problem with his own kids becoming child actors

Fred Savage, now 35, a father of two boys and a successful director and producer (most recently, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphlia and Best Friends Forever) this week dismissed suggestions that child stardom leads to terrible things. But a look back at his childhood yields some obvious clues as to why little Kevin Arnold turned out so well--and why other child stars under different circumstances crumble. 

Dad kept his day job. Savage's family, originally from the Chicago area, kept a home there for years after all three of the Savage kids hit it big in Hollywood. Dad Lew kept working as a real estate agent. (We can't help but notice, parents keeping their day jobs seems to be one of the most common factors when it comes to child stars growing into successful adults. It's good to see Jon back at a day job. When will Kate go back?)

Even as a child, Savage seemed to feel a sense of relief no one was counting on him to support his family. Said Savage when he was just thirteen-years-old: "A job is what you do to make money to support yourself. But I'm not acting to support my family or myself.  I just do it for fun.  When it starts to become hard work and I'm not enjoying myself, then it's time to stop."

College bound. Savage put acting on hold to attend Stanford University. He graduated in 1999 with a degree in English. (Other successful child stars also went to college.)

'Fame shouldn't be an end result': Staying away from the celebrity lifestyle and doing it because you love the work, not the fame. Said Savage"Fame was never a big part of my experience. I didn't hang out with celebrities or live a celebrity lifestyle. Fame can come and fame can go. When it was never a part of your life to begin with, you don't miss it. For me, it was always about the work ... I just liked being on set and working. Fame shouldn't be an end result. That's a dangerous game to play and never part of the equation for me and still isn't." During his childhood, the family made their home in the quiet, distinctly un-Hollywood neighborhood of Tarzana, near the Wonder Years set.

Just a normal kid. Savage had chores and made an allowance of nine dollars a week. He said his parents never pressured him to act: "They're both very generous, kind, loving people who are fair and very supportive. They never push me.  They say, 'You don't have to do anything you don't want to do.  We'll love you even if you don't do it.  If you want to stop, you can."

Family First. Said Savage's dad Lew, who took a flight to Los Angeles every weekend from Chicago, "If Fred worked in Timbuktu we'd be there. I'd probably come by elephant on weekends. A parent just does that by instinct for his kids. Things have changed for us, of course. But the family is the most important thing."

Good job, Mr. and Mrs. Savage.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Kate: 'It's a shame that Tony has been left only with a negative impression of our time together'

Kate's latest feud is with her former dance stomping-around partner

Tony Dovolani, Patron Saint of Dance Teachers
On Friday when CNN's Anderson Cooper asked if he was still traumatized by watching Kate Gosselin dance, Tony Dovolani replied: "Anderson, did you just call it dance? We didn't dance!" When asked if he needed a vacation after that, Tony said: "There was a lot of therapy involved."

Today, Kate posted an oh-so-serious response on Coupon Cabin. Said Kate: "I think it is a shame that Tony has been left only with a negative impression of our time together, especially after we spent SO many hours, days, nights and weeks working hard together doing our best in the competition. To Anderson Cooper I’d like to say this: I’d love the opportunity to be a front row spectator for your first dance as a competitor on the next season of Dancing With The Stars. C’mon , you know you’re hoping for a spot! I can only imagine how your view of the subject may change 180 degrees, not 360 degrees, if you are given the opportunity to cha cha cha! Hey, Anderson, if it does happen for you, what do you say I give you some dancing pointers over pizza sometime?"

Uh, I don't think Kate's history with pizza bodes well for that meeting.