with Lynne and Leslie
Category Archives: Fox

Sometimes, you’re not awesome: Booing children on “American Idol”

by SweetMidlife

Oh, grow up.

Dear booing audience members on “American Idol”:

I know that many of you have been raised to believe that the only feedback you should ever listen to is the positive kind, and not to let the judgey-ness of others stop you from realizing your dream. And that’s very good advice.

Unless the person doing the judging is an actual judge…say, a very experienced one in a musical game show, who is being paid not to blow smoke up the beautiful backsides of your favorite singers, but to actually help them. By telling them when they need to sing better.

To review: Sometimes love is not letting someone believe everything they do is awesome when it’s not. Sometime it’s having the guts to tell them the truth. You don’t get better by forging ahead in your suckiness. You get better by owning your strengths and weaknesses and working on them.

Yet you, little audience members who boo anytime a judge tells a singer that they are pitchy, or didn’t give it 100 percent, or picked the wrong song, need to know the judges are not defaming them. They are not telling them that they are bad singers, and that they suck, and that they should drop the mic right now and run screaming away so that music doesn’t spontaneously burst into flames and kill itself.

They are trying to help them. Stop coddling them. People aren’t trying to kill you by giving you help. These kids are going into the roughest waters of show business. If they go into it as little sissy babies who can’t take criticism, they aren’t going to go far.

You are not helping them by trying to protect them from truth. You are hurting them. And annoying the crap out of me.

Love and stuff,

the Cranky Gen-Xer.


Trayvon Martin, walking while black, and other things that scare me

by SweetMidlife

Hi. It’s Leslie.

Between celebrity interviews and making plane reservations on company time, I did some Google searches about the response to the president’s comments about the death of Trayvon Martin. It had taken President Obama a week or so to make any statements about the shooting (I think it was a murder) of a 17-year-old black kid walking to his father’s girlfriend’s house in Sanford, Fl, armed with just Skittles and an iced tea. An overzealous self-appointed neighborhood watch captain decided he was suspicious, followed him even after 911 advised him not to, approached him, got into a scuffle with him and shot him.

Even typing that makes my heart constrict a little, like it was injected with a shot of rage, fear and despair. Sorry. Back to my point.

I came across this beautiful blog:  http://open.salon.com/blog/keka/2012/03/21/for_trayvon_and_emmett_my_walking_while_black_stories – about a black female reporter’s tales about being stopped by various police officers while investigating stories, driving home from a show or just walking her dog in her own neighborhood. She relates to Trayvon, and to the famously murdered Emmitt Till, whose mother was one of her teachers, in that it only takes one trigger-happy person acting on suspicion and a hunch to ruin a day. Or end a life.

It reminded me of some of my own Walking While Black, Driving While Black, Shopping While Black, Reporting While Black or Buying Candy At A Dance Recital While Black stories – I swear to you that I was buying Skittles at the time. I am not lying. Some of these stories are funny, like when cars pull over toward me as if I am a hooker while running in my neighborhood, because the running shoes, iPod and sprinting just scream “Please pay me for sex, because I’m looking hawt!”

Some of them are outrageous, like the cashier at a grocery store who looked at my Veggie Burgers, my blazer and slacks and brand new car key, and then somehow decided they were a cue to ask if I was paying with food stamps. Or the interview subjects who have sat with me for an hour as I asked them questions and then say, when I mention writing the story “Wait…You’re the reporter?” As if the reporter sends someone else to report for them. And that was this year. It wasn’t my youth, because I’m not young.

They didn’t say I couldn’t be a reporter because I was black. But give me another reason.

I’ve been followed, like the blogger, at nice hotels and asked to produce a key when no one else in the lobby was. I recently entered a government building with white relatives, chatting and talking about where we were going, and was stopped and rudely asked where I was going, because the security guard’s common sense – Hey, this lady is talking to them! She must be with them! She hugged that one guy! – could not conquer his feeling that I did not belong. I have been asked to show credentials in VIP rooms when no one else was, because it seemed wrong that I would be there.

And there was no other reason. Spare me with the mental gymnastics that try to explain away what I know at 40. i was always dressed appropriately for the event. I wasn’t staring at anyone’s purse. I was minding my own business. And yet I have sometimes – not usually, but sometimes – been singled out.

Why is it easier to believe that I am crazy, than to believe that people are racist? Why would you rather believe that? Why does it make you feel better that the black person is overreacting? Is it because it’s easier to excuse one crazy woman than to consider that we are broken as a society. Stop twisting. Start solving. When I’ve been stopped, I’ve been well-dressed, sometimes with a press pass around my neck. When I run, I look like a runner, with all of the sweat, music and general middle-aged overweight acoutrements.

But people don’t always see that. They see brown. And that is not my fault.

Geraldo Rivera is over on FOX blaming Trayvon’s death on his hoodie, saying that because people associate hoodies with thugs, young brown boys, even Rivera’s own son, shouldn’t wear them so that people don’t get the wrong idea and shoot them. For real? They are excluded from a category of sportswear because racists want to shoot them?

I get what he is saying, that sometimes you have to be aware of your surroundings and not give people a reason – I always immediately step back from a store door that starts security beeping, because I don’t want to be accused of anything. I make sure I’m well-dressed at events, to lessen the notion that I’m some homeless person waiting to attack.

And sometimes that is not enough. I can’t wear enough iPods or nice shoes or expensive makeup to blot out the black. And I don’t know what to do about it.


Why we wouldn’t want to be that bride on “Mobbed”

by SweetMidlife

Or “Why we would have ducked Howie Mandel like we owed him money if he tried to put us on that stupid show.”

One of the truths of being a bride in general, and a Bride at 35, specifically, is that you cannot control anything. After all, us old heads couldn’t control when we were going to find love or marriage, which was most likely later than we thought, so who the heck’s to say that we have control over anything else? (We don’t.)

However, we do draw the line at being able to have chosen our own wedding dress, or bridal party, or the date and time, or the guest list, or whether or not our wedding was part of a stupid FOX reality show.

Sure, Nikki, the admittedly temperamental lady who was proposed to and then married by flash mob on the Howie-hosted program, seemed to be completely overwhelmed, emotional and excited during her ambush…er, surprise nuptials. Then again, she’d just been led to believe just minutes before that boyfriend Justin had dragged her to California as part of a contest prize only to be confronted by some sequined floozy from his past. I mean, this chick threw a drink in his face and said she wished she’d known he had a girlfriend.

So, let’s review. This admittedly jealous young woman gets what she thinks is a dream vacation and finds out that her boyfriend of three years may be cheating, and then has to deal with the embarassment of having security guards jump in to try to quell the drama. And then all of a sudden she’s assaulted…er, surprised by a mob of dancing waiters, guards and bystanders who escort her outside, where the crowd parts to reveal a tuxeodoed Justin getting off a trolley with their closest friends.

Not only does she have to process in like 30 seconds, in front of an audience, that he’s not cheating (we guess) but that she’s being proposed to. And what’s more, that wedding is gonna happen, if she says yes, right now. With her specially flown-in friends and family – at least the ones the show invited – in attendance. In a fugly dress she didn’t choose that she gets dumped into OVER HER CLOTHES WITH HER T-SHIRT SHOWING and a Claire’s clearance rack tiara that keeps sliding off her head during the wedding that she was basically emotionally coerced into.

Yeah, yeah, it was all terribly exciting and fun, and she got to be the center of attention and know that Justin was not only not a cheating skank (we guess) but also loved her enough to commit and go through the trouble of choreography and and arranging a TV show to prove that love. And she seemed truly touched and happy that she was married to her beloved.

But. And still.

A) Why was it necessary to throw in that awful scene with the supposed skank? I can see trying to throw Nikki off the scent so the surprise is greater, but why throw her heart into a blender and drink it? Sure, she quickly got wonderful validation that it was all a ruse. But why mess with that poor girl’s head? For the rest of her life, her memories of the happiest day of her life will be mixed with the sick, nauseous feeling, however brief, that she’d been made the worst kind of fool. Jerks.

B) While an instant wedding is probably great from the prospective of TV producers and some viewers, but I don’t know one bride, even the low-key DIY ones, who wouldn’t want some say in her big day. I know she agreed, but I got the feeling she was overwhelmed into it. The dress was awful, dowdy, unflattering and wasn’t even buttoned all the way. And those bridesmaids dresses did her party NO favors. It all seemed that in the haste to put on a show, they negated the star of the show – the bride. I can’t help but think that at some point Nikki is gonna look back and say “THAT was my wedding?”

I have read online that Justin and Nikki’s televised nuptials probably weren’t even legal in California without both of them signing the marriage license, so there was certainly a do-over. Still, this is the big money day. And the only person who didn’t know about it was Nikki.

Look, it’s a nice gesture, and the dancing was adorable. But at almost 40, I know a lot of women who have waited years for their wedding. It may not have been the wedding they would have had – or even did have – when  they were younger. And they have learned that if some of the details don’t go exactly as planned, it’s not a tragedy. But at least we got to be in on the details before they went down. I hope that if this was me, and my boyfriend had gotten the mistaken impression that I would be down with this, that I would have had the guts to, however, sheepishly, thank everyone for their time, assure my boy that I loved him…

and say “Cut!”


TV Bride (Over) 35: Finn’s Mom on "Glee"

by SweetMidlife

Neither of us have children, so perhaps we can’t understand the urge to make every important thing un your life about your offspring. We get that your kids become your focus in almost every way. But should they hijack your wedding?

A huge sparkly nay, we say. Which is why, as much as we love “Glee,” and admire the stratospherically perfect voice of Kurt (Chris Colfer), we cannot condone the show’s recent wedding of Kurt’s dad to Finn’s mom, which took a beautiful older couple’s special day and turned it into a very bridal “Kids From Fame” special. Whose star was Kurt. And as adorable as he is, we think the bride gets to be the star of the day. Or the groom. But mostly the bride. (Don’t tell our husbands we said that.)

Yeah, yeah, we know the show’s called “Glee” and not “Loving Older Couple,” and that it’s a big fluffy fantasy where people burst into song, with instant accompaniment, six times an hour, in major production pieces on a Midwestern public school’s budget. So we’re not looking for stark reality here. But was it really necessary to have the Glee kids be the attendants, when this nice-seeming 40-something couple should probably, you know, have friends of their own? And for the focus to be on Kurt and his awesomeness? This reminds us of a wedding our aunt told us about, where the (older) bride basically had a special presentation for everyone she ever met, including a song for her dead father. We’re all for a production – Lynne’s groom sang him and his groomal (?) party down the aisle to Jackie Wilson’s “Your Love (Is Lifting Me Higher.” But it was awesome. And about, you know, Lynne’s love lifting him higher.

Also, we know that the “Glee” wedding was cast in the middle of a very, very important storyline about the bullying of gay students (in this case, Kurt), and that he needed to feel supported. But couldn’t they have written it so the kids and the family staged some sort of separate Kurt Appreciation Day – you know they love nothing more than the staging of events on that show – on a different day? To purposely write it so that the wedding had to be all about anybody but the bride and groom made me wish they hadn’t done the wedding at all.

We know, we know…Kurt’s now-stepmom is awesome and lovely and willing to make this day about her new family, including her new stepson. And that’s sweet and generous and blah blah blah IT’S HER DADBLAMED WEDDING. Just because you’re older and getting married for the second time doesn’t mean you have to surrender your spotlight completely. Maybe we’re just not that nice.

Yeah. That’s probably it. She did look pretty, though. And, at least, elsewhere in the episode, this got to happen.


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