Thursday, June 5, 2008
The Morning Show with Mike & Juliet
Breakfast: Au Bon Pain coffee and strangely heartburney danishes (though I shouldn't complain; free breakfast is free breakfast)
Fellow audience: The most white and out-of-town audience yet.
Free gift: a book from "Money Guru Dave Ramsey"
Mike and Juliet are a curious bunch. According to the Times, she is "an attractive over-30 woman who has pursued her career rather than marrying and regrets it...[not a] giggly hot mom like Kelly Ripa; [nor a] model of rectitude and self-sacrifice like Ms. Vieira." She's more than a sad, hot career woman to some, though; unlike her partner, she has a fan blog.
Mike, on the other hand, seems a stalwartly un-self-aware boob full of cheesy, outdated humor. Sample line: when, late in the show, we saw a brief video of a pig poking around with his nose, Mike addressed us when the cameras weren't rolling: "that looks like it hurt his nose. The vet said he'd get him some oik-ment!" That Times article accuses Mike of "leer[ing] at girls like an old stage ham," but I see him as little more than a Fred Willard character come magically to life:
The warm-up guy, apparently a fresh college grad who wants to make it big in TV and won't let a setback like an internship at the Morning Show damper his spirits, gushed about the day's show, and when we responded with tired grumbles instead of enthusiasm, he encouraged us to drink up that coffee. "Hey, it's free!" he said with a boy-next-door smile. "You're gonna love today's show," he gushed. "It's got all kinds of craziness." I seriously doubted that.
We were seated. As we waited for the show to start, I noticed someone had left the camera turned the wrong way. I could see the teleprompter. This is what it read:
SEX CHANGES FOR
KIDS CELL PHONE
And that's when I realized this show might bring some spunk.
Five minutes later, Mike and Juliet were in a heated (though pitched) discussion with a female-to-male transvestite, a doctor who specialized in sex-reassignment therapy for adolescents, and a Christian moralist who opposed them. We'd just gotten back from a lead-in to the show where Mike had said, "Coming up next: a hospital that provides sex-changes...for children as young as seven!"
Doctor: Mike, I'd like to clarify something before we get started. I've never heard of a sex change for a seven year old. What we do is delay puberty for 10-12 year olds if they're having serious gender identity issues. That way they can have a little more time to figure out what their gender is, and how they want to respond to that.
Moralist: What's most alarming to me is that so many children can act on a whim and undergo life-altering surgery. They're just not old enough to make that kind of decision.
Transvestite: With all due respect, I was one of those kids. I've known my whole life that I was a man trapped in a woman's body.
Mike: Yes, that's a good point. But still, don't you think that seven is a bit too young for a sex change?
The show was hectic, with our warm-up guy rushing out at every quiet moment to try and entertain us. Asking us audience members to come down for quick dance sessions, to tell jokes, to offer tickets to a free comedy show (this one was actually free), etc. He tried very hard to be entertaining, and was sadly unsuccessful.
The last section was opened with the teaser: "Can cell phones harm your unborn baby?"
They interviewed a random doctor. He said, "essentially, no. The study was done in the 90s and all it proves is that some women of the women who used cell phones back then had children who ended up with behavioral disorder. I would continue recommending pregnant women not to smoke or drink alcohol."
The warm-up guy was trying to get us to laugh again, lamely, when Juliet walked by and threw a comment to us: "cell phones hurt your baby? Give me a break." That bit of honesty gave me a hearty belly laugh.
The warm-up guy looked up at me from a sweaty failed joke, thinking I was laughing at him. "Thank you! See, guys, at least one person up there thinks I'm funny!"
Take one more Fred Willard. For the road: