Not many people are aware that earlier this year, Chris and I were working with a casting director from TLC for a new reality series on alternative families. Okay… it was more of “I” was working with the casting director.
It all started with one of our ItsDaddies.Plural. readers sending a message that they had received from the casting agency looking for gay parents in middle America that were interested in the concept. Of course it peeked my interest and I sent in our blog link to the email address that provided. Within a couple days, I received a phone call while at work and had a phone interview. They had asked for some more information and I sent in our adoption portfolio, along with our autobiographies that we had created for Friends In Adoption. A couple weeks went by and I received another call. They were still interested and we had made it to the next level. I provided some additional information (funny parenting stories that we had encountered) as well as some additional photos and an “average week” summation. This was extremely easy to provide because of the blog. A few days later and I had received another call and provided some additional information. Then about three weeks went by and I didn’t hear anything. It looked like we weren’t selected. Oh well, it would have been fun.
Then the 4th of July weekend hit. My blackberry was acting up (don’t tell my IT department, but it could have been Kensington’s saliva that shorted out the interface because our little chickpea decided that she wanted to use it as a teething ring) and I didn’t realize that I had a voicemail message that was in my inbox for a couple days. It was Brian, from the TLC casting agency. We had made it to the final selection round. He wanted to talk to us about a video that he needed sent electronically before the weekend was up. It was to be a 3-5 minute video of the three of us answering a couple questions that they provided. It was also to show us giving a tour of our home. They needed it by that Monday, as they would be making their selection of families (the show would be an ongoing storyline of a couple different LGBT families and how they deal with raising an alternative family in a majority straight society).
Houston, we have a problem. This was becoming real, and I left out one minor little detail. I didn’t tell Chris any of this was happening. I told him about the original email that I had received saying that TLC was doing a show, but I left out the details of the numerous phone and email communications I had with Brian.
So, as we were preparing for our holiday gathering in NJ, I sprung it on him.
“Look at what we can do for America… there are currently six states that prohibit gays from adopting. We can show them that gay families can provide loving and stable homes to the tens of thousands of children currently needing a home.”
He wasn’t buying it.
“Chris, think of what this can do for our family. This can boost Kensington’s college fund. She will have a want for nothing. Jon and Kate are getting, like, $250k an episode."
Nope. Still not budging. (It probably had something to do with Jon and Kate announcing that they were splitting up and that was on the cover of every magazine that week).
So I decided to go the passive-aggressive route, “Do NOT stifle this family’s creativity. Stop thinking about you, you, you and start thinking about us. Our little girl is loved by so many and can be loved by the world. Look how we have helped so many people during their adoption journey with our blog… think of what we can do… think of what Kensington can do. She deserves to be a star!” I said this half jokingly.
Wrong approach. Clearly I should have thought this through a little bit more.
What followed next was a lightly heated conversation about scripted reality and how everything is exaggerated for ratings. “It doesn’t have to be that way… this show is different, they are showing LGBT families is a positive light. Look, we don’t have to sign a contract without reading it. If anything looks like we won’t have control of how they view us, we’ll walk away.” He still wasn’t buying any of it. “Okay, look. Let’s ask everyone at the party what they think. Don’t say ‘no’ just yet. Let’s get some buy-in from our friends.” He went for it. This could not have been better for me. I knew they’d all say ‘go for it’.
Okay. I was wrong. EVERYONE said to stay clear of the situation. While it may seem fun, we shouldn’t expose ourselves like this. They went through example after example of individuals who have exposed themselves to reality television; and how they are now suffering for all that they have received. Infidelity, no privacy, the replay effect, lack of reality, good intentions gone bad, questionable morality and separation/divorce. Although reality tv makes great entertainment, it is probably not the best place to raise a family or to showcase our lives. I got it. Some friends they are for poop-pooping my hopes and dreams. :)
One of the key points that they included (these are my friends, mind you) that the world would not get/understand my strange sense of humor. While THEY get and they love it… it might not come across the way I want it to when it is sliced and edited to fit into a 42 minute episode. I just don’t understand?
And then Halloween hit. I thought I came up with the perfect Halloween costume for our Kensington – It was cute and adorable, and yet scary and deadly – everything you’d want during this particular holiday event, right?
Come on... this is precious.
Look, I know that swine flu isn't a laughing matter. We've had a friend and co-worker that had swine flu for two weeks, and a gay dad that we know currently has a little one that sick right now.
But when you think about it, Ed Gein (The Texas Chainsaw Massacre) did horrible things, and yet hundreds of thousands of kids dressed up like him and he was portrayed in almost every scary hayride across the country.
Piracy off the Somali coast has been a threat to international shipping recently, and yet, Captain Jack Black was going door-to-door asking for candy.
Death is real... and scary, but that didn't stop major department stores from selling Grim Reaper costumes.
So, what I’m saying is, the Swine Flu is in fact an appropriate Halloween costume and it's not just my sense of humor coming into play. Now, it’s probably something that we would have gotten backlash for had we showed this on television, so I guess everything happens for a reason.