Earlier this week my efficient and friendly contact at Team Fox, MS, emailed to invite me to appear as part of the team on Good Morning America. We would just stand in the audience as a group, in our singlets, and perhaps have the chance to get on camera when the Team spokesperson was interviewed about this weekend’s Unity Walk. Since I was taking Friday as a woe-is-me vacation day anyway, I was definitely in! I’m not the type of person who would wait on line to be part of the studio audience, but it was important to me to help promote Team Fox’s message and good works.
I’ve only ever been part of a studio audience two other times. Once, I got tickets to Letterman so I could take my dad, who was a big fan of the show. Daisy Fuentes was one of the guests (boring) but Motley Crue was the musical guest and they played in the street behind the theater. That was cool; man were they fucking loud. I remember pushing my way all the way up front just because I wanted to get a good look at these guys. I was quickly ejected back by a horde of beefy dudes with greasy hair in flannel shirts with the sleeves ripped off, showing their blurry tattoos and pimply arms–not to generalize their fan base or anything. I love “Come On Feel the Noise” as much as the next good girl. Yeah! Rock ‘n’ Roll!
The other time I was part of a studio audience was, coincidentally, for the taping of an episode of “Spin City.” This was during Michael J. Fox’s last season on the show, after he’d announced he had PD and was retiring from full-time acting. Husband (who was then My Only Boyfriend) knew I was an unrequited fan of MJF and so put his name on a waiting list to get us into the studios down on Chelsea Piers. That was a pretty cool date! I remember there was one scene in which Michael had to take a prat fall and tumble over a desk. They had to do a few takes of that (not to mention how many times he must have done that during rehearsals), I kept thinking how amazing it was that he could still execute that with Parkinson’s. At the end of the taping, the cast all came forward to the bleachers where we were seated and took their bows. It was a sweet moment.
Anyway, I happily arose at 4:45 AM Friday morning to get myself camera-ready without interrupting Husband’s schedule (I had to be out of the bathroom by 5:30) and get to the studio in Times Square by 6:45. As soon as I arrived, I met my fellow Team Fox members, many of whom had run the Boston Marathon on Monday. I met a guy who had competed in the Kona IronMan for Team Fox, as well as a woman who improved her marathon time (over two years) from around a 5:30 to a 3:42. She requalified for Boston at Boston–I think we can all agree that’s strong proof of runner status. Everyone was, of course, completely friendly and very sweet. I met Hal, who had run Boston on Monday, had retired a few weeks earlier (just in time to taper), and had taken up running when he was diagnosed with PD about 5 years ago. His joke: “I have the knees of a 20-year old!”
The morning was really a lot of standing around waiting, but the company was pleasant so it was no big deal. The Audience Coordinator gave us (just Team Fox) a VIP tour of the studio, so we got to see the area where they give the newscasts & do the interviews. Apparently Jamie Foxx walked right by us not even three feet away but I missed the whole thing–further proof of how little I care about celebrities who aren’t elite runners (or Michael J. Fox or Clive Owen). The most interesting part was the control room, with the dozens of screens up on the wall, and all the producers sitting in front of their computers monitoring the various cameras and shooting off emails in between segments. I was mildly amused to observe the behind-the-scenes goings-on, as the cameramen moved around, as the demo kitchen was set up for the cooking segment, and as the hosts sounded like nutters as they maintained their side of a conversation with the control booth during their off-camera down-time. The highlight for me, though, was meeting their bomb-sniffing German Shepherd, who was the gentlest doggie I have ever met. And the quietest–obviously he would need to not bark if he patrols the set of a TV show. The oddest segment was that of the world’s smallest bodybuilder. It just made me sad to see this 20-pound 20 year-old in leg braces and a Jack la Lanne outfit lifting 10-pound weights like he was auditioning to be the next Mini Me.
Then, finally came Team Fox’s chance to smile pretty for the cameras as Robin did her segment about giving away three formal gowns that didn’t make the cut for the Oscars, as the dresses were set up just to our right. We made it on air for a minute or so; and you can see my head smiling from the second row. Then, at the very end Christopher came & interviewed the spokesperson about the Unity Walk, and you can see my head again briefly. I know this because I actually remembered to DVR it. After the taping, I went straight to the gym for 30 minutes on the elliptical and to do my PT exercises. While working out, my friend AC from Salt Lake City texted me that she saw me. My priorities straight, I texted back, “Do I look fat?” and she replied “I can only see your head!” Hilarious. Now, after watching the DVR’ed footage, I can attest my head did not look fat.
(I am bemused by all the folks standing outside looking in through the glass. I would never do this; but then again I am a cynical New Yorker. Maybe if I was not so jaded and grew up in Tennessee or Arizona I’d be psyched to stare through the glass as if I were watching the polar bears at the Central Park Zoo?)