That time we were almost cast for TLC

Have you ever experienced one of those moments where time seems suspended in midair and you observe the situation you’re in from a slightly removed perspective and know somewhere deep in your bones that this is a pivotal moment? A moment with a fork in the road and it could change your life completely if you go one way, or it could stay the exact same if you go the other?

Well did that EVER happen to the Sisterhood last week!

Roughly a month ago, we were contacted by a development company called Crybaby Media out of NEW YORK CITY (yeah, New York, New York!) regarding a mandate that had been sent down from the TLC and Lifetime networks to find and cast families with four or more sisters for a new docu-series they were looking to develop.

You can imagine our surprise when our wee-baby, fairly personal blog put us on the map and got us noticed. Reading and re-reading the initial email we were all pretty convinced we were probably being duped and that it had to be a scam of some sort. Our mama was just worried we would John & Kate Plus 8 the crap out of our lives if we participated.

....I can see why she would be concerned.

….I can see why she would be concerned.

As with all big, scary, exciting news, we met immediately to discuss our stance and if we wanted to proceed with the Skype interviews they had requested and aired our concerns. We decided to see what the show was about and what we would be giving up to participate.

To say the initial process left us feeling like we were in good hands would be a stretch – scheduling conflicts and poor communication led us to really question the legitimacy of the opportunity. After expressing our concerns after being stood up and emailed after the fact to reschedule us – again – things seemed to take a turn for the better and we were finally able to Skype with McKenna from Crybaby Media.

The initial interview was for McKenna to get to know us more and see if there was enough about us as a Sisterhood that people could relate to and was the rawest of the process. We nervously accepted her call as we heard Skype ring through our set up laptop at the bottom of Julia’s basement stairs where quiet, decent lighting and stacked seating were available.

McKenna was friendly and warm which put as ease fairly quickly. She got right into it and asked us to round-robin introduce ourselves and give a snapshot of who each of is, our lifestyle, age and position within the Sisterhood. We were asked to describe each other, our childhood, our parents, what we do together for fun, what we do apart that makes us unique – the typical kinds of questions you would expect for a reality-based series participant to divulge about themselves. After about 20 minutes of us cautiously answering the required questions, McKenna let us know she would like to pass us through to the second stage and interview, which would be taped and then cut down to make our 2-4 minute ‘pitch’ video to the network.

We logged off the call with instructions for follow-up and instantly burst into a common commotion of chatter throwing around concerns, questions, statements and ideas for how to get all of this to process through our overloaded brains.

What just happened?

Did our little blog just set off a series of events for us that we could have never imagined? Did we even want to participate now that we knew what we’d be sharing with the world? How would this affect our lives and relationships? There were so many questions and unknowns it was hard not to get too ahead of ourselves. We were still reeling from even being found on this wide world of the internet and to be honest, our concerns for our little lives were beginning to surpass our interest in being cast.

Maybe a little too real for reality TV?

Maybe a little too real for reality TV?

After confirming our follow-up taped interview, we were provided a general guideline for the questions and style of answering in order to get a good cut for our final video. When the day of the taping came we met early to discuss what had come to the surface for each of us over the two days between interviews. We were sure to be honest with one another about what we were comfortable discussing and what we would rather not shed light on just yet – surprisingly there are still things about us that we are just not ready to let our readers learn just yet. We determined a good rule of thumb to be if we were comfortable writing about it here, we should be comfortable being honest and open about it on camera.

Our taping went really well and I think I speak for all of the sisters when I say that we might have benefited from the structure and style of the conversation more than anyone. In the 45 minutes of taping we were able to learn a little more about each other, what we want out of this blog, how we view the world, our childhood and each other uniquely from one another.

Most importantly, we uncovered that we wanted to raise our blog to be a community for people to come and experience what it is to be a part of such a tight sisterhood, to feel not so alone with the battles they wage daily, and to know that there are a bunch weirdos out there stumbling through this insanity that we call life just as awkwardly as any one.

We all didn’t express it then, but we were all filled with anxiety of the changes that may come into our lives if we were picked up by the network and it wasn’t an eager anxiety. Personally, I made sure to pray on it that if this was not meant for us or would not bring only light and love into our lives it would be removed from our hands to choose.

Please? Or, no thank you?

Please? Or, no thank you?

A day later we received an email stating we had been passed on and ironically enough were told we were not nearly “outrageous” enough for the casting – which if you’ve ever been to one of our family events you know this is not entirely true – however, we did take that as a compliment when we considered the network that had put out the mandate.

Can you IMAGINE if we had made it through!?

When we all found out about not making it to the next round there were shared expressions of relief – we weren’t exactly sure we were ready for TLC… or if TLC was ready for the likes of us.

So for now, we are your humble community blog, focused on sharing our lives with whoever happens upon us. Who knows what the future brings though – stranger things have happened!

~ Toni

Makes my brain bleed

I love television. Much like Jacqui, I love nothing more than to turn on something silly, something insanesomething yummy, something interesting, something crazy, something nostalgic, something intriguing and stop moving for a little while. Because my day is a little nutty. And sometimes, you just want to sit.

What they don’t tell you, is when you have children you lose control over the screens in your house. You lose the ability to watch whatever you want whenever you want. Apparently, there are certain things that are inappropriate for children to watch. WHO KNEW?

This of course means that you get to watch awesome children’s programming…and by awesome, I mean “awesome”.

Now don’t get me wrong. There are some absolute wonders, like the Pixar movies, or my childhood favourite that is still running today, Sesame Street, but there are others that MAKE MY BRAIN BLEED. No, seriously.

Here are some of my least favourites that my girls LOVE (so far Isaac doesn’t have an opinion…THANK GOODNESS):

Caillou

MAKE IT STOP.

MAKE IT STOP.

I don’t know which is worse – Caillou’s whiny voice, or his parents’ ridiculousness. Sure, Caillou is four and sure, he’s got a rough time of it with parents who never change their clothes and are creepily nice and sweet all the time, and sure, his sister Rosie can be a bit of a pain, but please. For the love of goodness. PLEASE. Stop whining. Just…stop. I seriously think a voice actor change would make all the difference in the world.

Mike the Knight

Save the people!

Save the people!

This show is nonsense. Not to say that other shows are grounded in solid reality (Oh, hi Octonauts, weird sea creatures that aren’t to scale!), but this show kind of takes the cake. There’s this royal family, with an absent dad (he’s on a crusade…you know, the super kid-friendly kind?), a neglectful mother (she’s NEVER paying attention to her kids…EVER), a boy-knight who terrorizes the town with his dragons and arrogance, and a sister-witch-in-training who is mega smart and deserves her own show. If it weren’t annoying, it would still drive me batty. Poor people of Glendragon.

Bratz

'Nuf said.

‘Nuf said.

If we can get past the ridiculous bodies and make up and name, it might not be such a bad idea to have a strong girl group hanging out together…except, they aren’t. They’re catty and vapid and rude and ignorant and…dumb. And the whole show is a big fight between themselves and another group of girls. It’s girl-on-girl crime, which is just awful. There’s enough female-competition in the world. We don’t need to teach it to our daughters at a young age. This show is actually not allowed in my house anymore. It’s pretty much the only one I really put my foot down about.

Max and Ruby

Mom? Dad?

Mom? Dad?

It’s easy to hate on this show. There is the nagging, Type-A older sister Ruby who won’t let her little brother have any fun. There is the weirdly one-word-at-a-time 3-year old Max, who just keeps repeating the same word over and over and over and over (get a sentence!). And there is the famous mystery: where the heck are their parents? Max and Ruby are a favourite for Lillian…but for me, I wish they’d go back to the bunny hole. Pronto.

And my absolute least favourite of ALL TIME:

Toopy and Binoo

*sob*

*sob*

Toopy is a dimwitted mouse who is full of himself. Binoo is a mute sidekick that is inevitably smarter than Toopy. Patchy-Patch is Binoo’s lovie. And that’s it. That’s the show. Then there’s annoying friends, like the wailing dragon princess whose cries sound like fingernails on a chalkboard, the unending adulation Toopy has for himself, and Binoo’s lack of backbone (at this point, I’m grateful for lack of voice). But…

…the girls love them. LOVE them. I don’t know why. The songs are ridiculous. The premise is ridiculous. The education value is nil at best. The annoyance level is high. And yet…they love it.

So this weekend when we were invited to a birthday party where THE voice of Toopy and Binoo, Frank Meschkuleit, would perform a Toopy and Binoo puppet show LIVE…we knew the girls would explode with happiness. And we were right. Frank was awesome, the show was brilliant (he called out every child’s name and made jokes for the adults in the audience, including a fart joke about Ben…no, seriously…), and Sophie and Lillian LOVED it. Sophie thought it was hilarious and awesome and Lillian kept looking back at us to make sure we were seeing what she was seeing. I’m fairly sure her brain exploded a few times.

Lillian and Sophie getting their photo taken with Toopy and Binoo!

Lillian and Sophie getting their photo taken with Toopy and Binoo!

I’m just grateful that Isaac was more excited about the diaper bag strap than Toopy and Binoo. I can still get away with watching The Social while he’s cruising around the floor.

Just hanging out...oblivious to his fangirling sisters.

Just hanging out…oblivious to his fangirling sisters.

~ Julia

Broadcast dependence

I love television…I do. I love coming home after a long day at work, dumping my bags at the door, falling onto the couch and putting on any television show.

When I was younger, the TV was barely on – we were always outside creating our own adventures, climbing trees and scraping knees. Then elementary school happened, and it became more and more important that you watched the same shows as your peers, after all who wanted to be different and not watch that amazing episode of The Simpsons (side note, we had restrictions on what TV we watched, and The Simpsons was definitely not in our repertoire).

My parents did not see the same importance of television that I did, and because I didn’t pay the bills, they weren’t really willing to add cable to the long list of monthly household bills we had. Thus we “managed” with 5 channels: TVO, CBC, CTV, CityTV, and Global. I say we managed because it was not instilled in us the requirement of having cable or satellite. We had a TV – and that was more than what others had.  Those 5 channels – they were all we needed.

TV became a meeting place for my sisters, myself and my mother. Wednesday nights after church we would come home and watch Gilmore Girls – this was our weekly ritual, and regardless of what happened in the day, the homework you had or the projects that were due, we all met around our little TV, which was a raffle prize from when I was 6, and watched Rory and Lorelai go through their ups and downs of life.

.

Thursday nights were when we watched the best, Friends, which to this day is the most amazing television show and is quoted at least daily.

There was also Boston Public, and CSI, and Without A Trace, which Julia and I would never miss – and even when she moved away we would watch it on the phone together.

Without a Trace

The love of TV is not a foreign concept. I laugh as my mother-in-law and sister-in-law plan their evenings and days around their “Shows”, and there are a lot of them – I would be surprised if the number didn’t rise above 10.

I, too, find myself recording a show that I can’t seem to live without. I wake up early to ensure that I am prepared for the conversation around the water cooler the next day. I watch Grey’s Anatomy and Nashville and love both television dramas. I have cried as the characters cried, and laughed as they make their smart ass comments.

Why – why do we love it? Is it because it plays on our human curiosity of wanting to know and understand different situations? Some argue that television has replaced novels, but it’s a natural evolution! We have evolved from telling stories for entertainment to radio, to black and white moving pictures, to smaller daily productions. Now we have 3D and projection screens to make our experience that much better.

The created and imaginative fiction is still present, the delivery has just changed.

For me the answer of why I love television is because it is a break from thinking of the daily struggles. When I watch TV, I am not thinking about the amount of work I have waiting for me the next day – I am thinking about the quirky girl and geeky guy who live across the hall from each other who one day will finally be together as the storyteller has intended.

I love television – I really do. I love telling and listening to stories, and whether the delivery is a blog or a sitcom, there is still an audience willing to listen.

~ Jacqui