Monday, November 27, 2006

Martha, Martha, Martha!

As you may have gleaned from the information contained in some of my posts, I enjoy Martha Stewart. Okay, you might even call me a fan. Guilty. Last week I went to a taping of the Martha Stewart show. (The show aired today.) It was actually the third taping I've attended in a year which is the maximum allowable according to the fine print on the MSO Studios release form they make you sign when you go. It's also something I'm addressing with my therapist, so thank you very much for your concern but please leave it out of the comments below. Anyway, one of my dearest, oldest friends in the world, Jonathan, was in town for the day from Nice (that's France, ya know) and I thought it might be fun to have lunch, go to the taping and spend some time together over coffee catching up.

Outside of my love and admiration for all things Martha, there's another reason I like to go to the live tapings--for the free stuff. Daytime shows give away tons of free stuff these days. Rosie O'Donnell had a policy of giving away something at every single show and of course Oprah's much ballyhooed "Favorite Things" episodes are legendary among American housewives.

During the last two Martha tapings I attended I remember sitting there in the studio waiting area enjoying one of the complimentary freshly baked lemon squares (Martha's recipe) along with the Long Island soccer moms and smartly dressed gay couples from Chelsea thinking "I wonder what she'll give away today. I could sure use a really good top of the line Waring blender. Or even an Ipod nano or something would be cool. Didn't Ellen DeGeneris give away cruises last week? I wonder if Martha has any deals brewing with one of the cruise lines." The possibilities are endless. That Martha always has to promote.

The first taping I attended was with my mother, my sister Diane and Scott. It was almost a year ago--such an exciting time! Martha was fresh from parole, the show was in its infancy and things were looking up for the old girl. We didn't complain about our soap star B-list celebrity guest. We sat through a segment about painting a wall which actually involved watching paint dry. We listened attentively to a chef promoting a cookbook. (A cookbook--that could be nice, right?) With each passing segment our anticipation built. We kept waiting for those magic words every studio audience member longs to hear: "and for everyone in our audience"...but alas, those words never came. We got bupkes. Nothing. Not even a lemon reamer. My mother has yet to forgive Martha for this oversight. ("So much for being the perfect hostess!") Oh well, wasn't seeing Martha in person reward enough? I'll leave that for you to decide.

The second time I went to a Martha taping was with my friend Mark who is a certifiably insane Martha fanatic--even worse than I am. He worships the woman. We're talking restraining order here. Again, the audience got nothing. But coincidentally both Mark and I won a studio drawing for a free Vax 5 vacuum cleaner which is worth something like $300. Not bad, right? But since the total retail value of the carpets in my studio apartment is approximately $98 it hardly seemed worth the precious storage space to keep the enormous thing. So I sold it on Craigslist.

By last week's taping I knew not to get my hopes up too high. Martha's no Rosie O'Donnell. She likes her money and doesn't give stuff away free quite as often as other shows. But the first glimmer of hope came when we were informed that the taping would be airing the Monday after Thanksgiving: the first show of the holiday season. Hmmm. Jonathan and I mulled this over as we sat in the studio waiting area surrounded by huge photos of Martha everywhere--Martha with her dogs, Martha in 1968, Martha decorating a door with a wreath, Martha, Martha, Martha. Finally Joey Cola, the show's comedian warm-up guy whose job it is to work the audience into a hysterical frenzy over things like perfectly beaten egg whites entered and gave us even more hope, saying things like "you know we like to give stuff away" and "we like to be generous with our audience," and the clincher "I don't want to say anything but we're doing a segment on must-have tech toys for the holidays--wink, wink."

That's it. We're getting something. Something GOOD. I know it! We will not be going home empty handed this time!

As Jonathan and I entered the studio we were hit with an arctic blast from the air conditioners. Then it's sort of of like in the "Wizard of Oz" when it goes from black and white to technicolor, only instead of Oz you enter stunningly tasteful Marthaland: the muted colors, the gleaming state of the art appliances, the Ironstone earthenware--shelves of it! We found a pair of seats where we'd be no more than a couple of rows from Her presence during the taping. We discussed the fact that it seemed odd there was no celebrity guest this episode, just a couple of chefs who'd be doing recipes with Martha. Perhaps it's hard to book someone so close to Thanksgiving or someone had to cancel last minute. But who cares--we're going home with a must-have-tech-toy-for-the-holidays and doesn't that beat the hell out of some soap star anyway?

So we sat and smiled as Martha looked right into the camera and lied to America about what she did the day after Thanksgiving. ("We ate turkey sandwiches and went horseback riding. Oh, we had so much fun!") We endured a segment involving Joey Cola on how to sew a button in which Martha used an oversized novelty pin cushion, needles and buttons. She was not amused. ("How are you supposed to tie a slip knot with a ridiculous needle like this?") We learned two new French recipes and finally--the tech toy segment came.

The precious items were lined up on a table in the craft area. We were on the opposite side of the studio and couldn't quite make out what they were. Once the segment began we learned the first item was some high-tech pair of sneakers from Ipod that has an internal pedometer and plugs into your Ipod which will choose mood music as you walk based on your logarithms or something. Whatever. The next was a GPS tracking and navigation system which works for pedestrians as well as automobiles. You can find directions to somewhere either on foot or by car. That's pretty cool, right? The third item was a brand new state of the art 7 megapixil digital camera that comes with its own wi-fi built in so you can upload your photos onto the internet from anywhere! From ANYWHERE! SEVEN MEGA PIXELS! (Oh please, oh please, oh please!) The last item was a home theatre projector/DVD player with a built in sound system. It gives you the ability to have a big screen movie experience anywhere you have a blank wall and it's from Hasbro. As the segment drew to a close we were still waiting to hear those magic words. At last they came "And for everyone in our audience...a $50 GIFT CERTIFICATE FROM HASBRO TOYS!"


Well that's nice, too.

It's no digital camera, but that's nice, too. Thanks, Martha.

To reserve tickets for the Martha Show, click here.
Or, click here to view the episode.

Check back for photos of Michael and Jonathan's trip to the Martha Show!

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At 3:46 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I loved Martha's cameo on Ugly Betty.

At 10:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was home sick yesterday and I SAW you!

My only somewhat comparable adventure was a stint in Ricki Lake's audience in the mid-90's.

It wasn't quite the same thing.

We did get to chant Go Ricki, Go Ricki and watch her try to eat a burrito surreptitiously.

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Kevin said...

Beggars can't be choosers, but those gifts suck.

At 1:12 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

I didn't know Martha had a show, anymore. That's how up I am on things. Many or probably most love her - but she grates me the wrong way.

At 12:58 PM, Blogger Becky Meyer Pourchot said...

I have a love/hate relationship with the goddess of domesticity. You might enjoy my blog:


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