Thursday, April 01, 2010

My daughter tortured the warm-up guy

Here are some terrific Friday questions from "Ruth". They're directed to my kids. So my daughter Annie has graciously agreed to respond. Thanks, Annie!

Just wondering if either of your kids ever visited on any of the sets of the shows with which you were associated in their younger days; if so, do either of them have any specific "stand-out" memories of those visits that they'd care to share? (Talk about a "Take Your Kid to Work Day" that would make the other kids green with envy!!)

I’ll take these questions because my brother is busy being successful and doing things that I don’t understand. All Red Sox questions still need to go to him.

Matt and I have been on set of most of the shows that my father has written or directed. I used to rate each show by which one had the best craft services table. In case you’re curious, Everybody Loves Raymond was the winner. There were a lot of weeknights where I went to TV tapings and worked on my homework in between takes. Some assignments were easier to do on set than others. Anytime I had to practice an oral report, it didn’t go over so well.

When I wasn’t doing homework, I was heckling the warm-up guys. There was one in particular that seemed to be at every show my father directed, so I picked on him mercilessly. Little angel that I was, I may have yelled things like “You did this joke last week!’ or “You’re already screwing it up!” That guy probably still has a voodoo doll of me hidden somewhere.

My brother and I also spent time on sets during rehearsals. When Matt was little, he went around the Cheers set selling raffle tickets for our elementary school’s big fundraiser. The tickets were a dollar apiece, and you could win a big screen TV or something thrilling like that. When Matt asked Kirstie Alley if she’d like to buy a raffle ticket, she handed him a 20 dollar bill. Matt looked at the money in shock, and then looked back at her and said “But Kirstie, you might not win!”

When I helped out on the set of Conrad Bloom, Mark Feuerstien asked my father if he could marry me. Mark seems to have moved on, which is fine. Really. I’m over it. I only die a little inside every time I watch Royal Pains.

A lot of time “Take Your Daughter to Work Day” consisted of me hanging out with the PA’s while my dad slaved away in the writers’ room. We ate junk food, watched cartoons and drove the golf cart around. The PA’s probably loved when their assignment was babysitting me and not digging through the garbage for a lost earring. One of those PA’s is now the head writer for WWE wrestling. But I don’t take all the credit.

Did either of them ever make an appearance on any of your shows ... and, if not, would they have wanted to do so on any show in particular?

Matt and I were not allowed to be in any of my father’s shows when we were young. My mother wisely decided that we should have normal childhoods.

Dad directed an episode of Dharma & Greg that involved shooting in San Francisco, and he brought my brother up north with him. While they were there Matt was an extra in a huge crowd scene. Dad decided (unwisely) not to tell me assuming that I would never notice. He did not take into consideration my powers of observation. In a crowd of one thousand people, I instantly saw my brother. Yes, I’m good at Where’s Waldo too.

Our names also make appearances in my dad’s shows. In the pilot of Big Wave Daves, the three guys meet at “Matt’s Bar.” Indignant seven-year-old that I was, I told my father that this was completely unfair and that in his next show he needed to use my name. My father kept his promise and the first scene of Almost Perfect takes place in “Annie’s Restaurant.” That became the hang-out spot throughout the show. So my name is often seen in shots of the restaurant.

I don’t know that there’s any show I would have wanted to be on in particular. I’m sure any show would have been a lot of fun…except AfterMASH.

Did you ever "consult" them if you were writing "kid-centric" dialogue, to get a reality check?

He didn’t “consult” us when we were little kids, but he often consulted us when we were teenagers. Particularly with the use of the word “dude.” I can’t say that I was always a huge help. Going to a private high school in Brentwood didn’t really make me an Ebonics aficionado.

More often, my dad would ask me music questions. It usually went like this: “I need a song that is the modern day equivalent of ‘If You Wanna Be Happy For the Rest of Your Life/ Make an Ugly Woman Your Wife’” So I would search through my CD collection, and play him a bunch of different options until he found one he liked. Come to think of it, this still happens all the time.

Hope I covered everything.


You absolutely did. Thanks again, Annie. I love you.

What's your question? And to whom?


Jim, Cheers Fan said...

I think the rather obvious remaining question is: What is/was/were the modern day equivalent(s) of "Happy For the Rest of Your LIfe"?

and thank you so much for that earworm

Mary Stella said...

Wow. I got to help my father remove iridium implants from a guy's facial tumor. That's not nearly as much fun as hanging out on a television set.

As far as craft services . . . I've experienced this once when a show did a shoot at my day job. I cannot figure out how any actor or actress maintains anything close to a healthy weight with craft services around. The woman walked around constantly pushing food and she had tons of delicious things on her cart and tables -- mountains of fresh fruit, hot paninis, fruit smoothies, espresso shots, candy . . .

Food available all morning long and then they broke for lunch.

Annie, besides offering tips for authentic teen-speak and help with music, did you (do you) ever offer feedback or suggestions on story ideas?

Barbie said...

I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing!

LouOCNY said...

I now know I have something in common with Mark Feuerstein,,,,,

Joyce said...

Great read! ... now where can I find Annie's own blog?

Vermonter17032 said...

My father was a football coach. We got to go to games and listen to him yell at his players. Then he'd make my brother and me do training drills. I think I'd have rather have hung out near Shelly Long's dressing room!

Kaley said...

These answers were fun and amusing- thanks, Annie!

Although, for the record, "dude" isn't Ebonics :)

astrohip said...

Someone inherited the family writing genes. Absolutely great read! Thanks.

A. Buck are RU gonna finish that granolabar? said...

So how does it feel to be reasons #8 and 9 why Roman Polanski never got a sitcom? And aren't you glad your dad didn't marry Rose Diane Morgenstern and go into her father's heating and plumbing business? Albeit you probably would have been able to play dressup in a workshirt with his name on it instead of sitting in a chair with Ted Danson's name on it; and you might have gotten to ride around in a truck with your grandfather's name on the door instead of some old lame golf cart. But guess TV writing comes in a close second.

WV (in an act of amazing restraint, I am omitting any reference to the incredible WV; because when you've got "A" material like this, why muck it up with irony.) Oh, I think I just did.

sophomorecritic said...

i asked this before but i hate watching good shows get cancelled. why doesn't cable tv just pick up the good cancelled shows that have decent ratings but not good enough for cable reeadings.

tbs almost picked up my name is earl but greg garcia said that not enough money was being offered for a quality tv show? did that basically mean the show's stars were greedy?

AP said...

Good looking kids Ken. You should be proud! Great smiles!!! Much naches!!!!

Jeffrey Leonard said...

Having great kids is the most blessed thing that one can experience. I can really relate to your family life. I have two great kids too! They keep me young and on my toes at all times. You deserve all the benefits from the hard work you put into making them that way.

Alice said...

I absolutely adored Conrad Bloom and had no idea you were part of that. In fact, even today whenever I see Mark Feuerstien I yell "Conrad"!

50 is the new 35 said...

YAY! Hey, Ken, that was my question - thanks for thinking it was good enough to address! And many thanks to Annie for taking the time to craft the terrific, detailed response. Great info! (And sorry about your not-to-be nuptials to Mark!)

(I posted the original question from my Blackberry - hey, when I think of a decent idea, I need to act on it before I forget it!) and couldn't get it to accept my name, hence the "anon" tag; but I think I did leave my name at the very bottom of my query. Oh well.)

~ Ruth (aka "50 is the new 35" ... formerly "45 is the new 30" because birthday happen!)

50 is the new 35 said...

Um, that would of course be "birthdayS happen" ... and so do typos, apparently!

Smartass said...

We all know "Cheers" was filmed before a live studio audience, but were any shows ever filmed after a live studio audience?