True story: just before midnight Friday I got an email from a producer at OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) saying "Hi John, I hope things are well with you. I’m contacting you on behalf of the Oprah Winfrey Network. In anticipation of the new docu-series "The Judds" coming to OWN- Naomi and Wynonna Judd will discuss the series documenting their lives on a conference call Q & A with members of the media next Monday". Now, in my tenure as a Louisville music concierge, I have been tracked down and asked to do some pretty strange and interesting things (including painting Conor Oberst's face like Kiss member Paul Stanley, and acting like a thrifty zombie shopping for deals in a store commercial) but this one caught me off guard. first I wondered if I had met this woman before, the email sounded friendly, and I am notoriously forgetful of whom I have met and in what context.. but I believe I would have remembered meeting an Oprah producer. So, the only real answer is that the Oprah Network regularly reads 37flood.com, and considers me a 'member of the press'. I am always amazed by how many out-of-towners and industry professionals read my rantings, but every letter and email I get from all around the planet regarding 37 Flood is an honor, and helps to keep me writing (hint hint:firstname.lastname@example.org).
So, after I got over my initial excitement, I did what anyone would have done... I told my mother. Being both an Oprah fan and a Judds fan, I knew she would be proud.. and lately I have had some stet backs, money wise, and looking for a part time job to even things out have been futile(also hint hint to anyone in a hiring mood), so anything to help Mom feel better about my life choices is appreciated. And proud she was, she demanded I RSVP immediately and to begin boning up on my Judds trivia. And then she started making a list all the people she could call and brag to.
I was a little nervous about it, I didn't know what I getting into, I am after all a small blog on the world scale and was still unsure how I got an invitation of this sort. and to add to my nervousness, shortly after I RSVP'd my computer exploded. well, nearly exploded. the power cord got so hot that it burned me through my pants (just on the leg, so need to worry), and when I grabbed the cord to unplug it, I got a 2nd degree burn on my hand.
It seems every time I have a big project to do, my macbook explodes, implodes, or in some other way stops working. Long story short, I spent the weekend running around looking for a power cord, and everywhere I went they wanted about $100. Which at that point I would have paid, if I had it. I even started going around to coffee shops thumbing through Lost-and-found boxes hoping to find one. (sorry to any Barista I may have told that I was looking for my own that i might have left behind.. I was desperate). It is amazing what people leave behind at coffee shops: lots of wallets, car keys, dog leashes and collars, cell phones, but no Apple accessories. Finally I went to the Mac Store on a long shot that they might loan me one. Which they would not, but after I explained that it burnt me, and showed my wound, they offered to exchange it, as Apple was well aware of this design flaw and had manufactured new cords that hopefully do not explode and/or make folks want to start a lawsuit.
As a quick note, the fellas at the Apple store always seem to come though for me when I am desperate (thanks Dans!). Apple costs a little more, but it's worth it.
Anyway, Monday morning comes around and I'm completely ill prepared. My mother catches me up on the current Judd gossip and I do a quick read through of Naomi (born Diana Ellen), Wynonna (born Christina Ciminella), and Ashley's Wikipedia pages. Ashley(the only one not to change her name) is not a part of the Judd's country music group, but as my mother mentions, Ashley is a common theme of strife in the family.
I ask my mother if she would like to listen in, and she does. I get nervous for a while and call the conference number for the group interview. A woman begins talking to all the reporters about the docu-series, and that Naomi and Wynonna will be on shortly to answer our questions, and to ask a question just press #14 and the moderator will announce you and then you can begin speaking.
20 minutes later we are all still on hold waiting, and then the moderator announces that The Judds are ready. After a moment Wynonna comes on and says 'hello... hi mom' and Naomi says 'hi Poopsie Woopsie' the line goes quiet.. and then Wynonna makes an unhappy sound, and with those few words began 40 minutes of two women trying their best to piss off and embarrass one another in front of complete strangers whom will undoubtably broadcast it to the world. and just like that I am no longer nervous.
The first question was from a fellow blogger, and so I began to think there might be a lot people like myself on the line and became less self conscious about my questions.
Someone asked why they decided to do a reality show, and Naomi said "Well there is a whole generation of people born after Al Gore invented the internet that have never heard of who the Judds are". Wynonna said "Well, The Judds are in a good place right now" (yes, they refer to themselves in 3rd person) and then jumped down the writer's throat about how it's a 'docu-series' not a 'reality show' and then began to explain how reality shows are NOT real, that someone writes out a plot and tells the people what to concentrate on, but this show IS REAL.
and for awhile it went on in this manor; Naomi answered the questions first, then Wynonna comments on how Naomi always has to go first, and they both offered up their opinions as fact, insisted that they were REAL(real what? I dunno but i started keeping count how many times Wynonna said they were real:7), and that they actually did like each other. I couldn't imagine anyone believed them.
As this went on, the moderator announced the reporter and their affiliation, and I got nervous again.. I soon found myself in company not of fellow bloggers and small publications, but of big hitters like People Magazine, The Toronto Star, The New York Times, US Weekly, USA Today, Fox News, among others.
Naomi and Wynonna kept on about how after years of feuding they finally had a break through, and in this docu-series we will see mother and daughter growing close and respecting each other... as they totally disrespected each other. I was nervous about asking a stupid question in front so many big time writers, but then it occurred to me that their show was about a mother and child working on their relationship, and here I was with my mother! what a better way to interview these two, than with a question about mother-child relations by a mother-child reporting duo. I typed in the number to request a turn and in return I got 2 beeps. I have no idea what 2 beeps mean, but I wait and hope to be called on and listen to the Judds ramble wisdoms of truth. They talk about all the therapy they were getting, and how it is really helping in there healing. Naomi says "truth is the most important emotion, any therapist will tell you that", Wynonna gets annoyed at Naomi and says to us that Naomi ''thinks she's Superwoman" and then threatens to hang up. And just when I think the Judds were gonna hang up on each other, and the interview would be over, someone asks about Ashley.
And just like that the ladies have a common bond.
Wynonna says Ashley has a new tell-all book about the family, Naomi says no matter what she will always love Ashely but her 'reality' is not 'their reality'(even tho she mentions she never made it passed the 2nd chapter), Wynonna tells Naomi that they are not allowed to talk about Ashley, Naomi tells Wynonna that she started it and then the moderator says they only have time for a couple more questions. The next reporter asks Naomi that as a 65 year old, what beauty tips she may have for their older readers. Naomi says to never wear a girdle, because it may give the appearance of a uni-boob. And just like that I start worrying about what the hell I am gonna write about this train wreck, because I don't want to loose any future opportunities by the OWN network by writing how completely nuts these women are, and then it hits me: This show has got to be about how nuts these women are, thats why people (sorry Wynonna) watch Reality shows, and that's what OWN wants us to tell the world. I do a quick jump to the OWN network website to look at their upcoming shows. I find a page looking for regular people for possible shows. the site says it's looking for people who had been a victim of a violent crime, have trouble in the sack, searching for a lost loved one, live in squaller, or have ever been involved in a love affair. And it all becomes clear, the OWN network is not a network acting as a strong role model for women, it is just another peddler of bitch slapping reality trash, and this interview was just a carefully orchestrated preview of all the shenanigans to come on OWN. I don't even care that the moderator completely ignores my request and decides to abruptly ends the interview.
So, just like that, my brief brush with almost interviewing a one time country singing sensation/future reality tv sensation was gone. but for the first time ever, I am actually looking forward to watching a reality show. If one 40 minute unedited phone call can be that broadly ridiculous, then The Judds show cannot be half bad.
So, that's it. Might be a long way to go with no punch, but I bet there might be a few punches on the new docu-series The Judds, premiering Sunday April 10th at 9... on OWN. and I am actually looking forward to the next email ( possibly from OWN, wink) sending me on another crazy weekend long adventure.
THE JUDDS: Sunday Nights in April on OWN