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The Writing Process Blog Hop

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When I left my job at Cartoon Network last year, I joked with many people that I was now legally required to start a blog. Even though I wasn’t entirely sure what I really wanted to say, I went ahead and launched this little TV Kitchen thing here, picking a name that combines two things I love (and that frequently go together): TV and food.

I had also set out to write a spec script to apply for a couple of TV writing workshops, so the name had the added connotation of creative things I was cooking up. Then I remembered puns are terrible and I almost gave up on writing altogether.

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8 Things I’ll Miss About Comic-Con This Year

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As some of you may recall, I spent much of last year’s Comic-Con not having a very good time. It was my first year attending as a non-employee of Cartoon Network, and the crowds were so obscene I couldn’t get into any of the panels I wanted to attend. Together, those two factors were a successful formula for one generally grumpy Chrissie.

We’re sitting this year out, partly due to a big trip to London earlier in the month and partly because we couldn’t get a hotel reservation within a mile of the convention center. As the panel schedules started coming out a couple of weeks ago, I found myself feeling wistful, wishing for a moment we had those ATL-SAN flights booked this week. Then I remembered we’d spend our days stuck outside panels we couldn’t into, and we won’t have to spend hundreds of dollars for the privilege.

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Salt and Pepper Shakers For Sale

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I’ve been collecting salt and pepper shakers for about 15 years now. It’s been a fun way to find clever designs, vintage brand items and intentionally tacky souvenirs, and many friends have been generous enough over the years to contribute gift sets.

But I’ve run out of display and/or storage space for most of these guys, so I’m offering them up to anyone interested in giving them a good home. Email me at cbmoorecreative (at) gmail (dot) com if anything catches your eye!

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What Mom Watched

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I lost my mom on April 20, Easter Sunday, three and a half years after she was diagnosed with lung cancer.

In her last months and weeks, we watched a lot of TV together. Partly because it was all she was physically able to do, but also because television was one of the central bonds between my mother and me. Sitcoms, dramas, movies, awards shows, daytime talk, late night comedy—we loved it all. We were live-snarking the Oscars before the Internet was even a thing. I was always envious that she grew up during the early days of television and got to experience the Golden Age as it aired. She was a TV kid. I had no choice but to become one myself.

She would tell me about the shows she watched as a girl. She’d race home after school to watch Howdy Doody. She remembered seeing Elvis and the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show. The Phil Silvers Show was a favorite. The first fan letter she ever wrote was to Robert Culp. (He never replied.)

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Later, after she’d met my dad, they would stay home on Saturday nights to watch The Carol Burnett Show. Mom’s all-time favorite movie was Gone with the Wind, so each time she watched a replay of the classic sketch with Burnett as Scarlett O’Hara wearing her curtain-rod dress (“I saw it in the window and I just couldn’t resist it”), she would laugh just as hard as the first time she saw it.

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Mom loved comedy. A quick wit herself, she was an early fan of stand-ups like Robert Klein, David Steinberg, Garry Shandling, Jay Leno, Paul Reiser, Carol Leifer and David Letterman. Oh, David Letterman. Like me, when Mom had a celebrity crush, she fell hard. She felt she had a kindred spirit in Dave. They were both from the Midwest, they were born just 10 days apart in 1947 (Mom on April 2, Dave on April 12), and they shared the same wry, no-bullshit sense of humor that dared to speak out loud what everyone else was secretly thinking.

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She had been a fan of Letterman’s short-lived morning show and stayed up past everyone’s else’s bedtime to watch his original Late Night. On Friday nights, I was allowed to stay up, too, and together we’d laugh as he dropped watermelons off a five-story building, Velcroed himself to walls and shopped for light bulbs at Just Bulbs. (“Could you buy shades here?” “No. Maybe go to a place called Just Shades.”)



After I graduated college and moved away, Letterman became a tradition of my holiday visits home. At Thanksgiving, we’d watch him call his mom to guess what kinds of pies she baked; in December, we never missed Darlene Love’s annual performance of “Christmas (Baby Please Come Home).” It’s fitting that Dave announced his retirement just a few weeks before my mom passed away, because for me, the two of them will be forever connected.

A lifelong Chicago girl, my mom was a frequent audience member at The Second City, so watching shows like Saturday Night Live and SCTV was like hanging out with old friends. Other kids were always surprised I was allowed to watch SNL, but for our family it was practically church. After the dormant years of the early ’80s, I remember my parents embracing the arrival of cast members like Billy Crystal, Christopher Guest and Harry Shearer. Up through recent years, my mom would still quote the night watchmen sketch in which Crystal and Guest would detail outlandishly painful, self-imposed scenarios with the punchline, “I hate when that happens.”

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Each night after dinner, from kindergarten through high school, we’d sit down together and turn on the TV. “What’s tonight, Tuesday?” my mom would say to herself as we figured out what was on the schedule. She of course loved the ’80s NBC classics—The Cosby Show, Family Ties, Cheers, Hill Street Blues—but she had a broad range of tastes over the years: Kate & Allie, Roseanne, Lonesome Dove, Newhart, Wings, Dream On, Twin Peaks, America’s Funniest Home Videos, Seinfeld, Six Feet Under, Curb Your Enthusiasm, among many more.

I very clearly remember one weekend morning when we were eating breakfast, and she told us about this hilarious Chris Rock HBO special she’d watched the night before. “We have to see when it’s on again.” It was Rock’s pivotal Bring the Pain show, and by the time it blew up into the mainstream, I felt like I’d been privy to insider intel courtesy of my mom’s early “discovery.”

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As she got older, her tastes grew more conservative, often opting for Fox News or real-crime stories on shows like 48 Hours Mystery, Dateline NBC or 20/20. But she was no prude. She was a devoted fan of The Sopranos, Sex and the City, 24, Mad Men and other boundary-pushing shows. Her most recent TV crush was Seth MacFarlane. She was on board with Masters of Sex. At the end of the day, she just liked good TV.

When the cancer started taking its toll, and she was confined to her chair in the family room, she relied on TV to get her through the day. As we cared for her, the same line-up played behind us like clockwork:

9 a.m. Live! with Kelly and Michael (“I’m so glad they picked him. He’s such a nice man and, as they say, easy on the eyes.”)

10 a.m. The View, or let’s see who’s on Rachael Ray

11 a.m. Windy City Live, a local Chicago news/talk show

Noon The Chew (My dad: “This show actually isn’t that bad.”)

1 p.m. Maury

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Now here’s where she lost us. Everything up to then was pretty tolerable, enjoyable even, but Maury is truly one of the worst shows on television. Just no nutritional value whatsoever. But Mom was entertained by the spectacle of it. “Can you believe these people?” she’d say. I wondered if there was a little armchair psychology behind this. When you’re in a terrible situation yourself, do you seek out images of people who theoretically have it worse? Sure, I may have cancer, but at least my family’s not like that? Who knows. We soldiered through it because Mom liked it, and that’s all that mattered to us.

2 p.m. Inside Edition

2:30 p.m. Jeopardy!, a daily staple in our house for as long as I can remember. Often enjoyed on DVR in the evening with a martini in hand.

3 p.m. Dr. Phil, unless Ellen had someone she liked

4 p.m. Judge Judy

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Oh man, Mom watched her some Judge Judy. “She is such a bitch, I love her,” she would declare with almost every episode. If Maury convinced my mom the world was going to hell in a handbasket, Judge Judy gave her hope there were still people around to whip those losers into shape. If the plaintiffs and defendants had been able to hear my mom’s commentary, their cases would have been the least of their problems. “Look at that hair.” “Oh, nice tattoo.” “Ever hear of an orthodontist?” “Of all the shirts she had in her closet, that’s the one she chose to wear on television.” She and Judy would have really hit it off.

During Mom’s final days, the television in my parents’ living room stayed dark. It was the ultimate indication that our life was about to become very different, because watching television together was such a cornerstone of our family experience. Rather than providing a mindless distraction, it connected us in laughter, tears and memories. I already miss picking up the phone to ask my mom what she thought of that big twist on The Good Wife or whether she’ll be watching the Tonys tonight. (She would be, though she’d rather have Neil Patrick Harris hosting. He’s so talented, isn’t he?)

On the surface, remembering my mom through TV seems trivial. But my mental archive of the shows and jokes and actors and stories we both loved will keep her with me forever. I’ll always be able to conjure up her laugh, her smile, her voice by remembering and rewatching those moments. I miss her every day, but I smile imagining she’s now at the world’s best backstage party, meeting all of her childhood TV heroes—and maybe finally getting that reply from Robert Culp.

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'Inside Amy Schumer' Season 2 Reviews at Paste

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Hey! I’m still here! Been a lot going on, both personally and professionally. But in between all that, I’ve been reviewing the phenomenal sophomore season of Comedy Central’s Inside Amy Schumer for Paste Magazine. Fun!

Schumer has been one of my favorite comedians since breaking out on The Comedy Central Roast of Charlie Sheen in 2011. It’s easy to brand her as another Cute Girl Who Says Naughty Things, but Schumer is much sharper and more layered than that. For all the talk about the sneak-attack feminism in her sketches and her “chick who can hang” appeal to male viewers, the facts are these: Amy Schumer is just really fucking funny.

The season finale of Inside Amy Schumer airs this Tuesday, June 3, at 10:30p (e/p), and previous episodes are available on the Comedy Central app. You can catch up on my reviews right here, minus the one week I had to miss:

Inside Amy Schumer: “Would You Bang Her?” (Episode 201)
Inside Amy Schumer: “I’m So Bad” (Episode 202)
Inside Amy Schumer: “A Chick Who Can Hang” (Episode 203)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Boner Doctor” (Episode 204)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Down for Whatever” (Episode 206)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Slow Your Roll” (Episode 207)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Tyler Perry’s Episode 208” (Episode 208)
Inside Amy Schumer: “Raise a Glass” (Episode 209)

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grayflannelsuit:

Cliff Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill invite you into their fantastic mid-’70s kitchen!
(from a 1975 print ad for Gaffers & Sattler gas appliances)

grayflannelsuit:

Cliff Robertson and his wife Dina Merrill invite you into their fantastic mid-’70s kitchen!

(from a 1975 print ad for Gaffers & Sattler gas appliances)