I MUST Kidnap a Spaniard!

I MUST Kidnap a Spaniard! (the hilarious true tale of my OBSESSION!) SoThenStories.com
So then…I shriek, “NOOOOOOOO!” with such volume and anguish, you’d think a pack of wild zombies had just eaten my entire immediate family AND the last pint of Ben & Jerry’s.

But no, this shriek is due to a devastation so profound, I’m literally frozen in torment.

Let me explain from the BEGINNING:

I’ve already burned through fabulous period TV series like Downton Abbey, The Paradise, Mr. Selfridge, and Call the Midwives. 

NetFlix keeps asking if I’d like to watch Grand Hotel – but I keep resisting because it’s filmed in Spain, so I’d need to read English subtitles!

As a world-class multi-tasker, I’m always doing something else WHILE I’m watching TV, so having to read the screen just won’t work.  Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.

But then one day, I take a little lunch break and figure, “Well, I’ll just watch the first episode while I eat, then go find something else to watch while I work on spreadsheets, open mail, do computer work, etc.”

So I’m watching the first episode of Grand Hotel about this luxury hotel in Spain owned by a wealthy family in 1906 and their interactions with the hotel staff –

and I’m all “la-la-lala-la” when suddenly BAM!  Major plot twist!

Then BOOM!  Another twist!

Then a murder mystery!

What?

So of course I have to see what happens in the next episode, which is also action-packed and mystery-intensifying with more plots and subplots.

BOOM-SHAKA-LAKA!  Shit is going down, people!

I repeat:

SHIT.IS.GOING.DOWN.

So now I have to see the NEXT episode, and I can’t do anything else because I have to read the damn subtitles – but honestly, I’m RIVETED!

Every chance I get, I zip over to the big screen TV to watch more episodes of Grand Hotel.

My family’s perplexed since they’re not used to seeing me watch TV without doing something else.  And quite frankly, when they suggest using the big screen TV to watch one of their shows, they’re a little taken aback when I scowl and hiss menacingly.

But here’s why:

MYSTERIOUS

This is unlike any other period show I’ve ever seen.  In addition to the gorgeous costumes, the class differences between the hotel’s owners and staff, the antiquated customs of the early 1900’s – there are mysteries to solve, schemes to expose, and culprits to discover.

Grand Hotel is one of the most addictive series ever!  There are mysteries upon mysteries at this luxury hotel!  Some last several episodes, some last a whole season – so we have the satisfaction of seeing some mysteries solved, but always have several others brewing.

There are some good people – and some VERY, VERY bad people – and sometimes you don’t know who’s who.  There’s a large cast of characters and there’s always something going on with all of them!

The show’s like a thriller, packed with suspense and action surrounding murder, blackmail, kidnapping, and many more secrets I can’t mention due to the possibility of Spoiler Alerts!

ROMANTIC

Over the 3 seasons of the show, there are many romances, but the one featuring the two main characters Julio and Alicia is SPECTACULAR.  It’s very suspenseful because there are so many genuine DANGEROUS obstacles in their path.  They’re gorgeous, smart, brave, clever… You’ll literally SWOON every time they’re on screen together.

I am madly in love with Julio –
AND madly in love with Alicia –
AND currently working on a time-travel machine so I can go live with them in 1906 Spain for a thrilling threesome while we solve mysteries together.

SCHEMING

Oh the scheming!  There are so many fabulous, over-the-top characters who conspire dastardly deeds and don’t hesitate to throw other people under the bus (or motorcar, as the case may be).  You hate them.  And you love that you hate them.

FUNNY

As you get to know the motivations, history, and obstacles of certain characters, you can’t help but laugh when they find themselves in certain situations.  It’s not broad slapstick humor – or searing wit.  You’re just laughing because you know these characters so well – even the twitch of someone’s eyebrow can set you off.

DRAMATIC

Holy Hell, you guys.  Lots of drama.  It’s not quite melodrama – but there are some scenes that get pretty close – and you know what?  I LOVE IT!  It’s frothy and fun and awesome!

If you set your timer back to 1906 in Spain when husbands ruled the wives – marriages were sometimes arranged – the poor had to kowtow to the wealthy – judges could be bought – then you’ll enjoy this romp through the troubles and turmoils of everyone connected to Grand Hotel.

WILL YOU LIKE IT?

I realize this might not be everyone’s cup of poisoned tea, but if you’re interested, it’s available on NetFlix streaming.  There are 3 seasons, which total 66 episodes of about 40 minutes each.

If you start to watch it and don’t like it – DON’T TELL ME.  I’ll be as offended as if you’d called my precious newborn “hideous and stinky.”

But if you like it – DEFINITELY TELL ME.  We’ll gossip about the characters for hours, swoon over Julio and Alicia, and scream “Siiiiiii-mo-netta!” every time we see each other!

“THE SHOW SOUNDS AWESOME, DARCY, BUT WHAT MADE YOU SHRIEK ‘NOOOOOO!’?”

Because I’m on episode 58 of the 66 episodes, fully invested in all the characters –

fully enthralled in all the suspenseful mysteries –

fully engaged in the romantic entanglements –

when SUDDENLY AND WITHOUT WARNING…

…the English subtitles stop.

STOP.

As in my beloved and reviled characters are all still speaking rapid-fire Spanish on the screen, but I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT THEY ARE SAYING!

I punch remote control buttons for language and subtitles and everything else, but the subtitles DON’T come back!

I have 8 episodes left to go on a series I’m OBSESSED with – and I have no way to know what’s happening!

The subtitles just disappeared in the middle of an episode!  What if the translation company just STOPPED TRANSLATING the series in episode 58?  Maybe they ran out of money!  What if THERE ARE NO SUBTITLES for the rest of the series?

My heart rate increases.  The room spins.

I’m about to run screaming into the streets, grabbing the first Spanish-speaking person I find, kidnapping them back to my house, and forcing them to translate word-for-word EVERYTHING that’s being said!

I’m screaming “NOOOOOO!” so loudly that my 16-year-old daughter Chloe comes running in, certain that ninja warriors are attacking me.

“What?! What?! What?!” she shouts.

“My…my…Julio!…Alicia!” I stammer, pointing to the TV.  “Siiiiiii-mo-netta!”  I wail.

Chloe calmly clicks into Settings and changes the Accessibility button to Closed Caption.

My subtitles come back!  I hug her enthusiastically!  I jump and dance and cavort about!

All is right with the world.

Honestly, I was ready to fly to Spain and hunt down each actor and actress to find out what happened in the last 8 episodes.  But thankfully, my subtitles return and I watch the rest of the series.

It is FANTASTIC! 

I absolutely adore binge-watching this charming, mystery-laden, romantic, captivating period piece.

And this portion of my life will henceforth be known as, “Hey, remember that time Mom went off the rails for two weeks and did nothing but watch Spanish-language TV?”

WORTH IT.

— Darcy Perdu

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(Have you seen Grand Hotel? Do you want to join me in my time travel machine back to 1906 Spain?  PLEASE tell me the names of your favorite binge-watching shows because I’m in serious withdrawal over here now that I’ve finished Grand Hotel! HELP!)
Grand Hotel Alicia and Julio

Do I Embarrass Myself in Front of Celebrities? Why Yes, Yes I Do!

Backstage Bungle -- funny & embarrassing story!  @SoThenStories

So then…I confess that I neglected to share a rather embarrassing tale from my recent trip to Vegas with my two teen kids and their three pals.

Oh sure, I shared our shenanigans and hypnotized hilarity – but of course, no trip is complete without my own personal embarrassment…

THE BACKSTAGE BUNGLE
Our friend arranges for us to see a comedian friend of his, so the teens and I get awesome free seats and an opportunity to meet the comedian backstage afterwards.

The show’s hilarious! We love it!

Afterwards, an usher brings us to an attractive guy named Jim who’s the comedian’s assistant or road manager or something. He takes us backstage to a waiting room, then into the comedian’s dressing room.

The kids and I greet the comedian and thank him for the seats.

While the kids are talking to the comedian, I go off to the side with Jim. I gesture toward the kids with my Iphone and whisper to him, “Do you think it’s OK if I take a picture?”

“Sure!” he says, “That’s flattering!”

“Oh, OK,” I say shyly. “I never know. I don’t want to ask a celeb for a photo if it’s too pushy or something.”

“Not at all!” says Jim, smiling. “I’m happy to take a photo with them. They probably won’t know who I am though!”

Huh?

I look at him strangely. They won’t know who you are? I don’t know who you are, either!

So I’m looking at this Jim guy totally confused, when suddenly –

LIGHTBULB!

Oh, damn. Now I remember! The comedian mentioned during the show that his friend was in the audience – a singer from a popular boy band in the late 90’s.

Oh, damn, damn, damn. Jim’s not the comedian’s assistant! He’s the friend – who’s also a celeb! And he thinks I’m asking for HIS picture!

I quickly try to recover gracefully, nodding my head enthusiastically, like yes yes that’s exactly what I intended all along please by all means get in this photo you delicious little former boy-bander you!

So then follows a horribly awkward photo shoot where I’m directing my kids and their friends to all smush together in pics with the comedian and the hottie 90’s singer-dancer.

Argh!

Could I just make it through ONE WEEK without embarrassing myself?

Nope.

As we leave the theater, walking along, I stop dead in my tracks and gasp!

Because now I remember something that makes me wince with fresh new embarrassment.

Before we went to the comedian’s dressing room, about 10 of us were squeezed into a tiny waiting room — me, the 5 teens with me, a few friends of the comedian, and Jim.

Jim was standing and the rest of us were sitting on two benches facing each other – smashed in so close, our knees were touching the people seated opposite us!

After awhile, conversation petered out a bit, so one of the adults said, “We need some entertainment while we’re waiting” and someone said something to Jim like, “Are you humming over there?”

He grinned — so I asked, “Oh, do you sing?” in that tone of voice you use when you discover someone who has one job — has just been revealed to have another talent.

Like the tone of voice I’d use if my plumber glanced longingly at my piano and I said with a tinge of surprise, “Oh, do you play?”

I was thinking, “Oh, Jim the assistant also happens to sing.  That’s cool.”

And when I asked “Oh, do you sing?” — Jim and the others laughed which I took to mean “Good God, no!” which is the same response I’d give – because I’m a dreadful singer (even the nuns say so).

Just then, the door opened and we filed out to the comedian’s dressing room.  One of the women smiled at me and murmured, “That’s a good one.”

NOW it all makes sense. She and the others thought I KNEW Jim was a famous former boy bander so they interpreted my question to be “faux innocent” – like I was ribbing him or teasing him!

Like batting my eyelashes and asking Kobe Bryant, “Oh, do you play ball?”
Or asking Meryl Streep, “Oh, do you act?”
Asking Miley Cyrus, “Oh, do you twerk?”
Asking that old Vatican guy with the funny hat, “Oh, are you religious?”

So Jim and the other adults all thought I was being clever and coy and maybe even flirtatious!

But I was just being completely clueless – which, I suppose, is its own special talent.

Embarrassing myself being yet another special talent I possess.

So, former boy bander, if you ever read this post – just know that you’re still smokin’ hot and I’d love to hear you croon anytime, baby!

— Darcy Perdu

PS I changed his name for this post so as not to embarrass him – or myself – any further!

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(Ever embarrassed yourself in front of a celeb? Do you know all the 90’s boy banders by sight?)

For hilarious tales from the front lines of parenting — and my story of the most embarrassing thing I’ve EVER done — buy this rockin’ new book, I STILL Just Want to Pee Alone!
I Still Just Want To Pee Alone at Amazon.com




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Chillin’ in Beverly Hills with Hollywood Celebs!

So then…we hustle inside the Paley Center in Beverly Hills for a private screening of two new fall TV shows.

“Wow! Are you that well-connected in Hollywood?”

Uh, no.

I just happen to have a teen daughter who fell in love with the sneak preview of Red Band Society TV show about teen hospital patients – and used her resourceful, nimble digits online to find out Paley’s hosting a private screening followed by a live interview with some of the cast! $20 per ticket!

Paley Show Board 429

So Chloe, 14, grabs her two pals and off we go to Beverly Hills!

Paley Center Sunglasses 429

They don’t actually travel with giant sunglasses like this – I’m just trying to protect their anonymity. But now that I’ve SEEN how cool this looks, I’m going to insist they wear giant sunglasses to ALL future events!

As we watch the pilot of Red Band Society, Chloe and her teen gal pals wonder which of the dreamy teen boys who play the PATIENTS might be interviewed afterwards.

Paley Red Band 429

Um…turns out – none. Two of the show’s NURSES are interviewed. The teen boys are back in Atlanta still filming.

Oops.

But no fear, the actor and actress playing the nurses are engaging and funny. If you have teens or tweens, they’ll probably enjoy this dramedy about teens in a funky, unique hospital. Red Band Society on Wednesdays on FOX.

So I’d like to tell you about the other show we’re sneak-peeking – it’s called Mulaney.

Who’s Mulaney?

Well, you remember Stefon, one of my favorite SNL characters played by Bill Hader?

Paley - Stefon 429

Well, Bill co-wrote all of Stefon’s lines with John Mulaney. Lines like:

New York’s hottest club is: Heeyyyyy!
Description: Built from the bucket list of a dying pervert, this Battery Park bitch parade is now managed by overweight game show host Fat Sajak.
This place has everything: Tweekers, skeevies, Spud Webb, a child, and a Russian guy who runs on a treadmill in a Cosby sweater.
Bonus: The bouncer’s a bulldog who looks like Wilford Brimley, and the password is “dia-beat-us!”

So you’d almost expect the co-writer to look as hip, crazy, and whacked-out as Stefon’s character, right?

Paley - Stefon Hands 429

Nope.

THIS is John Mulaney.

Paley - Mulaney 429

He looks like the most straight-up clean-cut white guy in the history of white guys.

Honestly, it’s like he’s a cross between a Boy Scout and Snow White – pure as the driven snow.

Paley - Mulaney Broadcaster 429

A Midwestern broadcaster maybe? – or a Mormon junior accountant?

I would buy insurance from this man!

Paley - Insurance 429

I can hardly believe this mild-mannered fellow co-wrote the hilariously borderline offensive Stefon lines.

So the new TV show Mulaney is an “ensemble comedy series about a rising stand-up comic trying to take his career to the next level and the friends and mentors who lift him up, hold him back and push him around.”

Mulaney’s hired as “a writer by self-centered comedy legend Lou Cannon (Martin Short) — but still tries to be there for his roommates Jane (Nasim Pedrad from SNL) and Motif (comedian Seaton Smith) – and friend/dealer Andre (Zack Pearlman), a trust-fund baby. Mulaney’s counseled by Oscar (Elliott Gould), a 71-year-old gay veteran of New York who’s seen it all.”

Paley Mulaney Cast Total 429

After the show, the whole cast comes out to answer questions. They’re all funny and charming, but alas, none of them are teen boys, so they’re not quite as appealing to Chloe and her pals.  But they enjoy the interview anyway!

Paley Mulaney Martin & Mulaney Laughing 429

Martin Short and John Mulaney

“So what’d you think, Darcy?”

CONS: The sitcom beats are a little predictable. Sample:

Mulaney: I don’t think I’ll ever be booked on Letterman.
Other person: What makes you say that? What did the Letterman booker say?
Mulaney: He said “You’ll never be booked on Letterman.”

You can almost HEAR the rim shot.

I can’t stand sitcoms who follow that tired punchline formula. I call it the “My brother NEVER visits me. Knock Knock. Who’s there? It’s your brother!” cliché.

(Now you could accuse me of just critiquing the show because I’m so profoundly jealous that I’m not a TV comedy writer myself — and that I’d probably give my right arm leg spleen to work in entertainment… and you’d be right. Ha! BUT…I will say I saw some positive sparks in the show too! And I think it has some great potential, as seen below…)

PROS: Our Boy Scout Accountant may LOOK like a mild-mannered and straight-up white boy – but he is actually a bit dark and perverse – which I like. I like A LOT.

In one scene, Mulaney’s apology to another character goes something like this:

Mulaney, with disturbed expression: “I’m sorry I’m late. I’m a little rattled. I saw a wheelchair on the First Avenue L platform. It was lying on its side. No one was in it. That’s a bad thing to see. (pause) Something happened there.” His expression turns optimistic: “You HOPE it was a miracle…(pause)…but probably not.”

He acts the scene superbly and it’s obvious this is a bit from his stand-up act. But that’s what makes Mulaney unique – his own special perspective on the world.

I hope we get to see a lot more of that type of humor throughout the scenes with other characters – and not just in the few minutes of stand-up he performs on the show.

Yes, it’ll be more difficult for the show’s writers to weave comedy monologue lines into an ensemble sitcom – but I hope they accept that challenge, rather than rely on the old tired shtick of most sitcoms: “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that hat!” Cut to: character wearing that hat.

Paley Mulaney Comedian and SNL Girl 429

As for the other characters, I’m hopeful they’ll become a little less “one-note” as the series continues. Typically a pilot episode needs to hit the character traits a little hard so the new viewers know what to expect, but I hope the writers trust us enough to move beyond caricature to character. This will make it much less predictable, more authentic, and vastly more enjoyable.

So there you have it: my first TV show review! I’m now supremely qualified to be invited on-set to ALL Hollywood TV shows to interview cast members, review programs, appear as an extra, raid the craft services table, and sneak into the dressing rooms to take selfies with napping actors.

So spread the word to the Hollywood execs: I’m ready for my close-up!

— Darcy Perdu

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(If you watch Mulaney TV show premiere on FOX on October 5, let me know what you think! Have you found any new fall shows you like yet? What are your favorite comedy sitcoms of all-time?)

Spotting Hollywood Celebs in Beverly Hills! #funny #TV