Ugga Mugga, Daniel Tiger

(to camera) Have you been wondering about that preschool show I have been writing for? (pause for audience response) Wonder no more.

Remember all of those hours you spent watch Mr. Rogers, wearing a cardigan and changing your shoes? Well get ready to feel special all over again with Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood. From the PBS press release:

“The new preschool series is an animated version of the original Neighborhood of Make Believe in which a four-year-old Daniel Tiger is the star of the show who talks directly to the home audience inviting them in to his world. The first television series produced by The Fred Rogers Company since MISTER ROGERS’ NEIGHBORHOOD, DANIEL TIGER’S NEIGHBORHOOD will launch in Fall 2012 on-air on PBS KIDS, along with a robust website, including free, interactive games for kids, online resources for parents and teachers, and other cross-platform content.”

No word yet on when my episodes will air, but I can say that it is a real honor-filled funtime to work on this show.

Out of the Blue, Round Two

I have been asked to write another script for the pro-social animated preschool show that Out of the Blue is developing for PBS. Hooray! I can’t tell you what the episode is about, but I can tell you that I spent a good deal of time thinking about how to transform cardboard boxes into large-scale public transportation.

Preschool script? Complete!

I just put the finishing touches on my preschool script for Out of the Blue. I loved reading the notes from the researchers about what the test audience (of preschoolers, of course) did and didn’t respond to. Now if only I can get some Columbia-trained researchers to poll the audiences at my sketch shows….

Female, Funny and Fabulous: Fifteen Years Later

Ok. I am pretty excited about this. I wrote my college thesis on women in sketch and improv comedy. To do so, I interviewed women in college sketch and improv groups. I have always wondered what became of them–Are they still doing comedy? Have their ideas about women in comedy changed? So, it’s pretty awesome that I am now going to find out. I am doing a series for where I try and find all of the women and interview them all over again. Here the first post!

Crappy Stories I Can’t Stop Reading

I don’t know how we pinned the term on it exactly, but around our house we call them “sad sack stories.” These are stories with headlines like “Man Falls Off Stone Mountain” or, more hopefully, “Dog Risks Life to Save Other Dog.”

I read these stories a lot. I actively search them out. On average, depending on workload, I probably check CNN’s Justice tab at least once a day. A cold case? I’m on it. Specific regional stories from local news affiliates? I am reading those, too.

My husband Jon doesn’t get it. Maybe it’s because an integral part of reading sad sack stories is sharing them. When talking to Jon, I now have to preface them with “Um, can I tell you another sad sack story?” He usually says, “Yes,” because he is nice. But several times he has asked, politely of course, “Um, what’s the point of these stories?” Like I am supposed to come up with a moral or something.

The thing is I don’t have an answer for him. I could probably make one up—like, “I am just confirming that my life isn’t so bad,” or, “it’s a crazy mixed up world we live in,” or, “I work from home, so what?” The real reason is that I gravitate to these stories because I learned that’s what you should do.

Growing up in a small town, as I did, you know everyone’s business. And the business that people are sharing the most is the sad sack stuff—“He just dropped dead of a heart attack,” or, ”they just had to shut the doors and walk away,” or, “she broke her wrist and that’s when she found out her sister had stolen over $100,000 from her life savings.” The next step, of course, is to either join a prayer chain or take over some soup to the afflicted party.

While a celebratory high-school graduation banner might elicit a public smile and nod and a privately whispered, “A little showy, don’t you think?,” a sad sack story pulls people together every time.

So, maybe since writing that last paragraph I have come up with a reason I love these stories. Because sitting here in Brooklyn, listening to a woman talking loudly about healthcare outside my window, I am still a small town girl at heart.  And while I might not get on the prayer chain or FedEx some soup to that dog that risked its life, I can at least share the sad sack  story, and keep us all a little more connected.

You’ll have to excuse me, now, the story outside my window is really getting good. Mama needs some comprehensive healthcare and I need to listen close so I can tell you all about it.