Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Mommy, is that the real Captain Feathersword?

It is cold in New York this morning. I mean cold. The kind of cold where you take a taxi even if you're just going 3 blocks. And I would know, because my mom and I were up bright and early make that dark and earlyto attend a taping of Good Morning America. We arrived, as instructed, at 6:15, but they neglected to tell us that we'd be standing in line outside the studio until 6:54, when they finally let us in. We passed the time watching the Wiggles rehearse through the windows and wondering if our toes would fall off. (I was also wondering why there seemed to be 5 Wiggles. And why seeing them out of costume was so very unsettling.) At last the doors were opened, and for the next 2 hours we stood in the audience area, off to the side, and watched the show. Only some of the segments, like the weather, are actually taped in front of an audience (whose presence is far from essential), but it was interesting to watch the rest on the monitors, and compare what Robin Roberts and Diane Sawyer were actually saying to what was scrolling past them on the teleprompter. And my goodness, that weather guy has fabulous dimples, does he not?

Denise Brown appeared on the program, expressing her outrage about whatever the latest development is in the O.J. Simpson If I Did It situation (even she didn't seem sure what it was, exactly, she was upset about). She was not interviewed in front of us, but she did come by later to enjoy the Wiggles. And I swear Diane Sawyer said, in an earlier teaser, that "Nicole Brown Simpson" would be appearing on the show. Now that would be an interesting twist.

While that was happening elsewhere, the room was filling up with kids, many of them wearing or toting Wiggles paraphernalia. One little boy in a pirate hat said forlornly, "Captain Feathersword is not here?" And I said to myself, good heavens, that mysterious fifth Wiggle was Captain Feathersword! I'd never have known him without his eye patch!

Then little Bindi Irwin entered the studio with her khaki-clad mom, Terri, to promote their "G'Day USA" tour. I am uncomfortable with the idea of this little girl's celebrity, but I have to say she seemed a pleasant and very self-possessed little tyke, with no creepy Professional Kid vibe. (Watch the video to see an example of the kind of Professional Kid who makes me squirm, about 4 minutes in; you will know her by her too-trendy velvet hat. You will also hear some impatient tots in the background, shrieking to amuse themselves in the absence of the Wiggles.) Perhaps it is just the mother-and-daughter bad haircuts that makes me think she might grow up normal after all. And here I was going to say something disapproving about her nameBindi Sue?—but then I learned, via Wikipedia, that she is named for her father's "favorite crocodile" (Bindi) and "trusty dog" (Sue). So obviously I'm not going to question that.

Finally it was time for the Wiggles to perform! They came back, in costume this time, and did a few quiet numbers off-camera to warm up/occupy the assembled children. So yes, I can confirm that at least one of them can actually play the guitar, and they also seem to genuinely like kids, god bless 'em. The younger kids were starstruck into total silence, but there were some 4- and 5-year-olds who were very, very into the whole thing. One little boy (he's front-and-center in the red-and-white striped shirt, if you watch the video) never took his eyes off the stage, even when the Wiggles were talking to the producers; he was patiently awaiting orders ("Everybody clap," "Hands in the air," etc.), and he followed them to the letter. If any of the (surprisingly not-young) remaining original Wiggles decide to pack it in, this kid could probably take over. I surprised myself by knowing all of the songs they played, including "Can You Point Your Fingers and Do the Twist?" (can I!), which is right up there with "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" on my list of favorite song titles. and during their warmup they did my favorite Wiggles song, "Hot Potato," so I went home happy.

And when it was all over, Mom and I posed for a picture with Robin Roberts! We didn't have a camera, but a nice couple offered us theirs and promised to email us the picture, so if they follow through I will post it here as proof. And on the way home, in the "exciting only to me" category, we saw Tom Everett Scott (star of The Little Dog Laughed) on the subway!

So it was a fun day, but the next time I see a live taping, it will be in warmer weather, and I'll pick a show that has seats for the audience. And, most importantly, a show that doesn't go on the air till at least 9. I think it's time for me to take a nap now. Sing it with me, Wiggles fans: Mollsy now will sleep (shh shh shh!).

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