A blog is born.
Welcome to my musings on pop culture and parenting. I am the Pop Mama and this is a safe place to steal away from your screaming child and get your fix on what's up with Beyonce and great poop stain remover tips.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Stage Parents

Two stories broke recently involving parents of child stars.  One was the whiny tale of Billy Ray Cyrus and his daughter Miley, as told to GQ Magazine.  The other was a very sad report of molestation and sexual abuse by the father of the sibling musical group, The 5 Browns (the group is made up of siblings who are all musical prodigies that went to Julliard and are disgustingly talented).  After all of the stories over the years involving stage parents, I truly think that stage parents in general (and I am sure that there are exceptions) have some kind of mental disease or defect.  Let's see...think of Joe Jackson (creepy abuser -- just look at his picture...yikes!), Dina Lohan (enabler), Jaid Barrymore (enabler, fame-seeker), pretty much any of the parents featured on Toddlers and Tiaras (crazy town), Joe Simpson (inappropriate), Kris Jenner (pimp) and there are a ton more out there.  Remember in the movie Juno where the ultrasound tech is insinuating that a teen can't be a good parent and Juno's friend shoots back that the kid could be headed towards a much worse fate with its adopted parents if they were, gasp, stage parents?  Well, unfortunately for the children of stage parents, life isn't always grand.   

There is definitely a difference between a "stage parent" and the parent of a child actor/celebrity.  The stage parent is the parent who continually exploits his/her child, both in the child's career and in his/her personal life.  The stage parent stops parenting and instead takes on the role of a coach, manager, friend, party buddy and publicist.  The stage parent does not know when to say when.  The stage parent stops having his or her own life and takes on the life of the child, making decisions not based on what is best for the child, but what is best for the child's career (and bank account).  The stage parent is a parasite.

Billy Ray Cyrus gave an interview to GQ in which he whines about how he blames himself for Miley's descent into smoking herb, partying and sexy pics.  He also blames the show Hannah Montana for tearing his family apart.  He goes so far as to say that he regrets Miley doing the show at all.  First, I feel that this interview is way for Billy Ray's own publicist to spin him as the good guy...now that he is getting divorced and his daughter is two failed singles away from posing for Playboy.  I really don't feel sorry for Billy Ray.  I can't help but think that he originally pimped his cute daughter to re-launch his career.  I mean, he did play her father on Hannah Montana, although he claims he has never made a dime off of her.  Well, technically, without her on the show, there would not have been a show-- unless they were doing a remake of The Beverly Hillbillies.

Second, check out the picture of Billy Ray that is featured in the article.  Not only is the food featured behind him (as he casually sits on his counter top?) probably a blatant product placement, but it is also an PSA for childhood obesity.  Here is a fun game, guess the amount of calories in this picture and the number of brands featured.  Seriously, is this what he eats?

On much more serious note, People magazine reported that Keith Brown, the father of the musicians in The 5 Browns quintet (all siblings) is being charged with sexually abusing his three daughters, Desirae (32), Deondra (30) and Melody (26).  The girls came forward and agreed to be named in the allegations against their father.  What a scum bag.  Keith Brown was the group's former manager, but no longer works professionally with his children (probably because they hate him).  I don't have a ton of background on this family, so I am not sure how much they were pushed into becoming professional musicians.  I remember seeing the three girls on Oprah years ago and being so impressed (and a little jealous) of how talented they all were.  Even if they all had natural talent, I still have to wonder how much their father enforced music practice, etc.  And, now that I know they were abused by their father, I am certain that their childhood was not even close to normal.

Stage parents gross me out.  Watch Toddlers and Tiaras and you will basically watch parents spend thousands of dollars dressing up little girls (no, really, toddlers) in bikinis and midriff baring school girl outfits so that they can dance around on stage for judges whose credentials are that they work at the local bank and like to wear body glitter.  Oh, and if the little girl pleases the judge (who is of course looking for "true facial beauty" and "personality"), then she may take home the grand prize of a cheap tiara and a $100 savings bond. 

Well, I have to step off my soap box now and run, Cameron has an audition...



Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Not Jeff Gillooley's...

Former figure skater / saboteuse Tonya Harding is expecting and no, it is not a Gillooley (although I wish it was because I just like saying that name.).  Tonya is 40 and "very happily married" to husband, Joseph Price.  Is anyone else surprised that considering Tonya's checkered (read: trashy) past this is only her FIRST child?  People magazine reports that the former ice princess is expecting a baby boy.  Tonya was banned from amateur competitive skating and there is no mention of Tonya's current profession...where is her reality show?  Well, congrats Tonya!  

Monday, February 14, 2011

Planes, Trains and Antibiotics...

Last week my little family took its first post-baby vacation.  My husband and I ambitiously traveled across this great nation with our nine month old son hoping for a relaxing week in the desert sun...how naive we were.  Here are the highlights of our trip:  1) gunk oozing from baby's nose and eyes; 2) no sleep for parents; 3) lengthy visit to sub-par urgent care; 4) no sleep for parents; 5) antibiotics, both oral and eye drops; and 6) head cold for mom.  Vacation?  Well, we tried.  At least it was sunny and in the 70s in the entire time...and Cameron did enjoy the pool when he was well enough to go in it.  If any of you tech people out there are looking for an iphone app idea, I have one...Baby Traveler.  The app would be able to help you figure out how to adjust a baby to a time change, point you in the direction of the nearest urgent care and pharmacy, figure out the best seats on airplanes, the best bathrooms in airports to change diapers, and play white noise and lullabies for the crankiest of times.  Oh, and Cameron started crawling while we were on vacation, so now I have to keep an even more eagle eyed watch on him.

While I was away a few things happened in the world of pop culture...
1.  Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz are getting a divorce.  I was a little surprised by this one.  I am sad for them, especially because they have a two year old son.  Of course, in their public statement they say that they will remain committed parents to son, Bronx.  Well, I sure hope so...do you really need to say it?

2.  Christina Aguilera flubbed the lyrics to the Star Spangled Banner at the Super Bowl.  The media went crazy, but I just felt bad for her.  It can happen and it is unfortunate that it happened to her at such a publicized event.  

I'm sure more happened, but I cannot think of it right now.  I must admit that I am a bit overwhelmed because I have so much on my DVR to watch.  I must catch up with The Real Police Women of Cincinnati

I also visited a Buy Buy Baby store for the first time during my vacation and I liked it so much better than Babies R Us.  In the baby superstore world Babies R Us is now the poor man's Buy Buy Baby.  More later this week...got to go catch my son who is trying to pull his dehumidifier down on his head. 

Friday, February 4, 2011

From TLC to E!

This week E! premiered Kate Gosselin's True Hollywood Story and I of course DVR'd it -- and early this morning (thanks to my little alarm clock named Cameron), I watched it.  Ever since Kate Gosselin's rise to fame (or infamy), I have been interested in knowing more about her life before she sold her soul to reality television.  More specifically, I wanted to know about her childhood, her courtship with Jon, their newlywed days, etc. because I know about what happened next...I think most of America is familiar with what I will term the hot mess of 2009.  So, if you are like me and are curious about Kate's life pre-TLC madness, don't bother watching her E! THS.  The show barely touched on her early life or her early marriage with Jon.  There were no interviews with ex-boyfriends or former best friends or former co-workers.  There was a brief explanation of her childhood growing up in a campground/trailer park in rural Pennsylvania and how that experience of having very little money caused her to value having lots of money.  E! presented a time line of Jon and Kate's first TV interviews re: being pregnant with sextuplets and how they were featured on a Discovery network show called Surviving Sextuplets and Twins (saw it when it aired) and then how that show developed into a follow-up episode and then crossed over into a regular series called Jon and Kate Plus 8.  

The show also touched on how Kate and Jon were really supported by donations and charity in the early days after the sextuplets were born and how the chance to do the one episode of Surviving Sextuplets and Twins was really just a way for them to survive while Jon wasn't working full-time.  People interviewed (mainly a local TV news reporter from their area and some tabloid biographers) talked about how Kate was picky with donations and really only wanted specific types of hand-outs (i.e. grocery gift cards, etc.).  Apparently there was a local grocery store that also dedicated a parking space to Jon and Kate and whenever someone else was parked in it and Kate needed to use it, she would go into the store and demand that whoever was parked there move their car.  Does this surprise me?  No.  Can I say that all of my post-baby behavior has been free of craziness and drama?  No.  Do I think that the parking space business is a little much?  Yes.  Can I totally blame her?  Not really -- because I don't have 8 kids at home.  Although, let me say that this supposedly happened when she had 8 kids under 4 at home, and if she pulled this crap today I would hope that someone would kick her in the caboose with her own wedge heel.

After talking about how Jon and Kate ended up with a series and how the series is so very staged --- including staging a fake Christmas morning wherein the children were actually led to believe it was actually Christmas and then were later told that it wasn't really Christmas and that there would be another one coming soon...wow.  That is pretty sad -- tricking the kids to make a buck.  So when one of the kids gets arrested later in life (c'mon the odds are against them), he or she can tell Jon and Kate that it wasn't a real arrest and that the next one is the one that counts.

The last third of the show focused on Jon and Kate's divorce and Kate's turn on Dancing with the Stars.  We all know how that ended -- Jon looking completely ridiculous and pathetic and Kate tragically dancing her way towards more publicity.  Kate's appearance has changed drastically since her first television appearance -- she has gone from dowdy to glam.  After her televised tummy tuck, teeth whitening and exercise regime, she has come a long way from the mom from Wyommissing, PA.  Here is a picture of Kate from last month while in Australia, taping Kate Plus 8.  Will her show ever NOT be about her going on vacation with her kids?

I wonder what Kate would do if she had the chance to do it all over again...