Don’t be a Camille . . . and other television lessons

I grew up in the golden age of After School Specials, and aside from things like “Don’t Drink and Dive” (yes I left the R out on purpose–Thank you Scott Baio!), I can’t recall that I took that much from them. But that isn’t to say television has not also been a classroom for me.

Even though everybody lies, don’t lie about your physical condition or medical history. House.

This summer, after having my son, I had a mysterious fever that kept me in the hospital for seven days. As each new doctor on rotation or specialist came to see me, I would give them an almost painfully complete medical rundown, including any and every symptom. Why? Because on House it’s always those little things that are key. Interpreted in to my life? I’m not a doctor, I have no medical training, so how the heck can I judge what’s important and what’s not.

Don’t be a Camille. America’s Next Top Model, Season 2

On season 2 of this long running Tyra Banks ego-showcase, a young lady of Camille elected to play the villain role that is necessary on every reality show. In this case her primary adversary was eventual winner Yoanna, who look like Audrey Hepburn to Camille’s Diana Ross. But where Camille really faltered was not in her altercations with Yoanna, but in her response to critique. Camille loved her some excuses. And so, when my mom and fellow ANTM viewer was faced with criticism at work, she actually used the phrase, “I’m not going to be a Camille.” This is sound advice. Take criticism gracefully and without excuses, even if you don’t fully agree with it. There’s probably some truth to it.

Even truck driver’s are eloquent–much more so than I’ll ever be. Survivor, Season 1

I actually use the end of this speech to teach figurative language. Well constructed, character appropriate–never underestimate the intelligence of someone, just because they don’t have a degree.

Sue Hawk’s Final Speech

Don’t be a Camille, Part Deux. The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, Season 1

What is it about this name? In this case, we’re looking at a women who acts innocent, then instigates issues, doesn’t really take care of her own children, spends way too much time with other people’s husbands, says she doesn’t want to be in her husband’s shadow and then drops his name every other sentence, and claims she has a Jesus complex when she’s not demanding compliments. Granted, most of the women on Housewives, no matter the city, are there own brand of crazy. But Camille isn’t crazy; she’s mean, unlikable, and seriously lacking in self-awareness. It’s a sad state of affairs when people side with your cheating, ex-drug addict husband. What can be learned from this? We all have flaws. Just don’t be so oblivious to yours or the feelings of the people around you. And don’t do coy little shrugs after saying something horrible. It doesn’t defuse it; it makes it worse.

Be honest with your hairstylist. Sheer Genius, Season 2

Tell your stylist what your lifestyle is, what you’re willing and capable of doing, and how long you can spend on your hair. Because they can cut it, dye it, and blow it out to look amazing, but unless you are willing to repeat those same steps (or hire them to show up at your house every morning), it ain’t going to look like that again. A good stylist can help you fit your hair to your life, while still making it flattering. There was an entire challenge based around this idea and only Nicole really listened to her client and didn’t give them 20 products and tools to use. My stylist knows, in no uncertain terms, that I will not use product, straighten, curl, or blow dry. So my cut looks good in a pony tail (it’s normal place) and great air-dried down.

Always ask to see the badge before letting a policeman in. Law and Order: SVU

Even if they are in uniform. Especially if they aren’t. Take down the number and the name. Teach this to your children.

Don’t cross Glen Close. Ever. Damages, Season 1-3

There is a scene in the third season of Damages where the pregnant girlfriend of Michael, the son of Patty Hewes (Glen Close) tries to blackmail Hewes for money. My mom and I actually cracked up watching this scene because, honestly, how does she even think for a second that she can outwit Patty? She can’t. It cannot be done. Don’t piss off Glen Close. That’s just logic.

What’s the best thing you’ve learned from TV?

Happy Easter!


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