Just in case you missed it- due to news of cyclone bombs, nuclear bomb warnings and other distractions - I made my network TV debut this year. I was invited to tape a roll-in for The Chew (weekdays, ABC @ 1pm EST). The subject: my guilty obsession with pancakes*. So now, true to the site platform name SuzeeBehindTheScenes, I offer you a glimpse of my nine seconds actually “behind the scenes“.
On December 23 I got a call from my friend Jonathan, a creative production assistant for The Chew. Could I tape a brief segment confessing my deepest, darkest (not to be confused with the dark web) food overindulgence?
Am I available? I could hardly contain my excitement. Uber cool Carla Hall, Clinton Kelly and Michael Symon are going to help me lighten up a recipe! This is my big break. How to wow them? I visualized some of my most favorite kitchen scenes: Audrey Hepburn throwing together a makeshift meal for Humphrey Bogart in "Sabrina"; Meryl Streep teaching Steve Martin how to make (and make love to) a chocolate croissant in "Its Complicated"; and then I hit upon it! The scene where Diane Keaton makes (none other than) pancakes in that to-die-for kitchen for Jack Nicholson in "Something’s Gotta Give". With Diane as my inspiration I can do this!
I was already fantasizing of an entire spin-off show about a sassy and sophisticated (but humble) morning talk show host making breakfast treats in her cozy kitchen while A-list friends happen to drop by. Just as I was about to choose the fabric for the show’s signature aprons, reality hit. And it looked a little more like this:
The Setting: Our kitchen. 7:00 Christmas eve morning. I’ve enlisted my husband and son to be the cameraman and lighting tech, respectively.
Me: That box of pancake mix in the back of the cabinet- just how old do you think it is?
Expiration dates are really just suggestions, right?
Husband: Is there any coffee?
Me: Who put an empty milk carton back in the refrigerator?
Son: Why are you looking at me?
Me: I can substitute with plain water, right? Okay. Let’s do this.
Husband: Wait. Stop. Are you crying? Your eye is tearing and your makeup is running.
Me: I accidentally stabbed myself with the mascara brush.
Husband: I’ll just film you from the other side.
Me: Give me a minute to fix it. I could really use a professional hair and make up crew.
Son: Why are you looking at me again?
Me: Just hold the light please.
Husband: I think the light is too strong.
Son: You look washed out.
Me: I was supposed to wear something bright but my signature style is more like “Fifty Shades of Beige”. I’ll see if I can borrow something from your sister.
I return with a bright coral T-shirt. The cameraman and lighting expert are losing interest.
Me: Third time is a charm.
Actually, the eleventh take was the charm. The next attempt was ruined when I missed the plate completely and pancakes fell all over the floor. (I just picked them up and put them back in the pan. Julia Child would have been proud). I was, if not happy, satisfied with the fourth take and sent it off to Jonathan.
The next day Jonathan messaged me back. Could I emote more? Sure! The next few takes elicited eye rolls from the camera man and lighting crew. (I guess you can emote too much). Then there were the burnt pancakes (just hide them under the good ones). The phone ringing while the video was rolling. A discussion of whether or not to throw in some chocolate chips. Finally, the segment was ready.
Friday, January 5, 1:30 p.m. I’m watching myself on TV. For the entirety of those nine seconds I’m thinking: should I have worn heels? Am I really that short? Would it have killed me to have used a flat iron straightener? Do I even like the new backsplash? It doesn’t matter. I am over the moon when Carla addresses me by name. Is that Clinton smiling? I hope they invite me back. After all, if you believe Andy Warhol, I have 14 minutes and 51 seconds left!.
To watch Beth on The Chew:
*Legal Disclaimer: I want to be very clear that we are talking all-American, made in the USA, flag-waving pancakes. Not crepes. Not blintzes. And certainly not Russian blini. I have not now nor have I ever discussed pancakes with the Russians.