Sometimes as a reality producer, what you don’t do is as important as what you do. When Joan decided to record her voice on a GPS navigation system and surprise Melissa with it, we all thought it was a great idea. First of all, Joan’s voice and style of humor is so iconic, we knew that the product would turn out great. Second, the idea of Melissa having to suffer through her mom’s voice telling her where to go in the car made us all laugh. But how could we keep Melissa in the dark until it was installed in her car?
The trick as a producer was how to avoid letting Melissa know that all of this was happening. With Joan living in Melissa’s home, and working together on a constant basis, nothing happens to one without the other knowing.
First, Joan had to make sure that Sabrina and Melody would not spill the beans as they discussed the scheduling for both women. They decided to disguise the recording session as a pedicure appointment. How often do women check each other’s feet out – especially in the fall when sandal season is over? Second, we had to make sure that our crew’s call sheets (the paperwork that tells everyone when and where to show up) made no mention of the recording studio where Joan would record the voice for the GPS system. Then we had to make sure that Lynne, who is Melissa’s friend as well as Joan’s, wouldn’t let it slip over a glass of wine. There’s only so much we can control. But Lynne thought that surprising Melissa sounded hilarious, so she promised to keep silent.
The final piece, shooting Melissa in the car after the system was installed, was the easiest part. We helped Joan input the new voice card into the system early in the morning. Then we put some incorrect directions on one of Melissa’s scheduling sheets for the day, so that she’d choose to turn on her GPS while we were taping her. The results were hilarious – but we had to put the scene in a later episode – since it took several weeks for the system to be ready.
It’s no secret that Jason and I are trying to build a family together. In fact, we’re already working on having a child of our own, which is why I was so excited when we were asked to appear in a magazine feature about Happy Hollywood families. What better way to commemorate our happy little group than with a beautiful family portrait of Cooper, Jason, my Mom, and myself? Ok, so we’re not a perfect family, but whose is? We have the occasional difference of opinion, or rare moment of tension or strife, especially when my Mom and I occupy the same physical space; but, I love our family. And if you’re grading Hollywood families on a curve, we’re doing pretty great. Which is why I was so bummed out when Jason couldn’t make it to the photo shoot – and so furious when my Mom said it was no big deal because Jason’s not “family” until we get married! Naturally Jason and I had the biggest fight ever over this ever, and then he just walked out on me. Now I’m wondering, is this really the guy I want to start a family with?
The Rivers family has never been so miserable and it’s all because of Happy Hollywood Homes. OK, maybe I should back up. We were selected to appear in a magazine article honoring deliriously happy and always agreeable entertainment industry families-due to what I can only assume was a computer error. Anyway, when we went for the photo shoot Jason didn’t show up and Melissa was very upset. I agree with her but between us, it’s not like they’re married. The piece isn’t called “Happy Hollywood Shack-Ups.” Then Jason and Melissa had a big fight over it and he walked out—you know, the way people in happy homes always do?
Meanwhile, I’ve been asked to record a GPS system which is perfect for me because I love telling people where to go. I mean, where they can get off. Well, you know what I mean. Trouble is Tony and Lynne are driving me nuts because they both want to write my GPS lines. All that matters to me right now is that Melissa is unhappy and I want Jason to come home so I can kill him for making her so sad.