It appears that Hollywood is all about the Hurry up and Wait. At least it was for us, the six dads that were filmed for a possible reality show on SAHD’s. Now that the casting tape was done, it was out of our hands. The tape would be edited down to 15 minutes (from at least 20 hours of footage) and presented to a whole string of people. If each group liked it, it would move up the chain until the network president saw it and then would make a decision. In my head I imagine people in power suits drinking scotch while they judge whether my friends and I are TV worthy. It takes a long time apparently. The whole process does. This whole thing has been going on for about a year. But it does give you a chance to reflect and really think about what has happened.
For me, all this was very surreal. A TV show? About me and my family? Really? It didn't actually get real until I actually talked to the producer, DD.
It's weird selling yourself, even when you aren't trying. What to say, how to act, etc. I made the decision early on that if I ever did talk to a producer, I would just be me. Or the me I call Blog Hoss. The funny guy with a smile. Not the guy that sits in his underwear and black socks flipping the channel between a football game played in 1978 and an infomercial where I'm pretty sure I can see a nipple peeking out from the hosts shirt. That guy must never see the light of day.
And for me anyway, I never really meant to "sell myself." But once I started talking to the producer about my life, I couldn't help it. It was also probably a little bit easier for me as well as I have documented every funny thing that has happened over the last three years in this blog. When asked about my family, all I had to do was go down the mental checklist of the things I've written. That's how I started talking to the producer. Little Hoss and her destructive nature VS. Bubba Hoss and his almost stoner like calmness. Then it occurred to me that I should go ahead and give DD the blog link and she can read about all of our adventures herself. If you have kept track of the blog you'll also note that it was about this time that for a short while I stopped using the word "fuck" so much when I wrote. So in the end, yes, I did sell myself I suppose. But what a fine product I am. I come with a kung fu grip and a realistic receding hair line.
But now the casting tape was done and it was time for the powers that be to make a decision on whether we would be a show or not. It was a long wait but one that I wasn't particularly nervous about.
You've read what was on the casting tape and I can honestly say that it was the best we had to offer, that it was our real life and to us anyway, it was interesting. As a group we had a lot of long discussions if TV world would think so or not. Some days it was hell yes, we kick ass. Somedays it was "Who wants to watch me change a diaper while I get peed on?" But we also felt early on that if the show didn't happen, we would be ok with that because we were ok with who we are. We never planned for our 6 lives to revolve around a show. If it didn't happen, ok, we've got to go to the doctor's now because Bubba Hoss had the croup. Life still went on, pretty much the same way as before.
I also want to answer a big question here that my brother asked me when I told him we were shooting a casting tape for a show. Why? Why would you want to?
First I'll say that it's not about money, it never was. It never was going to be that much, at least until I agreed to do nude scenes and do product placement scenes such as "When I get a black eye from my daughter, I reach for the best steak around. KC Strip Steak, for when you've got to keep down the swelling and still look like a badass." Then I would have made them pay out the ass.
It was about the cause, which is weird because I find myself devoid of any big causes at the moment. No, our fear is the fear of the "House Husband." The douchebag guy that has no fucking clue what he's doing and would rather be at work but his cocaine problem got in the way. Now he has to stay home with the kids and find a way to support his meth habit. The 6 dads talked about this.
We knew that sooner or later there would be some sort of show about a Stay At Home Dad. What we didn't want was it to come off as stay at home dads who have no clue what they are doing and didn't want to be doing it in the first place. That would be a blow to our little cause and we actually do take it pretty seriously. We know that we are in the minority, we know that a lot of people look at us like we are wife beaters. We don't need that stereotype on TV confirming ignorant minds. We wanted dads on there that knew exactly what they hell they were doing, were confident around the kids and could god damn well handle anything that came up. That was our motivation, that's why we agreed to go this far in the first place.
Occasionally we would hear back from DD. The editing was done and she loved it. She put it up to her bosses. Later we were asked to come up with "show ideas". Things that would be happening over the next 6 months that would be good to film. It's reality TV but there still must be a story line. They were looking at maybe a special one hour episode and if that went well, 6 hour long episodes after that. We pitched and then she pitched. She would come back and ask us questions, we would answer them, then we would wait some more.
Her bosses loved it and had sent it off to the network. Now it was in the underlings hands. We waited. And waited. And waited.
We heard back the underlings liked it enough to send it up the chain of command. They liked and sent it higher. Finally, it landed on the desk of the network president. I find it fucking hysterical that a network president was watching my daughter rip a cake to pieces or to see me waving at the camera. I don't know why, but I do. For some reason, I just can't stop laughing thinking about that. Now it was back to waiting.
DD finally called us and let us know that the network president had made a decision. They were going to pass on the show as it wasn't a good fit for their network at that time. I don't know what that means.
Now you will have noticed that I have not mentioned WHICH network we were shooting for and I won't. But I will say that our show does not contain the douchebag factor of John and Kate, none of our wives ever said I Didn't Know I was Pregnant, and if you ever see me putting a Tiara on my Toddler, shoot me.
The network president passed on our show and that was the only reason that was told to DD. What kills me though is that we never actually saw the casting tape. The network owns it (yes, we signed a contract) and they didn't want to release it. I can see the logic behind it. If another network saw it or it ended up on the Internet and someone else made the show, they would kind of look bad.
That is the only disappointing part about this whole experience, not having the casting tape. It would have made a great souvenir of our time as stay at home dads. I would have loved to see how it was edited and if I sounded as twangy with my Texas accent as my wife tells me I do. I won't know.
The 6 dads and I talked about the reasons our show was squashed and we came up with what I think is a pretty plausible answer. We are not nutjobs that fight with each other. We are good guys and we all genuinely like each other. We are not the Housewives of orange county. We don't have fake tans and don't have jackass nicknames like Snooki (what the hell does that mean anyway?) We don't backstab each other, don't have affairs with another's wife and very rarely do we rob banks. There's no conflict between us and with the world. We're just Dads.
So that's it. That's the TV show that almost was. It was a process that took a year but in that year it was a hell of an adventure and I loved every minute of it. We got lucky with a producer that we could trust and I doubt I would ever do something like this again unless she was a part of it. I know that the 6 from the show read this blog and some of their wives do. Please comment on this one, add your two cents. The blog serves as a time capsule and I think everyone that reads it would love to hear what you have to say.
(Dedicated to DD: Thanks for all the hard work!)