My goal for my 29th birthday was to get myself into the live audience of Good Afternoon America. For all of you Today Show folk, Good Afternoon America is (was) a show hosted by Lara Spencer and Josh Elliot, who are also coanchors of Good Morning America. I’ve always been a huge fan of Lara since we share the same super uncommon first name. When I was a kid she was on my local channel 7 station in New York and I watched her make her way up the ranks and across the networks until she came back to ABC last summer.
My quest depended on twitter, but I didn’t need the “massive twitter campaign” I had planned. It ended up requiring just one tweet. I said: “@LaraSpencer can you hook a #nametwin up with tickets for #GAA this friday? Its my bday!” I figured that Lara (or Lara’s twitter handle) must get dozens of tweets a day and that mine would probably get lost in the shuffle or ignored completely. BUT NO! Later that day, Lara answered me! She hooked me up with a producer on the show, Sabrina, who hooked me up with the ticket coordinator, Anne, who got me a ticket! My name was on the VIP list at the door for the day of my birth! YES!
It was only waiting on the line on my birthday that I launched my full scale twitter crusade to get Lara and/or Josh to wish me happy birthday on national television. I tweeted Lara, thanking her for the hook up, I tweeted Josh, asking him how tall he really is. Lara responded, Josh responded, I felt like I was making friends with them for realz! So, I @-ed and hashtagged and basically chronicled my entire wait in line to enter the studio. When I did, and had a seat in the front row, I sent one final tweet letting them know that I was right there in the front row and that I was wearing neon pink shorts (couldn’t risk not being seen!)
When the show started, Josh called me out! He said there was another Lara in the studio and that it was my birthday and then invited me up on stage with them. Lara even got out of her chair and let me sit down. I was in total shock. It was such a blur, I remember Lara was smiling at me and wishing me happy birthday and then they told me to sit down and I was shaking and probably blushing like a crazy person (as I do). I was hoping that I had come off a little better than I felt, but it was really amazing and made me really appreciate the power of the twitter. Clearly, the two of them could not have been nicer!
I ran home from the taping anxious to see myself on TV. And I curled up on my couch and I turned on the TV and I watched and after about five minutes I heard Josh say, “and…steak knives…” Which came off as a super random comment when he said it on the broadcast and certainly didn’t make any sense when he said it after I sat down AFTER my television debut. I had been cut out of the show! I was devastated. I started reliving the moment over and over. Maybe it was my fault. Maybe I didn’t come off well on camera. Maybe I looked super fat. Maybe I had made a total fool of myself and the producers were just trying to spare my feelings. Rationally, I know that none of these things are true. Its even more likely I would be on the show if I had made a fool of myself than if I had been totes normal. I know how reality tv works. I’m sure that the taping ran longer than it was supposed to, so something was going to have to get trimmed. I just didn’t think it was going to be me!
It really wasn’t the end of discussion for me. I was heartbroken to have no record of the “bond” I had forged with Josh and Lara. Sure, I have their tweets, but the problem with twitter is that it gives you a really false sense of intimacy. It gives you the sense that you are really talking to these famous people. When Lara responded to my tweet and made it possible for me to see the show, I felt like we were having a conversation. And when Josh tweeted back to me when I was waiting on line, I felt like I was connecting to him. This happens to me all the time when I watch The Bachelor and one of the former cast members or Possessionista or Jennifer Weiner replies to one of my tweets, or retweets something that I said. There is a sense of validation that comes with that. I feel like we know each other (we DO NOT know each other). It’s why, when I see some poor girl say “OMG I would just die if @KimKardashian noticed me” and Kim retweets it, I feel a little bit of pity, a little bit on confusion, but also, I totally get it. And I hate that I totally get it.
I know that no one at Good Afternoon America set out to hurt my feelings, I know that I was not even a blip on their radar. Everyone that I came in contact with was unbelievably nice and really helped me out (Thanks so much to Sabrina Peduto!). I mean, Josh and Lara both acknowledged and wished me happy birthday! That means something! Besides, I know what happened that day in the studio, Josh and Lara know what happened, and the live audience knows what happened. I also have a beautiful picture of Josh, Lara, and me that is a great memento from the day. I guess I’ll have to make my television debut in a different way. (Chopped casting department, did I mention I’m available?)