Friday, September 5, 2008

Just Stand Up...

Ever since I was in high school, my charity of choice was always the AIDs Foundation-- I have walked the 6.2 miles every year; I bawl like a baby every time I hear "Will I?;" I even put it in my will that a percentage of my savings is to be donated-- but as I've gotten older, I've realized that it was in fact cancer that was the common disease that affected those I cared about. So for my grandmother, my childhood dog, and now my mother, I peeled my lazy @$$ off the couch for once tonight and stood up, with what I hope was the rest of America.

07:57 p.m. - I flip on Fox only to learn they are not carrying the telethon in solidarity with their network bretheren. Quickly flip to NBC (heh, I haven't said that since the late nineties) where they integrate their commercials with what I think is a very puffy Bradley Whitford. Or maybe I just need to adjust the picture ratio on my television.

07:59 pm. - A celebrity filled PSA opens the event, followed by Lance Armstrong, Elizabeth Edwards, and a dozen other survivors standing in a baseball field, comparing the number who succumb to the disease to the number who died on 9/11. I immediately lose it for a good minute and a half.

08:02 p.m. - The CW is not in on this either? Man, they are just racking up the hate these days! A pan of the celebrity studded phone bank shows seatmates Ellen and... Kirsten Dunst? Odd pairing.

08:03 p.m. - Patrick Swayze gets a partial standing ovation. They pan to Scarlet Johansen who looks like she is making fun of whoever she's speaking to on the other end of that phone. I wonder if anyone's actually on the other end or if she's just keeping it off the hook so she doesn't really actually have to talk to anyone.

08:04 p.m. - Kiki Drunkst misses her mark. I really don't want to poke fun all evening because this is a serious, important event, but some of these celebs are just making it too damn hard to hold in the snark!

08:05 p.m. - Katie Couric lost her sister to cancer, too??? They pan to Robin Roberts on the phone as they mention her survival. A newscaster I should know but whose name won't form in my mind right now talks of all those he knew with cancer, too. I distract myself with the phone number on the bottom of the screen.

08:06 p.m. - Cue a roll-in package on the research and studies being done in labs. Scientists and doctors in white coats and ties talk about "feeling" how close they are to finding a cure. One mentions being so close to the rain, and it's the first time I realize I miss the rain. I am well aware he was using a metaphor.

08:07 p.m. - They cut out of the package prematurely for a duet with James Taylor and Sheryl Crow. How can the show be running long already? The tickertape at the bottom of the screen begins with statistics of how many people die/are diagnosed by day/hour/minute.

08:08 p.m. - Sheryl's turn. I want to buy her new album. And this song. I make a note to check if they'll release the singles from the evening.

08:10 p.m. - I just notice the photos scrolling on the big screens behind the performers; I wish someone would pull them up in full screen for a few minutes.

08:11 p.m. - Oh, Salma, it's good to see you're not on the phones this time. No one needs the decimal point debacle of the 9/11 telethon, after all.

08:11 p.m. - Katie appears to be the unofficial host of the evening. She introduces a package about a little girl with a brain tumor whose technical name I won't even try to spell. I lose it again. They cut to a quick shot of Katie and the little girl and then Katie interviewing her doctor, as if to prove she's a real journalist. Night's not about you, lady.

08:14 p.m. - The little girl and her favorite actress, the ridiculously mature looking Abigail Breslin, urge kids to donate a dollar if their parents donate ten. With today's allowances, I think it should be more like kids give ten if parents give one hundred!

08:14 p.m. - 30 Rock music!!! Cue the pre-shot clip, and the tickertape speeds up. Jack McBrayer's dry humor is lost on such a serious topic. Thankfully, it's a short

08:15 p.m. - Billy Crystal looks puffy, too. It really must be my TV. He talks about baseball and loses me. Then he introduces some old dude with a red tie who looks like he just flew in from the RNC, and they lose me a little bit more.

08:16 p.m. - Jack Black yells at Josh Brolin. Bold move, dude; the guy was just arrested for a bar brawl! He makes Josh pledge money to Ellen Degeneres. Even she looks confused... and slightly scared.

08:17 p.m. - Old school radio starts talking by itself on the side of the stage. In the words of Towelie: "I have no idea what's goin' on."

08:18 p.m. - Oh, thankfully Meryl Streep pre-taped something to tell me the history of the voice on the radio asking for donations (though years ago it was for polio, which Americans were considering to be the deadliest plague of them all). She says something about one dollar putting them over the edge of what they need, and who will it be to donate that crucial buck? Damn, Meryl; way to speak to Americans' desire to be the hero and get all the credit!

08:19 p.m. - Fran Drescher is wearing a bright yellow survivor shirt. It's amazing how quickly we can forget.

08:20 p.m. - The tickertape goes away for the package of those telling their stories. Carson Daly had cancer? WTF; when did that happen?

08:21 p.m. - Some blonde lady makes a pot joke. It's nice to see you may lose your hair, your teeth, a breast, or some skin, but you can keep your sense of humor.

08:22 p.m. - Was that Sally Kirkland???

08:23 p.m. - Another science package. I admit I tuned in for the celebrities. I wanted to scope out the famous faces in the audience (Martin Sheen and Tom Arnold, so far); I wanted to see who could potentially take my donation if I made a call (other than those I already mentioned, also Sharon Osborne, Josh Peck, Rob Lowe); but I was hoping they'd leave out the technical talk because it's not something the majority of us can relate to, and though it adds legitimacy, it also can create an itchy channel-flipping finger.

08:25 p.m. - Ugh, Halle Berry.

08:25 p.m. - Live from Fashion Rocks, fifteen divas share one stage, standing and singing side-by-side. No egos, no squabbles about length or importance of lines, and-- what the hell is Miley Cyrus doing there? I've been listening to this song for days, and I had no idea she was on it.


08:27 p.m. - My favorite part: Mary J and Mariah!!! Crescendo sounds even better live, and the goosebumps rise despite the eighty degree heat in my apartment.

08:28 p.m. - Phillip Bloch rocks out in the audience at Radio City. I'm with ya, Philly!

08:29 p.m. - First commercial break, and the announcer tells us we can look forward to The Simpsons coming up next. I kind of hope someone dons a costume, but I know the likeliness.

08:30 p.m. - Some guy was awake while his doctor cut his cancerous tumor out of his brain? And that's a good thing? What the hell is going on in the medical field these days?

08:30 p.m. - Cut back into the show, and Scarlet and Josh were already in mid-prompter. They walk slowly around the phone bank, and I can't see who's behind them.

08:31 p.m. - Stage Four Breast Cancer Survivor Stephanie Grimes does aerobics while they talk about how her tumor broke through the skin of her breast. UCLA apparently saved her.

08:33 p.m. - Oh wait, she had a "special" kind of cancer that didn't even require chemo? They should be talking to the "everyman" patients because her story is not common and doesn't give me a whole lot of hope.

08:34 p.m. - Homer Simpson teaches us what a colonoscopy is. That's weird, I thought Brad Garrett was going to do that.

08:35 p.m. - Katie has to remind us just how serious this is, even though a little laughter can cure a lot. Oh ,and she's introducing a live action colonoscopy package with Charles Barkley. Still better than Brad Garrett.

08:36 p.m. - Yet she's not saying a word about the way he tries to lighten the mood.

08:36 p.m. - Sarah Palin's talking about mammograms. Oh, wait, that's Dana Delany in librarian specs. Huh.

08:37 p.m. - And she sounds absolutely thrilled to explain producers made her get a breast exam... oh well, sure, I wouldn't be excited to show the exam on national television, either, but apparently it's what she signed on to do...

08:39 p.m. - Oh. Brad is going to do a prostate exam. Man I wish I could say it was Brad Pitt. But sadly... no.

08:40 p.m. - Fastest. Exam. Ever. But I'm thankful for that. He cracks a "counterprogramming on Fox" joke and rushes through the plug for donations. They must be running much longer now.

08:41 p.m. - Josh Grobin and Monica Moncini perform "Imagine" the way I imagine they would at a funeral. Not a good omen, guys; not a good omen.

08:42 p.m. - Halle Berry botches a personal story from a survivor. Casey Affleck reads his with thought, emotion, and heart. Jennifer Garner looks like she's about to lose it, too, and they actually have to cut away from her momentarily.

08:43 p.m. - Forest Whitaker should get an Oscar for being the mom who lost her four year-old. The three cycle through some more, and Halle is just as flat the second time around.

08:44 p.m. - Josh and Monica's mics are back on, and I can't help but wish they aren't.

08:45 p.m. - David Caruso. There are no words. At least he's not there live. Well, he can't be, now can he, because he's a robot!

08:46 p.m. - The show must really be winding down because they're bringing out the big guns: America Ferrara pimps for donations.

08:46 p.m. - No sooner does she ask for help in one breath than we are told we may have trouble getting through the lines right now.

08:47 p.m. - John Krasinski and a twenty-five year-old survivor. He lets her speak, and for that, I think he's the smartest one of them all.

08:47 p.m. - I'm glad they didn't give Keanu a phone either, but I have to admit he looks yummy in his blazer.

08:48 p.m. - AARP roll in in D.C. Bloomberg in N.Y.C. Both very stagey and clearly done without union extras.

08:48 p.m. - A doctor who was diagnosed with brain cancer (I sense a common theme on tonight's show)

08:49 p.m. - Mandy Moore, David Space, NEIL!!!, Ellen Degeneres, Jimmy Fallon, Mekhi Phieffer, Marg Helgenberger, Marissa Jaret Winokur, Goran Visnijc, Christina Ricci, Rob Lowe, Sharon Osbourne, Josh Peck all list things you can do to be cancer free. The lines are one on top of each other, and I know I missed at least two of them, so sorry to whomever I accidentally left out. The camera can't find Julia Louis-Dreyfus. It's okay; she can't find her line.

08:50 p.m. - Sheryl Crow, Christina Applegate, and Melissa Etheridge (wasn't she supposed to be in NY for the "Just Stand Up" performance?) stand and ask us all to stand up, too, once again.

08:50 p.m. - Jon Favreau introduces Lance Armstrong's satellite with a question for satellites of Barack Obama and John McCain. It's too confusing for words, but who do you think gets bigger applause... or applause at all, for that matter?

08:52 p.m. - A short documentary piece on Sidney Kimmel from his March on Washington a decade ago and interviews from those who know how important he is for this fight.

08:54 p.m. - I don't know who he is, but he just donated a butt-load of money, so he must be pretty damn important. It's nice to see someone in a powerful position doing something good for our future. He calls this the war we need to win, and he's right.

08:55 p.m. - Jennifer Aniston can't read. Like, at all. She, too, mentions a war she doesn't seem to understand, and then she asks us to stand for the sixty people who lost their lives to the disease during this hour-long broadcast. Way to be a downer, Jenny.

08:56 p.m. - Melissa Etheridge close down the house with a chorus of survivors and celebrities singing a new version of "I Run For Life." It's positive, celebratory, and uplifting: it's exactly the tone the entire night should have taken.


08:59 p.m. - Out early for freakin' football? That's b.s., Laura Ziskin!

I encourage you all to go to iTunes and download the single for "Just Stand Up;" even if you are not a fan of the women who lent their voices, you will be making history just by contributing to the cause. Ninety-nine cents is nothing to one person, but added together, millions strong, it will change the world in terms of what it can do for cancer research.

1 comment:

Melissa Etheridge Eco-Friendly Street Team said...

Hi,

Thank you for the video request. We've added one.

PEACE and I love your blog!