Part two of my exciting bedbug saga, in which I make my exciting television debut!
So, as you’ll recall: I am suing my landlord, Sam, who constantly calls me by my last name. I have enraged my roommate Gabby, who is being bullied by Sam to get me to drop the suit. And I have just been contacted by a court show about my case:
So the producer calls me and asks me:
Correct spelling of my name
If I had any cracked, missing or gold teeth.
Apparently if you have an aesthetically displeasing smile, they set you up with a dentist before you’re on the show.
I think it was becoming apparent to Sam that he wasn’t going to win this case and he was pretty motivated to do the show because they would pay the amount he won, so really everyone comes out on top.
One evening as I was leaving my apartment, I spied Sam the landlord out of the corner of my eye. He had been extremely friendly in his excitement over our impending fame, and I was trying to avoid him. As I was turning away I hear “Furious!” (Goddammit)
“I haven’t heard back from the woman” he said, referring to the producer.
I told him I hadn’t talked to her either, but I was planning on calling her to get details about when we need to go etc. I think they send a car to pick you up.
“Hey”, Sam said, “You know…we could just go from here. They can just pick us up together.”
I can think of few things I would rather do less than ride to my TV court show appearance in Manhattan with the landlord I am suing who still does not know my name.
The day of the taping they sent a car to pick me up. When I got there a PA whisked me off to “my” green room. Where they had a vanity mirror, a desk, a couch, a little TV and a sink. Another PA got me a sandwich and a soda and it seems like I could have asked for pretty much anything.
Not long after I had been in the green room they took me to hair and makeup. Everyone was really nice and I felt pretty comfortable. I could get used to fame. I had to sign a bunch of releases. I checked specifically to see if I could blog about it, and it seemed to be ok. Everything else was pretty standard. I can’t be on another court show for 2 more months though, about anything, which I thought was interesting.
After I got my hair and makeup did I went back into the green room. It was the afternoon and there were a lot of court shows on, but I couldn’t bring myself to watch them so I settled for Law and Order, which I only half watched because I was starting to get kind of antsy.
They don’t let you sit around for very long and soon I had to go down to the set for a “walk-through”, where they tell you how to walk through the door, walk down the aisle and how to use the telestrator, which puts your evidence up on a big screen.
When I went back to the green room I got “Miced” Mic’d? I dunno. Anyway, and I also met with the production team.
Erin, the producer is everything that you would expect in a TV judge show producer. She was intense, talked fast and encouraged me to be as graphic as possible about the bedbugs. She also gave me a picture of an actual bedbug to use as “evidence” although I’m not entirely sure how it’s evidence if the production team pulled it off of the internet. I liked her though she kept saying things like “bottom line, he owes you this fuckin’ money. He doesn’t have a case. So you’ll just get out there and fuckin’ win”
After meeting with the producers I went to the set to do the actual taping. I had been concerned I was going to get the giggles because the whole experience was so bizarre and hilarious.
Ok, so you know how on court shows they say “The plaintiff is now entering the courtroom” and they play music that’s like “duhduh dun dun duuuh”. Well, they actually play that as you’re walking into the courtroom. Which I did not know and I feel like someone should have said. Because as soon as I opened the door I was seriously like, “are you kidding me?” So I may have what looks like a smirk while I walk in because I was simultaneously stunned and amused.
So then you stand at your mark (see how I use TV lingo there? That’s how I do now) for a while and look into a camera so they can put the info about your case on top of it. Then I went backstage while Sam enters and then I come back in and then we were sworn in.
I knew from what the producers told me ahead of time that it was clear that I was the good guy and the victim in the case. And when the judge came in it was obvious she had already made up her mind. She began immediately questioning Sam about why he hadn’t been more helpful, etc. and accused him of lying. At one point the judge cracked herself up so much she cried. And then the whole audience gasps when I put the picture of the bedbug up on the screen.
My favorite part was some editing they did, that I didn’t see until I watched the episode when it aired. There is one point where they had a camera on a little dolly coming towards me and it was really distracting. I kept looking at it out of the corner of my eye and I was having trouble not smiling because it was so weird. Well they took that and made it into a split screen while Sam was giving part of his testimony. Part of his argument was that he wouldn’t come look at the bedbugs because I was a woman alone and it wouldn’t have been appropriate. What? It really didn’t make any sense, for a number of reasons. But the way they cut it makes it look like I am looking at the camera and laughing at his argument, instead of the reality that I was just distracted. That’s how they make TV magic, folks!
They did not do an after-trial interview by Harvey Levin which kind of bummed me out.
By the time of the taping, Gabby and I had made up and since Sam was so excited about being on the show she wasn’t worried anymore that he would screw us out of our security deposits. Still, that evening when she came home as soon as she walked in the door I said “I won!” She looked at me blankly. “My trial? The court show? Was today? I won! They awarded me the cost of extermination plus the cost of the box spring I had to throw out and pillows and stuff.” “Huh,” she said as she walked back to her room. “Yeah, I’m surprised. I really didn’t think you would win. I just didn’t think you were owed that money.” She got hers though. We moved out a couple months after that and I heard from her a few months later. She got bedbugs since she refused to have them exterminate her bedroom.
The next day I saw Sam while I was on my way to do laundry.
I said hey and we joked about the trial. Then he told me I looked tired. I told him that being on the show had really worn me out.
“Oh, please” he said, “You loved it.”
How can someone who does not know my name totally have my number?