Wednesday, October 07, 2015


A lot happened last week on Days of Our Lives. Nicole and Kate exchanged bitchy remarks, Eve mourned Paige, and Ben was revealed to be the Necktie Killer (we’ll deal with that out-of-the-blue disclosure in another post). But perhaps the most powerful scene was also one of the simplest.

Bad girl Teresa is trying to mend her wicked, wicked ways, both for the sake of her infant son, Tate, and also possibly to attract Tate’s daddy, Brady. Up next on the 2016 Transform Teresa agenda? Dump Anne, the BFF who schemed with Teresa and always had her back… but who Teresa now thinks is a bad influence on her.

Teresa dumping Anne was as brutal of a scene as any romantic couple break-up, and it begs the question of why soaps, a medium initially created by women for women (how many genres can say that?) pay so little attention to the inherently dramatic subject of women’s friendships. (Read about my attempt to pitch exactly that story to TPTB, here.)

Male friendships, we have plenty of. Right now, on the very same DOOL, viewers are seeing the pay-off of an on-screen, on-and-off friendship of over 30 years. Viewers first met Steve “Patch” Johnson in 1985. They soon learned that he and Bo Brady had been best friends in the merchant marine, until a fight over a woman named Brita led to Bo putting Steve’s eye out (and this is why you shouldn’t play with knives, kids, even in the merchant marine). After much 80’s-era angst and location shoots, Bo and Steve patched (ha!) things up. Now, Bo is being held prisoner somewhere by somebody for some reason, and it’s Steve to the rescue!  Bromance powers, activate!

Meanwhile, the women of DOOL… eh. They’re friends, I guess. But nobody’s rescuing anybody from any prisons. And if women are involved in a front-burner friendship, it’s usually (sometimes platonically, sometimes not so much) with a man. (See: General Hospital’s Carly and Jason, Guiding Light’s Maureen and Roger, As the World Turns’ Katie and Henry, and Another World’s Felicia and Cass.)

Check out three of our favorite soap-opera friendships, here, and share yours in the comments!

Tuesday, October 06, 2015


From my NY Frugal Family Examiner review:

Fashion Academy: The Musical tells the story of Mickey, who wins a scholarship to attend The Fashion Academy of Brooklyn a.k.a. FAB (warning: Not a real thing). Once she arrives, though, Mickey learns that what may have been cutting-edge back in Philadelphia, just doesn't play on the dazzling and divine streets of NYC. She is mocked by the school's top fashionista, and by it's most divo teacher, Mr. Stichman. At which point Mickey declares that she doesn't care what other people think, she designs for herself. A rather odd mindset for someone determined to succeed in a field where others' opinions basically make or break a clothing line.

JC, a fellow student whose own goal is to design clothes "for small dogs with big personalities," offers to help Mickey change her look by presenting Madonna and her endless ability to re-brand as inspiration. (At one point, he performs a number while rolling about on the stage wrapped in white tulle, crawling and laying on his back, holding a pretend microphone. An obvious gag for the parents in the audience). The makeover is a hit and Mickey is suddenly popular (proving the point about the opinions of others being key for the fashion world). Yet Mickey still despairs that she was an outcast back home who thought she would find her people in New York City. Said people, though, also reject her unless she pretends to be someone else. What's a girl who thinks she's terrific and it's everyone else who is always wrong to do?

Want to know how this story ends? Then enter to win 4 FREE tickets to Fashion Academy: The Musical, playing through October 31 on the Upper West Side of Manhattan (learn more at the link above).

Just email with the words Fashion Academy Tickets in the subject line. Winner will be drawn on Friday, October 9, 2015.

Monday, October 05, 2015


You can exceed expectations by providing a special touch customers don’t anticipate when making their initial purchase. Alina Adams, author of “Getting into NYC Kindergarten” (sold exclusively online), keeps a mailing list of her customers, “where, for no cost, I update my clients on any changes in the NYC kindergarten admissions process as they happen, remind them of deadlines, and let them know of any new school options.”

This approach, Adams says, “shows that I care and want them to succeed … and that I’m there to offer support for as long as they may need it.”

Read more tips at:

Thursday, October 01, 2015


In 1986, the return of Patrick Duffy as Bobby helped Dallas win its first head-to-head skirmish with hip, Technicolor rival, Miami Vice, and the prime-time soap continued to dominate for the duration of the season and beyond.

Now, almost 30 years later, Don Johnson, who once made America safe for neon blazers and shoes without socks, returns to TV with a primetime soap of his own, Blood & Oil, which debuted on ABC on Sunday, September 27.

The last time more than one sudser lorded over the Nielson ratings was from 1982 to 1986, when Dallas and Dynasty both made the top 10, and Knots Landing rounded out the Top 20 (the aforementioned Miami Vice relegated time-slot competitor Falcon Crest to #24).

From 1982 to 1986, the US unemployment rate ranged from 8.6% to 6.7%, with a high of 10.4% in 1983. In 1983, Dallas was #1, Dynasty was #3, and Falcon Crest #8.

In other words, the poorer Americans feel, the more they want to watch rich people.

In August, America’s unemployment rate was 5.1%. So how does that bode for Blood & Oil?

We would say not well. Except for one key factor: A little show called Empire.

Primetime soaps came roaring back with a vengeance last year, thanks to this music-world set melodrama. And lest you think Blood & Oil isn’t aware of that, can you think of another reason why their promos highlighted the word EMPIRE in block, gold letters?

But there are two, very significant differences between Blood & Oil, and Empire. Find out what they are at:

Wednesday, September 30, 2015


Last week on The Bold & the Beautiful, what everyone who has ever watched a soap before expected to happen… happened. Newlywed Ridge learned that the vasectomy he’d neglected to mention to his much younger, baby-rabies infected wife, Caroline, was irreversible. While Caroline learned that she was pregnant.

She flashed back to the night she accidentally spent with Ridge’s son, Thomas. (Hey, Ridge and Caroline were on a break! And Caroline had taken some anxiety medication. And drunk alcohol on top of it.)

“Oops,” Caroline thought.

B&B does deserve kudos for flipping the script here somewhat. While the pregnancy was a done deal from the moment Caroline suddenly developed an all-encompassing interest in procreation, Ridge confessed his vasectomy to Brooke, and the virile (and very tall) Thomas (Caroline’s ex) returned to town, the traditional, soap-opera narrative would have had Caroline passing the baby off as Ridge’s, while Ridge secretly fumed and plotted revenge against his son and wife (and/or clung to her by accepting the baby as his own and never letting Thomas or Caroline know the truth. Though, of course, on soaps, never is usually about a year.)

Instead, on Monday, Ridge confessed about the vasectomy to Caroline, telling her that he knew how important having a child was to her and, if she wanted, under the circumstances, they could pretend that their marriage had never happened. (But we all had such a good time at the reception!)

Now the ball – and the lies – are in Caroline’s court. What will she do, what will she do?

It’s a fresh twist on an old story.

On the other hand, Caroline shouldn’t despair quite yet. The show did buy itself some paternity wiggle room by having Caroline say she’d gotten her period in between sleeping with Thomas and marrying Ridge. (Fun fact: Ridge’s mother, Stephanie, convinced Eric to marry her because she was pregnant with the baby who grew up to be Ridge. Stephanie was convinced Eric was Ridge’s father, and not Massimo, whom Stephanie had also slept with, because she’d gotten her period in between. But that turned out to have only been implantation bleeding, and Ridge was Massimo’s, after all. And now don’t you feel like you know way too much about the menstrual cycles of imaginary people?)

But the most important fact Ridge and Caroline have going for them is that, on soap-operas, vasectomies… don’t exactly… take.

Read all about it at:

Friday, September 25, 2015


Believe it or not, I wrote this post the day before Yom Kippur, and didn't see the connection until the next day... duh....


Last week on General Hospital, Sonny got shot. A common occupational hazard with mobsters, even ones who’ve somehow become the town’s moral center and most-beloved citizen. Sonny was shot while trying to rescue TJ, who’d been kidnapped due to his association with Sonny. When TJ’s mom, the police commissioner, tried to point this out, TJ got huffy and reminded his mother that Sonny was the greatest person who ever lived – end of discussion.

Meanwhile, over at the hospital (before it was all about mobsters, General Hospital used to be about a… hospital), Carly, the woman Sonny was about to marry for the fifth time (see: Couples Who Can’t StayTogether… or Apart), was holding bedside vigil alongside Sonny’s three sons.

Said sons included:

  • Dante, whom Sonny once shot in the chest for the crime of being a cop carrying out his duties and trying to serve Sonny with an arrest warrant (but this was before Sonny knew Dante was his son, so the shooting was totally justified, just as long as the cop was somebody else’s child)
  • Michael, whom Sonny adopted after hanging Michael’s biological father, AJ, on a meat-hook and forcing him to sign the papers then, years later, killed AJ in cold blood
  • Morgan, whose girlfriend, Ava, Sonny slept with and fathered a child by, then accused Morgan of murdering the man who was about to reveal Morgan’s affair with Denise, whom Morgan thought was Ava’s twin sister but was, in fact, Ava herself.
Prior to Sonny’s latest shooting, Morgan was spitting mad at his dad about the whole, he thinks I’m a killer thing, while Michael had gone so far as to sue Sonny for custody of his and Ava’s daughter, Avery, because of the danger Sonny’s lifestyle posed to a little girl. (Michael should know, being Sonny’s child got him a bullet to the head and a coma that turned himfrom red-headed pre-teen to blond, broody young adult.)

But then, Sonny’s life was in danger, and, in the blink of an eye, it was time to let bygones be bygones! Both Michael and Morgan were, all of a sudden, pledging their devotion to Sonny, with Morgan swearing to avenge him. This is just like when Darth Vader, after a lifetime of killing Tusken Raiders and younglings and rebels, saves Luke’s life that one time, and now he’s got a free pass to shimmery, Ewok party afterlife alongside Obi-Wan and Yoda! It’s not like Sonny even did anything to redeem himself to his sons. He just stepped in front of a bullet! By accident! Even Darth Vader flung the Emperor into a bottomless pit!

Read the entire post, including examples from Y&R, B&B, DOOL and more at:

Sunday, September 20, 2015


First came the Getting Into NYC Kindergarten workshops. Sign up for upcoming dates and times at:

Next came the Getting Into NYC Kindergarten book. Check it out, here.

And now, we're proud to present Accepted! Secrets of NYC School Admissions podcast where, every week, we'll tackle topics ranging from Kindergarten admissions to high-school, the pros and cons of gifted, single-sex, co-ed, progressive and traditional education, the differences between public, private and charter schools, and everything else you've always wondered - but didn't know whom to ask (and the Department of Education deliberately won't tell you).

Listen to our first episode below now:

Or download it as an mp3 or an mp4 to listen later!

Got a question you'd like answered on an upcoming podcast? Drop me a line at: and stay tuned!