Wednesday, August 26, 2015


American soap-operas are crawling with doctors, lawyers, millionaires (hey, on soaps it's a profession!), cops and mobsters.

So where are the teachers?

They're pretty few and far between.

Of course, the ones we have gotten did teach us valuable lessons such as male professors sleeping with female students is tragic, while female teachers sleeping with (underage) male students is wacky.

Not to mention that a suicide attempt is a great way to get your crush to notice you, men who teach can't be sexy unless they're also secretly military commandos, and what a teacher has to do to get fired in a soap town (versus a real one).

It's back to school time across America! Are you ready to get educated?

Then check out Entertainment Weekly's post on soap-opera teachers at:

Tuesday, August 25, 2015


With all the emphasis lately on standardized testing, to the point where even Universal Pre-Kindergarten is being described as academic and focused on skills-building, it's important to remember that some of the most important things your child needs to know for Kindergarten have nothing to do with the three R's.

For instance, my oldest could read chapter books in Kindergarten, but his teacher clued me in about a much more important skill he was missing.

Read all about it (and the mistakes I made with my next two kids, too!) in my latest post for Mommy Poppins at:

And if the first day of Kindergarten is currently worrying you less than just the thought of applying your child to one for 2016, make sure you send a question to my podcast, here, or sign up for one of my FREE upcoming workshops:

Sign up for September 24 (East Side), here.
Sign up for September 29 (Chelsea), here.

And if you can't wait for either, check out my book, Getting Into NYC Kindergarten, for inside tips on the entire process, and a timeline that starts NOW!

Monday, August 24, 2015


And the "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" good news just keeps on coming!

In addition to two FREE, open to the public workshops I'll be giving in September (space is extremely limited so register here, ASAP), I'm happy to announce that I'll also be hosting a weekly pod-cast on the subject, where I'll be answering all your burning questions about applying to NYC public, private, charter, magnet, dual language, religious and gifted Kindergartens.

Afraid I might not answer your particular burning question in time? Have no fear! Just email it to me at: and you might just hear me discussing your issue on an upcoming broadcast!

Looking forward to hearing from you, and stay tuned for details about where to find and listen to our premiere episode!

To check out the book, click the link below:

Thursday, August 20, 2015


Days of Our Lives will be celebrating the show’s 50th anniversary this fall, with a serial-killer story set to knock off several contract players and perhaps even a few returning fan favorites. (Which sounds like the opposite of a historical celebration to me. Then again, General Hospital commemorated its 52nd anniversary this past April by totally rewriting several characters’ histories, so maybe spitting in long-term fans’ eyes is the new hip thing.)

Of course, serial killers are a big part of DOOL‘s history. There was the Salem Strangler in 1981 (triggering one of soaps’ earliest fan campaigns to bring back Marlena, whom fans thought had been killed); the Salem Slasher in 1983 (not to be confused with the Riverfront Slasher of 1988), when Marlena’s cousin and others were killed by Tony’s lookalike cousin, Andre; and the Salem Stalker of 2003, when that same Marlena was believed to have killed many of her friends and neighbors. Except it wasn’t really her. It was Andre (again). And they weren’t really dead. Andre only made Marlena think she’d done it. The victims were actually being kept on a mysterious island. Yeah, you had to be there.
All of the above stories were great for DOOL‘s ratings, meaning other soaps inevitably jumped on the bandwagon. Check out some of those most memorable daytime serial-killer stories at Entertainment Weekly!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015


Soap fans know actress Alicia Coppola as Another World's Lorna Devon. Prime-time viewers recognize her from NCIS, Jericho, Teen Wolf and much, much more.

But, in addition to all that, she is also the mother of three gifted daughters, who told the NY Gifted Education Examiner, "I think all children are special in their own ways, and have interests as varying as they themselves are. All children require different types of parenting, different educations etc... They are like snowflakes: No two are the same. I will say that finding the proper school environment is more challenging with highly/profoundly gifted children. This is where my views may be controversial...."

What's controversial about them? Find out in Part #1 and Part #2 of her exclusive interview!

And for New York City parents who know that many more children test gifted here than there are Kindergarten slots, have no fear, help is on the way!

Check out two FREE upcoming "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" workshops that will explain all your school options, public, private, gifted, magnet, dual language, religious and more, as well as how to apply and insider tips for getting in without breaking the bank - or losing your mind!

Register for the Thursday, September 24 event, here.

Register for the Tuesday, September 29 event, here.

And to get the most out of either workshop, make sure you read the book it's based on:

It will prompt questions you didn't even know you had! Answers at the workshop!

Thursday, August 13, 2015


As a mother of three, author of the book, “Getting Into NYC Kindergarten,” and frequent workshop leader on precisely that subject, I am constantly asked, “What’s the best school?”

And I always answer, “The best school is the school that’s best for your child.”....

Read my entire post for TODAY Show Parenting, here.

And if you'd like to learn more, I have exciting news!

In addition to my Tuesday, September 29 FREE Kindergarten workshop (space is limited, so register ASAP, here), I will also be giving one on Thursday, September 24 from 6 to 8 pm.

Official registration will open next week, but the event's sponsor has given me permission to offer priority registration to my readers first. Please contact me at to reserve your spot. Exact Manhattan location will be disclosed upon registration.

Space is extremely limited, and I wanted to make sure those that have been so supportive of me and my work get first crack at a spot.

If you've previously attended one of my workshops and found them helpful, please forward this info to a friend so that I might extend them the same opportunity. Looking forward to seeing you there!

More information on my book, "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten," here.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015


For the second summer in a row, IFC has debuted, with grand fanfare—including multiple ads and billboards in major markets like New York City—a miniseries “event” along the lines of 1980s classic TV fare The Winds of War, The Thorn Birds, Lace, and the combined Sidney Sheldon/Judith Krantz oeuvre.

The difference is, those shows played it straight, while IFC is going for (deliberate) laughs.

Online now is The Spoils Before Dying. Last summer it was The Spoils of Babylon.

Both mock typical miniseries and soap-opera conventions such as dramatic rags-to-riches backstories, overly complicated (slipping into incestuous) family trees, corporate (and sexual) shenanigans, secret pasts that Could Destroy Everything™, star-crossed lovers, innocents accused of murder, cliffhangers, far-flung location shoots, and over-the-top wardrobes.

In other words, all the good stuff. The Babylon sagas aren’t the first to have some fun with soap operas’ classic tropes. But they’re hardly the best. (For some reason, both series felt the need to employ the sight gag of really large brandy glasses. We get it. Those are some very large brandy glasses you’ve got there. But if that’s the best you can do when it comes to getting laughs, it suggests that maybe you don’t trust your material.)

Here, instead, are five shows that managed to bring both the soap and the humor. Tell us if you agree at Entertainment Weekly!

Thursday, August 06, 2015


With kids all across the country getting ready to head back to school, NBC is launching a 6-episode series, Mr. Robinson, starring stand-up comic Craig Robinson as a struggling musician who takes a day job substitute teaching a high-school music class to pay the bills. (Because it’s trivial to land a teaching job, and you don’t need certification or anything.)

According to the show’s producers (who also created The Office), “It's an easy gig, right? Yet when he realizes the kids think his class is an easy A, Craig's moved to inspire his students.”
At the end of the last school year, BlogHer ran my post ranking 15 of the Best and Worst Pop Culture Teachers. On the list were the usual suspects, Sidney Poitier in To Sir With Love, Robin Williams in Dead Poet’s Society, Richard Dreyfuss of Mr. Holland’s Opus, Mr. Kotter, The White Shadow, and Boy Meets World’s Mr. Feeney, among others. Inspirations, all.
It prompted one reader to comment: This was a clever idea, but reading it just made me sad because all of our decent pop culture teachers were men. The very few women who made the list are not even deserving of a grade.
Another agreed: For a field dominated by women in real life the lack of representation in media is disheartening.  
They were absolutely right, and I am embarrassed to say I didn’t notice the disparity until it was pointed out to me. I am even more embarrassed to note that the measly pair of female representations included Viola Davis of How To Get Away With Murder (not exactly an exemplary member of the profession) and, literally, Bad Teacher (both the movie and television versions).
This is a problem. This is a very big problem. And the question is: Why does it even exist?

Tuesday, August 04, 2015


After weeks (months? decades?) of dramatic good-byes, Luke Spencer (as played on and off for 37 years by Anthony Geary) left Port Charles, ambling off into the fog and the lights of a presumed ship headed for … I dunno … far, far away. In an interview with TV Insider, Geary clarified, “I have not retired from acting. Just from [General Hospital].”

However, less than two weeks later, he backtracked to, saying, “If the story is interesting to me and it works out, I may come back to the show for six weeks or so.”

So, despite the long good-bye, there (presumably) goes retirement.
At least when original cast member Susan Flannery chose to retire from The Bold and the Beautiful, the show allowed Stephanie a dignified (and succinct) death. That stuck.

Actors wanting to leave a soap is nothing new—even ones who’ve been onscreen for an extended period of time, or made a great impression within a shorter period. What varies is the quality of their sendoffs.

Read Entertainment Weekly's Top 10 List of Dramatic Character Exits at: