Monday, February 29, 2016


Dear NYC Parents -

I know it's hard to believe, because you haven't even finished filling out your child's Pre-Kindergarten application, and 2016 school placements have yet to be announced in their entirety, but the application season for Kindergarten 2017 (yes, 2017!) has already begun!

Don't get left behind! (Every year, the NYC Department of Education is flabbergasted about why more minority and low-income children don't sign up to take the test for gifted public schools and Hunter College Elementary. Maybe it's because they don't know how early you have to apply!)

The podcast below will tell you everything you should be doing starting now and heading all the way up to September 2017:

But wait, there's more!

Want to hear all the scoop in person? (I'll stop teaching parents how to work the system when all NYC schools are equally good.)

Come to a FREE "Getting Into NYC Kindergarten" workshop!

The first one of 2016 will be on Tuesday, March 15 at 6 PM on Lexington and 32nd St. Space is limited and pre-registration is required via

As an added bonus to help make this stressful year (more like 18 months) go a little smoother, check out the movie, "Kindergarten Shuffle."

Filmmaker Douglas Morse not only got his son into a highly competitive, citywide public school gifted program (the odds are, unfortunately, against you), he made an entire movie about it!

Listen to him talking "Kindergarten Shuffle" below:

And to get a 50% discount on purchasing the film (as well as two testing guides and an admissions guide) use the code "KINDERGARTEN" at

Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Last week on The Young & the Restless, due to some convoluted blood-test switching, Ashley, played by Eileen Davidson, was pronounced pregnant. Everyone was shocked. But not for the reason you’d think. Ashley’s family was shocked by the news because they didn’t know she was seeing anyone romantically. And not because, having been first spotted in Genoa City in 1982 as a newly minted college graduate, Ashley is presumably 56 (okay, let’s assume she was a great student – 55, 54 tops) years old! 

Yeah, yeah, yeah, age is nothing but a number and you’re as young as you feel and as restless as you look (and no one is saying Davidson doesn’t look fantastic), but that doesn’t apply to the ovaries of women over 50! (To underline the point, it is, in fact, Ashley’s grown daughter, Abby, who’s pregnant, not Ashley.)

 Of course, in soap-land, even if she were, in fact, pregnant for real, Ashley still wouldn’t rate in the Top 5 Late in Life Pregnancies. Find out what those are at Entertainment Weekly, here!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016


It’s tough to say who’s having a harder time letting go of their 80s/90s television obsessions, the network executives who keep remaking/updating/sequeling classic shows, or the fans who can’t get enough of them.

Star Trek is on its umpteenth reboot, with yet another one announced for a new voyage on CBS. Boy Meets World begat Girl Meets World for the Disney Channel, The X-Files is still searching for the truth somewhere out there on FOX (where they last left it), and 21st Century versions of Twin Peaks, MacGyver, Gilmore Girls, 24, and even Tales From the Crypt are in the production pipeline.

In the meantime, there’s Fuller House, a sequel to the TGIF hit, Full House, which ran on ABC from 1987 to 1995. That show featured three men – dad, uncle and best friend – moving in together to raise three, catch-phrase spouting little girls (four, if you count that the baby was twins; both of whom can now buy and sell every other cast-member). The Netflix series, premiering on February 26, 2016, is a Bizarro mirror world, where three women – mom, aunt and best friend – move in together to raise three little boys (catch-phrases pending). There’s also a teen-age girl. Presumably to prove this isn’t a carbon copy but a re-imagining.

When a teaser was released this past December, featuring literally a generic shot of the Gold Gate Bridge, cable cars, the front door to a house, an empty kitchen, an empty living room with a checkered couch in the center, a dog and some disembodied voices, it quickly became the streaming services’ most-watched original series trailer ever

Full House made its debut at the tail end of the Reagan era. It actually came out two months prior to the mega-movie hit, Three Men and a Baby, meaning neither was so much a blatant copy as one of those uninspired Hollywood coincidences that periodically cause several properties to simultaneously tackle volcanoes that bury cities, asteroids that threaten Earth, and teen-agers switching bodies with adults.

The main gag in both the feature film and the sitcom was Men Can’t Take Care of Babies! Now laugh!

Each spot-lighted diapers falling off adorable (and suspiciously clean) baby butts, food being spewed and/or flung with Hall of Fame precision into surprised faces, and hapless dads/surrogate dads utterly overwhelmed by basic tasks that have kept the human race from dying out lo these many millennia.

The Fuller House trailer offered the same front door, and the same kitchen and living room – now filled with familiar faces and the observation, “Damn, we all still look good!” They also checked the box on generic 90s catch-phrases – “All that and a bag of chips,” “Talk to the hand,” Oh, snap,” “You go, girl,” and “Stop, Hammer Time” are rattled off in quick succession, as if they’re afraid of forgetting one – as well as show-specific ones, including, “Have mercy,” “How rude!” and “You got it, dude!” There are multiple group hugs featuring both children and adults. Also, fear not, a baby does giggle adorably while throwing food smack into the face of his aunt (who happens to be wearing white).

The big question about whether or not Fuller House will be able to capture the magic and fan affection of the original comes down to this: When men are shown being incompetent in taking care of children, it’s adorable. They get a studio audience “awww” just for trying. (Same as male teachers do). After all, they’re men. Men don’t have to take care of (their own) kids. And they certainly aren’t obliged to take an interest in other people’s offspring. The fact that they’re willing to pitch in like this just shows how enlightened, noble and generous they are. Results aren’t the point. Participation trophies for everyone!

Read about why this might be a problem for Fuller House, here.

Thursday, February 18, 2016


Last week on General Hospital, Kristina tried to come to terms with her sexuality in light of her attempts to seduce a better grade out of her college professor – or was it something more than that? (As Sonny’s daughter, shouldn’t she have tried hanging her on a meat-hook first?)

Like many of the social issues they’ve introduced over the years – interracial relationships, people transitioning genders, rape - soap-operas have a spotty record with introducing lesbian characters. (In the genre’s defense, when you’re producing 5 day a week, 52 weeks a year of content, some of it is bound to be clunkers. The real miracle is how many actually aren’t.)

In 1977, two shows attempted vaguely similar storylines. On The Young & the Restless, a lonely Kay began developing what appeared to be romantic feelings towards her roommate, Joanne, showering the formerly overweight and insecure woman with gifts and affection. Kay’s son, Brock (who never quite figured out where to draw the line when it came to his mother’s relationships), told Joanne about Kay’s presumed attraction, and Joanne promptly cut herself off from Kay.

Similarly, on Days of Our Lives, Sharon confessed that she was in love with her friend, Julie. Actress Susan Seaforth Hayes, who still plays Julie to this day, recalls that her reaction was something akin to freaking out and running out of the room. That was pretty much the end of Sharon.

It wasn’t until 1983 that daytime introduced its first openly gay woman in a recurring role. Donna Pescow (of Angie and Saturday Night Fever fame – though before she played the mother in Out of this World) appeared as Dr. Lynn Carson, a child psychiatrist working with Devon’s daughter, Bonnie. Devon, who’d had several awful relationships with men, developed a crush on her little girl’s doctor. But when she told Lynn that she was in love with her, Lynn informed Devon that no, she was not, she was just confused. That was also soon the end of Lynn.

By the year 2000, however, AMC was ready to commit to a long-term storyline dealing with the one and only Erica Kane’s daughter, Bianca, coming out.

To read what actress Eden Riegel, who played Bianca, had to say about it, as well as Guiding Light writer Jill Lorrie Hurst talk about the Olivia/Natalia pairing, go to:

Thursday, February 11, 2016


Earlier this week on The Bold & the Beautiful, Quinn and Liam kissed. That’s not usually a particularly big deal. It’s a soap. People kiss (and more) all the time. It’s kind of what folks watch for. What made this kiss abnormally squicky (that’s a technical term, go with it), was that Liam has amnesia. He doesn’t remember that he hates Quinn for a variety of reasons. Little things like trying to kill him with a sword.

Right now, Liam thinks that his name is Adam. And that he’s married to Quinn. Who’s name is Eve. She told him this, and is hiding Liam at her house. So that her son, Wyatt (who is also Liam’s half-brother), can have a clear shot at Liam’s ex-wife, Steffy, who thinks that Liam just abandoned her without a second thought.

See how the kissing becomes a bit problematic at this point?

Meanwhile, last week on Days of Our Lives, Steve slept with Ava. Again, not a particularly big deal on soaps. Except that Ava who, after having strung along Steve’s teen-age son, Joe, romantically, forced Steve to have sex with her in exchange for Ava revealing where she’d kidnapped and hidden away Steve’s true love, ex-wife, Kayla. Now, Ava is threatening to tell Kayla “what Steve did,” if he doesn’t do whatever Ava says.

There is a word for what Ava did, and for what it sure does look like Quinn is about to do. It’s not a nice word. In fact, when I wrote a post about soap-opera’s treatment of women who are raped, it prompted ex-Another World star Alicia Coppola to rebut my interpretation of events.

Actor Scott Clifton, who plays Liam on B&B, also disputes interpreting what Quinn is doing as rape, claiming on Twitter that it is, at most, fraud. Some fans agree with him, some don’t.

Chime in with your opinion on my latest Entertainment Weekly post at:

Monday, February 08, 2016


I wrote about where fans could watch FREE figure-skating for my NY Frugal Family column at

For those who weren't able to get out to Bryant Park's Winter Carnival this weekend, here are photos of 2016 U.S. Men's Champion Adam Rippon and past U.S. Pairs Champions John Coughlin and Caydee Denney to make up for it!

And here's something to look forward to!

Murder on Ice: A Figure Skating Mystery with skating videos by Ice Theatre of NY included as part of the story is FREE to borrow now on Amazon, and will be FREE to download for the last time this year the weekend of the World Championships!

Don't miss it!

Photo Credit: Andrew Kelly for Bryant Park