I called my friends and found 3 others who were willing to make the sacrifice to go. And it was a sacrifice. The check in time was 1:45 p.m. on a Thursday. The email made it clear that more tickets would be issued than actual seating available (I think they learned that from the airlines industry!). We were advised that a line would form outside of the studio and despite everyone having tickets we would be seated on a first come first serve basis. We decided to arrive an hour early.
That meant -- I left my house at 10:30 a.m. I drove to Jacque's house and picked her up at 10:40. I (acting as the fashion police-- which is really not exactly my niche in society!) was concerned her outfit was too white (not ethnically, but color wise) as we were given strict dress code rules. So after driving only a block away, we re-read the rules and turned right back around to her house for her to change clothes.
In case you were wondering . . . Here is the dress code.
What to wear: Dress your best! All audience members may appear on camera. All audience members must follow a business/trendy dress code. ** PLEASE NOTE: ANYONE WEARING SHORTS/CAPRIS/GAUCHO PANTS AND/OR FLIP FLOPS WILL BE DENIED ENTRY! **
PLEASE REFRAIN FROM WEARING THE FOLLOWING:
· Velour pant suits or jogging suits
· Ripped jeans
· White or off-white colors
· Sleeveless tops/tank tops
· Sequins or very busy patterns
You'll look your best wearing solid, jewel-toned colors. (deep blues, reds, greens, etc)
We have the right to deny anyone who does not follow guidelines. Please make your guests aware of these dress codes as well. Thank you.
Jacque found a new non-white, non-capri outfit and we were off to pick up Julie (where this time Jacque got to be the fashion police) and then we picked up Jana (where Julie got to be the fashion police).
We barely found parking close to the train station and walked quickly to board the 11:27 train to Grand Central.
We arrived at 12:35 and made our way to the studio (a 0.4 mile walk). Thankfully the weather was nice (we were all worried enough that we brought umbrellas). We quickly found the line and got in it. The "gatekeeper" walked through the line confirming our names and tickets. After making it through the line he came back for a second go through, but this time he was pulling people out of line for not conforming to the dress code.
THEY TAKE THEIR DRESS CODE VERY VERY SERIOUSLY!!!! There was a very nice woman in line in front of us. She was dressed very nicely and was wearing black trousers that I would call "cropped pants" They showed about an inch of her ankle. But that was too much for the Rachael Ray show. She was informed that her options were to run (race??) to the The Gap around the corner and buy "real" pants and to hurry or she would not make it.
We watched them send several people to purchase "more appropriate" clothing. Now, this is the part I have a hard time understanding. If you were wearing an extremely mini- mini- skirt, one so short you could barely sit down without sharing a lot of intimate details about your style of underclothing you were perfectly fine -- it did not even matter if the mini-skirt was very casual in style.
Or -- If you were wearing a sleeveless top -- that was not permitted, but a shirt with sleeves-- that was so low cut, we all knew you were wearing a white lace demi bra -- that one was perfectly acceptable.
Wow, talk about fashion police.
At 1:45, they began to let everyone come in to the building to go through security and wait for the elevator (that only takes 6-10 people at a time). When you stepped out of the elevator, you were in a small waiting room. When we stepped out of the elevator, we were in a small waiting room, where all of the seats were already taken, as well as all of the standing room, so we kind of just squished in. There was coffee and water and muffins to make our sardine can experience slightly more enjoyable. Somewhere around 2:30 they started calling us by ticket color to be seated in the studio.
We were happy to be the first ticket color called!
We were seated in the 3rd row on the right. The studio is quite amazing. There are 6 or 7 little scenes all around the circular room. The audience chairs are in the middle on a giant lazy susan. As the segments change (from couch to kitchen or from kitchen to garage), the audience just spins to the appropriate place. The sets are really phenomenal. The kitchen was amazing. I thought they were all so very well done.
Next, out comes the rodeo clown. His job is to entertain us during all the down time as well as direct us in our job -- when to clap, how much to clap, when to smile, when to frown, when to pick our nose, etc. . .
We do several filmed versions of us clapping very intensely. We were even smiling a lot because we felt so ridiculous clapping to all the cameras for no reason.
And then -- the rodeo clown points out the queen bee herself entering the studio. The audience erupts in "real" clapping and turns to watch Rachael walk in. She is deep in conversation with Gretta, a regular fashion guru on the show, they are arm in arm and proceed to walk to the front center couch without so much as looking up.
This is where the dissappointment began. Despite the clapping and obviuos adoration of the crowd -- there was no wave -- no head nod -- no wink -- no acknowledgement of our existence in any way. It felt awkward. Really awkward.
When one thinks of a stuck up self centered celebrity -- they are often described as being like a "rock star" -- but not to me anymore. Every rock star I have ever seen at any type of venue always waves and acknowledges their audience and fans. So -- from now on I will describe a person who is coming across as exceedingly arrogant this way . . . "Who does she think she is???? A day time television talk show host?????"
Yeah, I am not very forgiving apparently.
But it just got worse from there. The first segment was OK. A pre-taped segment on shopping for the perfect prom dresses. It ended with the girls walking out in their "perfect finds!" Very sweet and sappy. The mothers were there.
The second segment had our "celebrity" guest. They do not tell you ahead of time who it will be -- so when she announced "Damon Wayans" -- I will be the first to admit that I could not immediately produce a face to go with the name. Once he came out, I could vaguely remember him from skits on In Living Colour -- He was promoting a book (which he did not bring to give to the audience) and he also could only vaguely remember where he started his career, requiring several redo's of a question. He was nervous and his leg was noticeably shaking under the table.
Then he helped Rachael play "Stump the Rach". This section was mildly humorous.
We were served the snack of the day -- 2 not so great chocolate chip cookies made somewhere in Ohio.
Then another pre-taped segment for us to watch from Rocco Dispirito where he helps a junior high group from Vermont find something other than PB&J to take on their 4 day trip to Washington D.C. You will not believe his reccomendations . . .
3. fried chicken
4. chicken burritos
I really truly cannot envision these kids packing these lunches for 4 days on a trip to D.C. Really???? To store them in their hotel fridge???? To carry them allover town in the heat????
Then just as they seemed to be setting up another segment, Rachael announces that ordinarily we would film until 6 or 7 but that she was going to dinner -- albeit a charity one - and we were quickly ushered out.
A lady for the show did take our audience "class picture", and we were told it would be posted on FB. So far it hasn't --
I will be surprised if it is. All the other audience class pictures have 40-50 comments like "Great show, loved the segments, loved the give aways"
I really have to wonder what our comments on our picture would (or will) be "Crazy show, no give aways" "Rachael does not even a wave" "Sure thought you cooked occasionally???" "And I bought new pants for this????"
From the grumblings on the way down, it was clear I was not the only one who felt a little dissappointed.
According to the FB page, our show will air this Tuesday. You can see a preview here http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/show/view/1001/?utm_source=facebook I am not in the preview, but look for me Tuesday on the show. I am the one in pants, with no flip flops and a jewel colored shirt. You can't miss me I'm sure.
In the meantime, my kids are so excited for me to pack their lunches for school. It will mean new traditions "Meatloaf Monday" and "Frittatta Friday".
Thanks to my friends for coming with me. It meant lots of babysitters and planning ahead.
Thanks so much to Trent for taking the day off and holding down the fort with our 4 little kids.
I learned a lot, had some fun, and sure wish I had a built in audience who would cheer for me no matter what I did.