Thursday, February 23, 2012

Behind the Scenes of Comment Ca Va Bien

What do you do when you're invited to be the "fil rouge" on French TV and expected to make Superbowl food?

You say oui.

Then you hop on the Internet and email your friends for Superbowl recipe recommendations, while acting like you've never missed a Superbowl in the last 13 years of living abroad when the TV producer calls to discuss the show:

Producer: Vous allez suivre le Superbowl cet année?


La Mom: Of course, I do every year.  I hope my home team wins the playoffs. If they do, they're headed to the Superbowl.

(Sidebar: La Mom must confess. I only knew my home team was a Superbowl contender thanks to my friends on Facebook. Otherwise, well, I don't follow American football anymore.  Big Cheese has turned me into a soccer and rugby fan.)

Producer: So what Superbowl menus do you propose to cook on the show?

La Mom: I'd recommend a Super bowl of chili, quesadillas, chips & guacamole dip.

Producer: Actually, since I lived in the US for a year, I was thinking you could make snails with honey and sugar.

(Sidebar: Je vous jure, the French producer really requested this. And La Mom almost burst out laughing on the spot. What I really wanted to say was to him was, "Obviously, you didn't live in the US long enough to understand that American men don't eat snails and sip champagne while screaming at the TV. It's all about finger food and beer.")

So instead, La Mom said: Baaa, baaa, that's not a typical American Superbowl snack. If you'd like, I can propose some other ideas.

Producer: How about desserts?

La Mom: Superbowl desserts?

Producer: Non, just traditional American desserts.

And that's how this petite aventure started.
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Fast forward to the day of taping:

Take One:  The Dressing Room

La Mom and Florida Mom arrived at the studios and were greeted by an assistant, "Bonjour, please follow me to your loge."

Our own loge? Très cool.


We were so excited when we arrived at our loge door


The loge. Not as glamorous as we imagined it would be.



Assistant: The restrooms are down the hall.

Florida Mom: Let's go check 'em out! I bet they're fancy.

La Mom: Maybe we'll run into Nagui or Laurent Delahousse on the way there!

 The fancy restroom. It's public TV.

Take Deux: Snack Time

Assistant: This is the way to the refreshment room. Please help yourselves.

La Mom: Merci, mademoiselle.  (Whispers to Florida Mom) Good timing. I'm starving. Maybe catering is by Fauchon?

Florida Mom: Or maybe Lenôtre?

La Mom: Or maybe not. 
Catering by France 2 

Take Trois:  La Mom: 0, Kitchen Aid Mixer: 3

How many people does it take to operate a Kitchen Aid mixer?

Just one. As long as it's not La Mom.

CCVB called La Mom to the set two hours before taping. Plenty of time to sort out the recipe ingredients, meet Benoît (the chef de cuisine), review the segment, and rehearse a few lines with the producer. What it didn't leave time for was makeup (the producer told La Mom makeup would take ten minutes, La Mom told him it would take double that - La Mom's not 25 anymore) or getting familiar with CCVB's baking equipment. Specifically, their fancy Kitchen Aid mixer. Once the cameras were rolling, La Mom had a panic attack as she realized she was going to have to operate it and didn't have the slightest clue how.

This is the mixer La Mom uses at home. It's Moulinex, French, and old.


During the taping, La Mom asked Benoît to help operate the Kitchen Aid beast no less than three times. Thankfully, two of those were cut and didn't make it on the show.


Take Quatre: It's A Happening!

Each time Stephane Bern, the host, finished checking in our baking, he'd go back to the table and chat with the cast.  Our microphones were then cut off and Benoît and La Mom could chat. And chat it up we did. We spoke about our kids, our arrondissements, American food vs French food, French kissing, vacations, and Stephane Bern:

La Mom: It's so funny that I'm baking cookies for Stephane Bern. When I lived in the 7th, my husband and I used to see him all the time on our neighbor's terrace. Our neighbor worked in TV was constantly hosting parties chez lui. We'd go on our terrace and pretend to be interested in the view of the Eiffel Tower, but we were really checking out the party guests - Stephane Bern included.

Benoît: That's funny, it's a small world.

Suddenly, someone started yelling, "Yalla, Yalla, Yalla." Everyone on set stopped talking.

La Mom: What's happening?

Benoît:  C'est un happening!

La Mom: What's a 'happening'?

Benoît: There's going to be a surprise, but nobody knows what's going to happen!

Then... the actors from La Verité Si Je Mens 3 stopped by for a surprise visit to promote their movie.


José Garcia, Bruno Solo, & Cyril Hanouna inspecting les cookies 
La verité? Les cookies de La Mom sont bons!

Take Cinq: The Evil Eye

Before La Mom's introduction, the producer told her to walk on set from behind the red door. He also told La Mom to exit this way once the baking segment was finished.  My new baking buddy, Benoît, had other plans:

Benoît: La Mom, come sit with us and enjoy the goûter.


La Mom: You mean at the table? With Stephane? With everyone else? Won't Stephane be bothered that I'm there?

Benoît:  Mais non. Absolument pas. Viens avec moi.

La Mom: Baaa, baaa, you're sure? Ok.

Once La Mom was seated at the table, she was too nervous to eat her cookies and carrot cake so she sat there watching everyone else eat. "C'est bon, oui.  Miam, miam." Everyone, including Stephane, seemed to like the desserts. Très bien. 

Then, as Stephane was wrapping up the segment, La Mom thought she was getting the evil eye from him and that it was his silent cue to her to leave his table tout de suite.  Suddenly hot and bothered, she did. If you watched the show, you saw La Mom get up from the table in the middle of the goûter to exit back through the red door. Thankfully, Janane and Benoît told me to stay.

Is La Mom getting the evil eye?
Feeling like un idiot after getting up to leave

Take Six: Fan Club

Taping finished. C'est dans la boîte.

La Mom and Florida Mom were escorted out of the studios to a car that France 2 provided for the drive back to Paris.

As we crossed the parking lot, a group of teenagers were hanging outside of the gates, about 40 meters away.

They waived and pointed.

Florida Mom: How cute, they think we're celebrities.

La Mom: Those poor kids are going to be so disappointed once they see we're nobodies.

And that's exactly what happened. The waiving and pointing stopped once we were 5 meters away from them.

As we were getting into the car, La Mom heard one ado say, "C'est qui, celle-là?"


Florida Mom: C'est La Mom!


A funny ending to a fun day.



 

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