Tuesday, March 4, 2008

New Show Alert: Secret Life of a Soccer Mom

I caught the premiere last night on TLC, and it certainly has an interesting premise.

It takes stay-at-home moms who left their careers/"gave up on their dreams" and gives them a taste of the working world. This is done without their family knowing what is going on (hence the secret part). After presumably a week, they let their family know all about it.

Disclaimer: I am a working mom and have a ton of respect for the stay-at-home mom's in the world, sometimes my lovely kids drive me batty when I am home with them. I have nothing but love for my kids, but I love to work. We now return to our regularly scheduled review.

Last night, they took a mom (Adrian) who studied fashion in college and even worked for Chanel before leaving the workplace 10 years ago to stay at home with her adopted daughter and eventual two other kids.

Dramatically, a big giant Knight Rider style truck pulled up in front of Adrian's minivan after she dropped the kids off at school (and I am assuming some sort of daycare for the younger ones? They are really little). The host of the show (Tracey Gold!)ushered Adrian in and told her what was going to be happening. She was going to get her shot at working with a high-end fashion designer for the week.

The first day, Adrian went in to her "secret life" and met everyone at the design studio, while "agents" cleaned her house, cooked dinner etc. Her mission (should she choose to accept it)
was to create three dresses/looks for a fashion show at the end of the week. (Project Runway fans, did this seem familiar? With less restrictions?) Her "boss" showed her the fabric and told her to pick out stuff that she liked, and was vague about keeping it "affordable" (if you call affordable $400-$800 for an outfit). Adrian seemed so nervous I thought she was going to pee herself.

By the end of the day, she had some draping done, and I assume some sketching and such. They didn't show much of the actual creation. All in time to be home for dinner, where she showed herself to be just about the world's worst liar, going on and on about how she did something different with the sauce for dinner, and that's why it tasted different than normal. Upon receiving a phone call from Tracey, she was stymied to come up with a quick answer when her husband asked who it was on the phone, and it was all kind of awkward. The whole family thought she was off for a few day's pampering at a spa, with laid back Doctor Daddy on duty at home. You just know that is going to go well, because he's all reticent about rules and has to be reminded that the kids should not have candy before 10 AM, and Adrian nervously leaves him with about 4 pages of instructions on how to care for the kids. Yipes.

Back on the job, Adrian continues to be kind of a nervous wreck, but while she is shaken by the breakneck pace the fashion world demands, she manages to create some pretty neat looking dresses. Of course, her co-workers throw her some challenges, including cutting out her own patterns, which gets her even more nervous. She makes it work. The co-workers are impressed. At least for the cameras.

Meanwhile, at home, Laid Back Doctor Daddy is having some issues, including the two younger kids snacking on diaper rash cream, and bashing each other in the head, and spilling coffee mate all over the floor after drinking it straight from the container, then mopping the spill up with what looked to be tissues... you know, the normal hi jinx. The oldest daughter really steps in and picks up some of the slack, impressing me quite a bit. Laid Back Doctor Daddy even has a nice picnic on the yard with the kids. Good times.

Adrian's' Secret Life culminates with an in-house fashion show, with some of the boss's designs going down the runway next to Adrian's designs, for a couple buyers and a stylist to the stars (including the likes of Jessica Simpson and Jennifer Hudson) The first two dresses of Adrian's to be shown are not very well received, and Adrian is (predictably) nervous. The final dress is her triumph, and the stylist proclaims that she would love Jennifer Hudson to wear the design (yes, it's the one in the picture). I wonder if she was coerced to pick one to love. You just never know with reality tv. I'm sure Jennifer Hudson, having gotten her big break on American Idol, was ok with wearing a design created by another reality show contestant. I wonder if she was hoping for something from Project Runway...

Her week of living a Secret Life completed, Adrian is brought back home to tell her family the truth. When told he was being lied to all week, Laid Back Doctor Daddy looked quite concerned, and was relieved to know that Adrian had been working and not off gallivanting with another man or something. He thought that she just looked complete when living her Secret Life, and that made him happy for her. Her kids (mostly her oldest daughter) were also super proud.

Predictably, her boss came in and surprised her by offering her a job. But the fun didn't stop there! She had to make her decision pretty much on the spot, I think by the end of the day. Predictably, she takes the job.

While I enjoyed the show and will watch it again, I had a few issues with it.
  • No mention of pay was brought up. I mean, I'm sure that she talked about it with her new boss, and I don't think we needed to hear any nitty gritty about what she is going to pull in with her new job, some closed door negotiations might have been nice..
  • She started her new job pretty much immediately. Did the show help her locate childcare?
  • The.. predictability.. but that remains to be seen if it is as bad on forthcoming episodes
  • I wanted Super Hero costumes.
  • I wanted Tim Gunn to critique her work. Or maybe Nina Garcia.
Overall, enjoyable. I don't know how the future of the show will shape up... upcoming episodes include Secret Lives as a chef, and an event planner, a police academy recruit. No word as to whether Steve Gutenberg will be able to take some time off from his training for Dancing with the Stars to make an appearance on that one. We can only hope.

So - did anyone else catch this show? What did you think?

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