was raised by a television. It would destroy my parents if they
knew I felt that way. But since my sister Diana insisted that I
was adopted, that statement technically shouldn't destroy
them at all since they're not my real parents. When I would ask
my sister detailed questions about my adoption, she would tell me
to shut up and turn on What's Happenin'. I prayed that someday
I would discover that Rog and Dee were my biological siblings. The
more I asked about my adoption, the more Diana got frustrated and
turned on the TV. While some people's older sisters gave them a
stack of amazing rock albums or an appreciation of classic film,
my sister gave me a false sense of identity and a love of Shirley
My favorite shows were the shows that no one cared about. Remember
the early '80s sitcom We Got It Maid? I do. It was about
two dudes and their hot maid. The stories of the hot maid being
terrible at house cleaning must've really pulled at this "adopted"
kid's heartstrings, as I recently found a diary entry of mine marked
April 10th, 1983. It reads: "We got it maid
maid me cry."
I watched every show I could, memorized the dialogue, and then recorded
it on Diana's cassette recorder. How else would I remember that
amazing joke that perky twin said to the other perky twin on Double
Trouble? And everyone loves to reminisce about how amazing Jason
Bateman was when he started on Silver Spoons, but I loved
him most on a show called It's Your Move. Who couldn't adore
this sitcom about a sneaky teenager being adorable and
Bateman's dimples and calculator watch made the show sing. I'm just
a little sad I never wrote in my diary that "It's Your Move
I was crazy envious of those chosen people who sat inside the television
and supplied the laughter for these shows. Who were these magical
gigglers? And how did they get that job? When I asked Diana these
questions, she said that, "anyone can go to a taping of a TV
show. Anyone who isn't ADOPTED." But she conceded a little,
saying "..and whatever, we're in Woodland Hills. Those tapings
happen like right around the corner." I told her I couldn't
take any more lies. "Duh, Robin!" she said. "Why
else would that guy say The Facts of Life was recorded in
front of a live studio audience? Oh and also? You have a
huge butt. And you're only ten. Stop eating so much bread."
When Diana's youth group went to a taping of Super Password,
I tagged along. Soon, the musty soundstages of Burbank became my
second home. Throughout the years I eagerly supplied some serious
chuckles for the following shows: My Two Dads (did we ever
find out who her real dad was? Was it that Judge lady?), Full
House (Candace Cameron's older sister was her stand-in as DJ
Tanner!), Charles in Charge (hey, why is Nicole Eggert stomping
offstage after every scene she does with Scott Baio?), The Munsters
Today (it's not as funny as the original, but the make-up is
dead on!), and countless pilots starring Leah Remini. If
only I discovered my obsession a little earlier, I might have seen
the beautiful Ann Jillian in person. But alas, ABC had already cancelled
It's a Living, a decision I know they're still regretting.
Nothing, however, came close to the time in 5th grade when my dad
hit the motherlode of TV taping tickets. Family Ties. Sha
la la la, anyone? It was easily the biggest sitcom on television
at the time, so in terms of prestige, there was a huge chasm between
a taping of Perfect Strangers and this one. Every
other taping was Mount McKinley. Family Ties was Mount Everest.
Getting our paws on these tickets was like being given the keys
to the castle, but not just any castle. It was a floating castle
with rainbows and marshmallow clouds, where Michael J. Fox was King
and I, an adopted girl with a prematurely large ass, his Queen.
So, let me make sure you understand the enormity of the situation.
Family fucking Ties. By this time, Michael J. Fox was not only a
television and movie icon, he was my future husband. Have you seen
his car? It's a Delorean. And it travels through time! No one in
town got tickets to this show. So let me reiterate
an announcement to my class about Friday night's taping. I sent
a note to the principal to make sure she knew, forgetting that she
already hated me for making loud fart noises during the Honor Roll
ceremony. I just had to make sure everyone was aware that Robin
Shorr and Family Ties had been together for a million years
and by the end of the week, we'd be together for a million more.
Tape night arrived. I put on my Benneton rugby shirt and matching
Pop Swatch. My whole family piled into the car. "We just have
to stop off at Alan's house to get the tickets," my dad said,
pulling up to his old friend's house. Alan was our one link to Hollywood.
A lawyer for a major studio, he would often shower us with movie
posters of upcoming releases. We never cared that the posters were
always in a foreign language. Show me one kid who wouldn't want
a poster of Chevy Chase's Funny Farm in Italian.
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