What’s a six-letter word for “person Jodi would like to punch in the face?” Answer: M-A-R-T-H-A. More specifically, one Martha Stewart, whose show I had the strange fortune of experiencing last week. Through the marvels of Facebook, one of her producers “discovered” me when searching the social network for people who do the New York Times crossword puzzle on a regular basis. Now, you all know that Martha’s is the last show taped in this city that I would want to attend. Mostly because of the face punching. But this producer lured me with the enticing possibility of seeing Mr. Will Shortz, and maybe snagging some free puzzle books to feed my habit. So I packed up my holy water, spritzed myself with some garlic, and headed over to Chelsea for a taping of the Martha Stewart Show.
First I was blatantly onced-over by the production team, who strategically place audience members based on appearance using a system of color-coded markings (possibly adapted from those used at Ellis Island – a red X for conjunctivitis, a blue dot for mismatched shoes and purse. All of the markers were pastel. (Of course.)
Next to the staging area, where a sweaty man in a purple dress shirt had the sad job of getting everyone psyched up for the show. To be fair, I think everyone else there was genuinely already psyched up for the show. So mostly he was there for me, I guess. Everyone else was just about fainting with excitement. I felt like the only vegetarian at the Dinosaur BBQ.
Next to the set, which is admittedly extremely cool. I am a sucker for behind-the-scenes, “how’d-they-do-it” stuff, and so seeing all the production equipment and how they set up the segments was fascinating. Even more fascinating? Between segments, Martha apparently likes her guests to jam out to Eminem, Linkin Park, and gangsta rap. I even caught her tapping her manicured fingers on her freshly-pressed pantsuit between takes. Maybe she picked up a taste for these artists during her time behind bars. (Did I say bars? I’m sorry, I meant Connecticut estate formerly owned by Henry Ford. Martha made sure to remind us of that during the taping.)
The most important thing I learned was that, if you are going to attend the taping of a show, make damn sure it is a show you are actually interested in watching. Otherwise, prepare to muster a LOT of enthusiasm. And if it’s Martha’s show, make sure you follow the pre-show email’s detailed instructions on appropriate audience attire. Ladies must wear heels. Even though your feet will never appear on television.