The CBC and Our Fake Nutella Breakfast

nutella_blogSo I get an email from CBC Marketplace, one of the producer’s read a blog I wrote about feeding my son Jack Nutella (among other foods I’m guilty about) and they are doing a show on deceptive marketing practices. They ask if I will be on the show. Sure I say, assuming it’s on the radio. Then she tells me it’s a tv show and that they want to come and film me and my son eating breakfast and then reveal the sugar content of Nutella while being filmed. “It’ll take about a half an hour”. I agree and ask my son Jack if he’ll do it. “I get to eat Nutella?”, was his response. They need to come at 7:15am to make sure they have enough time to get what they need and so that my son can get to school by 8:50. When I say yes, it’s a couple days away so it doesn’t seem that bad. But the night before, I’m dreading it.

I set my alarm for 6:30 then change it to 6:45am then I snooze until 7am. I don’t know about you, but it seems so wrong to have to get up early when it is dark and cold. Every morning in January and February, I wake up and think, “I can’t wait until I can be back in this warm cocoon of a bed.” I’m just getting out of the shower when the doorbell rings. My son Jack, who normally wakes up before 7am, is still asleep. I throw some clothes on and open the door. Tom is the host and he is the first one to show up. It’s a bit strange greeting a perfect stranger so early in the morning. He looks like a tv host, well a Canandian tv host, because he looks polished but more normal. American tv hosts usually seem larger than life in person which plays like normal on tv, they always seem more orange in real life. Except for Leslie Roberts, he’s got a total U.S. vibe. The camera adds ten pounds and subtracts a normal personality so you really have to lay on the pizazz. Does that make sense?

I struggle to make coffee and seem functioning. I try and make drip coffee so there is extra (I usually make stove top espresso because I’m a coffee snob) but I don’t know how to use it and it ends up leaking everywhere. My son comes down after dressing himself in too small pants (I need to get rid of them) and messy hair and his fly part way down. I run upstairs to blow dry the front of my hair and put some make up on. And then the camera man shows up. They have me making Jack toast with Nutella and act as if the cameras are not there. “Just talk like you normally would”, Tom the host tells me. It’s so stilted. We are the worst fake breakfast makers in the world. I’m sweating. Jack is acting ‘brattily self conscious’ to compensate for his embarrassment. We don’t really do small talk in the morning. There is usually just a lot of barking of orders by me while Jack watches his youtube shows. Yes guys, there are youtube shows like ‘kids react to…’ where they film kids playing old video games, watching new video games, trying to use a rotary phone. They have way more views than my videos and probably cost less to make. We are living in the future and I can’t keep up.

After they film us awkwardly having breakfast, Tom the host/journalist, interviews me about Nutella. I want to be a good interviewer but I’m failing. I can’t think of the answers quick enough, I uhm and ah a lot, I can see a bit of disappointment in his face. And truth be told I don’t really connect with this guy. Is he mad that I don’t watch the show? Is he upset when I opened the door with wet hair and my no make up face? He tells me the sugar content of Nutella. “It’s like three teaspoons of sugar”. “That’s terrible!” I say trying to be the appropriate amount of shocked. Then they shoot me walking into camera crossing my arms and staring straight into camera with no smile. Like I’m a ‘serious mom consumer’. I feel like I’m doing a sketch. But I’m not. And that’s kinda sad.

Then it’s over and we have to get Jack to school. Truth be told, normally I drive him even though it’s a 10 mins walk. But Jack and I are both mildly shamed by Tom who lives nearby and is walking home.  Tom is also a Newfie, which means, I don’t know, that he’s tough and doesn’t suffer fools and softies who drive when it’s a five minute walk.  But my car is snowed in and Tom says ‘walk with me you’ll get there’. But then he proceeds to walk ahead of us. Like all his friendliness was spent when he needed us but now he’s done for the day. I feel strangely used and needy as I try and catch up with him with Jack tagging along. He turns the corner to his house and says, “Bye.” And that is that. Like we didn’t matter at all.

Show business, it’s so fickle.


Precious Chong

Precious Chong is an actress and writer, known for L.A. Confidential (1997), Pearl Harbor (2001) and Amelia (2009).

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