My parents love The Today Show. They’re both retired, so they usually turn it on around 7 a.m., then just keep it going on one or two TVs until they leave the house or it’s finally over. When my kids stayed with them this past summer, I knew they also watched a lot of the show, but I had no idea how much until 9-year-old Sam suddenly started acting like a mini-Perez Hilton.
“Look at that, Mom,” he said in the grocery store, pointing to an US Weekly cover about Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony’s divorce. “Like we didn’t all see that coming. He’s always been jealous of her career, you know.”
“Oh, please,” he muttered upon seeing a picture of Prince Albert of Monaco and his new wife. “I give that marriage six months. A year, tops. Someone apparently has a ‘wandering eye…'”
“Is this Brittney?” he asked in the car when a Brittney Spears song came on the radio. Then he lowered his voice to a loud whisper. “I hear she drinks.”
To put this in perspective, the only things Sam previously had opinions on were football, Harry Potter and the cleanliness of his room. So to hear him now tell his clueless little brother that, “Warner Bros. is banking a lot on the new Batman movie reviving the franchise” is a bit of a shock. I half expect him to demand only coconut water and amphetamines in his lunch box.
It’s also obvious that he watched The Today Show sitting right next to his Grandma, because now, whenever he sees Ann Curry, he shakes his head and snips, “Well, she’s no Meredith, that’s for sure. For the love of God, what is she wearing?” And don’t even get him started on that “wasted menopausal trainwreck” of Kathie Lee and Hoda unless you have at least three hours to kill. For the life of him, he can’t understand how they keep their jobs.
But I guess I should be happy that Sam and I now have new things to talk about. Like the other day when we were in the crowded orthodontist’s waiting room and he picked up a magazine with Charlie Sheen on the cover. “What a waste,” he sighed. “Just think of all the millions he put up his nose, right Mom?”
“Um,” I stammered as every face in the room turned to look at us, all wondering what kind of horrible mother tells her children about Charlie Sheen. I mean, even Charlie Sheen’s mother doesn’t tell her children about Charlie Sheen. “What…why…how…I know! How about if you put that magazine away and buy stuff on my iPhone instead! Please? Here you go—type in ‘rare Pokemon cards’!”
But then Sam showed me that even though he’s now a slick Hollywood gossip expert, deep down he’s still my sweet, little 9-year-old boy. Pushing the magazine away, he shrugged his shoulders, scrunched up his face and said, “But what I don’t understand is how you can put money up your nose in the first place, much less a million dollars. He must have big nostrils, I guess. Big, huge Charlie Sheen nostrils.”
And with that, I finally relaxed and realized that while Sam may talk the talk, he doesn’t quite understand it enough to walk the Hollywood walk.
At least, he won’t until my parents start showing him videos on TMZ.com.