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Exclusive Interview with The Kicks’ Monica Lacy

Photo Credit: Lesley Bryce
Photo Credit: Lesley Bryce

The Kicks is an Amazon Original Series, geared toward teens, that is scheduled to be released on August 26th.  Monica Lacy stars as Sharon Burke, a quirky and idealistic soccer mom whose daughter, Devin, has to adapt to her new, and losing, soccer team when her family moves to California.  The series is based on the book series by Olympic Gold Medalist Alex Morgan and was adapted by David Babcock (“Brothers and Sisters”, “Gilmore Girls”).  The Kicks pilot premiered on Amazon Instant Video on June 26, 2015.

Monica and her triplet sisters first made a splash in the entertainment industry pool when Disney cast them in “Parent Trap III” and “Parent Trap:  Hawaiian Vacation”.  Monica was the only one of the three who went on to pursue a career in entertainment.  She has most recently had guest-starring roles on “Hawaii Five-O” and “Agents of S.H.E.I.L.D”.  In addition to her work on TV and in commercials (over 200!), Monica has worked in movies as well.  You can see her alongside Reese Witherspoon on “Freeway”, in the Sundance Award-winner “Possums” and haunting Vincent D’Onofrio in “The Cell”.

Equally at home working in drama and in comedy, Monica worked in Improv with The Groundlings and performed stand-up comedy that is based on her childhood.  In addition, Monica’s two brainiac children have prepared her well for her current project as a soccer mom.

TNWU had a chance this week to talk to Monica about her career and her current role in The Kicks.

 

Thank you very much for making time to speak with us about your role as Sharon Burke.  I watched the first episode last night and I have to tell you that I just loved it. 

I love hearing that, thank you so much.

I loved Sixx (Orange – Devin Burke) and the family dynamic but I particularly liked the reality touch of the confessional segments, it gave great insight into each character.

Unfortunately, I think they’re going to be taking those out and yet, everybody loves that part.  I love them because you can see into the family.  There’s another episode that they put out for viewing because of Amazon Prime day.  It was available for a week, but I don’t know if it’s still out there.  Anyway, I kinda liked them because it’s a way to show the character behind the scenes a little bit and you can kind of tip your hand.

I, too think Sixx is great.  She’s so adorable and easy to work with and just a very realistic and good kid.  She’s normal. (laughs).

She does come across as normal and of course, that is the role she’s playing, this normal girl who’s faced with this situation.  That’s what we want to see in this instance.

You want to see a normal kid, not somebody who’s too Disney’ed out – too pretty or too perfect and she really is from Maryland so she really is a true fish out of water living here in LA and that comes across.  That untainted, not New York, not LA, kind of unpolished… that’s what’s so likable about her – she’s very fresh.

I’m wondering how the pilot was presented to you?  Did you have to do anything special to land this role?

(laughs) I definitely… Actually, I first just sent in myself on tape.  I put a couple of scenes on there and I didn’t have time – because I wanted to get it in – to do all the scenes that they asked for. I sent less than they asked for, like ‘here’s what you’re getting.’  When you do that you have no idea, since you’re not getting any direction, you can be doing it funnier or more straight than they want, but I looked down and I said ‘I get this girl.’  I kind of took a chance because I didn’t do it as it was scripted.  I just kinda said, ‘you know what?  I’m going to be this other thing that I do.’ 

Initially, I was supposed to be this hippy-dippy yoga kind of mom and I just didn’t get that – I got something else from it.  So I just did my something else and they liked it and I went in to screen test – chemistry read, with the other characters twice.  As soon as I met the other characters I’m like, ‘I want this, I want this’ because I could tell we got along interestingly.  It makes it come to life when you start talking to each other.

Instantly I had a history with them, I don’t know why.  Instantly I clicked with Gabe right away.  He looks like my son, my real son.  I have two kids the same ages as my TV kids on the show so it was very easy to drop into this character, let me tell you (laughs).  I would go home and have a conversation and I’m like, ‘hold on I just did this scene at work’ and that was just more reinforcement to me that we were on the right track with the things we were talking about and what we were doing. 

There was one about being a good sport and one girl just quitting and I had just had to have this same talk with my daughter because there was this one girl who just wasn’t being a good sport on her volleyball team.  So it was just so similar and I still have those moments where I’m like, ‘wait a minute the theme I’m talking about is a real theme that I’m dealing with.’  I guess that’s just how realistic it is, in a good way, in a funny way.  You’re like, ‘no way, they’re talking the way we talk about things.’

That just makes the show so much more relatable and will hopefully come across to people as they watch because I think that sometimes – it’s what you were talking about with Sixx – TV can seem so cleaned up and so polished and none of us are like that in real life.  We’re just all bumbling around making mistakes.

Exactly!  One of my favorite episodes is where I am basically trying to force my son to make these friends and it turns out that I’m really doing it so that I can become friends with the moms. What I love is that he ends up telling me, ‘mom, you’re trying too hard.’  He ends up telling me to chill, so it wasn’t me as a parent fixing everything, he kind of gave me advice that I then followed.  That is real and just so new – I’ve never seen that on TV.  You don’t see that a lot.  You’re either laughing at the parents because they’re kind of bumble-y, dorky or… but we actually get to weigh in on our kids, they have a lot of independence, but we get to have a little bit of a voice and it’s just more realistic.  That’s how it is.  The Disney shows never show the parents – where are the parents?  (laughs).  In real life, the parents are there and they get to have some influence.

Of course, parents have influence and just as you said in that one episode, children can also teach and influence their parents.  In any family, your whole family grows with each challenge that each family member faces.

Exactly!  Everybody responds to the challenge.  They didn’t just move on and mom handled it perfectly, mom didn’t and that’s really good.  I think it’s fun to see those pieces and as a parent… hopefully, people watch and think, ‘oh she’s trying too hard, oh she’s really trying to be too perfect’ and then you see her calm down a little bit and you think, ‘oh thank God, she’s just like me, that’s how I am.’  So hopefully there will be those ‘ah-ha’ moments for the parents as well as the kids.

The kids are going to love it because there are lots of fun soccer sequences and fun kid… everything kids like to see, there’s all that good stuff.  Then there’s… somehow they’ve really… it’s like a good sports movie where you feel good about it in the end.  There’re so many good things to talk about when you talk about being on a team and learning all there is to learn.  The whole family is committed when a child is on a team.

Particularly at that high level.  Devin is quite accomplished and so, of course, her whole family is involved.  I loved in the pilot, when she is in her first game with The Kicks, that the whole family is there cheering her on, including Bailey.  I could have seen him as the younger brother saying he didn’t want to spend the whole day at the soccer field.

What’s interesting, later on – I’ll tip my hand – later on, he gets a little resentful.  He says, ‘you only care about Devin and soccer.  You don’t care about me.’  We have really focused more on Devin than him and we end up – later in the series – being sorry that we did that.  It’s kind of very rewarding because that’s really how it is in real life.   You go along focusing on your successful kid and then you all of a sudden go, ‘wait! What about this other kid?’  And they’re successful in a totally different way. 

That part really rang true to me as well because I have two totally different kids and they both… you’ve got to balance out the kid who’s easy to love or has a thing that you know how to deal with and I just like that part.  It’s a nice little arc and he grows and changes and we do too in how we’ve been dealing with him.

It’s really awesome that the show isn’t completely focused on Devin so that it can reach out to other family members as well.  Again, as I was watching it, I was also looking at some of the comments left on Amazon and there were so many people who had said that they could see themselves watching the show with their kids and having a shared experience.

I think they’re going to like it… my son, he liked it.  That was one thing that really surprised me was how unanimous a lot of the comments were.  I would say about 99% of the comments said, ‘wow we love seeing something that we can all watch together, that it’s not just for girls or just for boys.’  In upcoming episodes, they add additional kid characters that help to round everything out and you see the dad develop with the son – so we have… it’s more like you start to get to know the family.  You’ll relate if you’ve had a sibling who was a star athlete, you’ll relate if you are the athlete, you’ll relate if you’re the mom of a kid who… you know what I mean.  There are so many on-ramps to relating to the show and I like that.  The son is not an outgoing person, he’s the opposite and it’s kind of cute how we were kind of not worried about him and in the end, we get in trouble for not paying attention to him, or just not valuing him.

That’s very common experience in families whether it’s the star athlete or the star academic achiever or maybe a sick sibling that garners all the attention from the parents.

Right – where they pull the focus.  That’s something that every family has experienced, whether they were being bad or good, whatever it is – sick – and you learn that wow everybody’s affecting each other.  One of my favorite characters is… The Kicks finally get a coach and I can’t reveal who it is, but it is so satisfying and so fun to see how he… it’s really surprising.  It doesn’t go the way that you expect (laughs).

Like I said, I hope that there is something that everyone will enjoy and that there’s enough of a cliffhanger each week that everyone will need to keep tuning in and watch all of them.  I’m just so proud of it and I keep thinking, ‘what is out there like this?’

Nothing, I don’t think there’s anything like this at all right now.

I keep thinking, ‘what was I watching when I was 12?’ I guess there was The Brady Bunch which was a modern family, a blended family.  That was gentle… the parents were there with the kids and I go what is there out there now on TV like that.  There’s Pretty Little Liars and lots of Disney shows, but the parents don’t factor into those at all.  They’re literally barely in it at all.

I guess there’s Modern Family, but maybe that’s a little too racy.

Yes!  It’s a little too racy – they’ve made it safer, but in the beginning, it was really racy and the same with Black-ish.  I think Black-ish is one that I can sit and watch with my family – my kids but you know, it’s new.  You’d think there’d be a lot of traditional family shows.  Now just having a traditional family show is actually novel!  There’s nothing too crazy going on and that’s actually unique in today’s world.

I think that there is a niche for it because… Our lives, if we go by TV and movies, if we take those as an example of how our lives are supposed to be, every single one of us will look at that and go, ‘oh my word, I’m such a loser.’  (laughs).  Because we don’t have this fabulous, over the top life.

It’s true and of course, you have to realize that what makes good drama is having a really big thing like somebody who’s transitioning or… these are big crazy things, but there’s something to be said for recognizing those smaller problems on TV like making friends with the mean girl at school.  My daughter needs help with that, she’s 12 and she needs help with that.  It’s just nice to see… and those kind of topics are really important for us to be talking about as families. 

Every week, I swear, there’s something new that I talked about with my family as we filmed it.  There’s one episode where we punish our daughter by taking away her cell phone and her computer and ironically, it’s a much bigger punishment for us!  You can’t get a hold of her, you have to relay all the messages, she’s on my computer and I need it.  That’s so funny because it is so true to real life.  I’ve punished my daughter like that and I’m thinking, ‘this is such a pain, but what do you do when you’re trying to punish them?’  Everybody that I tell that to laughs because they’ve all had that same experience if you’ve had a teenager.

I think that it’s fun and kind of healthy for us to step back and see that everything in our lives doesn’t have to be such a big, huge drama.   Yes there’s drama and a teenage girl is going to make whatever happens to her dramatic because that’s what we do, but I loved seeing the interactions with the parents and the children, it was appealing to me.

You know, the other shows over the last few years are about a secret… a girl who’s in high school but really she’s a rock star on the weekends!  Of course that might be fun, but I’d really rather us turn the TV off and start talking about what is the best way to handle someone who’s teasing you or how can you get your team to accept the new person or how are you going to deal with getting punished when you were wrong or maybe how to deal with getting punished when you were really right?  All those little growing up dilemmas that really are big to your family, are big and deserve some attention.  There really is nothing out there like that, or at least nothing that I… maybe kind of like Parenthood, but the parents were older people too but there’s nothing out there like this for kids.

Again, it opens up… as you were saying with your own family and hopefully that would be the experience of other families watching, that the show would open up a dialog between parents and their children.  Parents could ask their kids how they would handle something that came up on the show and be able to talk it out together.

If my experience is similar to others and a lot of the comments have said that… one of the other things that I loved, loved, loved was… I want my daughter to be good at something, I don’t want her to care about make-up or wearing the Kylie Jenner lip kit and just doing makeup and looking pretty.  I want her to be a good athlete, I want her to be dedicated to something and so I love the values that the show… the first time I read it I was like, ‘this is great! She’s trying to be good at something.’  You never see teenage girls becoming accomplished on TV and doing something and kind of being the star for it – you know what I mean?

Right, unless they are a rock star on the weekend!  (laughs).

This is real, every kid plays on a team and is sweaty, dirty, gross and is trying to good at something, making tough decisions and is dedicated.  I want my daughter to have a good role model.  Someone who’s dedicated and not really just about dating, outfits, makeup, and boys.

That brings up another thing that I noticed.  They did not overly make Sixx up.  She looked very natural, very simple.

Yes, because truthfully, most kids aren’t looking like Kylie Jenner, most kids aren’t… they’re all watching it on social media… but I love that she’s trying to be good at something, that she loves soccer and she’s trying hard.

Even on her first day at the new school she, Devin, is noticed by the guys first because she’s such an excellent soccer player and not because she’s some hot little number!

Absolutely!  She’s noticed not because she’s pretty (and she is) but because she’s a good soccer player.  It’s so crazy that that is actually pretty novel.  Nobody’s talking… nobody really mentions how cute she is and they’ve really played down the boyfriend-girlfriend angle.  Nobody gets a boyfriend or a girlfriend… sorry, sorry it’s true, at least in season 1 (laughs).  They made it about being competitive and later you’ll see the boy’s team playing against the girl’s team and it’s more about girl power/empowerment.  It’s not just about cute or dressing… I hate to harp on that but I have a 12-year-old girl and that message of being pretty and cute and that that’s what you’re known for, that message is really strong right now with all the musicians and on TV.  Looking pretty and famous is all that is important – how can I combat that?  When I’m trying to get her to be dedicated and be a hard worker and stick with something.  I want… those are the values I’m trying to instill and I think the majority of Americans are trying to foster those same values too.

I think you’re right, in fact, nobody that I know who raised or is raising daughters wanted to raise Kylie Jenner.  They want, like you do, their daughters to understand that they can be smart, they can be competitive, that they can show their intelligence and their strength and that it doesn’t detract from who they are, it just makes who they are that much better.

It’s not a traditional feminine… a traditional feminine role is quiet, subservient and pretty.  Why can’t it be feminine to be strong?  Alex Morgan herself has really transformed me because I watch and I go she’s so appealing and she’s so strong.  They make her look really pretty at times, but she’s a strong accomplished athlete first and I love that. 

When I was young I played soccer but there was no female team athlete on TV when I was a kid.  There were only figure skaters and gymnasts and maybe Jackie Joiner-Kersey, the runner.  But nobody that reflected my life, I played soccer and there was nobody that I could look up to that was strong and cool.  I remember going, should I be dumb?  Should I pretend to be dumb?  That was really a dilemma.

My own father actually told me when I was a teenager to not be as intelligent, to not talk smart, because that would make the boys not like me!

(gasps) Let me tell you that that is not very far off… that same kind of weird societal or paternal pressure is still there.  Just the fact that everybody responded (on Amazon) that they loved seeing a strong female on TV… the fact that that’s novel?  Wait a minute, we have female athletes!  Our women’s soccer team is number one in the world, the world.  The men’s team is like 37th in the world or something, but they play on really nice grassy turf and they’re paid like triple.  Where our women are the best in the world and we play on crappy turf and in terrible conditions and they are paid less than the men.  I cannot even imagine that this is still going on in 2016, I just can’t believe it!

That really does show how stunted we still are.  I was a teenager in the 70’s and my dad bridged that 50’s/60’s gap where he was struggling with the older fashioned way of thinking.  Fortunately, he doesn’t think that way any longer and is very proud of his three girls and how we’ve chosen to live our lives.

It’s funny because my dad also has that old-fashioned traditional view of women as well, but he had triplet girls!  (laughs).  So we were basically his boys until we turned about 13.  We were super athletic, we rode horses, we went to camp and we were in 4H.  We literally were tomboys, big time until my mom got us and suddenly we wanted to be like girls.  My dad really grew up with us because he had to face the fact that girls could do anything that boys could do.  He realized that by having us… he knows we’re all three strong and educated and dedicated to what we do.  We kind of had to drag him along… like a family, we all had to learn together; we all had to go through that experience together.

I totally get it, my sisters and me while not triplets are fairly close in age and we dragged my poor father kicking and screaming into the 20th century, but as you said, we did it as a family.  I think he aged pretty quickly while my sisters and I were in high school and college (laughs)!

I can only imagine, because it was a tough time when we were in high school and college as well and we had the strictest parents on the block, no doubt about it, and we gave him the hardest time!  But you know what?  I’m so glad, there’s nothing… I don’t know anybody who’s said, ‘I wish you would have been less strict with me and let me run around all the time.’ Because it was… now I’m so glad that they didn’t give in to our every whim.  I didn’t get hurt, if anything it helped protect me until I went wild in college (laughs). 

That’s something else to talk about, what kind of parents do you want to be?  Do you want your… I just want to have a good relationship where we can talk about everything.  I hope my daughter continues to go to me, I don’t want her to go to someone else for information or anything like that.

I think there is always some boundary testing and some exploration that’s natural, but if you’ve been there for them and been consistent with them your children do realize that you are the one(s) with their best interests at heart and that your advice is coming from a place of love and respect, even if they don’t like what you’re saying.  It’s not easy for anybody, but again a show like you have, can open up some lines of communication for people who are having a hard time talking to their children.  A lot of parents want to be their children’s best friends…

Exactly!  What’s funny and you see it a few times where one of my lines in an episode, and I they left it in, I had improved it, I walk over and Tom is talking with my son and they’re making it kind of hard for Devin, with the punishment we’ve given Devin.  She’s supposed to be doing her homework on my computer where I can keep an eye because she lost our trust and they just keep messing up and I have to come over and go ‘come on dad, remember.’  I have to encourage him to get a backbone because he’s not helping me toe the line and that is so similar to my real life.  In my life, I always feel like… and I think everyone feels like there’s one bad guy and it’s often the mom and the dad gets to be the best friend.  It just came out so real and I noticed that they left it in.

I am honestly so glad that The Kicks got picked up by Amazon for a season and I really hope that people will see and I love it as much as I do. 

I hope so too, you just don’t know.  I hope, I hope, I hope… it’s not a sexy topic, but every kid I know, let me tell you, girls are just rabid about soccer.  That alone, just showing a female athlete on TV is interesting, like, that’s not normal and that’s awesome.  It’s a great role model and that’s one of the reasons I hope it stays on.  All the Americans out there who are just trying to raise their families and just don’t want their kids watching all the crap and they’re just trying to do the right thing.  This is for them, and I’m talking about myself!  This is for people like me. 

It’s so cute, Sixx comes over to our house.  She’s become a good family friend and after she left after dinner one day… they were filming near our house and she and her dad came by for dinner.  After she left, my daughter goes, ‘you know, I think she’s a really good role model for me.’  Bingo!  Yes!  And when can you say that about actors; about a show?

Not very often, unfortunately.

You really can’t.  Everybody… everyone over at Disney you turn around and suddenly they’re a musical star and you’re like, ‘Uggghhh now they’re singing about I can’t control myself, I can’t control my hands when I’m with you’ and that’s not a message that I want to send to my daughter.  She loves you because she saw you on TV and it’s funny, I guess as a mom I’m a bit of a prude, but I’m a feminist prude (laughs).  I feel like my feminist has come out more once I had a daughter because I realize how… I do feel that it’s a bit sexist in our country – our views of beauty for instance.

Oh yeah, I saw it growing up and I still see it in my friends’ kid’s lives and I see what’s going on with them and it can be a little scary that the main thing that they’re thinking about is how can I get a guy… they’re too young!

I know.  My daughter’s 12 and one of the songs was about a drink and she says, ‘isn’t that what you do on a date? A boy buys you a drink.’  I said, ‘well, that’s an old-fashioned notion.  I said, ‘wouldn’t it be great if you could buy the boy a drink.’  I’m all of a sudden wondering how I teach her these things like ‘you want to support yourself, you don’t want to rely on a guy, you don’t want to put yourself down or be less strong or less smart or less anything.’  Even… the messages are just out there.  I guess I’m kind of sensitive because we just allowed her to go on social media and I look at some of the things out there and I’m just horrified.  The overall message is you’ve got to be pretty and you need these clothes and this makeup and to have boys – and the world –saying you’re pretty.

I was raised very differently.  Apparently, I’m very attractive, but I wasn’t at all ever crazed for that.  Being a triplet I didn’t give it much thought, I was just born this way.  I knew I had to work hard because there wasn’t going to be… nobody was going to be there to take care of me, I had to take care of myself and I knew that my dad thought I could do anything in the world and that that’s why I think that relationship was really positive.  I could see it turning around as it happened, I could see him going, ‘wow, women, I have to look at them differently because my girls can do anything!’

We managed to convince our father of that as well.

You earned his respect and changed his perspective.  I think that’s what it’s about, appreciating kids and that’s what I like too… there was a little bit, in my family, of kids are going to be seen and not heard and my parents made all the decisions.  They never consulted us, we never had a say in a lot of things and in this show we definitely… we are definitely in charge, but we also actually listen to the kids and hear what they’re saying.  I like that it shows mom and dad just kibitzing with the kids, enjoying each other a little bit.  Showing how that can be normal.  I know it sounds boring but it’s kind of good to see that.  Mom and dad might have a little something, we’re not so… we offer a perspective and hopefully we have a good enough relationship that they take it.  That’s cool, versus the kids not having parents on the TV show.  Like I’m sick of watching shows and thinking, ‘where are the parents? They’re not even here?’  That’s so not realistic.

And of course, kids are watching the same shows and thinking that this is what they have to strive for and that this is how they should behave.  It’s hard enough raising kids without that kind of input.  Hopefully, though, your show will attract attention and get families watching this more normal family dynamic.  All most people would have to do is read the positive comments over at Amazon to realize just how well this show has gone over with families and would think that it might be something that their family would like as well.

It’s amazing how many comments… of course, that’s the difference between a streaming show and a regular one, I get to read all the comments right away.  Usually, I do a pilot and no one sees it but with this one, I could read every comment if I wanted to and I read a lot!  (laughs).  I was shocked at how many people said the same thing.  ‘Oh wow, I want to watch this with my family.  This is a great role model.  This is so refreshing.’  I was like, ‘how great, it’s not just me.’  So I hope it continues to touch a nerve and fill a niche.  I think it’s awesome that Amazon gave this show a chance and hopefully they’ll give us two more seasons so we have even more chance (to reach people).  It’s been really sweet and really fun.  I love working with the kids because they’re just so great.  I’m really impressed by what good actors they are, they’re really strong – I mean all the kids on the show.

That’s just another example of a positive role model for kids.  Of course, we know that not everyone makes it as an actor, but here are children reaching for, and excelling at something in their real lives that they’ve worked for and achieved.  It’s not just Devin and her soccer, but Sixx and her acting career.

Exactly, and that piece has really clicked with my kids because they realize that she is so dedicated.  Another piece that I remember… the first time I realized that this was going to be a good topic for conversation.  In the pilot, you see the mean girl, Maribel?  Remember how she decides she’s going to try at the soccer practice?

Yes.

Remember she gets up and she kind of falls and she says ‘this is stupid.’  You could see on her face that she goes from really caring and being embarrassed to… she puts on a mask of ‘this is stupid and I don’t care.’

When we watched that episode I said to my daughter, ‘we know somebody that does that’ and we talked about it.  It’s a girl in her class who acts too cool for school and you know what I liked… I loved that it showed that she really wasn’t too cool for school.  There was something underneath – she’s afraid to try, she doesn’t want to be upstaged, she doesn’t want to lose.  But I wanted my daughter to see that when you see a girl that comes off as too cool, don’t believe it, there’s probably something else underneath.  That often it’s a mask that people wear.  So we had a huge discussion about that and that was just in the pilot.

That’s a lesson that we need to remember even as adults.  There are plenty of people who still walk around wearing that type of mask.

Absolutely.  I can hear my mom saying, ‘so and so’, there was this girl that was the most popular and we lived and died by what she said in junior high and my mom says, ‘you know what’s so funny is that you girls have put her on that pedestal.  She’s just acting like that, she’s no different from you’, but I couldn’t hear what she was saying, I couldn’t understand it.  Of course, now I do, now I get it!  She acted cool and we put her up on the pedestal, we didn’t have to glorify or glamorize her.  It’s just funny how you realize that your mom was right all along (laughs) and I hear myself being my mom – as much as I don’t want to be!

As much as that horrifies us all!

I drop my kids off at school and I hear myself telling them, ‘bye, see who needs a friend.  See who you can be a friend to today’ and I will literally drive away thinking ‘oh gosh, I am my mother.’

With luck maybe the show will prove to people that maybe it’s not so bad to end up like your mom and again put this positive role model out for both kids and their parents.

Yes!  Somebody recently asked me if I hate playing a soccer mom and I thought, ‘I think soccer moms have a bad image.  Why is it bad to be thought of as a soccer mom?  They’re just parents who care about their kids and are supporting their sport.’  Soccer mom has become a derisive term and why is that?  You’re a caring parent helping her daughter achieve her dreams – I don’t get that, you know?

It’s like the stereotype of the Little League parent – and you know that there are parents that go really overboard… I know you’ve seen them.

The ones that sit on the sidelines, yell and get crazy.  I went to watch Sixx – she’s on a club team – and during the shooting her team was competing for state cup and I went to the final four.  Their team lost at the final four, but they got all the way to the final four.  As I walked to the field to see her I walked by two parent fights at different fields and I thought, ‘holy cow, this is real up in here!’  I guess that is an element.  So you’re right, there are always going to be those crazy parents who are uber-competitive and make other people feel bad.  I couldn’t believe I saw two different parent fights getting to her game!

Unfortunately, those people are the ones that get a lot of attention from other people so that’s where you get the… that’s how the soccer mom label becomes derisive.  You know that there are women out there who are competing with the other women to be the best soccer mom on the field.  They think that they need to do this in order to be taken seriously by the other moms.

Right, they want to prove… they’re saying, ‘look, I’m good at something too.’  My mom and dad – I remember I wanted to play… I grew up in Fullerton, California a little suburb in Orange County and I remember saying that I wanted to play with Jody Jones and my mother said no, her mother works.  So, the message I got was you don’t fraternize with the kids whose moms work.  All my mom’s friends did national charity league or something with church, they didn’t work.  So what I love about this show is that it shows a mom wanting to work, trying to get her business up and running again. 

Of course, and I forget sometimes, but I’m a working mom too and I think most moms today work unless you’re in a very wealthy area.  It’s just a fact of life that is not going to go away.  I just remember, as I grew up, I remember thinking that I couldn’t really go play at their house or that they weren’t getting as good of a life because their mom worked.  Now I’m horrified that that’s the message I took away, but obviously, I don’t believe that now.  Now I’m making sure that my kids know that it’s okay for mom to be working and my character does continue – she keeps trying and she does fail a lot but she keeps picking herself back up and that’s cool.  That’s okay, we’re all trying.  I’m glad she’s not just about the kids, that she has her own interests as well.  Work is going to happen, she is going to work.  I think that’s very relatable to people.

It is.  The family is very, as we’ve been saying, is very normal.  I honestly know so many people who are almost exactly like the Burkes and that’s why I think this will be great.  People are going to be able to identify with them.

Well, hopefully, because I’ve been working a lot of times, and I think people see me as like, one of them.  I want people to see me and go ‘oh she’s a cool mom and that’s me.  She struggles but she comes out on top and she’s likable and that’s me!’ I want people to see that in me, I want people to see somebody who’s just trying to do the best for her family.  Just trying, and failing sometimes, but it is okay and getting back up.  That is my goal life, in real life for my family and my goal on the show.  I hope that people, moms relate to that and see themselves in me.

I think that they will and who doesn’t fail?  There’s that adage that says that someone who’s never failed has never actually tried, so we all fail.  That in and of itself – Sharon trying and failing as she gets her event planning business up and running is still a conversation that can be had with the entire family.  That just because that didn’t work out for her (Sharon), look, she’s not quitting and that there’s no shame in not being able to do something well on your first try. 

Then you go look, it’s not all cake and roses for them, so I can keep going too!  In the episode that just aired, I’m trying to pick up the dad and Devin and I tell them to stop with the pity party and Devin says, ‘easy for you to say mom, everything’s going great for you’ and I go, ‘is that really what you think, because it’s not’, and I show her that things are not all peachy-keen.  It’s good for the kids to see that perspective too, that mom and dad are real people who have failings too.  That part is really important.

I have to say again that I was just so impressed with the number of positive comments left at Amazon and just based solely on that I think that if people start to watch the show, they’ll end up liking it.

I think so too and I really hope that enough people can learn how to stream because that’s something I hear a lot, ‘I don’t know how to stream.’  Get with it, it’s the future (laughs)… I had never streamed a show until I booked this and then I learned how and now I love it.

I’m addicted to the streaming! There are so many really well done original shows out there on Amazon, Netflix, and Hulu.  I can’t imagine not streaming at this point.

You can exist on just those networks.  There’re enough good things out there to watch just on those.  I heard someone say that eventually there will be no networks, it will all be streaming and that the network model is done.

Wow, that could really make things competitive in terms of what’s offered.

I think too, that kids now just want to watch something right now.  They don’t want to have to wait until 8:00 pm or whatever for a show to come on.  They’re ready, people are ready for what they want to watch right then and they want it available.

And they want to binge… the binge watching is a big thing now.

Oh, totally, and you can with ten episodes.  A few months ago we watched all of “Just Add Magic” in like two days or maybe five days.  It took a year to film it and we watched it all in a couple of days.  It’s the new model and I would rather stay home and watch a TV show than go to the movies most of the time.  There’s not a ton out there movie-wise that I’m interested in right now.

I do really love this new model where the shows have maybe 10 to 12 episodes for a season because the production companies making these series can offer more variety, more often.

Exactly!  Instead of 27 shows or whatever, they are more flexible.  I agree, it’s just the new thing.  I love it.

All right, I’ve got one more question to wrap this up and it’s kind of a fun one.  We here at TNWU are all proudly self-identify as nerdy – what do you ‘nerd’ out about?

I’m a comic book fan, I know it’s kind of weird and no one believes me (laughs).  I’m a comic book fan because my brother-in-law is a famous comic book artist, but I love comic books and I love that kind of stuff – so I’m a traditional comic nerd.  I can go into comic book stores and talk comics and the guys are like, ‘what????  You’re a soccer mom!’ 

I also nerd out about animals.  I can tell you, because I used to be in 4H, I can tell you all about dairy goats.  The dairy goat breeds, the parts of the dairy goat.  I just love animals.

I also like to garden and I like contemporary art, particularly photography.  I love art – I could nerd out about why art is important in our lives and why supporting artists is important.  But really fine art – I keep asking my kids, ‘do you want to be an artist?’  I think that fine art is such a noble profession.

 

 

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