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I have a confession to make: My life is not nearly as glamorous as it might seem. Or as easy.
If I say, "I'm a sixteen-year-old girl who gets to run her own soap opera on network TV," it should mean big parties, great shoes, famous friends, and cash coming out of fountains.
The reality? TV seems a whole lot different when you're up at the crack of dawn making it. Famous doesn't look so sexy at 6 a.m.
Do you know what the world record for thinking "I have no idea what I'm doing" is? I think it's two million times in a single day. Which was pretty much a typical day for me as my show, Likely Story, came to life.
My skin tone had turned mortician-ready from all the time I spent untanning under fluorescent lights. Southern California living usually allows for plenty of sun; it gives the city populace its opulent glow. But the only color I had came from the sequoia-worthy rings under my eyes. I should have been able to deal with it. After all, I'd grown up on a soap opera set, the daughter of a Daytime Star. But it's one thing to be the little girl making lipstick drawings on the makeup table while her mother is twenty feet away, bitch-slapping a nun for stealing her husband. It's quite another thing to be the one responsible for every bitch slap, betrayal, and love quadrangle.
I needed a break from all the drama.
Finally I finagled a night off, despite my executive producer Richard's objections that there was still work to be done. One thing I'd learned quickly was that there was always work to be done, and if I wanted time off, I had to demand it. Or I had to sneak away.
There was no question about who I'd spend my freedom with. For reasons that weren't entirely clear, my ridiculously understanding boyfriend, Keith, had stuck with me even though I now spent much more time alone in my room writing about kissing than I did . . . well . . . kissing. So a big date was long overdue. While most guys would have used this as an opportunity to make a reservation at the closest cozy couch, Keith was taking me out for a special night at the movies. One of my favorite classics--Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, starring Liz Taylor and Paul Newman as a Southern couple whose marriage is slowly eaten away by the secret that they harbor. (One of them is in love with another man. Guess which.) My mother had gotten me hooked on the movie years ago, while she was researching her role as Liz Taylor in the Lifetime Original Movie A Diamond Cuts Both Ways: The Nine Lives and Seven Loves of Elizabeth Taylor. It was not a memorable MOW (that's Movie of the Week in biz speak) and did not serve as the launching pad to the greater cable success my mother had been hoping for. It had, however, instilled in me an early love for the weepy but wonderful women drawn by that maestro of melodrama, Tennessee Williams. I had been looking forward to the movie all week. There was only one problem: As much as I loved Tennessee Williams and Liz Taylor and Keith and the idea of going out on a date, I loved sleep even more. And as much as I'd been neglecting Keith, I'd been neglecting sleep even more.
My eyes started to close as soon as the opening credits began to roll.
The next thing I knew, Keith was whispering, "Mallory. Mallory! Wake up!"
"Huh?" I asked groggily, taking in his rough-boy-makes-nice features. "Is something on fire?"
"Erika is here."
I bolted awake. Erika was his ex-girlfriend--the one he'd been dating when he'd started seeing me. When he'd finally broken up with her, she'd threatened to kill herself, kill him, and kill me. Not necessarily in that order.
So--not a fire, but definitely a five-alarm emergency.
"She's here?!" I asked, just to make certain.
"Uh-huh. Two rows in front of us, four seats over."
"Why couldn't the cat have stayed on the damn tin roof?"
Keith gave me a withering glance and I knew I shouldn't have said that. I absolutely respected the fact that he still cared about Erika's well-being. I just didn't particularly want to see it.
"Do you mind if we sneak out before she sees us?" he asked. "You know how fragile she is. I don't want her to see us together."
"But I love this movie," I said. What I meant was, I thought the fact that you broke up with her and started dating me full-time meant we didn't have to sneak around anymore.
"You were out cold."
Keith's eyes were pleading now. I couldn't say no to that.
"Let's go, Brick," I said.
"Thanks, Maggie. I owe you one."
We exited the theater as lo-pro as possible. At the back of the theater I stopped for just a moment to enjoy my favorite line from the whole movie. Liz Taylor, dressed only in a white slip (tres scandalous in the fifties), is clawing the back of the settee, screeching at her husband, Brick, "Skipper is dead! I'm alive! Maggie the Cat is ALIVE!" That's the right attitude, Liz. Fight for what you want.
"Sorry about falling asleep on you," I said when we got outside.
"That's cool. I know you're totally exhausted."
Totally exhausted didn't even begin to cover it. I was getting three, maybe four hours of sleep every night, juggling scripts and set questions and casting issues and meeting after meeting with the networks, the staff, the stars, and the sponsors. Oh, and I had to do schoolwork, too. It felt like the only time I had to think was when I was alone in an elevator.
"I didn't realize how much it was going to kill me," I admitted. "Once we get on the air, it will mellow out . . . I think."
"You think?" Keith asked doubtfully.
"A girl can dream, can't she?"
Keith smiled and pulled me close to him. "How 'bout a trip to Canter's to make up for the ex-girlfriend drama? I think some latkes and applesauce is just what you need."
This is why we go through all the confusion and pain and compromise to be in a couple, isn't it? Just to have someone say, This is what you need, and to have it be true. If he'd asked me what I needed at that moment, I never would have been able to say it. I would have just stared at him blankly, not knowing. But instead, he gave it to me. He knew, even if I didn't.
I kissed him quickly. Not just for knowing me, but for wanting to.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Fun follow up to "Likely Story". Mallory's soap opera/teen drama moves ahead in production, she's still torn between Keith and Dallas, her ex-best friend Amelia is making her school life miserable, her stars are sulking about script changes, and her mother is, well, still a diva. Hmmm, perhaps her life is a soap opera/teen drama as well. A fun read, great for middle school/junior high, maybe senior high.
I am a fan of this series. In this most recent installment (#2 ¿ All that Glitters), we find all of our favorite main characters have returned.Mallory is still `the boss¿ of her own soap opera ¿ and she still has to work with the insufferable Trip and his bunch of network cronies.In the second book, we immediately get the sense that the bright-eyed optimism so keenly felt by Mallory is systematically being shot down at every turn. Mallory had high hopes for her soap opera ¿ she wanted it to be about the everyday life of a teenager ¿ but the networks are slowly, but surely starting to put pressure on her to add more `sizzle¿ to the show.Mallory is no longer `the golden child¿. She now has to contend with pushy network people, disgruntled `talent¿ who seem to be trying to sabotage her show, and she also has to deal with a resentful ex-bff, an egotistical mother and a whiny boyfriend.As much as the first book was all about hope and possibility, the second book takes a sharp turn and heads right into disappointment, back-stabbing and disillusionment.Although I thoroughly enjoyed reading the second book of the series, it left me feeling disheartened. I felt sorry for Mallory, but at the same time, I felt annoyed with her. I wanted to yell at her `make up your mind! You are either a teenager or a soap opera producer, but you can¿t do both¿. This plotline was definitely about showing us that Mallory cannot blend her two lives as she had hoped she could. The whole relationship between herself and Keith was painful and, in my opinion, somewhat pointless.Still, what works so well for me in this series is the tenacity and brains that Mallory demonstrates. She is no wallflower and I loved, loved the parts where she FINALLY fights back with the people who are trying to sabotage her. Some of it is a little far fetched, but I don¿t care ¿ it was fun and satisfying to read.This series is a lot of fun to read. You feel yourself rooting for Mallory and I love to hate those nasty people who are trying to ruin her show ¿ I think for future plotlines, I would like to see more interaction between Mallory and her mother ¿ and see Mallory `grow up¿ and start dealing with people in a more professional manner. Also, please put us out of our misery and put Dallas and Mallory together ¿ or kill that plotline altogether ¿ I don¿t really care either way ¿ but this `does he like me?¿ thing is getting a little old. Also, I kind of like Javier and Greg¿s characters and would love to see these two more involved in the storylines. The scene between Greg and Mallory where they start the `did you know¿ game was brilliant and very entertaining
All in all teh sequel to likely story is aok. At some parts I was confused, and i wondered what was going on!!
Ever since the network decided to go forward with her soap opera idea, LIKELY STORY, Mallory's life has been far from normal.
Meetings with the cast, the writers, the production staff, and photo shoots take up a large chunk of her time. Not to mention that, since she's still underage, she has to keep up with her school work, too. And somehow in all that frenzy and lack of sleep, she needs to find time to spend with her generous boyfriend, Keith. Keith has stayed by her side through all of the craziness, even after Mallory's best friend, Amelia, turned into her worst enemy.
The cast and crew are working long hours trying to get the first week's worth of episodes wrapped up. The show is scheduled to air the following week. The network has brought in consultants, the worst being Frieda Weiner (appropriately enough pronounced `whiner'). Frieda is trying to change everything about LIKELY STORY that makes it unique. Suggesting the kids in the show have sex puts Mallory over the top.
The cast is unhappy with the script changes. They're grumbling that the show isn't turning into the project that they had signed on for. To make matters worse, Dallas, the star, is terribly unhappy. Not long after signing his contract with the network, he was offered a chance to do Shakespeare in the Park back in New York City. Dallas is homesick, and missing his friends from Julliard.
Mallory is stuck in the middle. Her boyfriend is missing her. Her mother is driving her nuts with her requests for script changes. The cast is expecting her to defend the storyline that brought them on board.
When Dallas goes too far, Mallory finally takes matters into her own hands to get the show back to the vision she first started with.
ALL THAT GLITTERS is a fine continuation of the LIKELY STORY series. The authors are able to share the chaos that surrounds the production of a new show. Since the main character is trying to be a normal teen in an exceptional situation, the appeal of the story will reach everyone. Mallory has grown up in the soap opera world and does all she can to avoid the normal pitfalls that exist in the industry.
With the completion of the first episodes, Mallory and LIKELY STORY are gearing up for a final adventure in RED CARPET RIOT, due out in June 2009.