Honey, you’re on hidden camera!
“Wow, I’m glad THAT’S over,” husband-head sighed with relief last weekend as he turned off the television. “Don’t ever do that to me again.”I didn’t plan on it.”I thought it was funny,” I said. “I thought they did a good job.”We had just finished watching the Dateline NBC special called “Honey, You’re On Hidden Camera” in which husband-head and I were featured as one of five couples on the show. The gist of the program was that our football-fanatic husbands were taped by Dateline’s hidden cameras at home during which we “football widows” tried to do anything we could to distract them from the game.”Oh my God, I’m going to get hate mail from every woman in America,” husband-head laughed, after watching himself on TV demanding that I get him a beer. He also repeatedly told me to “STOP it!” when I tried to interrupt during the game, oftentimes talking via a porcelain skull he calls “Skully,” which I’d bought for Halloween.”Skully says knock it OFF!” husband-head yells. “PIPE DOWN he says!”
Along with husband-head as a diehard Green Bay Packers fan, the show also featured Bob Bragalone, an attorney in Texas also known as “Cowboy Bob” – a Dallas Cowboys fanatic and member of the “Visa Hall of Fans” for NFL football.Cowboy Bob’s house was unbelievable with all the football paraphernalia, and while he was sweet to his wife, Emily, and their kids during the taping, he didn’t exactly agree to her requests of taking out the garbage or fixing an alarm while he was watching the game.I called Bob the morning after the Dateline show aired, just to see how they were doing and share our experiences.”I thought it was good. My only problem was not knowing if it was going to be terribly embarrassing,” Cowboy Bob confessed. “From the point I was let in on it, it was very nerve-wracking.”A New York Giants fan and his wife were also on the show as were a pair of brothers that were Minnesota Vikings fans and their spouses.Like us, Cowboy Bob also got teased by friends who heard he was on a Dateline hidden camera show. The network airs a popular series called, “To Catch A Predator” in which men are caught trying to have sex with underaged girls.”I think we were the only five guys in America to be caught on (Dateline’s) hidden cameras that don’t end up in jail,” Cowboy Bob joked.
After the show, I received all sorts of e-mails – some in which people said they thought it was really funny and then others who were just downright weird.One woman said that her husband had re-named their cat “Reilly” to “Skully” and was talking vicariously through him. Another woman wanted to know where we got our dog. One guy invited us to watch football at his house in Virginia. One woman went on at length to tell us that she was adopted, but was looking for long-lost relatives in Wisconsin with the last name “Rice” and wanted to know if we were related.Then there was the author of a book about football and relationships who said that I “stumbled” on the football questions and that husband-head seemed reluctant about commenting on relationships and commitment. The author said he wanted to send us a complimentary copy of his book.”Skully says he can stick it!” husband-head exclaimed when he heard about the e-mail.And now, six months after the whole project was finished, it was MY turn to interview Dateline. I started with producer Julie Cohen and asked her how the idea for the show came up.”The notion came from the fact that NBC was going to be broadcasting football for the first time in a long time,” Cohen said. “We were trying to come up with an idea to appeal to football fans and the Dateline audience, which is primarily women.”Then I spoke with Dateline’s L.A. correspondent, Josh Mankiewicz, who had interviewed all of us for the show. He was happy to talk about the experience.
“The whole point was to have some fun and look at the modern American family,” Mankiewicz said. “All five of the couples were totally into it and all the guys – once they found out about it – were good sports with it”Mankiewicz and Cohen have worked together on a number of projects over the years – some notable news stories and other human interest features like this one.After editing the hidden camera footage, the pair wrote the show’s script together. “I had a blast,” Mankiewicz said “It really was one of my favorite stories in the last couple of years. It was fun for everybody to participate in. And it shows that not every story has to have a sad ending.”Yeah, it’s all fun and games until someone has a hidden camera in their house.Heidi Rice is a staff reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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