It's not every day you get pitched stories about two cast members from Saved By The Bell. But that's what happened on Tuesday. In the morning, I was notified that Kelly Kapowski (aka Tiffani-Amber Thiessen) was available for interviews to discuss Petit Nest, her new line of designer cribs and nursery furniture. An hour later, this subject header pops into my inbox: "Exclusive interview opportunity with Mario Lopez." A.C. Slater is promoting his new VH1 reality show about fatherhood, and his Pampers-sponsored baby shower taking place this weekend (his daughter was born last month). Did I mention that in May he announced his forthcoming book about first time fatherhood?
OK, so let's figure this out. Lopez's baby was born September 12th, and he announced the book deal in May. Let's assume it took about a month for Lopez to pitch the book idea, secure a publisher, and send out a press release. That means he got a book deal with a three-month sonogram. A sweet deal if you can get it, but the problem is he doesn't know anything about parenting. No one does when they're three months into the pregnancy. Even the most qualified and skilled ob-gyn or pediatrician isn't prepared for the intense, exhausting and exhilaterating job of actually being their child's everything: caregiver, nurse, entertainer, valet, stylist, driver, waiter, and rear end attendant. Imagine being hired for a job you had no training for. "Here's the cockpit. Here's the instrument panel. Good luck getting to Houston." I see Mario Lopez somewhere over the Rockies, sweating profusely, with the Boeing 737 instruction manual open on his lap. And I'm thinking: is that my flight instructor?
And dude, what's with the Pampers-sponsored baby shower? I must say I'm jealous. Pop Culture is a juggernaut - where is my sponsorship? What in the name of Target's RedCard saves you 5% on every Target shopping trip is going on here? It makes me want to buy a Britax stroller and just install the hell out of it! I've got loyal followers who can stimulate the economy. I deserve some mother-Enfamil-ing respect!
While he was very calculated in trading his fertility for a career opportunity (which I've done too, by the way), Lopez deserves kudos for attaching his celebrity to fatherhood. Right now we have no advocates in the pop culture universe. Just like so many other issues, causes and trends made notable by a celeb, Mario Lopez could make fatherhood a buzzword. The modern dad may be the next green energy, the next little black dress, the next iPad.
When asked about his book, Lopez said, “I was actually looking for a book for a first-time father and couldn’t find one." I'm doing my part to change that: Show Dad How, published by Weldon Owen, hits bookshelves next spring. Maybe my book will be in Barnes & Noble next to Lopez's book. Maybe more people buy his. Maybe no matter which one they buy, every new dad gets the information they need.
See ya on the bookshelf, Slater. Zack Morris is no longer the only friendly competition at Bayside.