Wednesday, October 13, 2010

giuliana and bill: the new season

I thought two things: one, that I would stop watching Giuliana and Bill (but I underestimated the power of really bad reality television); and two, that if I did watch it, I would not write running commentaries on it anymore. Because, frankly, it just seemed really mean for me, at 38 weeks pregnant, to make fun of someone who is trying to have a baby. What has infertility taught me if not compassion?

So I tried to watch the first episode of the new season without my usual blog entry, and I just couldn't do it. I absolutely have compassion for their desire to have children. But, mygodinheaven, that woman is stupid as a box of rocks. And the only way to get through the show is to type my way through it. (Which brings us back to solution #1: stop. watching. this. show.)

(By the way, I realize that Giuliana may not be as stupid as she is edited to be on the show. But, she allows herself to be portrayed as such. Which is not all that bright either, in my opinion.)

So, here we go. Giuliana and Bill: the new season.

1:19pm: we start with a review of last season. Am now remembering how irritated I got by this show. However, must have missed episode wherein Generic Gay Assistant quits. DRAMA.

1:20pm: review ends with B & G in matching fur-lined jackets discussing IVF. Very fashionable. But the matching thing is weird.

1:21pm: new episode starts with clips of B & G's super, super, super busy and super important and super busy life. Apparently, they are quite busy. B says they need to realize they "can't do it all and have a baby." True that.

1:22pm: G & B try out rollerblading whilst having important IVF discussion. G is worried that she will mess up her female parts. Or that B will crush his balls in freak rollerblading accident. Scene does not at all feel like "carefully rehearsed cute scene in which couple must come to important decision before first commercial break." Not at all.

1:24pm: G sucks at rollerblading. Shocker.

1:25pm: back to Chicago. B & G meet with "IVF specialist" Dr. Kaplan. (If this show could ever use any accurate language - how hard is Reproductive Endocrinologist? - I would be less irritated.)

1:26pm: G attempts to explain IVF. Basically correct. Doctor assures them that they can plan the exact timing of IVF. Think that doctor is overselling this point a bit. Suspect that we are being set up for "massive scheduling conflict before second commercial break."

1:27pm: Los Angeles. G complains that she can't eat breakfast because she doesn't have an assistant. That certainly makes it hard for me to have breakfast. Can totally relate. Every morning, I bemoan my lack of assistant. Sigh.

1:28pm: B & G decide not to tell anyone they are doing IVF. Agree. First good decision.

1:29pm: G complains to her makeup artist and hair stylist that she has no assistant. Ah, the problems of the rich. Tragic. She gets, like, lots of emails in a day! Who can deal with that? WHO?

1:30pm: G is apparently going to spend as much time agonizing over assistant problem as fertility problems. Seems odd.

1:31pm: Back to RE's office. B & G see bags of fertility meds. Remember box that arrived in mail full of own meds and also remember feeling bit overwhelmed. Sympathize with B & G. Nurse patiently tries to explain schedule when - surprise! - B realizes Massive Scheduling Problem Ahead. (Didn't see that coming at all.) B is concerned about making a living. Suspect that B's definition of "making a living" differs slightly from self's.

1:31pm: G tries to explain OHSS. Sigh.

1:32pm: B & G argue in front of nurse about scheduling problems. G thinks maybe B is not ready for a baby. Nurse looks like she wishes she was anyplace else at this point. Me too, lady.

1:33pm: Nurse suggests B & G should talk to each other. Suspect nurse does not know that B & G are only allowed to talk in front of cameras. Apparently.

1:34pm: Dramatic Pensive Music suggests Important Marital Conversation Ahead. Yep. G wants to make sure that B definitely wants baby. G tries to explain how she feels. Completely understand how overwhelming it all is, but have distinct sense that G is performing Important Conversation for the cameras. Awkward.

1:35pm: G says she could "deal with this if" she was "just sitting on the couch all day," but she is trying to do IVF while "trying to juggle a marriage, travel, and holding down a job." Yeah. That's pretty much what all freaking women do for IVF, G. Get a grip.

1:36pm: Happy Emotional Music suggests marital reconciliation. Yep. That was quick.

1:37pm: back to E! offices. G must now have assistant, especially because she is starting IVF. Could have used assistant during IVF too. Or, today.

1:38pm: G meets potential assistant Sara. Generic Blonde Girl will now replace Generic Gay Assistant. Generic Blonde Girl is very excited.

1:39pm: back to doctor's office for egg retrieval. (Retrieval: correct word! Yay!) G hints at "lots of shots," but am disappointed that none of the stimulation phase was shown. Don't blame B & G for privacy desires, but lack of detail gives pretty vague impression of IVF procedures.

1:40pm: G is freaked out by getting IV. Would make fun of her, except that self was also semi-freaked out by same thing. Glass house = no stones.

1:41pm: G goes in for egg retrieval. B is very confident. In front of cameras, anyway.

1:42pm: Doctor is happy with 8 eggs. Happy for them: self had similar numbers. Not high, but not terrible. G is really wiped out by anesthesia. How much did they give her, anyway?

1:44pm: G is still wiped out. Achy and crampy. Sorry, G: pretty normal. Bummer, though. Realize self is lucky, as never had any major side effects from retrieval. Also suspect G just might be playing up symptoms for Dramatic Reality Show Moment. Maybe.

1:45pm: G & B are waiting for update from doctor. Remember similar wait. Sucks. B & G discuss her bowel movements. Suddenly wish self was deaf for short moment.

1:46pm: Doctor calls. 5 eggs have fertilized. 80% chance of day 5 transfer. (Transfer! Right word! Hooray!)

1:47pm: B must deal with Yet More Massive Scheduling Problems. Think B & G believe no one else has Massive Scheduling Problems in their lives. DRAMA.

1:48pm: G "cannot believe" that B will not be here for her whole bed rest. (How long is she on bed rest, anyway?) B now thinks they should call G's mom so she can come out and stay with her. G is now Super Mad because she has to call her mom and explain IVF and, somehow, manage to stay in bed for several days without her husband. How on earth do people do this? HOW?

1:51pm: G explains IVF to her mom. In Italian. Her mom has never heard of IVF. G thinks Italians don't have IVF. Suspect Italian health system would not be happy to hear this. Also suspect Italian RE's have better things to do than watch this show.

1:53pm: G admits she was embarrassed to tell her parents about IVF because she has super fertile family. Can sympathize with that.

1:54pm: B & G in for 5-day transfer. B gets to wear scrubs. Husband did not wear scrubs for transfer. Staged for TV? Perhaps.

1:55pm: Must now decide how many to "implant" (AAAAARGH) into G. Suspect they should have had this conversation earlier. Doctor suggests putting back 2. Doctor emphasizes that anything more than twins is dangerous. Appreciate that show is demonstrating how IVF does not lead to high order multiple births.

1:56pm: Transfer complete. Flashing back to own transfer procedure. Such a cool day. Feel happy for G & B. (Also remember being splayed in stirrups with giant medical spotlight on hoo-ha. Less cool.)

1:58pm: G is now in bed. She has cramps. Nope: gas. B would rather have twins. G can't decide between boys and girls. B promises to love her even if she gets fat. Which, am guessing, G would define as gaining about 2 pounds from her current weight.

Love the lovely DVR. No commercial watching needed.

2:00pm: G is making Important Entertainment Industry phone calls while laying down. On counter. Okay.

2:01pm: B is at Important Speaking Engagement at Ball State University. (Side note: have you noticed that, in Jack in the Box commercial with dad Jack talking to kid Jack at baseball game, dad Jack is wearing sweatshirt from Ball State? Get it? Because he has the big ball head? I think it's cute.)

2:02pm: G makes her elderly Italian mother carry her to bed. Think G might be taking "bed rest" a little too seriously.

2:03pm: B speaks about power of positive thinking. Coincidence? Certainly not!

2:03pm: G says goodbye to her mom. Then she goes to bookstore to get baby name books. Feel a little protective of G: understand positive thinking (see? Like Bill's speech! Crazy!), but worry about counting chickens before they hatch. Or implant.

2:04pm: Baby name discussion. Suspect B & G will choose name which will horrify self. Oh well.

2:06pm: 2 weeks later. Doctor's office. B & G are there for test results. (Apparently phone call would not be dramatic enough for show.) G thinks she is "preggers." All sympathy for G has evaporated with use of stupid word.

2:07pm: Doctor says the two weeks of waiting are the hardest part. Dude, you are right on. But good news: G is pregnant! Yay!

(However, have read in People magazine that G had miscarriage. So am also sad.)

Clips from upcoming show confirm that bad things are coming for B & G.

Here's the thing: as irritating as this show is, as much as it may make people think that IVF is for spoiled rich people who can't manage to be in the same city for more than three days at a time - it's also the only show with a real(ish) couple dealing with infertility. Will probably keep watching. And, honestly, cheering them on.


  1. LOVE that you are watching and narrating again, I do love your reviews. And it spares me from having to watch first-hand. :)

    Interesting that they chose FCI and Dr. Kaplan - given that they could have gone anywhere. Would not have been my first choice - oh wait - it wasn't!

  2. I missed your commentaries. I have never seen this show and probably never will, but for some reason I get a kick out of hearing your play by plays. Can't wait for the next episode.

  3. Love that you did this post. I couldn't watch the episode because I don't get that channel. But now I don't have to. Thanks :) And I will add that my DH has to wear scrubs for the ET.

  4. I'm glad that you are doing this commentary for the show. I don't have cable and would probably resist watching it anyway, but I love your posts about it! I feel bad for G while not liking her at the same time while also hoping they get pregnant. (and come home with a baby - sad!)

  5. I have never seen this show, but I LOVE these play-by-plays! Thanks!

  6. I've struggled with watching this show as well. I love and hate it for the same reasons you do. The inaccuracies drive me MAD.

    I made my husband sit through the season premier last night (Thank you Tivo), and he laughed at how many times I had to stop it to correct her, or explain things to him. Loved your play by play - pretty much spot on with my take too.

  7. I actually watched this for the first time after seeing B&G on The View while working out. (I specify because I don't usually watch The View, but we get like 5 channels in our basement where the workout room is.)

    I am actually very impressed with these two. Not because of any great intellect (G definitely plays up the stupid [fake] blond thing) or perspective (totally felt the same thing about B complaining about having to "make a living"), but because they are putting such a private thing out in public. They are taking their tragedy and going around telling people "This sucks. It sucks when it happens to us and it sucks when it happens to you."

    So many celebs don't talk about IVF or they flat out deny it (seriously? If these 40-something celebs aren't having IVF there is some sort of twin-juice in the water in hollywood.)

    So I'll probably continue to watch. Because good for them. Maybe some of the ignorant people who we all have to deal with every day will see it and learn something.

  8. Ha...never watch the show but love your commentary! They made my hubby wear scrubs at my first clinic. :) He looked cute.

  9. Love your reviews as it spares me from actually watching the damn thing myself :) Can't help but hope they'll get, and stay, pregnant though! And I'd like an assistant so I can have some breakfast too.

  10. Yay, play-by-play G&B is back!
    I managed to stop watching E! and so I am down to date with the entire sho'biz. Giuliana annoys me beyond words, but no one should go through all the IF crap, not even stupid bimbae.
    Anyway, thanks for this post. It is way more entertaining than any reality show I know. :-)

  11. I used FCI and though doctor K was not my doc, I did meet him once and liked him. I love this blow by blow account as I don't get cable. My DW didn't need to wear scrubs for the transfer either.
    Keep up the public service! And thanks!

  12. I don't get this channel, so thanks for the recap. I've seen them in interviews and they seem a bit ditzy, but I'm glad they are bringing attention to this subject.

  13. I have to at least give credit to G & B for their willingness to be honest and show at least a somewhat more realistic picture of what is involved in infertility treatment. I happen to be a patient of Dr. Kaplan's (finally successful on try #4), so I am watching with a special interest.

    I find everything to be very similar to my own experience with Dr. K/FCI except for one critical thing. The whole "we can plan the exact timing." First, unless he did something differently for them, Dr. K performs one retrieval/transfer cycle a month and everyone is cycled in such a way (longer or shorter BCP phase) to trigger, retrieve, and transfer in the same day period. When you actually t/r/t during that period is dependent upon your response to stimulation and embryo development. I've never heard of Dr. K varying that regardless of what someone may have going on schedule-wise. If you have a conflict, you do your cycle another time.

    I found Bill's whole "this is our priority, right?" speech to G followed by his "that scheduling's not going to work for me because I have to deliver a cliche-laden motivational speech" disingenuous.

    All of that said, I wish them success as I know all too well what a grueling and difficult journey it is.