TV/Film/Book Review: Mortified
Do you have items from your childhood that embarrass you? Perhaps some homesick letters from camp? Or some poems you wrote about that boy in your class who never noticed you? How about some pictures of you with the latest perm and '80's styles? If the answer is yes, then you will relate to The Mortified Sessions. Back in the '90's, Dave Nadelberg found an old, embarrassing love letter and began showing it to all of his friends. In 2002, he teamed up with Neil Katcher and began one of the longest running projects of its kind. People of all backgrounds have participated by sharing their "shame" through embarrassing artifacts from their past.
There are a few ways to experience The Mortified Sessions. First, you should visit their site at
. There you can find the schedule for "Mortified Live", the heart and soul of the project. There are chapters in various cities that hold live performances where people share the shame of their childhood. Some of them have performances monthly and some are less often, but if there isn't a chapter in your city, they are open to starting one.
The second way to experience the project is through the TV show on the Sundance Channel. Each week, Dave sits down with a celebrity to unearth the embarrassing items from their past. Each celebrity provides items for the "shoebox" and the interview goes from there. I have just started watching the shows (I have downloaded them from iTunes since I don't have The Sundance Channel), but I have loved what I've seen so far. Ed Helms (The Office, The Hangover Series) was the first episode I watched. He was a pretty nerdy kid complete with the requisite eyeglasses and preppy clothes.
Next, I watched Eric Stonestreet's interview. He plays the lovable Cam on Modern Family, and it was very interesting to see how that show has incorporated Eric's real childhood into the character of Cam. He was a member of the 4H and enjoyed showing pigs. And he also really wanted to be a clown. His father actually came up with the name "Fizbo The Clown" which is used in Modern Family. The thing I found the most moving about his childhood was his parent's absolute unconditional support for their son. Whatever he wanted to pursue, they were right there with him, even if it was trying out for Clown College when he was a senior in college.
The third episode I watched was about two of my favorite performers, Nick Offerman and Megan Mullally. I have always been a huge fan of these two, but I never knew they are married in real life. Their backgrounds are very different. She was very artsy and feminine as a young girl, and he was a macho guy who could get into trouble. But despite their differences, they are so well-suited for each other and so affectionate with each other. If it was possible for me to become bigger fans, this episode accomplished that. Unfortunately Season 2 comes to an end next week and the future of the program is uncertain. The producer of the show has asked me to spread the word that if you like the show, tell your cable provider and write The Sundance Channel. You can get Season 1 right now at iTunes
or Season 2 here
There are also two anthologies that have been published from the project, Mortified and Mortified: Love is a Battlefield. You can get them in my Amazon Store to the right of this page or you can click on the links below:
And finally, in early 2013, a documentary film about the project is set to be released. "Mortified Nation" captures the live performances from around the country, allowing the shame to be shared even more. Keep an eye out for it. I'm sure I'll be reviewing it here.
Thanks for stopping by and getting buzzed. And don't forget to write the Sundance Channel about keeping the TV show going. You can get more information at