This post was inspired by the buzz last week that Jennifer Esposito was shopping a new reality TV series about her gluten-free bakery to E! What are your thoughts?
I've never met you, and chances are, I never will, although if I ever make it to New York, you can bet that I'll be visiting your bakery, because seriously? Yum. And if I ever do meet you, I'll probably invade all kinds of personal space to give you a hug, because after all you've been through, you need it. As a celiac soul sister, I felt terrible last fall when you were so publicly going through your situation with CBS. I'm thrilled that you chose to take your difficulty and make it your mission - I, too, chose advocacy instead of trying to hide my illness.When I heard you wanted to make a reality show about your new bakery, I was cautiously optimistic - reality TV is very seldom real, and with an often-misunderstood disease, I could only imagine the different directions it could go, and very few of them were positive. However, you've been so vocal, such a staunch believer in spreading the word about celiac, and I started to have a little more faith.
But then ... when I read that E! was the network of choice ... I just had to shake my head.
The network whose mission is to provide entertainment and gossip, home to folks like Kim Kardashian and Joan Rivers - you want them to choose how our serious illness is portrayed? I realize not every network is going to want to pick up a cupcake reality show - Food Network's been there, done that, as well as TLC. But wasn't there someone, anyone, you could have pitched to that wasn't E!?
Jennifer, I don't doubt your commitment to our cause. I know how hard it is to try to balance a career and a chronic illness. But I really do question your judgement here. There is no way that a network like E!, whose bread and butter is creating drama, will ever, ever portray celiac as a legitimate disease with heartbreaking effects. It's going to be reduced down to nothing but dramatics, and after so many people have worked so hard to shake that reputation, it feels a little bit like a slap in the face. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that we don't come off as a giant joke, but I'm not optimistic.
Please prove me wrong.