Look What You Can Do By Yourself

Arlo’s almost three, so we dusted off Silas’ old Potty Power DVD and now he’s obsessed with it, and my dormant fascination with the lead actress has awoken from its slumber. The video is basically her singing catchy peppy songs intercut with a montage of kids sitting on plastic toilets in what appears to be various motel bathrooms. I’m so hypnotized by her likeability that I rewind just to watch her do one specific jazz hands to a subtle shimmy move while she sings, “Look what you can do by yourself! Look what you can do without anyone’s help.” Arlo says, “Dada, what doing?” “Just rewinding this part for a sec.” I answer. “Dada, why?” “I don’t know buddy…I honestly don’t know, I just want to watch it again.” “Ok dada.” He’s such an enabler.

What really draws me in is Jessica’s (that’s the actress’ name, her character doesn’t have a name) complete commitment to the role. She’s in a potty training video and TOTALLY BRINGS IT. There’s no irony or darkness behind her performance, and believe me, I looked. After the song/motel bathroom potty montage, there’s a short sketch about a medieval king and queen and their court jester who join forces to figure out the riddle of why the toddler princess won’t use her little wooden potty (turns out she didn’t like the COLOR!). Jessica plays the queen and completely crushes it. So does the jester, who gives the performance of a lifetime by looking and acting ridiculously within the most ridiculous of circumstances in perhaps the most ridiculous DVD ever available on the market. I assume that by now, he’s in Cirque Du Soleil.  The King, however, appeared to be bitter.  I image he complained to his agent between takes. “How can I possibly go from guest starring on Silk Stockings to being an underpaid shill for a plastic toilet company? This crown is giving me a rash, and I have that Levitra audition tomorrow.”

Because I wanted to see more of her work, I looked up Jessica on IMDB, and was shocked to find that her only other credit is a short movie about a group of 20-somethings called “Carroll Gardens”, which, by the way,  I can’t find anywhere (does anyone have info about this movie? I’ll gladly pay a finder’s fee). I don’t understand why Potty Power didn’t launch Jessica’s career. Don’t Hollywood producers and casting directors have young kids? Have they not seen this amazing performance? At least get her in commercials. I don’t care what she’s advertising; I’ll buy it. Don’t believe me? I’m sitting on a plastic potty right now (yes, pants on).

I'm a contributing writer to Parents Magazine, GQ, Psychology Today and some others. My book, "This is Ridiculous. This is Amazing: Parenthood in 71 Lists" is available here http://bit.ly/1exfm34. Look for two more books in 2015: "Must. Push. Buttons (Bloomsbury Kids), and an as-of-yet untitled memoir I’ve appeared on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham” and “Nick Mom’s Night Out." I live in New Jersey with my wife and two sons and enjoy making them laugh more than anyone else.

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