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a day in the life: penny lane
welcome to my (semi-)reality
by heather m. millen
pop culture

Jessica Simpson, Anna Nicole Smith, John Gotti, Paris Hilton, Ozzy Osbourne, some shmuck from NJ, some schmuck from Australia, some schmuck from San Francisco, five random Amish people... What do each of them have in common? Their own reality series. It's ri-goddamn-diculous. First of all, reality tv was my idea. It was. And now I want to take it back.

In college, my roommate and I always use to joke that we needed our own show. We always dreamed of our own video camera and then when we got one, we quickly realized what we needed was our own camera crew. Even still, there are hours upon hours of priceless reality moments... and here I sit watching some B-rate comedian seek out his new lapdog. I mean, assistant. It's a freakin' travesty.

Cue the snappy intro. I now present to you "A Day in the Life: Penny Lane.”

[Disclaimer: this show has been edited-for-tv version. Events not directly affecting the outcome of the show have been omitted. Truth be known, these events actually take place over a three week period, but we didn't think it was "flashy" enough. Production has that power. We've also made Penny appear thinner and more busty. You're welcome.]

2:23 AM
Penny arrives home on the arms of Pete and Roger of Intrepid Media fame. The trio had been out gallavanting at Trailer Park Trash Drag Night at the seediest of the local gay bars. Roger regaled the group with stories of “Anita Job” and “Mary Kmart,” Pete drank 3 Red Bull vodkas and bounced off the walls while warding off assgrabbers, Penny taunted a drag queen and for her efforts, won a purse shaped like a flamingo. She was later found being hit on by a fairly large lesbian with boobs down to her waist and her derriere hanging out.

8:30 AM
Alarm rings. Penny hits snooze for approximately 17 minutes…

8:47 AM
Penny wakes to begin to get ready for work. Office opens in 13 minutes.

9:35 AM
Penny arrives at work with a fresh cup of coffee and a newspaper. She reads the headlines. Upon reading a feature about the migration habits of the humpback whales off the San Diego coast, Penny decides it’s been too long since she’s visited California. She jumps on the internet and desperately seeks a ticket to LAX leaving out today.

10:00 AM
Begins canceling previously made weekend plans. Calls west coast friend. Wakes her up. She’s pissed, but thrilled to hear of the visit.

10:48 AM
Penny has procrastinated. The previously found fare to LA has expired. Penny calls the airline and demands that rate. The lady doesn’t give a goddamn. Penny books a flight for the following weekend.

11:12 AM
Penny begins re-making weekend plans. Decides to go to a happy hour at 4:00 pm that evening. Saturday- a cookout followed by a charity benefit. Sunday- driving to the beach to see a play. Having dinner midway. Penny is a planner.

11:15 AM
Penny remembers she has work to do.

1:40 PM
Penny decides to get her hair highlighted. Goes to mall. Asks for a “touch-up.” Hair ends up a peculiar shade of yellow. Or is that saffron? Penny screams. Hairdresser fixes. Two hours and $120 later, Penny leaves. She looks hot.

3:40 PM
Heads to meeting with local gallery to discuss marketing initiatives. Manager offers to buy Penny a cocktail. Manager hits on Penny. Penny laughs graciously and leaves.

4:40 PM
Checks work messages. Nothing, no one cares this late on a Friday. Penny heads to Happy Hour.

6:45 PM
Penny still has work to do. The curtain goes up at 8:00 for a FABULOUS show her theatre is doing. Penny pops home for a costume change and is back in her Civic (that she secretly calls "Grease Lightning") lickety-split. Penny hauls ass to the theatre. She does her makeup in traffic and still manages to even out her eyeshadow. Penny's a pro.

7:30 PM
Penny schmoozes. Penny chats. Penny grabs a glass of wine and pops down to her office to do some paperwork as the show progresses. Penny has seen the show approximately 97 times now. She will run upstairs at approximately 8:50 to see one of her favorite musical numbers of the show.

8:50 AM
Penny runs upstairs. Man, that beautiful unattainably gay supporting actor can sing!

11:00 PM
Penny's favorite part of the show... the standing ovation. She believes everyone's day would be just a wee bit better if it ended in a standing ovation. She admittedly gets a bit choked up for the actors. Penny is easily choked up... at schmaltzy poetry that lends no arm to talent, for the Superbowl winners, for the Superbowl losers, for those AT&T commercials when the boy calls home at Christmas...

11:15 PM
Penny pops backstage to distribute hugs and congrats. She touches base with some of her actor friends for post-show cocktails.

11:30 PM
Tonight's event-- Karaoke! Penny will not sing.

12:20 AM

12:45 AM
Penny seen leaving bar en route to another bar by way of piggy-back by handsome actor. Grr.

2:10 AM
Penny will not report the last hour and 25 minutes of events. Let's just say it's all fun and games until someone breaks out that "cast camaraderie" let's have a shot bullshit. Penny is convinced that the hotdog vendor outside of the club is the second-coming of Christ.

8:30 AM

10:20 AM
This will be Penny's last update. Mainly because Penny has snuggled up on her couch with her favorite quilt. She will move only to flip the remote back and forth between the DVR recorded programs and the "Surreal Life" marathon currently playing on VH1. At approximately 3:30 pm, Penny will realize she hasn't eaten anything all day and will order a pizza from Papa Johns. For herself. It's pathetic and uneventful, and really, you don't need to see that.

4:45 PM
Crap. Penny remembers previously mentioned Saturday evening agenda. TAKE TWO! Or is it three?

Let the record show that Penny went to the restroom approximately four times during this taping. She also paid two bills and burped once. That footage ended up on the cutting room floor. Like we see Jessica Simpson without her bustier and four-inch heels or the Bachelor scratching his [edited for TV]!

Tune in next month to catch "A Day in the Life: Heather Millen." It's much less eventful, far more intelligent and vaguely resembles actual reality.


Heather has a penchant for drama, both personally and professionally. She secretly wishes people spoke in song and wholeheartedly believes that everyone deserves a standing ovation now and again. She finds it appalling that people reserve champagne only for special occasions, when champagne is clearly best on a Tuesday, while riding the subway, accompanying a slice of kick-ass pizza.

more about heather m. millen


sand in seedy places
the beauty of spring break
by heather m. millen
topic: pop culture
published: 4.11.03

tra la la-ing for your fa la las
is it christmas already or does everyone need to settle down?
by heather m. millen
topic: pop culture
published: 11.24.04


jael mchenry
9.27.04 @ 10:10a

See, you could do it as a pure fun thing, or a how-to show! How to live an LA lifestyle in and around Chapel Hill...

sarah ficke
9.27.04 @ 10:54a

Well... more in and around Raleigh. Chapel Hill is lacking in the LA department.

heather millen
9.27.04 @ 11:52a

Next Drag Night, you and Erik are SO there. There's a little bit of fabulosity lurking around the triangle. You just got to seek it out!

sarah ficke
9.27.04 @ 12:11p

Oh, I'm not arguing. I just said that most of it takes place outside of Chapel Hill. We're more of a drink-yourself-blind and pick-up-undergrads kind of town.

jael mchenry
9.27.04 @ 4:18p

OK, so Raleigh is cool and CH is fratty? I'm totally not up on the nuances of RTP.

heather millen
9.27.04 @ 4:33p

But you WILL be... when you and your crazed Skid Row boyfriend (who'd have guessed?!) come down next month. Ooh, maybe we can squeeze in Trailer Trash Drag Night! ;)

tracey kelley
9.27.04 @ 4:43p

Heh - yeah, that was a surprise, wasn't it??

jael mchenry
9.27.04 @ 5:33p

He's totally serious about coming down, and Roger and Pete offered to host. So, seriously, we might get to guest-star on this crazy-ass show. If he's not in Peoria or wherever during the entire 10-day run.

rachel levine
9.27.04 @ 8:32p

Jael is dating a trailer park boy? Say it isn't so, Joe... er... jael.
A real quote from a former trailer park resident: "Trailer parks are cool to grow up in. There's kids around all the time. And the fights are better than anything on TV."

jael mchenry
9.28.04 @ 9:14a

Oh, God, no. Not that kind of Skid Row. Apparently Sebastian Bach will be playing the dual role of Jekyll & Hyde at Penny's theatre for a 10-day run, so we're thinking of making the trip. Jonathan regaled the table not only with his enthusiasm for Mr. Bach's work, but also a word-by-word recitation of the first verse of "18 and Life."

heather millen
9.28.04 @ 3:44p

I was moved. It will be a TRAVESTY if you guys are not in attendance.

robert melos
9.28.04 @ 10:46p

I envy your life. Especially the parts where you have a paying job and go to parties and work with unattainable gay supporting actors.

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