Why, they watch Star Academy, of course!  (It’s a French reality show in the tradition of American Idol, but with a lot less talent and a lot more glamour.)  And they bundle up with two stuffed dogs (Muffin and Zidane) and my “husband blanket” (you’d understand if you ever “met” it) to do so!

We like to think that it’s for cultural and educational purposes thatwe put our intellects on hold every Friday night.  After all, whatbetter way for a Korean from Mongolia and an American from Mali tolearn French than by watching a 3-hour variety show in that language? And what better way to understand a foreign culture than to immerse oneself in its most eccentric creative form?

  We’ve learned a LOT about the French from our 15 weeks of Star Academizing:

1.  They like an underdog only until the dog gets better, then they drop it for a tone-deaf mongrel.

2.  They chose their stage clothes like others choose glasses:  it’s more about style than about coverage.

3.  Unlike Americans, they like to keep their 1960s musical icons in the spotlight, which results in embarrassing off-pitch, face-lifted “special guest” performances that teeter on the brink of geriatric warbling.

4.  The French (and I say this lovingly as a 1/3 French person!) are the type of people you love not in spite of their obnoxiousness but because of it.  Being obnoxious is a national pastime they take very seriously.

Mind you, France’s uniqueness is not the only culture we’ve encountered on our Star Academy evenings.  For instance, only a person of Asian descent would resort to taking pictures of a TV screen for posterity’s sake!  And they blame us for perpetuating the cultural stereotype!

And only a snarky little brat who is all too comfortable in the BFA culture would spend the evening trying to reproduce the multiple-chin look of a self-conscious staff member such as me!  Note how beautifully she succeeds!

To quote myself (in a recent piece of writing): 
“In the distorted mirror of my mind, my chins were the size of a cherub’s rear…and nowhere near as cute.”

But luckily for Squirt, I’m the forgiving type…

She, however, is not!  One of the most common side-effects of watching French reality shows is the tendency to throw things at the television screen.  And when someone like Squirt, who loves my dog Zidane almost as much as her cleats, launches the stuffed animal at the TV, you know there’s something afoul going on with the voting!

But all’s well that ends well, and we were thrilled, at nearly midnight, when our buddy Dominique walked away with the semi-finals victory and right into the finals…which I’ll sadly have to watch alone this coming Friday!  I think we woke up half of Riedlingen with our victory shrieks. 

Bottom line?  I love Squirt and Xena almost as much as I love McDonald’s.  And since last Friday’s Star Academizing was preceded by a quick trip to the Golden Arches, it was an evening bordering on perfection!

Note to Xena:  If you’d stay awake longer AND let go of the camera, you’d make it into a lot more pictures, babe!

My love to all the students who have travelled by plane, train, automobile, paddle boat and snowmobile to reach the far corners of the earth and spend Christmas with their families.  This place sure feels quiet without you!



  1. i feel so excluded…*tear*.

    I…on the other hand…do NOT have to watch the finals alone. i take solace in that…

  2. would you say that the evening was………………IMMACULATE?

  3. you know whats frusterating?..when you comment on someones post….and in the time it takes to write your comment….they have made a new post, and will never read your old comment………………….

    hmm…..yeah…..that was me….

    ..just fyi……there is an urgent comment on your last entry…..

    dont die

  4. michele michele! i knew you’d use the picture with those lovely 6 chins of me! wish i could watch star academy with you on friday! guess you’ll just have to throw zidane and muffin at the tv for me if things don’t turn out! have some mcdonalds for me too…enjoy miss you

  5. 1st – The only reason why I was taking the picture of the TV screen was because of you… you’re the one who took the picture of Domi on TV and stuck it on your site. haha

    2nd – I like taking pictures. Who cares if I’m not in the pictures as much? So what? This entry will not stop me from taking pictures. Muhahahahaha!!

    3rd – I didn’t fall asleep as much as before… I managed to stay awake for ALL the performances… until the very end… when they talked and talked and talked and talked about something… that I cannot understand.

    4th (to everyone else also…) – It wasn’t as dramatic as she has written above… the only time we were as dramatic as she has written was when we heard that Domi won! wahoo!


  6. hard to believe i watched Star Academy in Paris without you.  WHAT WAS THAT??  A man giving voice lessons to the the 2 semi-finalists?  Interesting.  Loved their blue Christmas tree…hmmm..

  7. so hows about tomarow (friday) night?

    aside form the time….we can play the rest by ear

  8. i get it……………….well….have fun putting your intellects on hold…………..

    hmm…….well….sunday’s CE and Monday’s C and tuesday ive got a friend comming, whos staying till wednesday, so that means……THURSDAY?

  9. lol. you have so many pictures to go with your entry. i like. i was doing something similar this break except with the british show the “X factor”. i came just in time to see the final and scream for the girl to win. well hope youre enjoying your break! your moron,


  10. Only Squirt could so fearlessly make fun of double chins. . .and somehow make herself more loveable in the process! Have I ever mentioned that I love and miss you? Or that every time I pick up your book, I like it a little bit more?

  11. michele i hope your are taping star academy.. iw ant to be there with you…aahhhhhh oh and thanks lauren for the compliment!

  12. ps..enjoy the salad and garlic bread all to yourself!

  13. ni heard jesse was telling me everythign bottom and top!..i still wish domi had won she wasn’t a wuss

  14. Domi so should’ve won…

  15. Merry Christmas Michele!

  16. hey……….Im really sorry about that……………The ONE DAY IN MY LIFE when i didnt go online at all

    between an allergic reaction (to who knows what)//and a doctors appointment//and a friend who was visiting//and a board game//and another party//And (foolishly) asuming that not hearing from you meant it wouldnt work (i didnt think to check online)

    between all that…..I forgot/assmude too much………..

    so yeah…..life lesson? I need to learn responsibility…………..But i could lagitimately call in sick…………………………

    i hope the others enjoyed the food

    hmm……………..so i guess its time to resort to plan “284 B” (you know?….with the guerilla suit and spandex toe socks?)

    the facts?                                                                                                                    here you go 1- you are busy in the evenings the entirety of this week 2-merideth leaves tomarow 3- kelsey leaves on the 30th 4a- kelsey wants a book 4b- kelsey wants to talk to you 5a- i want a book 5b-collin wants a manuscript (for tradition’s sake) 6a- shawn newby, erik newby, and jerrid huckfeldt are here tomarow, 6b- the newbys are here like 2 more days 7a- collin want to chill (and party) 7b-so do alot of other people 7c- collin’s been craving quality brownies 7d- collin shouldnt be eating sugar as it weakens his amune system 8a- Collin’s social demand is non-existant

    solutions?                                                                                                                         here you go 1- before we do anything we talk on the phone 2- you stop by for tea (with literary works) sometime before the 30th (like around 2 or 3 or something……..but call first) 3- we have a party at the pheonix residence sometime after the weding

    how does that look? (i hope you appreciate it…cause I type slow)

    dont die


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