Mr. and Mrs. Cheesehead's TV debut and finale

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Husband-and-wife journalists Bob Miller and Callie Clark Miller share the same small house, tiny bathroom and even the same office. But not always the same opinion. The Southeast Missourian sweethearts offer their views on every-day issues, told from two different perspectives.

SHE SAID: There's a reason I'm in print journalism, not broadcast.

Namely, so I never have to worry about the ink-stain on my favorite skirt or the way my hair sticks out on one side of my head.

People who read my writing don't care how I look. No one points to my byline and says, "Oh my God, she has a piece of lettuce stuck in her teeth!"

But this column has gotten Bob and me into trouble quite often, and that was never so evident as on Wednesday, when the two of us squinted into the blinding lights of a filming studio at KFVS12.

That's right -- TV.

The invitation to visit with KFVS' Mike Shain about our column came about a month ago, and by the time the actual taping was to take place, Bob and I had forgotten all about it.

Forgotten about the initial fear of vomiting on camera. The potential to forget our own names and stutter out "um" more often than actual words.

"Yes, um, we, um, write, um, um, um, a, um, column, um."

All of that came flying back into place as we sat in the studio, wondering how the little black boxes with the red blinking lights managed to capture such ugly images of us.

Again, there's a reason we're in print journalism.

Thirty painful minutes later it was over. Like a trauma victim, bits and pieces of the experience come floating back. I vaguely remember blabbing something about prescription medications that prompted a confused look from Mr. Shain.

There's a reason I'm in print journalism: the mention of drugs never gets you strange looks from colleagues.

HE SAID: I have no idea what I said on television. The lights seemed to saturate my brain, making it useless for such functions as intelligent conversation.

Mr. Shain asked good questions. I answered them. Or at least I think I did. And, once in a while, I found myself interrupting to get my 2 cents in. Part of my subconscience that was not paralyzed by the lights kept whispering, "Bob, what the heck are you doing? Shut up, Bob. Shut up. Bob, you're making a fool of yourself. You're bumbling, meathead. In front of the Heartland!"

I refused to look at the camera. Remember your high school days when you had a crush on someone and you couldn't look them in the eye? That's how I felt, although I didn't have a crush. I was afraid that the camera might notice the zit on my jaw and the second chin that I keep telling myself isn't really a second chin.

And let's not forget about my voice. My nasally, nerdy voice. And my annoying laugh which is only made worse when it's a fake laugh. (Bob, what the heck are you doing? Don't laugh like that, you cheeseball. You're in front of the HEARTLAND for crying out loud.)

The whole thing was weird. My cute and talented wife, of course, was the doll. Perhaps her presence (and new outfit) concealed my brain freeze.

I just wondered how the whole thing happened. We write some stories about our fights and disagreements. Next thing I know, I'm sitting with Mike Shain on some strange planet on the second floor of the KFVS building.

Mr. Shain insisted it was a good interview. Which was surprising, considering he had to cut me off in mid-sentence at the end. You see, had I the courage to look at the camera, I might have noticed the cameramen giving the got-to-go sign. Instead, the Heartland viewers who decide to watch the "Perspective" program at 5:30 a.m. today were left thinking that "He Said" guy was either a meatball or a cheesehead.

Hard to argue with the truth.

cmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 128

bmiller@semissourian.com

335-6611, extension 122

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