Meeting Superman

My husband was a guest at Chicago Comic Con a few weeks ago, and I accompanied him. For the most part, this meant that we sat at a table covered in his company’s products in Artist’s Alley. We had stacks of Knights of the Dinner Table and a few of the company’s games and some T-shirts.

We didn’t sell a lot. Most people there hadn’t even heard of KODT. They were there as fans of Superman and Batman, Spidey and the Avengers. Then, there were the celebrities to meet.

The exhibit hall was packed with them. Everyone from William Shatner and Kevin Sorbo, to Bruce Campbell and Luke Perry were there signing autographs and having panels. Of course, I was also somewhat starstruck though I tried to act too cool for that. I failed.

There was one celebrity who I really wanted to meet, however. That was Dean Cain. He played Clark Kent/Superman on one of my daughter, Amber’s favorite TV show, Lois & Clark. It pushed all of her buttons: romance, adventure, but nothing too scary. Whenever the lead characters would sweet talk each other, Amber would squeal and ooh, and aw-www, with delight. And, inside, my heart would glow.

For years and years, she required those who knew and loved her to call her “Lois” as she pretended that her hero was always watching over her. Every Halloween for two or three years, she was Lois Lane.

So, you see why I felt I had to talk to one of the stars of that show, even if I had to pay $30 to get my picture taken with him. I really didn’t care about the picture that much, what I wanted was a chance to say “Thank You” and tell him about Amber.

As I entered the line with my camera, I trembled inside, finding my emotions overwhelming me and being afraid I’d just act like a blubbering idiot. I had a picture of Amber to show him, and I had planned to hold her picture up as our picture was taken, but I was so flustered I forgot.

As I told him about Amber and thanked him, then told her that she passed away last year, I began to tear up. He was kind, said, “I’m sorry” and let me hug him.

Then, we had out pictures taken. Afterwards, I had a bit of trouble coming back down to Earth. Not only had I been able to do something I felt was important in honor of Amber, but, he was also very nice and not bad on the eyes. 😉

My husband laughed when I said, “My shoulder’s sore where he had his hand. I think her really MIGHT be Superman.”

Mourning Joey Kovar

(Reuters) – Reality television performer Joey Kovar, who starred in MTV’s “The Real World: Hollywood” and VH1’s “Celebrity Rehab,” was found dead at a friend’s home near Chicago on Friday, according to media reports.

Kovar, 29, who had a history of drug addiction, was found by a female friend who noticed blood coming out of his ears and nose, celebrity news website TMZ.com reported. Kovar’s representative could not be reached for comment.

“MTV is deeply saddened to learn that Joey Kovar of ‘The Real World: Hollywood’ has passed away. We offer our sympathies to Joey’s loved ones, friends and fans,” the network said in a statement on Friday.

Yesterday I read something that made me extremely sad. I read that Joey Kovar had been found dead. You may ask if I knew him or found his reality show work particularly meaningful to my life. I would say yes and no.

No, I didn’t know him personally. I had never met him. And, yes, I did see him on MTV’s The Real World and Celebrity Rehab. His work was meaningful because it was heart wrenching.

Watching young adults self destruct on MTV seems to be the bread and butter of this network’s ratings. We have watched several seasons of The Real World and perhaps that makes us part of the problem. We certainly are not the network’s target audience.

But, what has been striking about each season of Real World is that they are mostly all the same. Throw in “six strangers” chosen to live together in a house and you get, apparently, what MTV sees as “normal” young adults. Maybe so, but it’s not the normal I have known. That’s another story. What gets to me is the constant encouragement or these young people to engage in substance abuse, to get drunk constantly so they will get “dramatic” with emotional outbursts, nasty feuds and sometimes the “forbidden” physical assault.

The powers that be expel “roommates” who assault other roommates. But, the sickening irony is that I can almost see the glee in the faces of those in charge when conflict erupts to this level.

Joey Kovar was on the 20th season of Real World, and if I remember correctly, he was one broken young man who left early because he needed to pursue sobriety. Later, he appeared on Celebrity Rehab, struggling to do what he could to get well.

Now, I am not sure what his true cause of death was here, but, even if it wasn’t drug related, it is still a tragedy. AND what gets to me, is that while MTV released a statement of sorrow about the death, I think they bear some responsibility. They certainly didn’t help him, as far as I know.

What gets me is the way that MTV seems to encourage young adults to suffer in front of cameras and to “get real.” We’ve seen roommates with eating disorders, psychological disorders such as cutting, and other painful difficulties. And, we’re asked to watch with the rest of the nation to see whether they self destruct, take others with them, or rise above.

So, while I am certainly saddened about Joey’s untimely death at age 29, I’m just as sad that the young folks of our culture are being sold a bill of goods – that the normal thing for them to do is to go to nightclubs every night and weekend, get drunk and act outrageously in order to get attention.

I’m concerned that we are creating a nation of up and coming substance abusers lured into it by the idea that it’s glamorous and expected. So, I join the Kovar family in their grief, but I also mourn what I think might be the terrible price our young people are paying in the name of entertainment.