A long time ago (okay, four years) in a galaxy far, far, away (Hollywood), I was a working TV writer. That means I actually put on clothes and left the house on a daily basis.
I know, shocking.
The show was Lizzie McGuire, starring the then-mostly-unknown Hilary Duff. Hil was an apple-cheeked tween who hated eggs and liked animals and always babysat the children of crew members between takes. She rarely complained, unless I did something like write an episode where she had to wear a burlap dress.
I haven't shared many stories of my Lizzie days, but I read yesterday that 19-year-old Hil and 27-year-old Joel Madden have hit the skids. But before there was Joel, there was another...
Most days I rolled in at ten, ambled down to set, partook of Craft Service, and was gone by four. Oh, and I wrote a little too. But December 7th, 2000 was slightly different.
It was the day Older SlackBrother J. (my writing partner) and I were asked to attend Aaron Carter's 13th birthday party and see if he'd be interested in guest-starring in an episode of Lizzie.
I knew nothing about Aaron Carter, except that his older brother allegedly loved Paris Hilton with his fists and that his party was being sponsored by Absolut Vodka. If you've ever been around a gaggle of 13-year-old girls, vodka is required.
My job was to track down Aaron's choreographer, which I did. When I finished my fifth cocktail. After telling me she was 19 (her paperwork later confirmed she was 26) and that she taught Aaron EVERYthing he knows! I was able to get a word in.
So, if we're going to put him in an episode, we need to know: can he act?
Of course! she insisted.
What sort of things does he like?
Fast girls. Fast cars. Scuba diving.
I looked over at the skinny, bleach-blonde kid with the squeaky voice clad in silver pants who was teaching a group of kids - including a star-struck Hilary - some dance moves.
He likes girls? I asked.
Older SlackBrother J. kicked me under the table.
I mean, uh, he's 13, it just seems sorta young.
He's VERY into girls if you know what I mean, she confided.
I polished off cocktail number six, not wanting to know at all what she meant.
I caught up with Hilary, who was now crushing hard on Mr. Silver Pants. I gave her a hug and bid farewell to her mother.
She's throwing herself at that boy! she said to me.
She's 13, I told her, it happens.
The next day at work, Hilary said she wanted to give him her phone number, but she didn't. There were just too many girls hanging on him.
And that's when I came up with The Idea.
We're going to write a Christmas Episode, I told Older SlackBrother J.
So there can be mistletoe.
He looked at me. You aren't---
I certainly am!
THe script was done a few short weeks later. I headed down to set right after it has been distributed to the cast. Hilary pulled me aside.
I'm KISSING him? she asked.
Don't thank me, I responded.
She blushed, hit me on the arm, and ran away.
A month or so later, Aaron was sititing in a makeup chair across from Hilary.
Hey, you're the girl from my party!
The woman doing his hair looked down at him. It's her show.
A few hours later, she was kissing him in multiple takes.
A few hours after that, he was asking her out.
And a few hours, after that, Lindsay Lohan was pissed.
There is some unique human desire to leave a lasting impression on the planet. Jonas Salk developed the polio vaccine. J.K. Rowling wrote Harry Potter.
I was reponsible for the feud between Lindsay Lohan and Hilary Duff.
(Also: don't forget to nominate me if you already haven't....)