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Inside Ebaby!

Behind the Soap

Since Ebaby! TV was officially launched today, I figured it was time to share the story of the genesis of the Ebaby! soap opera.

First of all, in case you didn’t know, all the dialogues in the Ebaby! lessons are improvised since the whole point of them is to teach people real, conversational English. We just start with a topic and see where it goes, and then I take the recordings back to the office and make lessons out of them.

While most of us are pretty straight forward in the scenes, Amanda is the only member of the Ebaby! cast who is an actress by trade, and she likes to throw us curve balls for fun. Most of them don’t make it in the lessons because they tend to be a little risque. Her goal is to make the other person in the scene laugh.

Amanda’s main target for these shenanigans has always been Mason. She would just throw in some comment that would imply they have a child or are married or are dating or were dating but now she’s mad at him. Marni started trying to keep track of it, as though it were a plot line, “But, wait, last month you were just dating and now you have a child? What’s going on?” Which gave me an idea.

I had also noticed that the cast, particularly Mason, had some fans among the members. There are occasional broken English comments of the oh-you’re-so-cute nature. So I figured, what better way to tantalize these members who had developed a crush on Mason from watching him talk about movies and music than to actually depict him in a relationship?

All I needed was a plot. Luckily, around this time I went on a couple of dates with a girl I really liked. I met her through a friend and asked him if he thought it would be a good idea to try to date her. He said go for it; he’d date her himself if they weren’t so close. Then one day, whoops, they started dating. Sound familiar?

The cast didn’t know that I was basing the soap opera off my life until a couple of months ago when we filmed this scene in which Mason apologizes to me for giving me the go ahead to date Amanda and then making a move on her himself.

Now, even the soap opera episodes are improvised, so no one really knows what’s going to happen exactly until the scene is over. The direction for this scene was just, “OK, Mason, you sit down with me and apologize for pulling a 180 and I forgive you. Ready? Action.”

So when the scene was over, Amanda asked if I would really be that forgiving if I were in that situation. So I told her that I actually had in been in that situation and I was.

I mean, if there’s anything I’ve learned in this life, it’s that there’s no point in wishing for things that are impossible or trying to get people to do something they don’t want to do. What, was I going to steal my Amanda back from my Mason? Forget it. Couldn’t be done. So my options were, be angry at a friend who meant me no harm, or not be angry with him. Life’s too short to waste it being angry at your friends, so the choice was obvious.

The 19th episode of the soap goes on the site today, and it’s actually the first one that isn’t loosely based on my life. My Mason and Amanda actually aren’t seeing each other anymore, and if I wanted to keep basing the soap on their lives, I’d need another male cast member. But that’s another story.

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