Whatever, Martha!

by Risa Green


My daughter has discovered Martha Stewart and loves her – please, mommy, can you TiVo every one of her shows? – which just goes to show you how totally different my daughter and I are, because I really can’t stand Martha Stewart and all of her damn craftiness. I mean, if I had to pick one person in the entire world whom I would describe as the total antithesis of me, it would have to be Martha Stewart. But maybe that’s why my daughter likes her so much. Maybe she’s just fascinated by the idea that there is a woman out there who can restore furniture and bake cute cookies and make her own wrapping paper, simply because it is so incredibly foreign to her. I mean, maybe Martha Stewart’s daughter would be equally as fascinated by someone like me, who tells her kids that putting pre-made cookie dough into the oven is actually baking from scratch, and whose idea of making a homemade Halloween costume is cutting two holes into a white sheet.


Well, I need wonder no more. Because after watching yet another old episode of Martha Stewart Living on the Fine Living Network (FLN if you have DirecTV), I noticed that the show immediately following it was called Whatever, Martha! Intrigued by the title (Whatever, Martha!? What could this possibly be? A show where Martha tackles whatever? But then why the comma, and why the exclamation point??), I left it on, and to my wonder and delight, I found my new favorite television show of all time. Really. You see, Whatever, Martha! is not a show where Martha does whatever. It is, instead, a show where Martha’s daughter, Alexis (beautiful, blond, monotone, sarcastic voice; picture one of the Gossip Girls fifteen years later), and her best friend, Jen (slightly overweight, not nearly as cool, but deliciously snarky), sit on a couch and watch old episodes of Martha Stewart Living, and make fun of everything that Martha says and does. Oh, and then they try to follow one of Martha’s cooking/crafts segments, and they totally fuck it up just like any other normal person who tried to follow it at home would (e.g., Alexis and Jen try to blow giant bubbles using paint, soapy water and straws. Alexis utterly fails, but Jen figures it out, yelling victoriously that all of you crafty people out there can suck it!).


As I watched, marveling at how completely different Alexis is from her mother, I was reminded of the new Drew Barrymore movie, Whip It, which is awesome and funny and stars the perfect-as-always Ellen Page, and if you haven’t seen it yet you should, before it disappears. In it, Ellen Page plays a combat-boot wearing teen whose mother forces her to participate in beauty pageants, and she goes along with it only because she knows how important it is to her mom. I won’t give anything away, but she falls in love with the sport of roller derby, which you can probably imagine does not exactly fit in with the pageant lifestyle which her mother so desperately wants for her. The moral of the story is that you need to accept your kids for who they are, and, more importantly, you need to accept that your kids might not want their lives to be a re-do of your own.



My thing about Martha, she's just so snobby & condescending.
Martha goes on Rachel Ray's show, where Rachel is full of all kinds of admiration and praise, and then 3 days later Martha slams Rachel's new cookbook. What kind of a person does that?!?!
How much tact does it require to graciously say "we have very different styles" isntead of "that's not a real cookbook"?
I used to sort of enjoy her show, can't watch her anymore because of, well, her!


I recently posted on the truuconfessions site about how uncrafty I am (it always hits home at this time of year). I love Whatever, Martha!, they are so funny and I love how they point out how ridiculous half the stuff she does is.


You did miss one really important point. Alexis and Jen did not sneak in the dark of night and steal the videos that they comment on. Oh no, Martha may gag you with her craftiness but SHE'S the one orchestrated this whole program mayhap to provide a source of income for her daughter who, let's face it, isn't exactly the income earner in the family. Whatever else you may say about Martha, she's pretty brilliant in her ability to reach even Martha haters!


Love it. Thank goodness I have boys who aren't typically prone to craftiness. They know very very well that when Mommy MUST take them to the "EVIL craft store that gives her hives" for a school project it is a RACE to see how quickly we can get in and out and NO stopping to look at anything not critical to the school project. Ideally all school projects are made from things in our recyling bin just to avoid the dreaded craft store. Aisles and aisles of scrapbooking and and and... it gives me a stomach ache. My boys find it hilarious and we make a game out of timing the actual time in the store - faster the better! I do bake a few certain well edited easy to make goodies and always from scratch. I do love a gorgeous xmas tree but I do buy my gorgeous front door wreath from the flower mart.We employ a wonderful manny who studied art in college and his talents come in handy. I know my limits. Thanks for the article!!


Sometimes I just love to read about a mom who cannto do anything crafty and has zero desire to bake. I am also the antithesis of Martha and used to wonder if my inner Martha might kick in when I have a baby. Sounds like it won't, but that's okay.


Love it.


I have to hang on to this one for about 5 years when my daughter becomes a tween. I'm in the grace period now where she still thinks it's cute to be like me and like what I like, but the time is gonna come where she does an Alexis because she will be her own self and think her own mind. I hope I have the flexibility to embrace that new daughter.


I SO needed this. Thanks Risa. You couldn't be more right on this one. Gotta love it when a post hits home...

Melissa Burns
Mommy to five


My daughter has never been like me. I was a tomboy, she's a girly-girl. My favorite color (then) was blue, hers is most definitely pink. I owned dresses only for church, I have to tell her when it's too cold to wear a skirt. I used to think we'd never find something to bond over - until she learned to read and then started consuming books the way Cookie Monster scarfs down sweets. There's always going to be something you can share - cherish that part, and laugh at the rest.