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All The Razzle Dazzle Money Can Buy

Normal Gossip logo with cartoon characters gossiping
Illustration by Tara Jacoby

My parents refused to take the lead on any of my big school projects. They let me sink or swim on my own initiative, which I found unfair, considering the ample evidence that my classmates were getting help with crafting and/or time management. In seventh grade I procrastinated on my end-of-the-year science fair project until the day before it was due. It rained that weekend, unleashing a plethora of long pink-purple earthworms from their subterranean slumber. I arranged the worms in piles, poured water over them to make sure their mysteriously mobile innards were visible through their translucent skin, and took a bunch of pictures. My dad did deign to help me print out the best images—perhaps he decided that doing the printing himself was less risky than allowing me to waste a bunch of ink—but I was on my own when it came to sticking them on a trifold posterboard. What was my hypothesis? Where was the science? I cannot tell you. The “experiment” was literally just pictures of worms. If my dad had any critiques as he watched me assemble my research, he did not vocalize them. I think I got a C, which was more than I deserved.

The moms who star in today’s episode represent the other end of the parental-involvement spectrum. These moms are beyond hands-on. These moms see the schooling of their progeny as an opportunity to demonstrate their own taste, creativity, and wit. These moms intend to celebrate their kids’ ascension from high school to college by staging an original variety show, as is their right. 

Our guest this week is Defector’s own Maitreyi Anantharaman! If you are reading this blog, odds are you are quite familiar with Maitreyi and her writing on college basketball, hapless NHL teams and the new Defector crossword! Maitreyi told Kelsey about a distant relative’s recent woes with online dating and the dangers of being too good at photo editing for one’s own good. Then Kelsey introduced Maitreyi to the world of St. Agatha’s of Misery, an elite private school, and the annual variety show put on by the mothers of the graduating seniors. The 25th incarnation of this variety show certainly turns out to be memorable. 

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(The transcript for this week’s episode can be found here.)

And if you have some good goss that you want us to hear, the email for that is, or phone it in to 26-79-GOSSIP.

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