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From Abby: MTV... More like SuckTv.

MTV's "True Life" series is looking to do a segment on what it's like to live with diabetes, but their casting call leaves much to be desired.  And Abby has something to say about it.

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Tell MTV what diabetes is really like.Dear MTV,

I feel like we’ve grown up together. I remember when I used to sneak and watch The Real World when my mom was in another room. I used to rush home after school to catch premiers of *NSYNC’s newest music video, and then vote for it a million times before dinner as if that would make JC want to marry me. I’ve even planned out my escape to Time Square to stand outside of TRL (OMG am I old) to hold a sign and become wicked famous, obviously.

But, MTV, the past few years you’ve confused me a little, with your advertising of teenage pregnancy, under-aged substance abuse, $892 gazillion birthday parties for 15-year-old daughters of has-beens, and orange colored Jerz-Birdz who keep the New England club scene/ alcohol companies in business. I’m not sure what any of this has to do with music, or why these shows continue to be made, but I can’t say I’m not as hooked as the rest of the world.

This brings me to my current issue. I’m fairly certain I’ve seen every episode of True Life you’ve ever made … at least twice. I can’t get enough of watching what these people who have issues that I’ve only heard of go through in their daily lives. You have a dog with blue eyes? Yes I want to watch a whole hour episode about how you deal with that. You’ve been living in your car for the past 700 years? PLEASE film that and show the re-runs on Saturdays so I have something to fill my hungover days with college friends.

All jokes aside, the episodes about serious illnesses have always held a little place in my heart. Tourette’s Syndrome, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Body Dysmorphic Disorder, Alopecia… just to name a few, have let us into the lives of young people who deal with these devastating diseases and how their lives are affected. For this I applaud you. Not everyone that watches MTV is a perfect human being with appropriately functioning bodies.

Then I heard you want to make a diabetes episode? I basically threw a party over here. It’s my dream come true! That was until I read your “casting call.” I don’t think you understand what diabetes is. In fact, I’m pretty sure you saw a Liberty Medical commercial with our pal Wilford and decided “Meh ... let's make an episode about that.”

I’m begging you to reconsider your approach to this potentially amazing opportunity. Not just for me and my viewing pleasure, but for the thousands of youngsters out here who are living with dead pancrei, and celebrating Jersday at the same time. You have the opportunity to get our voice out there, and show that we too have struggles, we have a pretty intense issue that we have to deal with daily, and that we can do it while still being totally awesome.

I’m not asking you to play music videos, I’m not asking you to make a show about people who are educated. Heck I’m not even asking you to do anything you weren’t already going to do. I’m simply requesting - begging, pleading - that you make this episode something that the diabetes community can be proud of, and won’t set us back years of advocating.

Love always,
Abby “I still want to marry JC” Bayer

P.S. Please consider me for the position of “real person living a pretty crazy life with Type 1 Diabetes in upstate NY” in the upcoming True Life: I Have Diabetes episode.  I believe I would be the perfect person for the job :)

Comments

Abby! Abby! Abby! (in chant-like...MTV pick HER voice)

It sure would be fun to watch you Abby. AND, I sure hope we aren't let down by MTV.

"Do you have an extreme form of the disease which requires you to constantly inject yourself with insulin?" Ummmm...yes? But I wasn't aware that type 1 diabetes is "extreme." Awesome, yes, but extreme? Come on, MTV. Abby - I hope they select you!

It would help if you explained just what was wrong with the casting call!!

There WAS supposed to be a diabetes episode of MTV's "MADE." It was on last season, and the featured girl's name was "Tyler." I was FILMED for that show as a person living with type I. My dietitian was also filmed as an expert. BUT, MTV cut all the parts about Tyler's pre-diabetes. They cut all the filming they did of myself, two other diabetics, and my dietitian. The episode said that she simply had a blood sugar issue. I was so so so disappointed in MTV. Not b/c I wasn't on TV, but b/c I was so happy they were talking about diabetes and then they didn't do it. I'm incredibly frustrated with MTV. If you want to talk more, e-mail me: supagurlrae at hotmail dot com. I blogged about it here: http://sugarspiceandmorethingsnice.blogspot.com/search/label/tv%20show

She would!!! Pick her!!!! :) Great post, Abby!

I personally would love to see MTV do the job that Oprah and all the TV doctors have refused to do when it comes to talking about diabetes. I know everyone's after ratings, and I know they really seem to enjoy scaring people into a healthy lifestyle by threatening them with diabetes, but just think of what it could do for MTV - the channel that is supposed to be the voice of our generation - if their "True Life" actually showed the truth.

ahh, the memories! i loved me some TRL and N*SYNC back in the day. :)

great post, abby! you tell 'em, girl. come on, mtv, please listen!

What people were they going to have on the episode??

I so agree... It's an amazing opportunity! Let's hope they do it right - and do it justice. YOU would be a great spokesperson!

TRUE LIFE: I HAVE DIABETES
Does your diabetes hold you back from living the life the way you want? Do you have an extreme form of the disease which requires you to constantly inject yourself with insulin? Or are you stuck monitoring your diet and exercise when you would rather just live a more regular life? Does it make you feel different from your peers? How is your situation more difficult than your friends' at school? Are you embarrassed by your diabetes? How often do you visit doctors and how much effort do you put into your health? Have you had any scares relating to your diabetes recently? Are your parents always on your case about your medication, diet, doctor's appointments, and exercise? Are you planning on taking a new approach to handling your health in the near future?

If your diabetes causes you major difficulty in your life and you appear between the ages of 16 and 28, email us at diabetes@miscmedia.tv and tell us your story. We want to know how living with diabetes makes your life complicated. Please include your name, location, phone number, and a recent photo of yourself.

Here's the link to the MTV call for people. It's the second one down. http://www.mtv.com/news/articles/1610594/all-new-true-life-episodes-coming.jhtml

Anyone else want to punch MTV right in the pancreas?

I think I'll send an email to the casting address saying I have such an extreme version the disease that shots alone aren't enough anymore. Clearly the MTV folks have NO IDEA about diabetes. Not sure I'd like to watch that episode. Full disclosure: I've never watched True Life and I'm too busy with my true life to watch someone else's.

JC was always my favorite too. I may or may not have been on of those pre-teens outside of TRL in Times Square at one point in my life...

Sorry Abby, I keep thinking you're the cat.

MTV just got an email from this type 1 telling them to not mess this one up like Oprah did. http://sixuntilme.com/blog2/2010/02/oprah_does_diabetes.html

I really like that you can apply for this episode if you "appear" to be between the ages of 16 and 28. Just because Abby "appears" to be a cat doesn't need to be a negative.

Good luck Abby! Thanks for the great post :)

I also grew up on MTV (loved Undressed during college which shows that I'm even older than you!) and I even had the chance to be in the audience for a taping of TRL when I was 25 which was the cut off age for audience members.

Wait... MTV doesn't just play music??? What the.. Oh, that's right. THAT is why I stopped watching the station way back in like, 90 or something.

I'll also hope they choose someone from the DOC (ABBY, ABBY, ABBY...!!!) and hope the the community is represented accurately. The casting call isn't much hope for that, but that where WE come in... Keep up the good word of awareness!

Great letter, Abby. Keep us posted.

"Do you have an extreme form of the disease which requires you to constantly inject yourself with insulin?" - Hmmm you could consider an insulin pump as constantly injecting. lol.

I just emailed them at diabetes@miscmedia.tv

I put "Nomination for Abby Bayer" in the subject line.

Here's what I said - feel free to flood their inbox:

"An entire generation of viewers knows what The Real World did to promote HIV- and AIDS-awareness. Please do the same for people with Type 1 diabetes in your upcoming episode of True Life. There is an entire online community of people with diabetes and an even larger audience of the family and friends who support them. Please give them due diligence in your representation of their struggles, which are not about avoiding banana splits or a lack of "self-control," but more about constant struggles about the ignorance in our society and the failure of the public to understand the complications that come with this diagnosis even if one is doing everything one can to fight for solid blood sugar control.

I am requesting that you consider Abby Bayer for this episode. You can see her blog on this topic here.

Thank you in advance for representing the life of people with diabetes in an accurate and educational matter with an eye towards increasing public awareness of what we do every day to survive."

Diabetes affects so many people so differently, and at so many ages, that I doubt they could do it justice in one show. First off, the show should be labeled Type 1 Diabetes, and not just Diabetes, if that's what they're concentrating on. I understand your frustrations at being subsumed in the Type 2 majority, but that's all the more reason to be very specific about it. The 16-28 age limit makes it obvious that they're thinking of Type 1, but the general public doesn't know any better. Then they should probably make another show about Type 2, because that is epidemiologically a great concern, and people need to know about it.

You email must have made it through to the right people. They updated the casting call to be somewhat less ignorant...

"Does your diabetes hold you back from living the life the way you want? Do you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes? Does your disease require you to constantly inject yourself with insulin or take other medications, or are you able to manage it with diet and exercise alone? Does it make you feel different from your peers? How is your situation more difficult than your friends' at school? Are you embarrassed by your diabetes? How often do you visit doctors and how much effort do you put into your health? Have you had any scares relating to your diabetes recently? Are your parents always on your case about your medication, diet, doctor's appointments, and exercise? Are you planning on taking a new approach to handling your health in the near future?

If your diabetes causes you major difficulty in your life and you appear between the ages of 16 and 28, email us at diabetes@miscmedia.tv and tell us your story. We want to know how living with diabetes makes your life complicated. Please include your name, location, phone number, and a recent photo of yourself."

Now we just need them to let Abby on the show...

I was watching MTV back in the day when they played music... ALL... THE... TIME! *gasp!* Anyone remember Martha Quinn? *feeling really old right now*
http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/music/galleries/mtv_vjs_where_are_they_now/mtv_vjs_where_are_they_now.html

MTV has formally apologized to the DOC through a blanket email that (I think) everyone who contacted them received. They also changed their casting call to differentiate type 1 and type 2. I also received a personal email asking for help finding a teen who is attending d-camp for the first time this summer.

We are a powerful voice, and I thank all of you for your help in this effort. I'm proud to have an insufficient number of functional beta cells today :)

Here's the e-mail reply I received (huzzah for the DOC):

To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you very much for your note. I apologize for returning it with a form letter, but we've been getting so many emails from your community regarding our clumsily written casting call that it would be impossible to respond to everyone individually.

First of all, I'd like to apologize for not being more articulate in our casting call. We didn't mean to offend anyone with diabetes with the wording of our post. These casting calls aren't written to define the exact types of stories we plan to cover, they're meant as a starting point to begin a dialogue with potential subjects. It's a very general way to get a conversation going with people who want to write in and share their story with us.

For this episode, we are looking for three people who can be our tour guide for what it is like for them to live with diabetes. It's hard to say whether our subjects will have type 1 or type 2, since we haven't begun filming or chosen final subjects yet. But with True Life, it's always best to find folks from all walks of life who have a diverse set of circumstances.

Because of all of your enlightening emails, we have changed the wording of our casting call so that it asks whether people writing in are type 1 or type 2. We have done the research, and we know what the differences are, but we're still not the experts. It's the people who tell their story, from their point of view, who are the best experts on what it means for them to have the type of diabetes they have.

The bottom line is that we just want to make a great documentary about what it is like to be young and living with diabetes. And right now, it's impossible to say what points will get made in this episode since we haven't cast subjects yet.

Thank you for all of your emails, and again, my sincerest apologies.

All the best,

Miscellaneous Media

The emails worked look what was sitting in my inbox when I got home:
To Whom It May Concern,

Thank you very much for your note. I apologize for returning it with a form letter, but we've been getting so many emails from your community regarding our clumsily written casting call that it would be impossible to respond to everyone individually.

First of all, I'd like to apologize for not being more articulate in our casting call. We didn't mean to offend anyone with diabetes with the wording of our post. These casting calls aren't written to define the exact types of stories we plan to cover, they're meant as a starting point to begin a dialogue with potential subjects. It's a very general way to get a conversation going with people who want to write in and share their story with us.

For this episode, we are looking for three people who can be our tour guide for what it is like for them to live with diabetes. It's hard to say whether our subjects will have type 1 or type 2, since we haven't begun filming or chosen final subjects yet. But with True Life, it's always best to find folks from all walks of life who have a diverse set of circumstances.

Because of all of your enlightening emails, we have changed the wording of our casting call so that it asks whether people writing in are type 1 or type 2. We have done the research, and we know what the differences are, but we're still not the experts. It's the people who tell their story, from their point of view, who are the best experts on what it means for them to have the type of diabetes they have.

The bottom line is that we just want to make a great documentary about what it is like to be young and living with diabetes. And right now, it's impossible to say what points will get made in this episode since we haven't cast subjects yet.

Thank you for all of your emails, and again, my sincerest apologies.

All the best,

Patrick
Miscellaneous Media

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