I think everybody always pictured us having some big watch party and celebration when the show finally aired, but in the end it wound up being kind of anticlimactic.
Back when the rough cut had arrived in September, the note with it said we’d hear from them about the final air date. We were expecting a phone call, but instead Mom opened the newspaper one day in October and saw an article with a picture of us as cartoon characters, giving the air date as November 18. Apparently they’d decided to release it to the AP without telling us.
The next surprise happened during the interview blitz before the premiere. CNN came to shoot a story on us, and they’d already gotten a copy of the final episode and wanted to film us watching it for the first time. (Not sure if they knew we’d already seen the rough cut.) After having to get word about the air date secondhand, I was a little irritated that they’d wound up with a copy of it before we did. So the three of us ended up seeing the finished product on November 13, and it didn’t get much space in my journal:
Anyway, CNN did come today. Nothing really fabulous happened, nothing worth mentioning. Except that we saw the final version of the cartoon.
Besides mentioning the different dialogue (at that point, it was just Sneezer’s line that had changed), there was nothing else said.
Monday, November 18, 1991
Well, it’s over. The cartoon has aired.
They changed another line for the worse, in the Karl Malden scene, from “Hey! That guy ripped us off!” to “Hey! That guy’s nose is huge!” In the words of Jean MacCurdy (who called a few moments ago to see how we liked it), “Tom [Ruegger] and Sheri [Stoner] decided to get witty at the last moment.” (To this I replied, “Comedy in the wrong hands really is a dangerous weapon.”)
In the end, after having TV producers and hosts and camera crews in our house countless times over the previous months, it was just my family members gathered to watch the show, with others calling afterwards to offer congratulations. Looking back on it now, I think truthfully we were all kind of tired by this point. There would be one more TV interview in December, for a kids’ news show called Not Just News, but since we were never told when our segment would air, Amy was the only one who happened to catch it, and I found that by then, it really didn’t matter to me whether I ever saw it or not. (I just noticed that there are apparently a few episodes of it floating around the Internet, so feel free to investigate if you like.)
Well, I guess what you’re wondering now: what’s going to happen next. I have only one answer: I don’t know. I didn’t know then and I don’t know now.
It had been a wild ride, and now we were moving on, to the rest of high school and whatever lay beyond for us. And as tired and somewhat cynical as Fourteen had become, she still had to admit at the close…