In looking back at the past 25 episodes, there are so many behind-the-scenes moments that stand out - from the good, to the bad, to the absolutely delicious.
... The time that Grammy award winning songwriter (and animal lover) Julie Gold ("From a Distance," anyone?) sat around with the crew after the shoot intently sharing iPhone cat photos while gushing and awwww-ing. It was a sight to behold.
... A Mother's Day segment about mama farmed animals and how their reproductive organs are hideously exploited, followed by - to give our audience a respite - a celebration of my (vegan) Mom and my very beloved, not to mention vegetarian, Grandma, who had recently died. As I watched the photos of Grandma appear on the monitor, I melted into a completely inarticulate pile of sobs. (We had to reshoot the segment.)
... The ten thousand times that, the very second the show was done shooting, the hungry (always hungry ... ) crew ran to sample the vegan grub that the guests brought us. The pumpkin cheesecake from Candle 79. The vegan eggnog by the Vegan Mos. The root veggie hot dogs from Yeah Dawg. The empanadas from V Spot. The list goes on and on and on and on.
Then there were those unforgettable moments when our amazing crew watched as footage was rolled showing leather production, foie gras production, puppy mills, gestation crates, or whatever horror we were discussing that day. It's an animal activist's dream: Put unsuspecting "regular" folks (our crew) into a room and flood them with the truth about what goes on behind closed doors for animals. Of course, we would always follow it up with something to offset the shock, whether it was footage of happy frolicking rescued animals, a taste of Faux Gras (a locally made vegan pate), or getting, uh, nipped by a really cute and overeager pup. Our hostages - I mean our crew - will change, we thought. And, in fact, they did change ...
... Our first makeup artist told us that she decided to stop taking her kids to the circus.
... Our second makeup artist denounced all animal products and went vegan.
... An editor told us she was going to incorporate many more vegan foods and days ("maybe weeks," she said) into her life (only after she got back from her upcoming vacation, she said, but still ...).
... The time that a very young and doe-eyed PA (not the petition writer) went up to me during a brief break to ask me what an "animal factory" (he called it) was (he meant a factory farm), then stood there motionless, mouth agape, and said, "I never thought of meat as flesh before."
"If nothing else," I told Mariann on several occasions, "at least the crew is finding out what's happening to animals."