June 1, 2020

Celebrating the Coolest Local Stuff

Our Hollywood Coffeemaker

When anything changes in my house, it’s usually the Queen’s doing. She’s found some crock or something at an estate sale that now resides on the countertop filled with wooden spoons. But somehow, it clashed with the old coffeemaker, so here’s the new coffeemaker. Like that. Shut up and drink your coffee!

By Jay Kerner

In this modern world of disposable gadgets, the coffeemaker may be the most frequently replaced. They’re cheap enough that most people toss them when anything goes wrong. Some simple periodic maintenance would have kept them working a long time, yet every garage sale has one, there for the same reason.

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When anything changes in my house, it’s usually the Queen’s doing. She’s found some crock or something at an estate sale that now resides on the countertop filled with wooden spoons. But somehow, it clashed with the old coffeemaker, so here’s the new coffeemaker. Like that. Shut up and drink your coffee!

Years ago we had a great one that got away like that. Not a thing wrong with it. Then one day it was just gone. A Mr. Coffee (in the same red as the new can-opener) in its’ place! (The old one already dropped off at Goodwill, in a sly move to circumvent messy conflict resolution.)

But this story isn’t about that new coffeemaker. (Or any of the new coffeemakers after that.) It’s a story about that one that got away.
We’d bought it years ago from a Big Lots store. Their merchandise is usually fine, but is typically last years’ overstock that didn’t sell somewhere else. But it was a good brand, Cuisinart, and it was $10 bucks.
Made a great pot of coffee right up to and including the day it disappeared. I didn’t understand, but my marriage is entering its’ fifth decade, because I’ve learned to pick my battles.

Not more than a month later I was channel surfing when something caught my eye. It was a kitchen scene on the CBS show Two and a Half Men and there was our old coffeemaker! On TV! Charlie Sheen drinking coffee out of it!

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We were more than a little proud of our new connection to the entertainment industry. Forget Kevin Bacon, we were only like 1 degree away from stardom! The jump to how our used coffeemaker made it from Goodwill in St. Joseph, Missouri to Hollywood was not germane to the story. (At least not to us.)

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And then we saw it again, in a movie. Then, in another sit-com. Then, another. Somewhere in there, the streaming stuff started, and holy smokes, our coffeemaker was everywhere! But, of course, by this time, we were looking for it.

Sometimes you’d just get a quick glimpse. It evolved into a game I play with myself. I have to see it first, but it only counts if the Queen confirms it. The DVR is a wonderful tool for this. The ability to freeze live TV and reverse, has me hollering “Coffeemaker! Coffeemaker!” to the Queen in another room. Then she has to come in to see it, which she does, even though I see right through her fake irritation. She humors me but she’s tough. It has to be exactly right. She tossed one that had slightly different knobs. But most count. Our little coffeemaker has got to be the hardest working countertop appliance in the industry! That’s when it hit us. They must have cloned ours to meet demand! Stand-ins! Stunt-doubles!

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I envision a Prop Mistress somewhere, sitting on a warehouse full of identical Cuisinart Coffeemakers. Innocuous. Never calling attention to themselves. Letting the stars dominate the action while they steadily set the scene. Ready for anything from commercials to feature films to television work. Whenever the entertainment business calls for an “authentic, period, coffee making device,” more often than not, our little machine or one just like him, gets the call.

We still see our original from time to time. Most folks probably couldn’t tell the difference, but that little guy had been a part of our household for years before heading to Tinsel Town. We just know. (We call him “The Queez”.)

You can look, too. Study the picture. You’ve probably seen it and didn’t even know! In addition to Two and a Half Men, it’s also on the Netflix show Grace and Frankie for a couple of popular examples. But there are tons more!

I know how dumb this is, but I actually thought about setting up a Facebook fanpage for the coffeemaker, where people could post images they had found from movies and TV. Leave comments and so on.

But no. That would probably be too much.

We’ll just enjoy it when we see it, content in our role as “launching pad” for his Hollywood career.

Hmmm… I wonder if he ever thinks about us back here…when he’s making coffee for… I don’t know…Jane Fonda or somebody?
(Cue the theme music from Fieval Goes West) Somewhere out there……
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