Stone Soul Partridge

Doesn't somebody want to be Laurie?

Some people have a stash of porn in their home, or a little box of pills or a hoard of Twinkies or something shameful they've hidden away under the bed or in the back of a dark cupboard. I don't much care for pictures of people fucking, and I'm afraid of barbiturates, but I do own something more shocking and embarrassing than drugs or pornography.

My deep, dark secret is that I own all 11 Partridge Family albums. And sometimes, when no one else is around, I put them on my turntable and I play them.

I took out my Partridge albums the other day when Emily Stone came over. Emily is the new Laurie Partridge, so I knew she'd understand. She's just been cast in VH1's The New Partridge Family, in a role she won on the network's In Search of the Partridge Family, a quasi-American Idol in which the original cast of the '70s sitcom introduced kids (and middle-aged Shirleys!) who competed to replace them. The winners got to appear in a pilot for the series (which airs this Sunday) and record a new Partridge single (which really sucks).

A bird in the band: The Partridge bus has picked up a local.
Emily Piraino
A bird in the band: The Partridge bus has picked up a local.
Vinyl exam: New Partridges had better nail that trivia.
Vinyl exam: New Partridges had better nail that trivia.

Emily, a Phoenix teen, aced the Laurie competition with perky acting talent (the kid has chops: She previously played Eeyore in two local productions of A Winnie the Pooh Christmas Tail) and by singing Meredith Brooks' "Bitch" (as introduced by Shirley Jones, much to the horror of Partridge prudes everywhere). Now the country's cutest air pianist is preparing for the superstardom that comes with playing in a pretend rock band, and dodging e-mails and phone calls from weirdly obsessed, middle-aged Partridge fans everywhere.

New Times: You sort of blew away the competition on In Search of the Partridge Family. It didn't hurt that you grabbed your bosom during the acting contest.

Emily Stone: I didn't so much grab myself as bump the mike attached to my shirt. When I brushed up against it, it went "Boom!"

NT: No matter what happens to you, you'll always be the girl who caused Oscar winner Shirley Jones to say the word "bitch" on national television.

Stone: Come on -- are you kidding me? She's married to Marty Ingels! Like she doesn't say that word every day. There's this message board on the Internet -- which I read today, and apparently I'm pregnant -- and these people get on there and they're writing that Shirley Jones looked like she was going to cry because she had to say that. You watch that episode and she's screaming it: "Here's Emily Stone singing 'Biiiiiitch'!" She's so excited to be saying "bitch" on TV.

NT: In the first episode of In Search of the Partridge Family, what was up with David Cassidy's wig?

Stone: I think he was really nervous about his receding hairline. And I really don't want to start on David Cassidy while I'm being tape recorded, because, seriously, he's The Special One. I don't know why that happened. He looks really good, but he never really thinks he does.

NT: How about accusations that the contest was fixed?

Stone: I'm not really the one to ask about it being fixed or not, but I wouldn't say it was entirely America's decision. We didn't know anything, but from people I've talked to, I don't know if the winners were all decided by the viewers.

NT: You're about to become a superstar -- the next Lindsay Lohan, except with real breasts. Which means a lot of middle-aged men are swapping screen captures of you in a little gold mini-skirt. And there's a thread on the Partridge board called "I hate Emily."

Stone: There are some creepy people. There's this 40-year-old guy who started this Yahoo! group about me with screen caps and stuff, and that's so weird!

NT: And you know, you have to be careful now that you're a Partridge, because all the news people are going to be watching you. Look, here's a copy of FaVe! magazine from July of 1971. (Hands her magazine.)

Stone: No way.

NT: Yes, way. And on page 18, there's an article called "How I Licked My Weight Problem by Susan Dey," and it's all about how she used to be a cow but now she's skinny. I'm telling you, Emily, you'd better not get busted eating a muffin in public, or it'll be all over the front page.

Stone: Are you kidding me? I can't believe you have this magazine! Look at this picture of David -- he was so young! It's so weird to see them like this -- Shirley Jones is like 70 now.

NT: On this page, there's an ad for the book Boys, Beauty and Popularity by Susan Dey. Now that you're a Partridge, they're going to make you write books like this.

Stone: (Reading from magazine ad.) "Let Susan tell you how to become more popular, more attractive, more confident." You have to be kidding me. I cannot even believe this. This kind of thing would never sell now. Oh, no, listen to this (reading aloud): "I think I'm living proof that dieting is important, because if I hadn't lost those 15 pounds I certainly wouldn't be where I am today." No wonder she had an eating disorder by the second season.

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