Jen and Barb are just your average moms.
Well, average if your mom brings a full camera crew and a hunky Hollywood star into her living room to talk about their favorite products and recipes.
Now in their third season, Jen Pate and Barb Machen are hosts of the Webby Award-winning series “Mom Life,” which asks the hard-hitting questions facing the modern mother: “How Do You Get your Kids Excited About Brushing?” “What Will Your Children Remember From Their Childhood?” and “Are You Tired of the Same Old Cupcakes?”
For each weekly episode, a celebrity guest or parenting expert joins in the comfort of Pate’s actual Studio City living room. The five-minute webisodes interweave clips of the moms in action — taking their kids on road trips or dealing with picky eaters.
On a recent Thursday taping, the guest was Gilles Marini — the dreamy Frenchman Samantha Jones stumbled upon in the shower during a scene from “Sex and the City 2” and star of ABC's just-canceled "Brothers and Sisters."
The threesome discussed home cooking, with Marini painting himself as a picture of male domestic perfection in his ability to bake strawberry shortcake — as well as his and the mom’s shared love of V8 juice.
The advertising side of “Mom Life” is an unapologetic aspect of its programming. The show is backed by Specific Media, a digital advertising company focused on brand-funded TV-quality content for the web.
Think a product-pushing '50s Tupperware party in today’s new communication technology age — with a splash of contemporary mommy realness.
“Our goal is to reach women, put a smile on their face and help them feel not alone,” Pate told TheWrap. The young mother of two met Machen at an L.A. "Mommy and Me" class seven years ago in what Pate calls a “mommy pick-up.”
“I was like, 'She is so cool!’ We ended up becoming best friends, and we hung out every day.”
The pair decided to build a show in what they saw as a void in female TV personalities discussing motherhood. “Contemporary motherhood looks very different than motherhood used to look. So we came up with this idea,” Pate said.
The set has an undeniable familial dysfunction. It can easily be interrupted by the home phone ringing or the kids returning home from summer camp.
But Pate says that is the nature of a show made outside of the studio. “I live here! This is my home.”
With over 75 episodes already aired, “Mom Life” has pushed countless products for more than 40 of the largest consumer brands. Pate and Machen have appeared on "The Rachael Ray Show," "The CBS Early Show," "Entertainment Tonight," and People.com.
But even though V8 might be funding their Thursday testimonials, Machen says the show is really about the dialogue.
“It’s like a conversation in a coffee shop,” Machen said. “[The show reflects] how our relationship organically grew.”