Melanie Martinez

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For the American singer-songwriter, see Melanie Martinez (singer).

Melanie Martinez (born 1972) is a television and stage actress. She is most famous for playing Melanie, host of the Good Night Show, on PBS KIDS Sprout from 2005 to 2006.

In 1994, she graduated from the Tisch School of the Arts.

Past theater work includes roles in Caesar and Cleopatra[1] at Cocteau Repertory and in a verse play, The Death of Don Flagrante Delicto,[2] written by Kirk Wood Bromley.

"Technical Virgin" video controversy[edit]

In the summer of 2000, Martinez was cast to play the role of a student in two 30-second videos, I Have a Future (filmed in July 2000) and Boys Can Wait (filmed in February 2001). Both short films spoofed abstinence-only public service announcements. The former espoused the virtues of anal sex, while the latter promoted vibrators. The political spoofs were directed by David Mack and produced by John Ordover, and were hosted on the website In July 2006, PBS KIDS Sprout terminated Martinez as host of the Good Night Show when it learned of these videos, which it deemed "inappropriate for her role as a preschool host."

In his columns on July 26 and August 3 on the PBS website, PBS ombudsman Michael Getler criticized the decision, writing that "it would have been a greater bow to freedom of expression and against guilt by association for the program and PBS to stick by her", and “It struck me as ironic that at the very time PBS is fighting against new Federal Communications Commission rulings about indecency that the network argues will inhibit documentary filmmakers and freedom of speech, it delivers a subjective punishment to a popular performer for something done seven years ago that was clearly a spoof”.[3][4] PBS President Paula Kerger—who has upheld the right of World War II veterans to use foul language when recounting their stories for PBS regardless of the FCC's stance on indecency [5] -- defended the decision at the semi-annual press tour in Pasadena saying that "What we are looking for in the host of Sprout is someone that is really representative of PBS and Sesame and kids' entertainment. She's not an actress--she really is supposed to embody the service itself."[6]

In an August 5, 2006 article on the front page of the Arts Section of The New York Times, Martinez says: "I've done lots of roles and worn many costumes. I did not think a spoof P.S.A. would come up like this again." [7]

In an October 7, 2006 interview for, Martinez says "Nothing has changed the way I feel about the videos. I think they are hilarious and still a relevant parody on what the kids are taught in school today. The decision to be in the videos was made by a socially aware adult married actress, albeit a comedic one! Not as a “mistake” or a “poor decision made in college which should now be forgiven.” Definitely not a “skeleton in my closet”! It’s always been listed on my resume. I wanted to act in them because it was a funny smart parody of the abstinence-only teaching in schools that I am against. Not abstinence per se, but the popular federally funded abstinence-only curriculum. Children deserve to be taught a responsible comprehensive sex education curriculum. The spoofs were a way to get people to realize how absurd the notion is, particularly back when the video was made, the Not Me Not Now group. They base their teachings on scare tactics. And what about alternative lifestyles? To them, they don’t exist!"[8]

In late 2006 it was announced that Michele Lepe was hired to be the new host of the show. Lepe has appeared in a number of movies and TV series including a short film in which she plays an undercover policewoman who poses as a prostitute. [9]

Books that featured Martinez's controversy are NY Times Bestseller The End of America: Letter of Warning to a Young Patriot by Naomi Wolf, Why We're Liberals A Political Handbook for Post-Bush America by Eric Alterman, Real World Media Ethics: Inside The Broadcast and Entertainment Industries by Philippe Perebinossoff.


  1. ^ Review of Caesar and Cleopatra
  2. ^ Francine Russo, Sightlines: "A Final Act", The Village Voice, 8 November 2000.
  3. ^ Gettler August 3, 2006
  4. ^ Gettler July 26, 2006
  5. ^ article on PBS
  6. ^ Kerger statement
  7. ^ Martinez statement
  8. ^ Martinez Comment
  9. ^ [1] Gettler November 10, 2006

External links[edit]