“You are out of control! A woman is supposed to hog the camera! You are worse than a woman! Thank God, I’m patient!” Lynn Martinez exclaims. “It takes me 30 seconds to check my look in the camera! It takes you a full five minutes!” cries Louis Aguirre in protest. “You are so lying! Oh, my God, that’s you! You’re describing yourself! Everybody knows that!”
The surrounding stage erupts in giggles as the two continue to bicker like the odd-couple they are: He, playing the part of cheeky, hormonal teenager, and she, the exasperated mom. This particular exchange sprang from a query of what’s the most important factor in maintaining their relationship – that of co-anchors on the Channel 7/WSVN entertainment show, Deco Drive.
You’d think they’ve known each other all their lives, what with the squabbling, finishing of each other’s sentences, and general button-pushing; but, in fact, they only began working together five years ago, in 2003, after previous Deco co-host, Belkys Nerey, departed the showbiz shindig for hard news, leaving Lynn alone at the anchor desk. There was a long, as Lynn puts it, “initiation process” before Louis took his place as co-host, with eight months as the American Idol Insider before being promoted to the role of co-anchor. “I wanted Louis from the beginning, but you know the bride never has a say in an arranged marriage,” Lynn jokes. As for Louis, he’s been eyeing the position ever since his first stint back in 2000, as correspondent and fill-in host. Back then, he left Deco Drive for Los Angeles and an acting career – including a guest spot on Sex and the City – an experience Lynn is sick of hearing about. As she puts it, “He says it every third minute!”
Okay, so they joke around, and they get along famously – but were they always like this? What about in the beginning? “We hated each other on the spot. It was horrible,” says Louis. “It was a forced marriage. That’s how we got started. It was like, sleep with each other now! On the air, make love! NOW,” quips Lynn. Later in a moment of seriousness, Louis admits, “I love working with her. She’s one of my favorite people that I’ve ever worked with in my entire career. And this is a very special relationship. Not everybody has this kind of chemistry. People pick up on it.” They do indeed. Since Louis joined the show, it seems like everyone’s watching Deco Drive. Something about the chemistry, banter, or maybe it’s just the obvious good time this duo is having that keeps people tuning in. “People watch Deco, not for the information. They watch to see what the hell we’re going to say to each other,” Louis says. “It’s about the relationship. It’s never about the show. The show is the relationship.”
For Lynn it’s even more than that: it’s a breath of fresh air from the hard news she’s faced with every day, what with anchoring four of the networks’ six evening news shows. As she says, “Sometimes [with the news] I sit there and want to cry and have to hold it together, so what leaves me when I leave Deco is, ‘Ahhh. That was fun!’” Louis chimes in: “It’s like good sex. Like you know when you’ve had a really good show because you feel exhausted, that euphoric feeling after you’ve been at it for a while and you just want a cigarette. That’s how we feel with the show.” Silence. “It’s true!” he exclaims.
It’s this banter, this sense of fun – and humor – that keeps the show working. A show filled with celebrity gossip and bits of fluff, which in this age of stalkarazzi, can easily veer into the ridiculous. A fact they are keenly aware of: In a time when Paris Hilton’s release from prison is covered as breaking news and gets more airtime than the war in Iraq, perhaps a little tongue-in-cheek humor is what the world needs. That’s what they think anyway. “Sometimes we do cringe, when it feels like we are way too consumed with celebrity news,” says Lynn. “But on the flip side, what I love about it [is]: everybody needs a release, an outlet. And on some level [I feel] it’s therapeutic. It’s good to laugh and feel good and even look at a celebrity and realize that they have problems just like you and me. All right, so Oprah has a chef and eight airplanes to make those problems feel a little better, but she has the same problems as anybody else.”
And sometimes, the people reporting those problems have problems too. Like foot-in-mouth syndrome – walking that line between being edgy, pushing the envelope and hurting people’s feelings. Something they never set out to do, but which has happened in the past. “I’d say about twice a year my mouth gets me in trouble.” Lynn says, “Two times a year I’ll say a little something where I hurt somebody’s feelings and I’m like, ‘Oh! Jeez!’ And someone will write to me and I feel bad, because, you do walk the line.” Louis finishes her thought: “Yeah, but you have to walk the edge, otherwise it doesn’t work.”
And then there’s the fact that TV news takes a toll on your personal life. Breaking news, crashes, robberies, and natural disasters don’t stop because the workday is over. Holidays, weekends, and nights are all par for the course in the TV news industry. But, according to Louis, if you have a passion for it, and you’re committed to it, then long hours shouldn’t stop you. Beware, though, that relationships suffer as a result. As Lynn jokes, she’s currently on to her second marriage. Louis clarifies: “You make choices in life. And you either learn to adapt, and let your personal life adapt to your career or your career adapts to your personal life and you sacrifice one or the other. It’s a very demanding career that demands of you to be present and be here, mentally and physically, when you’re on the job. You can’t space out… Even when you’re on vacation, if something happens—”
“—You have to come back,” Lynn finishes. Leaving the confines and demands of the newsroom this dynamic duo loves to shares themselves with the community, sometimes together and other times flying solo. Lynn spends a great deal of her time volunteering for Women in Distress in Broward County and has recently joined the board of the Children’s Home Society. Louis loves to spend his spare time with Best Buddies and the Miami-Dade Humane Society. Joining WSVN in their support for Habitat for Humanity they assist staffers who participate in speed builds alongside homeowners while the station airs numerous news stories to promote actual work days and home dedications, presenting the actual keys to the homeowners. Recipients of their kindness and generosity look forward to the comedy and levity Lynn and Louie bring to South Florida, inside the studio and out on the streets. Giving us the news without the blues they remind us that, indeed, laughter is the best medicine.
Too much seriousness is anathema to these two. The funny bone kicks in almost immediately when Louis adds: “Yeah, it’s even harder to have a relationship with somebody who’s not in the business. That’s why we all sleep with each other. Makes it a lot easier.” A straight faced Lynn jumps in: “It really does. And you don’t have to go outside, to look for dates…” “And the edit rooms are right there; it’s very private,” finishes Louis, not missing a beat.
That’s the key though, isn’t it? Humor and fun and not taking things too seriously. Because, ultimately, the long hours and personal sacrifices aside, they love what they do. And they know that with a smile and a laugh – and a little thing called passion – it’s all good.
“We’re lucky, we’re blessed,” says Louis. “We get to come here and laugh our asses off for at least half an hour. The rest of the stuff that goes on in there (motioning the newsroom) might be quite serious, but what we do on the show is just nothing but a gas and we have fun and we get to laugh and we’re very blessed people.”
“I’ve never had gas on the show,” Lynn muses.
“Yeah,? Well, I have.” Louis says, his face breaking into a grin.
And again, the stage around them erupts into giggles. – DUO
Louis Aguirre and Lynn Martínez:
"The Dynamic DUO"
Written by Francesca Franco