The first couple minutes of last night’s Parks and Rec were gold to anyone who has ever listened to a public radio station.
For some reason, the people that work for the company that churns out holiday-themed made-for-tv movies seem to think the idea of paying someone to pretend to be your fiance when you go home for the holidays is a. realistic and b. a situation that would lead to romance and not all your most prized possessions being stolen. The idea, which I believe was created in a different kind of Santa’s Xmas Factory, has even spread to the real world, demonstrated in Craigslist posts like this, though unfortunately, this particular offer has expired and is no longer viewable. We’re assuming, however, that the gentleman found what he was looking for.
My Fake Fiance (2009, ABC Family)
Melissa Joan Hart and Joey Lawrence get married for the gifts and the money, because they’re both horrible people who recognize that marriage is largely a societal ritual unrelated to love. Along the way, they develop the feelings. Hart and Lawrence’s chemistry (and history on shows that were popular during the ’90s) led to an eventual show of their own on ABC Family called, creatively, Melissa and Joey, which was — shockingly or not — renewed for a third season. Hart was also in ABC Family’s Holiday in Handcuffs where she FORCES a man to pretend to be her fiance, indicating that the actress may have a troubling understanding of what situations actually lead to happiness in romantic relationships.
Holiday Engagement (2011, Hallmark Channel)
Billed as a “Hallmark Original” (as if that’s a stamp of quality akin to getting an Oscar), Bonnie Sommerville’s “perfect” (really, pretty boring and unattractive) fiance breaks up with her and so she hires an actor to pretend to be him for Thanksgiving because her mom is so crazy she feels like she has to. Not only does she have little to no chemistry with either the dude she wants back or the dude she eventually falls for, she also is like maybe a journalist who spends her time writing about puppies and has no career aspirations. This means I’m automatically biased against her and have no idea who would find her attractive, even the mildly cute dude she ends up with.
Hitched for the Holidays (2012, Lifetime)
Lawrence, unsatisfied with having done one fake fiance holiday flick, has teamed up this season with some no-name to literally do exactly the same movie as he did two years prior, this time, using what appears to be a Craigslist rip-off (at least he’s tech savvy now). This is the only one of the above movies I haven’t seen, so I can’t vouch as to the veracity of the beginning of this IMDB description: “An attractive pair agrees to be each others supposed significant other throughout the holidays to keep their meddling families at bay.” It premieres this Friday though, so I’ll report back.
I would like to apologize. Here I was, thinking that I was just being an active citizen, receiving
an education and taking a well-paying job in order to support myself mentally and physically as a fully-functioning member of society with intellectual ambitions and economic concerns. But, I did not realize that in doing so, I was actually stepping off of my pedestal, which it turns out was also my marital auction block. Thanks to a few bra-burning women in flannel shirts, I thought I wanted an education, a job in which I am paid the same amount as men, and even suffrage. Worse yet, I thought I could have these things in addition to social and sexual relationships of my choosing, possibly even a heterosexual relationship with a man who values more than just my fair complexion and corseted midriff.
These nefarious men-eaters have robbed me, it seems, because all this time that I have been
seeking a balanced life, focusing on myself and my career, I have been unknowingly angry and defensive, saddled by the consequences of sex – and casual premarital sex at that. Worse yet, I have been repressing the natural femininity that is not, in fact, a cultural construct but a very real and scientific part of my DNA. I was so angry and defensive, I could not even look beyond myself to see that you have been waiting idly by, hoping that I will give you the chance to support me wholly in a normative, heterosexual marriage based on financial dependence and sexual submission. No more working and thinking (this will, in fact, be the last thing I write); I can simply don an apron and look after our children, perfecting my needlepoint and ability to braise beef while simultaneously fellating you, resting my knees upon the floor of a house you have purchased and gazing up adoringly into your eyes.
In fact, if I hadn’t already surrendered to my passive nature, I would be angry at feminists. They
have led me to believe that I want and can have a “balanced life,” when in reality, I just want to be
married. But, I know that a brash reaction would be unseemly, so I will refrain from being upset with
these silly feminists. I understand now, thanks to Suzanne Venker, that I am the problem.
Now Men, I implore you. Come find me. I am back on my pedestal and waiting passively for you
to come teeming, termite-like, out of the woodwork.
My main girl Minnie edited this video and the song is rad — BUT I didn’t even know that until after I had watched it and liked it. So. True friendship.
I too am not pleased about heading to New England, land of our forefathers and a thousand future leaders of America. I’ve been called on this journey because of love — love for friends, which makes us do crazy things, like breathe in the crisp fall air of the Northeast that has probably already begun to sour.
I too have wondered before, “Where’s Boston?” Where indeed.
You have been called here by your parents, to visit an Uncle Dan for Thanksgiving. You seem to, if not disdain them, show them little respect. Perhaps this is because your mother’s constant threat that she is going to “wash your mouth out with soap.” You seem smart enough to, at the age of approximately 3 or 4, realize that this threat is almost entirely empty; you’ve even told her that she has stinky breath as a retort (though I am unclear if you’re old enough to realize the subtle irony between her threat and your comment).
You’ve sung both that terrible “song” “Gangnam Style” and some of the complete works of ABBA. You’ve disregarded any instruction to not kick both the people in front of you and behind you, a feat I wasn’t sure was possible. You’ve lost your shoe multiple times.
Somehow, your father, who has been blessed in the inevitable parental coin toss with the seat behind you (or in the game of chance that is a set of XY chromosomes), has managed to fall asleep. Your mother has not been so lucky. You’ve made her get up three times during a two hour flight to go to the bathroom. I know this because I am in the aisle seat. I saw you and thought, I’ll take a gamble on this kid. Everyone else seems to be avoiding her like the plague, but pickings are slim and I need to stow my carry-on baggage and get this show on the road.
Little did I know what kind of show I would be receiving.
You have been the victim of the phrase “AVERY! GOD!” so many times that I assume by the tone your mother is using that it’s been said a time or two before I was first blessed with your presence.
Your one moment of silence was, unsurprisingly, when you were brought apple juice. That was also the moment we locked eyes, for a fleeting second, a moment when I dared to look a demon in the face. You seemed calm, but those cheeks were too red; your hair, matching. It was messy, as if tousled by spirits themselves.
You are, unequivocally, a terror. And yet, I have something to say to you: It Gets Better. Hopefully for your parents, and whoever accidentally sits next to you because if this flight was crowded, the one you’ll be taking back next week sure as hell isn’t going to be any more spacious.
I like to imagine that even if the audience wasn’t in front of her, Wendy would still be there, hot topic-ing with herself.