21 February 2013

An Open Letter to Emily Spivey

Dear Emily,

Can I call you Emily? I know we don’t know each other, but I do feel as if we could know each other. Look, I don’t normally do this sort of thing. But I’ve been following all that’s been going on with Up All Night and for some reason felt compelled to reach out.

From the moment Chris and Reagan woke up to their first hangover with a kid, my wife and I were hooked on your show. Because it felt—weirdly—like us. I got the chance to interview Judd Apatow several years ago and half-jokingly accused him of bugging my first apartment in LA to craft the dialogue for the Seth Rogen character and his friends in Knocked Up. I felt the same way when watching your show. How does she know? we’d say to each other. This doesn’t happen.

Finally, somebody was telling it like it is.

We enjoyed the accurate depiction of the questioning, searching, doubting nature of being a parent in today’s world. Inundated with advice and information, yet trying to chart your own path. Be your own brand of parent. To do it your way. Finally, something that reflected the reality of our lives as parents.

There were real insights into balancing work and home life. Of staying true to yourself and seeking out your own fulfillment, apart from being a parent. About still being somewhat selfish and self-interested and how it was okay sometimes to be that way, even if you’re supposed to be pouring 100 percent of yourself into this moppet. Who are we know that we have a kid? A question we asked ourselves a lot. And it was great to see somebody else explore it—and even laugh at it.

And judging other people. Perhaps more than we would want to admit, but we do that. 

Maybe I chose to ignore the signs. That things weren’t right. I mean, if you were looking, it seems there were signs. Of interference. Of tinkering. Of input from someone who didn’t really know what it was like to be a new parent. A voice (or voices) that was somehow starting to block out your voice, that real, honest, truthful voice we’d been drawn to in the first place.

For instance, even though I have only been a parent for a short time, I have never started a new contracting business with my hirsute brother-in-law who literally nobody even knew existed before this (which is nothing against Luka Jones, who is extremely talented and I could watch in anything and was great in Best Friends Forever, which was smart and hilarious and . . . also on NBC until it wasn’t—seriously, guys, what is going on over there?).

I can only hope that in your next endeavor, you continue to spread the truth about parenting. The honest, raw reality of what it’s like to contend with miniature human life.

We have two kids now. And I was looking forward to seeing that experience mirrored in the lives of Chris and Reagan. How they’d deal with a second kid, how little Amy would react to her new sibling. That fascinating love/hate relationship that springs up immediately, that as parents you are alternately amused and horrified by. Our older one loves the little one more than anything in the world. And then moments later, they are mortal enemies when a small corner of one page of a Lego catalog is torn off. If that’s not comedy, I don’t know what is.

And now it is no more. Or at least, not the same as it was. Sure there are other dad role models on TV that I can still look to (I keep leaning toward Don Draper, though I’m never sure if it’s appropriate to model my own parenting after him).

Now I guess I have to return to the show going on in my own house. The lighting’s not as great and the guest stars not always as entertaining. But the show goes on. It continues to be weird, funny, sad, frustrating, but mostly awesome, and maybe someday, I’ll see something like it on TV again.

Thank you for making us laugh and sharing your truth (everybody’s truth) with us.


A Dad and a Fan

P.S. This blog would make a pretty great show, right? Right?

P.P.S. Sorry. That was shameless. Truly, pathetically, embarrassingly shameless.

P.P.P.S. I’m not wrong, though, right?

No comments:

Post a Comment