Have you ever seen a movie or a TV show episode and thought “Wow. Why is my life on TV?” Well, that’s what happened when I went to see Judd Apatow’s new film “This is 40.” It was as if someone had been spying on me and had written into the script conversations, thoughts, and scenarios from my daily existence. Of course, minus the amazing body, personal trainer, fancy house, and fabulous dress shop-as-job. But, still me.
While there’s something to be said for marching to the beat of one’s own drummer. It’s nice to know that we’re not alone in our sometimes ridiculous existences, and that our experiences are not completely unique. Others have tread where our feet have landed and lived to laugh about it.
One of the first times I realized that my travails were fodder for sitcoms and funny movies was when I took pole dancing. Yes, stripping for fitness. It’s no secret that I’m extraordinarily uncoordinated. I have been known to fall off the step in a step class. I persevere, though, because you never know when you’ll be good at something (like Tree Pose).
Anyways, at pole dancing, I excelled at the sexy crawl (which was thankfully on the floor and did not involve any meowing, but did include come hither facial expressions), but was a complete and utter failure at the rest of the activities that included spinning, climbing, and jumping on and around the stripper pole. In fact, I was the only person ever who bruised their vagina (can I say vagina?) while trying to erotically leap onto the pole for a triple spin.
About a month later I was watching an episode of “The King of Queens” where Carrie took pole dancing lessons and went as far as to install a pole in the bedroom. Her talents were similar to mine; and in fact, I think she may have stolen a few of my moves. After watching, I definitely felt better about my lack of skills and my judgment in not installing stripper equipment in my own bedroom.
“This Is 40” was just the same. This couple, at a familiar crossroads in their relationship, seemed to have many of the same thoughts, feelings, and conversations that I have had. Obviously exaggerated, as my life definitely is different than the characters in the movie. (I mean, why would anyone want to make a movie about my life. The fireplace channel would be more interesting.)
The conversations about marriage, trust, and body image really touched a nerve and were almost painful to watch. The main characters are at a crossroads in their lives romantically, emotionally, and financially. We’ve all been there.
At that place where there isn’t enough money but you don’t want to talk about it.
Where secrets come to a head and you don’t know how much longer you can keep them.
Where you get picked up in a bar and for just one second you think about going for it until you twist your ring and realize that you aren’t going to. Ever.
Where you want your partner to just DO A SIT-UP so you can find their aging stomach more attractive than their hairy ears.
Where you look at each other, and don’t see the person that they love, but rather a stranger who irritates the crap out of them.
In the movie, the main characters fantasize about their partner’s demise, how they would die, and whether they would have a hand in the process (extraordinarily uncomfortable to watch as most people I know have had those same thoughts. In fact, my friend’s sister, who was sitting next to me, leaned over and whispered (jokingly of course) ‘I do that all the time. And I sort of hope that if he does go, he makes it quick while I’m still hot enough to get another man.’ )
When I was engaged, my father was giving me a really hard time about my dream wedding. He just didn’t see the purpose. Coincidentally, Father of the Bride was released around the same time. I went to see it, and then I went again with my Dad. During the movie, he had an epiphany. He found that his feelings were just like Steve Martin’s character’s. He was able to see the effect of his actions on his daughter through the eyes of the character onscreen. Afterwards, he totally changed his tune, and my wedding day was everything I’d dreamed of. Sometimes it’s important to remember: Show don’t tell.
As I watched This is 40, I wished my husband had been at the movie with me. I would have liked him to witness the conversations and situations happening onscreen that were so similar to those we have off-screen. I’d have liked him to see that we’re not the only ones who avoid sex because it’s a day that we hate each other. Or that other people withstand money problems and crazy teenagers. That I’m not the only frustrated working mother who scurries around while her husband lounges on the couch.
It’s good to know that if they made a movie about these issues, than the problems are greater than just us. We are not alone in our struggles. And that sometimes, it’s just easier to laugh about it.
Have your ever watched a scene from your life onscreen?