Day #63: Levy – “Rotten Love”
I’ve been slacking on watching season 2 episodes of Portlandia, but at least I can say I’ve finally read Margaret Talbot’s article about Carrie Brownstein, “Stumptown Girl,” which appeared in January issue of The New Yorker. (Thanks to the Other Janine for sharing!) Talbot seems intensely mystified (and now, so am I) by Browstein’s impeccably platonic relationship with co-star Fred Armisen.
It’s easy to see why Armisen and Brownstein clicked. Both are hard workers with little tolerance for downtime. Both are music obsessives, with an encyclopedic knowledge of B-sides. Neither has children, or seems likely to have any, though they’re sweet to their friends’ kids. They shudder at the thought of becoming bitter or cynical. Both describe themselves as having been difficult, or restive, in romantic relationships. Armisen was married first to Timms, and then, for less than a year, to Elizabeth Moss, who plays Peggy Olson on “Mad Men.” Brownstein has dated both men and women, and she was once involved with Corin Tucker, the singer and guitarist with whom she founded Sleater-Kinney. But she hates categories like “bisexual,” and has always felt more defined by her work than by her relationships. “I never think of sexuality as an identifier,” Brownstein wrote in an e-mail. “What seems to have defined me more is that I’m pretty horrible at relationships and haven’t been in many long-term ones. Leaving and moving on—returning to a familiar sense of self-reliance and autonomy—is what I know; that feeling is as comfortable and comforting as it might be for a different kind of person to stay.” (page 2)
Armisen and Brownstein text each other every night before bed. Brownstein says of their friendship, “Sometimes I think it’s the most successful love affair either of us will ever have.” Both claim that it wouldn’t work if they were romantically involved. “It would be colder, because we’ve both treated our romantic relationships in a cold way,” Armisen says. “Carrie and I are more romantic than any other romantic relationship I’ve ever had—that sense of anticipation about seeing the other person, the secret bond. But things don’t become obligatory. I’m not thinking, I’m doing this because you’re my girlfriend; I’m just thinking, I love Carrie.” (page 3)
How can that be?! On the one hand, this means questioning the supposed facts of life about how a single guy and his single girl friend can never be “just friends” forever (and we’re talking serious friendships, not mere acquaintances). That an absolutely platonic relationship is totally impossible! But, they not only managed to keep their hands above the table, they’ve achieved the “Secret Bond” (as Armisen puts it). That’s like pulling Excalibur from the goddamn stone! Margaret Talbot should have ended the article with three simple words… Does. Not. Compute.
In the spirit of today’s nerdy, tabloid-esque exploits, I leave you with a song that Regina Spektor’s ex-flame wrote about her. That’s right – Ooooo!