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|Topher Payne: GOP in the City|
|by Topher Payne|
|January 20, 2012 00:00|
Mitt Romney is just frustrating the hell out of me these days. The part of me that craves a two-party system, with the possibility of having more than one option in a presidential election, gets all excited when he appears in a debate and says things like, “not that we want to discriminate against people or to suggest that gay couples are not just as loving and can’t also raise children well.”
Whoa! Yes, baby! The Republican presumptive nominee publicly acknowledges our relationships can actually be based in love, and that we don’t automatically destroy the children we raise. This, sadly, can be considered progress. But then he gives us this:
“But it’s instead a recognition that, for society as a whole, that the nation presumably would be better off if children are raised in a setting where there’s a male and a female. And there are many cases where there’s not possible: divorce, death, single parents, gay parents, and so forth. But for a society to say we want to encourage, through the benefits that we associate with marriage, people to form partnerships between men and women and then raise children, which we think will — that will be the ideal setting for them to be raised.”
So for Romney, he doesn’t support gay marriage because he believes marital benefits should only be given to hetero couples raising kids? What about the hetero couples who don’t have kids?
You know what? Screw it. I’m not doing this again. This is Caroline in the City all over again.
Years ago, there was an NBC sitcom called “Caroline in the City,” which starred Lea Thompson as a cartoonist living in Manhattan. I watched this series in amazement, believing I was witnessing the most brilliant satire of the modern sitcom I had ever seen.
Caroline in the City was a terrible cartoonist. The series put her disastrous doodles right up there on the screen — her comic strip was a hacky, more misogynistic version of the Cathy comics, with all the funny parts cut out. Her love interest was a co-worker named Richard, who was obviously gay. She lived in a fabulous loft apartment with a cat that did wacky things.
They were setting up this genius scenario where Caroline in the City didn’t live in the real world; she actually lived IN A SITCOM. By inhabiting this manufactured world she’d never closely examined, she could glide along believing she could afford her apartment, she was good at her job, and her boyfriend liked vaginas.
Eventually, I believed, someone would slap Caroline in the City out of her imbecilic cloud of denial, and she’d realize she was just a talentless middle-aged cat lady, in love with a gay man, living a lifestyle she couldn’t afford. I watched episode after episode, wondering how they would do it. Would the producers introduce it slowly? Or maybe they’d get an awesome guest star for a historic episode, like Lauren Bacall as her patrician grandmother, who would annihilate her with a nuclear bomb of truth.
After the truth was revealed, Caroline in the City wouldn’t be able to live in her stereotypical sitcom world anymore. She’d be forced to experience real life for the first time, and the results would be compelling Must-See TV. I waited for this, as they piled on plot device after plot device, believing they were ramping up to the moment it all fell apart. I truly, honestly believed this.
But it never happened, because the producers of “Caroline in the City” were morons. I gave them the benefit of the doubt for four years. All that time, they thought they were creating something relatable. Just like their title character, they were blissfully unaware that they had no connection to the real world.
This brings me back to Mitt, and the Republican candidates as a whole. I keep listening, waiting for the moment one of them emerges as a thoughtful person who is worthy of my time. But they inhabit a completely different world of their own creation, and they have absolutely no idea that they do. The reassuring thought is that, just like Caroline in the City, people like that eventually fade away — a slightly embarrassing relic people bring up on trivia nights, and little more.
Topher Payne is an Atlanta-based playwright, and the author of the book “Necessary Luxuries: Notes on a Semi-Fabulous Life.” Find out more at topherpayne.com.
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