Everybody’s favorite couple, Mr. Arrested Development and Mrs. Parks and Recreation called it quits after nine years of marriage (which is around 375 in Hollywood Marriage years). With this news, people everywhere who enjoy humor, good television, relatable-seeming celebrities, and love itself let out a Tobias Fünke-esque sob.
I, like most of you, greeted this news this morning with an actual sadness. These two people seemed so perfect together, so much like each other, and something I could understand. Their performances as comedians have become so well-known and well-loved as to be almost public property outside of them as people. Will Arnett’s deep, hilariously dramatic voice, Amy Poehler’s completely un-self-conscious embodiment of characters, the way they seemed to genuinely enjoy one another’s work — there was something tangible about it.
It seems sometimes that even the most perfect celebrity relationships are doomed to go asunder, even ones that are ostensibly based in supposedly lasting things, like making one another laugh. And with couples like Amy and Will, it’s hard not to feel that, on some level, we knew them. We got what it was about the other that was so appealing — their humor and down-to-earth attitudes are notably absent in so many other celebrities, and it made them seem, in many ways, like exceptions to the rule about celebrity divorce.
Of course, in all reality, we don’t know them. We know nothing about the kind of relationship they had with each other, we know nothing about their two sons, and there are surely a million and one things that are none of our business that led them to split this week. But there is still something sad, as silly as it may sound, for our own lives about this breakup. There is a kind of, “If they can’t make it, who can?” feeling that is as selfish as it is silly. We don’t own celebrities, and they owe nothing to us. The complexity of their lives (and their lives together) extends far past an SNL sketch we might have adored them in.
At the end of the day, couples we admire will split up, and life will go on. After we get past the initial disappointment over something that didn’t involve us at all, it’s best to remind ourselves that, no matter how much we might identify with or enjoy an artist’s work, they’re still just regular people who are going to have problems that we cannot fix or understand.
Yes, even Gob.