12 December 2019

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told by Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman

I got this book as a gift for Christmas 2018 and have been really excited to read it all year. I love both Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman and I love watching other people find out they're married and have the same excited but full of disbelief reaction I did when I first found out. Couples that last in Hollywood are rare, which also makes them extremely beloved and precious. I also love this celebrity memoir genre, so I had really high hopes for this book.

Initially when I started reading this I was very disappointed. The book is in script format (photo below) and I found that made it extremely hard to get into. But by the end of the first section I walked that opinion back fully. I loved it. The script format allows you to feel like you're just listening to Mullally and Offerman shoot the shit. It's incredibly charming and makes for a much richer storytelling experience for both of them. It reminded me a lot of when Judd Apatow interviewed his wife Leslie Mann for his book Sick in the Head. I am now of the opinion that all couples should write books together, it's 100x better than reading their individual books. Obviously, this book was about their relationship. I'm not trying to suggest that couples can't have their own individual projects too...

So as I mentioned, the majority of the book is in script format where Mullally and Offerman are sort of engaged in dialogue about a number of topics (dating, religion, their careers, etc.), but there are also a few essays written by each of them individually scattered throughout. They also took this book opportunity to take the most charming photo shoot dressed in a number of costumes, which are also scattered throughout. Then, my favourite section is actually a chunk of photographs of the two of them posing with the puzzles they've done, recreating whatever scene is in the puzzle. The two of them love to do puzzles and listen to audiobooks to relax and spend time together which actually sounds like a luxury vacation to me.

The script structure is also a fantastic way for them to discuss their relationship as a conversation, rather than a re-telling. You get to hear each other's favourite parts of how they met, how they felt at various stages, etc. They have a really honest conversation about how much wealthier and older Mullally was than Offerman when they met. It's the kind of thing where if only one of them had told it I'd wonder how the other felt. I don't really keep up with either of them that well so it was interesting to see how just genuinely sweet Nick Offerman appears to be and how he just truly didn't care about any of that when he met Mullally.

M: We had been in the middle of rehearsing, but we weren't actively doing lines in that moment. We were just fucking around, doing bits with each other...

N: There was a bit of confederacy between us. It was you and me against everybody." 

Mullally and Offerman have an honest conversation about wanting to have kids but it not working out. Mullally was already sort of in her later childbearing years when they met, and after trying for a while they just decided they were fine without. They don't make a big deal of it or victimize themselves, and both agree that the careers and lifestyles they enjoy so much now would never allow for kids anyways. This was the part of the book where their self-confidence and mutual respect best shone.

I also loved their ability to be self-deprecating. I think most people would assume they're like that based on the roles they play, but you always wonder about celebrities. Here is a classic example from Mullally while discussing her success on Will and Grace:

I remember walking down the sidewalk with a friend when I was in college at Northwestern, vowing passionately that I would NEVER do television, that it was beneath my dignity. I don't know what I thought I was going to do- Shakespeare? In the Vatican?"

They also carry on making fun of themselves for hosting their backyard wedding on the Emmy's weekend. They joke that they thought they were so famous and would have to throw the paparazzi off by getting married on a weekend nobody would think to, but in the end the paparazzi never gave a damn about their wedding.

The last thing that made me love this book so much is how much Offerman reminded me of my husband Scott. I never would have thought this having seen him act or do stand-up, but reading the way he talks about himself and the way Mullally talks about him, the similarities are so glaring. My first tip off was Offerman's take on his own sense of style:

I like to have the same garments for fifteen to twenty-five years. I like my clothes to be comfortable and perform work. And I like work boots that you can send back to White's Boots in Spokane to have them re-soled. And I don't much care for having my picture taken."

If anyone knows my husband Scott, this isn't like him, it is him. The second tip-off was in a personal essay Offerman wrote about living with Mullally. He writes the following which I actually ran to get Scott and read to him when I read:

So we have this beautiful and cozy living space with luscious art and fabrics (and the occasional woodwork!) that is further enriched by Megan's adherence to a very Zen 'no clutter' policy. She laid this discipline on me when I first moved in with her some eighteen years ago, and I immediately recognized its calming value. Megan made our house amazing, and together we keep it neat and tidy, which subtly but consistently mollifies the chaotic energy of our schedules."

In my house we bicker about clutter and things that aren't where they're supposed to be but at the end of the day, Scott will tell me how much he appreciates that we don't have crap everywhere because it makes the house more relaxing. Fuckin right. I do know how annoying it is to be bitched at to put my stuff away though, I was on the other end of this argument my whole life growing up. Turns out I'm exactly like my mother.

Mullally and Offerman posing with some of their puzzles

The final thing that threw the comparison over the edge was Mullally talking about their relationship and how it's his personality that makes her trust him so much:

Nick is not a big operator. It's great, because I've been with him for eighteen years now, and I never have to worry that he's out banging somebody else. Because he doesn't have it in him. He's not that kind of person." 

My husband is also not someone I would call a 'big operator'. Even though there are a ton of major differences between Offerman and Scott (a career in entertainment, for one) I really enjoyed reading about a marriage where the husband so closely resembles my own. It added an extra sweetness factor for me to an already insanely adorable book.

So despite really having a hard time with the format initially, it's now my favourite thing. I think anyone who likes either of these actors would appreciate the book, it's funny and silly and rich with details. I wish all celebrities would now do books with their spouses it's so much better and more intimate. I also want to add that the hardcover edition of this book is one of the nicest books I own, it's got thick glossy pages and weighs a ton.

1 comment:

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