OPINION: Star Spangled Sitcom

Lauren Graham is Lesley Kirschner's homegirl. (photo illustration; Lauren Graham photo DFree/Shutterstock)

I come from a long line of crazy people. My great grandmother, Restituta, her soul  (yes, that was her actual name) dressed up every day complete with a full face of makeup because she was convinced, as the good Lord was her savior, that the people on her “stories” could see her through the television.

So think of Restituta when I tell you that it’s almost the Fourth of July and Lauren Graham is not, I repeat, not sitting in my living room.

Except she is.

Roughly 10 feet from me, good, not-old (she never ages) Lauren and I are having such a heart-to-heart. I’m ready to set off sparklers. Tears are involved. Coffee is employed. I feel heard. Only I’ve said nothing and I’m pretty sure her mug is just a prop and no, she cannot see me through the television.

I’d like to say my fantasy relationships begin and end with the mystique and macho and —I’m sorry, I love him even more with a mustache — that is one my, my, MY Milo. But suffice to say, where there be one delusional daydream, there be many, and Lauren is my homegirl or more specifically, (cause let’s really get down to the nitty-gritty of my alternate reality while the coffee’s hot and brewing), Lorelei Gilmore, along with that magnificent mess of a mama we all know and love, Sarah Braverman.

Sitcoms have always been my solace and, okay, maybe “we” (our town, the state, our country) might be chomping at the bit to set off those sparklers or light our backyards on fire (I know I am) this festive Fourth, and yet (hold for dramatic pause here) I still feel far from ready to socialize, (at least with actual people). I’m not picnic-prepared, nor at my BBQ best, and not at all ready or willing to wield that watermelon knife or cut it up on the dance floor, (no one should ever have to bear witness to this, btw).

I guess you could say I’m not quite ready for Prime Time.

I’m still a big fan of the Fourth. The potato salad, corn on the cob, that dessert with the fruit and so much Cool Whip it has me singing that stupid song from Home Alone for days … ladies and gentlemen, it’s all about the food.

But without Lauren there, I’m not sure I’m up to the task. Who’s going to keep me talking fast when I’m buffering slower than the speed of our internet? Is the coffee crap at this picnic or is it just me? Surely, Lorelei would have an opinion or at least a way to find a decent cup. Does this dress make me look too much like a star-spangled tablecloth? Oh say can you see it the way Lorelei or Sarah would have been able to quickly assess and easily redress me out of that dining room apparel? And when my kids are flying higher than a grand old flag because they’ve had so much of that Cool Whip that it’s literally coming out of their nostrils … who, I ask you, has been there, done that, bought the T-shirt and franchised it? Go Fourth or Go Home. Every Lauren Graham character ever.

“We should have a picnic,” I announce boldly one night at dinner, surprising myself and my husband so much, he actually starts to convulse.

“Here? At our house?” he finally manages.

“Sure,” I say, accidentally knocking an entire glass of wine to the floor just as Junior freestyles a slice of watermelon, hurtling it through the air, lighting up like a Roman Candle as it hits his sister directly in the head, sending her into such a teary-eyed travesty, I almost pick up my phone to text Lauren, then remember we’re not actually friends. WWLD?

It’s hard to say. Not having actually met her poses some real challenges, as does separating fantasy from reality or cleaning watermelon off … well, everywhere. It’s generally on every surface of everything, including my still weepy 10-year-old.

I won’t say it’s been a long day because truly, home, in the summer, with the kids … what day feels short? Please, is it next Tuesday? Tell me now, so I have something to look forward to and because Lauren Graham is not, I repeat, not sitting in my living room and because it’s almost the Fourth of July and because I can’t think of anything in that moment that will stop the watermelon throwing and crying and hub’s lingering convulsions still pertaining to my picnic comment, I stand up, put my hand on my heart and start singing.

After all, I come from a long line of crazy people.

Columnist Lesley Kirschner grew up quiet, in the woods, and devoid of siblings so her hobbies quickly became reading, writing, and talking to inanimate objects. She also spent a considerable amount of time doing voice-overs for her dolls and watching too much daytime television–channel 3, sometimes channel 8, if the weather was good and the antenna wasn’t acting up. She was in attendance at school, graduated from a very much not notable college not worth mentioning, and was transplanted to Wilton with her husband, Ambler Farm‘s Farmer Jonathan and their (baby makes) three children almost a decade ago. Although she never quite found her calling in life, other than perhaps the doll voice-overs, which in hindsight were eerily convincing, she’s happy to try her hand at writing and is thankful for the support and community she found on Facebook’s Buy Nothing Wilton. Lesley realizes while this is all very exciting, she’s not winning a Pulitzer so she’ll wrap it up and be quiet. She’s had a lot of practice.