Fantasizing About Erica Barry, the Playwright in the Movie “Something’s Gotta Give”

SomethingsGottaGive After watching, the first time, “Something’s Gotta Give,” I fell in love with the female lead, Erica Barry, played by Diane Keaton.

Erica writes plays and has become a Broadway phenom doing just that. Her success spills over into her daily life of writing in a gorgeous beach house in the Hamptons. She makes daily trips to a fresh produce market in her neighborhood where all the other successful people meet up. She gets into a bit of trouble when her 30-ish-aged daughter, an auctioneer for Sotheby’s, brings home a wealthy and much older man named Harry, played by Jack Nicholson. One thing, as it will, leads to another and within minutes we see Erica and Harry start to connect, albeit with much fury and anger at first but it’s obvious they have some unspoken attraction for one another. Each is the other’s intellectual equal.

After watching this movie the fourteenth time, my enjoyment of the story itself remains but I began to notice other things about Erica, the writer, that don’t necessarily resonate in me, the writer. The decor of her house, for example, looks light and fresh, immaculately clean even and very, very white. Her house sparkles. She wears black with zero sign of animal hair anywhere. That seems off to me. I mean, a day not pulling several cat hairs from my nose, mouth and eyes, would feel as if I was still sleeping, still dreaming. Not conscious.

When Erica goes to the kitchen, she knows the exact ingredients with which to make Coq au Vin and even pancakes. I always thought pancakes were made from a box and who the f— (sorry) knows the recipe for Coq au Vin without running first to Julia Child’s Mastering the Art of French Cooking?

Obviously, these aren’t real people. Oh, sure. I hear you say, “Um, Susan, it’s a MOVIE!”

But I have to disagree. It’s not a movie. Not to me. Not anymore. After watching twenty or, maybe it’s been forty times, these people have become my friends. They’re real! Darnit.

Okay, I sense we’ve shifted into another realm here. Let’s get back to my point.

Her house is clean! I don’t know any writer whose house is clean. Not unless he is (or she is) married to a woman who only cleans! And, you never once see Erica’s maid slip in and out with a mop, a vacuum or a dust rag. There’s no scotch either. It’s mind-boggling the discrepancies in this flick. You’d think people would rise up in revolt, attack Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros., drag the producers out by their shoelaces and hang them upside-down on this movie’s invisible clothesline as an example to we REAL writers who cannot stomach these ludicrous portrayals of writers any longer.

I’m not saying writers are pigs. No. Well… wait. Well, no. I’m just saying, “We ain’t Erica Barry either!” Nothing like her for that matter. She’s tight as a drum. We’re loose like the seat of my sweat pants. Her hair is perfect. We’re like: “Hair? I have to brush my hair?” She’s all about, “Hellooo. May I dish you up some Coq au Vin that I just whipped up after working all day on my manuscript and not cleaning my perfectly clean home and not washing, blow-drying or putting product into my perfectly groomed hair.” We’re, “Um. I have Cheez-Its. Want some?”

I think it a cruel joke to play on our public, making writers out to be so wonderful when we’re nearly the thing that climbed out of the water and started the whole tadpole-to-human link.

So, please. Pull the bar down about 50 notches. Tell the real story. If not for them–our adoring public–then, for us, the bums.

I felt the need to rant. I’m actually taking a break from writing guest posts for the SPIDER BRAINS Blog Tour to write this. Shhh. Don’t tell Dorothy. She’d kill me.

Tomorrow, I’m blogging about my new video cam which, when I turned it on this morning, the image portrayed me as a cat! Holy Sha-Moly! I’m morphing into kitty. What next?

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