Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Hall Pass

A married man has the urge, but things get crazy when wives do, too.

Free Pass

As committed as they were to fidelity in their marriage, 'B' and 'N' had one surprising exception... An open-ended deal for a free pass.

If they ever "got the chance" to bed the one celebrity fantasy figure they'd designated beforehand, they'd given each other permission to go for a one-nighter without guilt, shame and/or recriminations.

"Without success," I thought when I first heard of it... In our early 30s none of us looked likely to be cast in "Indecent Proposal." Mocking shock, I asked why the hell 'B' had even brought up the subject.

'B' & 'N' were total New Yorkers. It was where they grew up, married and I where met them. But business had smiled on 'B' and brought him (all expenses paid) to Los Angeles, where I worked at the time... More importantly, it was the magic fantasy land where dreams came true, of everyday chance star encounters and home of Meredith Baxter-Birney...
His free pass!

His initial exposure was the lone season of "Bridget Loves Bernie." The show's premise featured the marriage between a wealthy Irish Catholic teacher (Bridget) and a Jewish cab driver (Bernie) whom she met at a bus stop.

You know he's from New York, but did I mention 'B' was a trial lawyer? He ripped the short-lived show to shreds with prosecutorial fervor:
  1. If she's wealthy, why is she waiting for public transit?
  2. If he's a real cab driver, why isn't he at a taxi stand?
  3. And if transport brought them together, why not his cab?
He didn't have a problem with the then controversial "mixed marriage" angle... Happens all the time in NY. And he was willing to stipulate to the court that they were young, good-looking and to the plausibility of physical attraction resulting in a dance without pants.

When 'B' made his pick she was cast as Nancy Lawrence Maitland (of "Family " 1976-1980), a quickly married & divorced young mother who had walked in on her husband Jeff (John Rubinstein) making love to one of her friends in the first episode. As he explained his deal, 'B' pictured Meredith's fantastic figure in lightweight sweaters perfect for Pasadena. She had not yet become TV uber-Mom Elyse Keaton (of "Family Ties" 1982-1989)... Different setting and different sweaters.

Expired Pass

I don't know what happened to 'B's' dream; whether he "recast;" or even if he's still married to 'N'... But the real life Meredith changed teams in 2005 after 3 marriages and 5 kids; revealed the switch in 2009 to beat a gossip tabloid expo; and at age 63 is promoting her book -- "Untied: A Memoir of Family, Fame, and Floundering."
Meredith Baxter on CBC radio's Q with Jian Ghomeshi 3/4/11.

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