I first saw the movie trailer a few months ago. I think I was seeing “Pitch Perfect 2” that night. The preview for “Rikki and the Flash” had me smiling from the get-go: Meryl Streep playing an aging rock-star who comes home to the family she left behind when her daughter’s marriage falls apart. Meryl’s real-life daughter Mamie Gummer (who is great on my favorite show “The Good Wife”) plays her daughter in the movie. Kevin Kline plays her ex-husband. I love Kevin Kline. He was in my favorite movie of all time: “The Big Chill.” Audra McDonald is in it too, and I know that she’s a really good actress because I listen to the Broadway Channel on Sirius XM Radio and I have also seen her on the Tonys. She wins a lot of Tony Awards.
And then, it happened. Towards the end of the trailer, Rick Springfield appears on the screen as Meryl’s love interest. They are kissing in bed and grinding each other up against a parked car. He gives her motivational speeches on how to be a good parent. They both have long, stringy hair with what appear to be beads dangling from the bottom.
I was dazed and confused. It made no sense. Oscar-winner Meryl Streep is cuddling in bed with Dr. Noah Drake/Eli Love from General Hospital? Is something wrong with the projector at this movie theatre? Did I take an Ambien before I went to the movies? Am I actually asleep? If so, this is one of the strangest drug-induced dreams I have ever had.
But no, it was real. I was awake. I went through all the phases of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, and depression. Two worlds had collided. The only situation I could only possibly compare to this strange mash-up would be a scenario in which my middle school crush would meet my spouse. One fella existed in the same part of my brain as all of the other fun memories I had of being young and carefree; and the other was my husband. Both men are the exact same age, yet they each occupy different parts in my head.
Since this time, I have had some time to process this pairing. After careful consideration, I believe I have finally made peace with it. You see, Meryl and Rick do have some things in common. And while it wasn’t immediately apparent to me, I now understand how they can be co-stars in a film.
1. Rick Springfield started on “General Hospital” in 1981. So did Demi Moore. Both Rick and Demi remained on that show until 1983. Demi Moore married Bruce Willis. Bruce Willis was in a movie with Meryl Streep called “Death Becomes Her.” Therefore, Rick and Meryl have both acted with one of the parents of Rumer Willis.
2. They were each movie stars around 1985. In 1985, Meryl was in a movie called “Out of Africa” which won the Academy Award for best picture. At around the same time, Rick was in a movie called “Hard To Hold.” It had a 2.5/5 star rating on IMBD and has been called “hard to watch.”
3. Meryl Streep was in the movie “Mama Mia” based on the songs of Abba. Rick Springfield’s song “The Power of Love” was featured on a 1989 compilation of love songs called “The Love Collection Volume 4.” This same Collection also features “The Winner Takes All,” a song by Abba.
4. They both love the preposition “..Of the Heart.” Meryl was in a movie called “Music Of The Heart.” One of Rick’s most popular songs is called “Affair Of The Heart.”
5. Rick’s most famous song is “Jessie’s Girl” about an unnamed woman torn between two men: her boyfriend Jessie and his best friend, who harbors a secret crush on her. Meryl’s most famous movie is “Sophie’s Choice,” about a woman who has to choose which one of her children will die at a concentration camp during the Holocaust.
And so, I am now ready to accept the Meryl/Rick coupling. Just like that middle school crush of mine, I must accept that while I will always picture him on a rollerskating rink with a comb in his back pocket, I could also totally imagine him at a business dinner with my husband.
And just like the movie, I’m not really sure that I would want to be there to see them together.