Hollywood: The unknowing matchmaker
by Jill Effron
Who doesn’t want to find love like Meg and Tom did in two different Nora Ephron flicks? I know I did. I wanted to write about that kind of love and then have it come true. In fact, the very first screenplay I wrote, while doing my time as a receptionist, was about a date I went on that didn’t end the way I wanted to.
Being a writer, I discovered that I control the ending. The date(s) didn’t end the way I had hoped, but in my screenplay version they did. Clever, right? (Except it wasn’t real!)
Three years later, and with many bad dates and relationships to write about, I put pen to paper and wrote a play called, One. It was about being single and having friends who aren’t. In the play there were three different couples, all mirroring the couples I knew in real life. The couple that just got engaged and the man questions whether he made the right decision. The couple in which the woman was planning how he should propose and plotting out their life. And the newlywed couple that was already in a sexless marriage. Then there were two singletons that broke the fourth wall, and shared their true feelings about their friends and their relationships. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t using this play to put it out to the universe that I wanted to find him — “the one.”
While prepping for the play, I was working as a production assistant on That ’70s Show, and on the weekends I was managing a comedy funk band, The 7 Wonders of the World. One day my mother said to me, “You know, Jill, you can’t tuck a script into bed at night.” Little did she know how many scripts I have actually fallen asleep with in my bed. But I knew she meant I had too much on my plate to even consider finding “the one.”
The play ended a successful run, the band and I went our separate ways and I had been moved up to writers’ assistant on the show. I was now focused on writing TV spec scripts and finally content being single. While home for Thanksgiving, I went with some friends to the local bar, like I do every time I’m home. I see the same people and have the same conversation about which show I’m working on.
This particular Thanksgiving, as I was sipping a drink and scanning the room, I saw some guy I went to high school with doing the same. The last time I bumped into this guy was when he and his girlfriend were in L.A. visiting my roommate. I happen to exit my bedroom the same time he exited the other bedroom. We exchanged hellos.
Him: “What show are you working on?” (It’s like I’m Pavlov’s dog or something.)
Me: “Just Shoot Me!”
Me: “Very. Enjoy L.A.”
He said he would. And we went our separate ways.
Now there we were at a bar in our hometown, waiting to talk to a mutual friend. We exchanged hellos.
Him: “What show are you working on these days?” (It was déjà vu all over again.)
Me: “That ‘70s Show.”
Him: “I missed last week’s episode.”
Me: “If you email me your address, I’ll send you a copy.”
How’s that for a pick-up line?
A simple VHS tape in the mail turned into daily emails, which turned into IMs, which turned into Verizon’s stock soaring. Another trip home during a hiatus solidified that I, in fact, had found “the one.” But like in Sleepless in Seattle, my one lived across the country. And like in When Harry Met Sally… we had known each other for years. And just like every ending in a Nora Ephron romantic comedy, this chance meeting resulted in them living happily ever after.
We never saw Harry and Sally or Shop Girl and Joe Fox having kids, so who knows how “happy” they really, truly were in the end. You can’t tell me that after seven years of interrupted sleep Sally was still perky or still ordered her food with everything on the side. Why? Because who has time to sit and/or eat, let alone in a restaurant?!
… And that is how Hollywood played a major role in the real life movie version of When Jill Met Her Husband…
(roll credits)Tags: Hollywood, Jill Effron, Just Shoot Me!, Love, Love and romance in Hollywood, Nora Ephron, Real life romance, Romantic comedy, Screenwriter, Sleepless in Seattle, Television, That '70s Show, The 7 Wonders of the World, Valentine's Day, When Harry Met Sally...