Drew Barrymore, that is. I've always had a fondness for this slightly ditsy blonde actress, maybe because we are the same age and I grew up watching her grow up on screen. I know it sounds weird, but as a kid I used to like to watch a movie called Irreconcilable Differences, a film in which Ryan O'Neil and Shelley Long fight a lot and eventually get a divorce.
Yeah, I know - I was a strange child. Anyway, Ms. Barrymore was in it, and of course she was also in E.T., which was one of the first movies I ever saw in the cinema, so I feel like I've "known" her forever.
When I was about 14 I entered my "no one understands me/textbook teen angst" phase, so I rebelled by wearing head-to-toe black every day, listening to moody pre-goth music like The Cure, The Doors, Led Zeppelin, Depeche Mode, and the like, and generally acting mopey and depressed like doing so was my job. My parents were strict, a fact which both added to my melancholy and kept me from doing anything truly stupid like tattooing Sinead O'Connor lyrics onto my ankle or going to 3rd base with a senior named Simon.
While I was breaking my parents' hearts, Drew was in and out of rehab and making movies like the craptastic Poison Ivy. Like me, Drew was going through a bad girl phase and was rebelling whenever possible. Unlike me, Drew had no parental supervision.
By the time I was 18 and in college I had snapped out of my morose woe-is-me phase and settled into the culture of my university. I grew my hair even longer and even straighter, I wore hemp jewelry and had flower patches on my jeans. I celebrated 4:20 at every opportunity and devoted myself to being a "nouveau hippy." Photos of me from this era show me flashing the peace sign with red-rimmed eyes surrounded by a similar band of comfortably-suburban kids who always managed to make it to their classes and earn decent grades even while being blitzed out of their skulls day and night.
Drew, meanwhile, was deep into her bubbly flower girl phase, and had by then posed for Playboy. You all know I have always been a big Playboy fan, so I am not ashamed to admit that I greedily peeked at Drew's goods one drunken night. I found myself and a few girlfriends in the dingy bathroom of a houseful of our male friends, and there it was, just lying there. Girlfriend looked pretty damn good, I must say, and we all ooh'ed and ahh'ed appreciatively until the guys started to wonder what was keeping us in there.
Embarrassingly enough, in our late twenties and early thirties Drew and I both put on a few pounds. In my defense, I had some health troubles and then I gave birth to two rather large babies. Regardless of our respective reasons, Drew's melons became the sag heard round the world when she (regrettably) went bra-less to the Golden Globes (!) one year. I was never happier to be a nobody than when the whole world made fun of her jugs.
The good news is that Drew is wealthy and could enlist the help of a personal trainer and nutritionist (and possibly a plastic surgeon), because soon she was back to her pert and svelte self. In my case it took a bit longer, but I'm happy to report that I'm back in my old jeans and I don't feel like a float in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade... most days. Of course, La Bev at her smallest is still quite a bit bigger than La Drew, I'm sure, but so be it.
Last weekend Drew was on SNL and she announced that she has hosted the show more times than any other woman in the show's history. I felt undeniably and a little perversely proud of her, as if I too could share in her achievement. She has lampooned herself on the show often enough, including appearing with comically pendulous breasts in the same green dress that caused all the ruckus, that I think we'd probably get along pretty well IRL. I do so appreciate a self-deprecating wit, after all.
This week's opening clip showed her poking fun at her family's long history in show business and I laughed, and then I marvelled at the fact that she's famous even though she has a speech impediment and is relatively average-looking. Sure, part of her fame came by virtue of her last name, but how to explain her staying power over the years? Talent, that's how, and kindness. Something tells me that she's simply a nice person and people like working with her, which is kind of rad.
Hulu only has the whole episode. Go to the 5:30 mark to see the opening clip I just mentioned.
So there it is. I'm a fan, and Drew is one of the few celebs who I'm rooting for to succeed and for whom I wish good things. Even if she did once marry Tom Greene... we'll give her a mulligan on that one.