In today’s episode of BuzzFeed Daily, we broke down the top pop culture headlines AND discussed what a parasocial relationship really is and why so many people seem to be in one with John Mulaney. You can listen below or scroll down to read more about the interview!
BuzzFeed Daily: Anyone who spends time on Twitter has probably seen the term “parasocial relationship” appear on their feed over the last few months. But for people who are not extremely online, can you explain what that means exactly and maybe give us a little bit of the story behind?
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Madison Malone Kircher: Of course. It is actually much, much easier than it sounds, for the chances are real that every person listening to this has been in a parasocial relationship and did not know that there was a psychological term for it. So Parasocial Relationships: It’s a term dating back to the 1950s, from a set of Chicago researchers who invented it to describe the way people – including me – feel when we all watch a TV show, or you’re listening to a podcast or watching a movie and you feel like you’re a friend of an actor or a celebrity – you know this person, you get them, they know you, you know them, your friends, except in reality, Taylor Swift and I are not friends. It is a parasocial relationship.
BuzzFeed Daily: So the reason the term has been everywhere on Twitter this year is everything that has been going on with John Mulaney, from his rehabilitation time, to his divorce from Anna Marie Tendler, to his new relationship with Olivia Munn, what is it specifically about him who has all gone “parasocial relation this” and “parasocial relation that”?
BuzzFeed Daily: The title of your play is “John Mulaney Doesn’t Owe You Squat.” So I’m curious, why do you think people feel he owes them something? And what do you also think they feel guilty about?
BuzzFeed News: One thing that really caught my eye is how selective people seem to be about his public figure. John Mulaney has talked a lot about being an addict in his stand-up deals. He has talked a lot about how wild and crazy his life has been at certain points. But what everyone seems to be grabbing at is his relationship with his now ex-wife, who at his expense seemed pretty ideal. So why did people just grab the squeaky clean part of John Mulaney and kind of ignore the darker things he had been telling us about for years?
BuzzFeed Daily: You brought this up a bit- many people also seem shocked that he is having a baby because he has mentioned several times in his stand-up that he and his wife did not want children. Now he not only moves on with Olivia Munn just months after his divorce, but has a baby with her. How much do you think it affects people’s disappointment?
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MMK: Oh, a ton, right? I think to hear someone [who’s] 1) famous and 2) makes you laugh and smile and feel good in general saying that it is OK that you do not want children is so comforting to so many people in a society where it is like, “You turned 30 – say hello to Instagram ads, bitch. Do you want to freeze your eggs? Fantastic. “It’s a big turnaround. It’s like, “Oh, where did my head for the childless happy adults go? I thought it was you, John.”
We also discussed JoJo Siwa, who shouted Nickelodeon on Twitter about some contract terms she was unhappy with.
In other news, it appears that Julianne Hough heard the backlash against CBS ‘upcoming reality show The activist, who would see activists compete against each other to raise money for their cause, loud and clear.
As always, thank you for listening! And if you ever want to suggest stories or just say hello, you can reach us at [email protected] or on Twitter @BuzzFeedDaily.