The sad news came late Friday afternoon: Mad Men’s Elisabeth Moss and Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen had split up less than ten months after getting married. And this weekend, it was difficult to stop obsessing over this unexpected breakup. This was a couple we celebrated, whose union seemed scientifically engendered to bring together two different breeds of hipsters (drama snobs and comedy nerds, unite!). They were like the cool, younger siblings of Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins (who at least stuck it out for 23 years. Ten months! We’ve had longer relationships with people we didn’t even like). They were a couple that you could feel good about and like to think would invite you to a dinner party. With them gone, now what couple are you supposed to feel uncynical about?
Sometimes a couple emerges from the pack of Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewans, Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgens (hell, even all those Brangelinas and TomKats) that seems — from an incredibly superficial perspective based solely on the entertainment we enjoy — to be a love that is right. It’s not like when stars of things we don’t like get together: When Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray broke up after five months of marriage, we snickered at their folly, and when Carrie Underwood revealed that she and Chace Crawford broke up via text, we couldn’t help but laugh. Granted, we know nothing about these people, on either side of the argument: For all we know, the Tatum-Dewans will be happily married for 50 years, and there’s no reason to assume that the Armisen-Mosses had a stable, sensible foundation: A ten-month-long marriage certainly rivals a text breakup for celebrity-relationship flightiness.
And yet, we continue to root for romance based entirely on résumés. When we heard that Kate Winslet was getting divorced from Sam Mendes, we had the same sinking feeling. If they can’t make it, what with their money, good looks, and better-than-average reviews, what chance do we all have? (Actually, we unfamous people, what with our average looks and mortgages, have a much, much better chance of sticking out our marriages. But it’s just not as glamorous a prospect.) And so, we’re still a little sad about Moss and Armisen, though probably not as sad as anyone who, you know, has any personal contact with them. And we still have Maggie Gyllenhaal and Peter Sarsgaard holding down the fort of celebrity couples whose marriages we’d really like to see last. Pressure’s on, guys!