In today’s episode of Daily BuzzFeed, we’ve broken down major pop culture headlines AND discussed what exactly a parasocial relationship is and why so many people seem to be one with John Mulaney. You can listen below or scroll down to learn more about the interview!
BuzzFeed Daily: Anyone who spends time on Twitter has likely seen the term “parasocial relationship” popping up on their News Feed in the past few months. But for people who are not extremely online, can you explain what this means exactly and maybe give us a bit of the story behind it?
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Madison Malone Kircher: Sure. It’s actually much, much easier than it looks, as there’s a good chance every person listening to this has been in a parasocial relationship and not knowing that there was a psychological term for it. . So parasocial relationships: it’s a term that comes from the 1950s, a group of researchers in Chicago who coined it to describe the way people – me too – that we all feel when you watch a TV show. TV or listening to a podcast or watching a movie and you feel like a friend to an actor or a celebrity – you know that person, you understand them, they know you, you know, your friends, except that in reality, Taylor Swift and I are not friends. It’s a parasocial relationship.
BuzzFeed Daily: The reason the term has been all over Twitter this year is because of everything that happened with John Mulaney, of his time in detoxification, To his divorce from Anna Marie Tendler, To her new relationship with Olivia Munn, what makes everyone talk about “parasocial relation this” and “parasocial relation that”?
BuzzFeed Daily: The title of your article is “John Mulaney Doesn’t owe You Squats.” So I’m curious, why do you think people think he owes them something? Also, what do you think they feel owed?
BuzzFeed News: One thing that really struck me was how selective people seem to be about his public personality. John Mulaney has talked a lot about being an addict on his specials. He’s talked a lot about the craziness and craziness of his life at times. But what everyone seems to be clinging to is his relationship with his now ex-wife, which he said seemed rather ideal. So why were people just hanging on to the spotlessly clean part of John Mulaney and somehow ignoring the darker things he’d been telling us about in years?
BuzzFeed Daily: You touched on that a bit – a lot of people also seem shocked that he is having a child because he repeatedly mentioned in his stand-up that he and his wife didn’t want children. Now, not only is he hanging out with Olivia Munn just a few months after her divorce, but he has a baby with her. How much do you think this contributes to people’s disappointment?
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MMK: Oh, a ton, right? I think I hear someone [who’s] 1) famous and 2) makes you laugh, smile and feel good in general saying it’s OK that you didn’t want to have kids is so heartwarming to so many people in a society where it’s like, “You Turned 30 – say hello to Instagram Ads, bitch. You wanna freeze your eggs? Great. “That’s a big turnaround. It’s like, “Oh, where’s my figurehead for happy adults without kids? I thought it was you, John.”