As I write this (around 1:30 am Pacific Standard Time, Friday), I don’t know the status of Luke Perry. I’ve been thinking about him all day — even though I had plenty of pressing IRL stuff to deal with.
This isn’t to say that this isn’t serious real life business for Luke Perry or his actual friends and family. And while it feels a little silly when I write it — it actually feels bizarrely real life to me personally.
For those living under a rock without wifi, let me catch you up. Luke Perry, 52, who skyrocketed to fame Dylan McKay on Beverly Hills, 90210 and has had quite the resurgence in recent years as Fred Andrews on Riverdale, has been in the hospital “under observation” after reportedly suffering a massive stroke. He was responsive when the paramedics arrived, but then his condition quickly deteriorated.
Entertainment media has been rather dickish about the whole thing using it as a vehicle to drop the news that Fox had just announced their 90210 limited summer series — of which the door was being left open for Perry and Shannen Doherty (the show’s real stars) to still join the line-up. And then there were also quite a few stories about what the other 90210 “stars” were tweeting, etc.
Not to be a conspiracy theorist, but did the fine folks in Fox PR will this happen — if not actually slip something in the man’s drink? Timing’s…odd. Riverdale was just renewed, as well. I hate that this is the way my mind works. I process emotional distress with diversion — usually humor, but sometimes with outlandish plots to explain the irony.
Tragedy befalling one of my TV boyfriends hits me hard. I am willing to not only admit this, but also refuse to apologize for it. For a lot of us, TV is intimate because it’s in our home, sometimes actually next to us in our beds. It’s what we turn to when we are alone, when we are sad, when we need to escape. It never judges us for eating the whole pint of Cherry Garcia between Hulu commercial breaks.
We know the people on TV are not real, but sometimes they can feel a little real in the moment. And I have found that one of the best methods of bonding with other humans has come from talking about the storylines on our shows and our TV crushes.
And it’s just not the same with movie characters or in books. In my experience only the nerdiest among us seem to translate the same emotions with literary boyfriends — and when I’ve found a kindred book geek that actually reads all the same things I do, we usually end up talking endlessly about the female characters.
Now, Luke Perry/Dylan McKay isn’t my top ranking pretend TV boyfriend, but he held that title through most of the 90’s (sometimes flip-flopping around the top 3 with Kyle MacLaughlin/Agent Dale Cooper and David Duchovny/Agent Fox Mulder — meaning he was the ranking non-FBI character for at least a decade). Currently, he’s still in the Top 10, thanks to being in slobbering distance from me in a Comic-Con press room during the Riverdale launch. He looked in my direction (PCS boss lady Adriane was there too, but I want to pretend he was really just looking at me alone) and said, “Hi Ladies” or something like that (it was kind of a blur) and then he gave the Dylan look — right there in person, into my eyes. He knew his target audience in that room. Just thinking about it now my stomach is infested with butterflies. I know I giggled and blushed in the moment, but it’s a miracle that I was able to stay standing and take pictures.
This is the power of Luke Perry.
Plus if you read the #LukePerry bits of Twitter you will find out that he’s a helluva a nice dude. (And you’ll also see lots of doctors pointing out that strokes happen to lots of people under 60, so you need to be aware of the signs).
And this just makes me more angry that the media has been focusing on the 90210 series announcement. And not been giving more updates.
Get well Luke Perry. Please get well.