Not everyone is going to understand what the fuck you’re doing. What could possibly be driving you to explore your pain in such objectively humiliating and oversharing ways thanks to the dark magic of social media. But there might be just one person among the crowd of about five even vaguely interested in your output who will. Who can, if not entirely relate, at least partially comprehend what you’re trying to express and why.
However, in a million years, Maribelle could never have imagined that one of those people would be Ryan Gosling. Beautiful, pussy-lipped Ryan Gosling, who hadn’t been doing much of late after participating in kind of an ill-advised sequel to Blade Runner and continuing to wax poetic about Eva Mendes. It made Maribelle wonder what sort of antics she must have been capable of in a bedroom setting to keep him so consistent in his statements of passion for her. And as such, why he would bother reaching out to someone as non-caramel complexioned as her to express support for her series of videos clearly indicating she was growing increasingly out of touch with reality (evermore a subjective concept anyway thanks to most “spaces” not being tangible anymore).
Posted on all platforms–YouBoob, Insta-Ram, Twithead, the gamut–Gosling unearthed the collection by searching for his own name among the hashtags (never underestimate the overlying narcissism and self-interest of a celebrity). It was then that he came across Maribelle re-enacting the scene from The Notebook in the rain in which she plays both characters, committed to each role by donning wigs and similar costumes to what Noah and Allie would wear if they were living in the post-10s Midwest. She also re-worked the dialogue to fit what would actually be said between two people who had broken up and met with one another years later to get some things off of their chest as opposed to the blatant cinematic falsity of a rendering, one such example of Maribelle’s rewritten script including:
“You’re a fuckboy and a broke ass and I fucking hate you!”
“You’re a straight up dumb bitch and you’re too old to fuck now anyway!”
These exchanges she would make without even switching the camera off, letting her iPhone “roll” on god knows what makeshift camera stand she had inveigled. And while Maribelle explored a wide range of films for re-creations of romance-oriented scenes in ways that, she felt, were currently more believable, she really got into the headspace of the many minds she was slipping into. For instance, she thought the end of Pretty Woman would be more accurate if Kit and Vivian started throwing water balloons filled with lye at Edward when he tried to climb the fire escape, screaming, “You bitch ass pussy afraid of heights! Whatchu think she gon’ fall for a man who can’t even take her skydiving? Or to the fucking Empire State Building?”
Ryan, entranced by the blatant place of sadness and despair–the overt message that said Maribelle had been duped like so many others into still believing that romance of a Hollywood movie variety could exist in real life–that the videos were coming from, watched each and every single one back-to-back one late Wednesday night. There were about twenty-two offerings, each ranging from five to ten minutes. Ryan was alone in the office of his David Lynch-approved Los Feliz home (somewhere around Los Feliz Boulevard, just close enough to walk to Griffith Park), sipping from brandy on ice because that’s what his public would expect him to do as one of the only “masculine” lead actors remaining in the industry.
Riveted with each of the clips, including all the ones that pertained to his own movies (Drive, Only God Forgives and La La Land among the selection–Blue Valentine did not make the cut as it was already realistic enough), Gosling discovered her email address after doing some light research and decided to extend an unusual opportunity to her: the chance to use his celebrity as a means to promote the videos as an art show at a gallery he was planning to buy near Vermont Avenue.
Maribelle, who was in the midst of readjusting a new wig she had just purchased at a store on Hollywood Boulevard whose wares she hadn’t sampled before this moment, almost threw up from anxiousness when she caught sight of Ryan Gosling as the sender responsible for the ping notifying her of a new message in her inbox. To open it and find his proposition so plainly and compassionately laid forth almost made Maribelle cry. Almost. But that would have prompted her eyelash glue to get fucked up and she needed to film a scene of herself as Molly Ringwald in Sixteen Candles sitting alone kissing no one on her birthday before she could ruin her carefully put-together look (even though Ringwald had no eyelashes, she still wanted to glam up the original scene a bit).
Soon, Gosling was spearheading the project of promotion once Maribelle gave her sanction for him to do so. In the following weeks, she would give interviews to her mother’s favorite shows, Extra and Access Hollywood. When they asked her how she came up with the concept behind these videos, or vignettes, as Lana Del Rey would call them, Maribelle explained:
“I don’t know, I guess it all started about a year ago, when I was recoiling from the outside world after someone close to me broke my trust. I decided that every movie I had ever seen was responsible for conditioning me to believe that just because you love someone, it will–has to–work out in the end. So yeah, all these videos are coming from a place of rage, isolation and a total psychotic break. I’m surprised on the one hand that Ryan responded to them, but then again, considering some of his work–you know, like Lars and the Real Girl, I can see why he would take an interest in what I’m doing with this project.”
With the success of the video installation as art show, Maribelle was soon shuffled into the strange new world of TV, or what was left of it in conventional form. Slapped with a contract and a deadline, Maribelle was expected to churn out ten episodes for a new scripted parody series on FX that would be produced by Gosling himself, at this point less gushing about her work and more interested in yielding a profit on the way in which he had taken a risk on her that he wanted to pay off in some way more literally than it thus far had. He wasn’t running a charity based on use of his famous moniker, after all.
So Maribelle set to work, writing feverishly almost day and night. No idea was too sparse or unformed for her to risk putting it to the page so that she would have a complete product to turn into the network.
At the end of four weeks, when no one had even bothered to pop in and check how she was doing or why she hadn’t answered any of her one hundred and three texts or thirty-five missed phone calls, Ryan finally decided to walk over to the apartment complex she lived in by the part of Glendale that hovers just near the L.A. River. With his dog in tow, Ryan went unnoticed in sunglasses and “commoner’s clothes.”
He knocked on the door to the apartment purposefully, hearing muffled chatter behind it. “Maribelle!” he screamed finally. The voices cut short abruptly.
Three minutes later, she answered the door. Makeup was smeared all over her face and the long aquamarine wig she was wearing had cereal encrusted in it. “Hello?”
“Maribelle, what the fuck is going on? What the hell have you been doing?”
Maribelle stared at him blankly. “Who’s Maribelle? I’m ‘Tobacconist in Fellini Film.'”
Ryan blinked at her, waiting for her to say that she was joking. It was then he had to admit that the psychotic break had genuinely occurred. And in this iteration it was no longer marketable.
“Oh, uh, my apologies,” he said sputteringly as he backed away with his whimpering and equally as terrified dog. “Wrong apartment.”
“Apartment? This is a tabaccheria.”
“Yes, that’s what I meant,” he assured, practically running down the street as Maribelle shrugged and closed the door.
He called the suits at FX as soon as he got back home to tell them to pull the plug. That’s the thing about psychotics: you never know when they’re going to stop being charming and start getting scary.