Two unrelated events recently washed past me, somehow tying together.
One was the death of Loretta Lynn (shown here), who died today (Oct. 4) at 90, peacefully in her bed. She wrote and sang great country stories … and lived a greater one. Try to catch the wonderful movie “Coal Miner’s Daughter” and/or PBS’ “American Masters” portrait of Lynn. Both reflect the legend that she was a wife at 13, a mother at 14, a grandmother at 31 — while emerging as a Nashville star.
(Only recently. that legend was modified. The real numbers, apparently, were 16, 17 and 34; three years were subtracted, adding to the mystique.)
And the other, oddly, was “Kevin Can F Himself.” I was watching a screener of the season-finale, which airs at 9 p.m. Monday (Oct. 10) on AMC.
Two women — the fictional Allison in “Kevin,” the real Loretta — found themselves in difficult marriages.
Allison’s solution was to fake her death and disappear. Only three people — Allison’s sometimes-boyfriend, her best friend Patty and Patty’s girlfriend — knew she was alive … and they didn’t know if they would ever see her again. On Monday, we’ll see that play out, with pain, surprises and a fiery finish.
Loretta’s solution was subtler. She wrote about real life — about a husband prone to alcohol and affairs.
There was much about him that she loved. This was the guy who believed in her; he bought her a guitar, encouraged her to sing, drove her to all those tiny radio stations, where she could beg disc jockeys to play her record.
The two settings here are different — Loretta’s real life in Kentucky and Nashville, Allison’s fictional one in Worchester, Mass. But both are blue-collar worlds, built around old images of strong men and warm women.
Fortunately, those images are fading slightly. The change is helped a little by shows like “Kevin” … and a lot by songwriters like Loretta Lynn and Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire and Miranda Lambert and more, forging new images of women taking control.