October 10, 1995
Web posted at: 1:25 a.m. EDT
From Correspondent Jill Brooke
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- The statistics say one in two marriages fail, and with many people never marrying, there are more single people than ever before. So Hollywood is tapping into the single market for new material.
With all the messy divorces, and with all the miserable dates, no wonder so many people are single. "It ain't easy being single," said Jonathan Silverman, star of the TV show "The Single Guy."
According to surveys, a record 40 percent of U.S. citizens are either single, divorced or widowed. Many in this demographic will remain single for their lifetime. As a result, single people are now seen in shows ranging from "Caroline in the City" to "Can't Hurry Love."
Just recently, Murphy Brown, a character who has always been on the cultural cutting edge, decided she was more suited for single life and turned down a marriage proposal. The choice to be single is a plot device that would have been inconceivable 20 years ago, says Candace Bushnell, a columnist for the New York Observer who writes about single life.
"I think that one of the things that has changed the perception is that there are so many more single people," said Bushnell. "In New York City, it's 47 percent. When you have that many people who are single, they have a bigger voice and they're more willing to speak and say, 'We're not miserable, we're not sitting at home waiting for Mr. or Ms. Right, we're having a good time.' And I think single people have better friendships."
Many say that when you're single, friends often fulfill the role that husbands or wives once did. Even on "Seinfeld," all the 30-something characters are still single and their friends have become a surrogate family.
The emphasis on friendships instead of marriage is evident in all types of media, including Broadway. "The marriages come and go but your friendships stay, which is the opposite of what it used to be, so that there will be people in our lives for 30 years and often it is not your husband, it's your women friends, male friends with whom you come of age," said playwright Wendy Wasserstein.
Single people used to feel defensive if they did not marry,
but these new portrayals are debunking the myth that only
marriage leads to happiness. Bushnell feels more attention
could be given to single life. "There are so few marriages
which are happy and the media should emphasize what's great
about being single," she said.
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