Love is a many-splendored thing, especially when you’re gawking at it from the outside. In this column, we’ll be examining the celebrity couples—or, occasionally, good friends—that give us hope for our own romantic futures and trying to learn what we can from their well-documented bonds.
When I saw that Abbott Elementary star Lisa Ann Walter—a.k.a. Chessy from The Parent Trap—brought Elaine Hendrix, a.k.a. Meredith from The Parent Trap, a.k.a. the object of one of my longest-standing childhood crushes, as her date to the 2023 SAG Awards on Sunday, I let out a noise that could only be produced by someone with a deep and lasting familiarity with Nancy Meyers’s oeuvre. (Yes, The Parent Trap is a Nancy Meyers movie, which people often forget due to its relative lack of spotless, all-white kitchens.)
Walter and Hendrix have been best friends for the last 20-plus years, so it’s not that surprising that they would pull a Busy-and-Michelle and show up on the red carpet together. Still, their appearance still has me thunderstruck, largely because it’s so exactly what I want to see happen. I think so often about Chessy—she of the denim shirts, no-nonsense attitude, and (I’ll say it) vague lesbian vibe that was not dispelled by her character ending up with a guy—and a significant corner of my heart is still reserved for Meredith, the world’s hottest, meanest, blondest, red-lipstick-wearingest impending stepmom. How amazing is it that they’re still BFFs?
Seeing these two at the SAGs felt like a blast from the past in a way that I could actually appreciate, as opposed to when award shows devote precious time to clips from old movies that I’m simply never going to see. (Listen, I already outed myself as a Nancy Meyers stan; I guess it’s now time for me to admit that, with the notable exception of mob movies, I haven’t watched a non-rom-com in years.) I mean, is there a ’90s child on earth who isn’t a little bit soothed, knowing that two major members of the The Parent Trap cast are still having adventures together?
I happen to be obsessed with Walter’s role as the tough-talking, mushy-hearted, deeply Italian-from-Philly teacher Melissa Schemmenti on Abbott Elementary, so when I saw Hendrix on the red carpet, I hoped it was because she was forging a comeback of her own in some show or prestige film that hadn’t happened to cross my path. Learning that Hendrix was just escorting Walter, though—in a beautifully tailored suit, no less!—was somehow even better than seeing her in a TV series or movie. Hollywood people love to talk about how their castmates are just their best friends in the world, but those friendships seem to evaporate the moment the press cycle is over, signifying little more than the BFF equivalent of a fickle showmance. After two decades, though, nobody could accuse Walter and Hendrix of faking their friendship—and once you go to the SAG Awards together, you can never go back!