Among the questions that never get answered in "The Greatest Love Story Ever Told,” Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman’s relationship memoir, is the one you probably most want to ask: Will they adopt me? But over the course of several breezy recorded conversations (and a few delightful essays), the happily married actors cover nearly everything else — just as playfully, endearingly and wait-why-can’t-I-be-their-legal-offspring-again-ingly as you might expect.
When they were cast together in a play in 2000, Mullally was already two seasons into her Emmy-winning role as acerbic, pill-popping lush Karen on “Will & Grace,” and Offerman was still nine years from achieving icon status as the macho, whiskey-swilling perma-skeptic Ron Swanson on “Parks and Recreation.” The tender courtship that followed would have made their romance-averse characters ill: Offerman, instantly smitten, slept on Mullally’s couch after dates for months until, she jokes, “He got to sleep in the big-boy bed.”
In between gushing, they dig into their respective childhoods (his was “like a Norman Rockwell painting;” hers, a “Fellini movie”), past relationships, and pre-break Hollywood days. They parse through childhood memories — like Offerman painting a “two-story decrepit farmhouse that we got for free” and living “out in the middle of the country, with a house my dad ... rolled there on a flatbed.” Or Mullally belting out a trio of show tunes at her high school’s morning chapel service (“I’m pretty sure I lap danced the principal”) — that could convince you they’d been auditioning for Ron and Karen their entire lives. (Especially Mullally, who admits she “mysteriously attracted to myself a number of fully gay men who, for whatever reason, wanted to make out with me.”)
Mullally and Offerman are aware that they represent “#couplegoals” for most of America: “We’ve always been paranoid that if we get into a scrape at the grocery store, it’s going to be running on a chyron on CNN,” Mullally says. But it’s fully earned, considering that after huge success, gobs of money and 18 years together, their simpatico vibes — on everything from music to artistry to religion to fame — can literally fill a book.
The free-flowing conversation format tends to make things repetitive — how many times can one married couple talk about bedding? (Wait, don’t answer that.) But it also makes you feel privy to a world that’s uniquely theirs, as though you’re sitting beside them at the kitchen table while they solve their beloved jigsaw puzzles. That’s about as close to legal adoption as you’re likely to get.
Rachel Rosenblit is a freelance writer and editor in New York.
An Oral History
By Megan Mullally and Nick Offerman
Dutton. 288 pp. $28.