Art Imitating Life... in Personally Awkward Ways
When you realize you're the antagonist in a song that helped define the 90s.
I can think of relatively few pop-culture revelations that have stayed funny for decades, but one in particular is still joked about among members of the Daly family whenever a specific 90’s rock song comes on the radio.
I’m talking about Alanis Morissette’s iconic “You Oughta Know” (off her breakthrough “Jagged Little Pill” album), and the once incomprehensible epiphany that the sexually vindictive tune was written about former “Full House” star, Dave Coulier (who played Uncle Joey).
It really did feel like an urban legend at first. I mean, how could this lovable family-show comedian, mostly remembered for impersonating classic cartoon characters, possibly be the focus of such relationship-rage? It drew a slew of other questions as well…
If the two had in fact gone out, how on earth did that come about, and what could they have had in common? Did they really engage in public sex acts? Just how consequential of a boyfriend could Coulier have possibly been?
Then again, people like me only knew Coulier as the character he portrayed. He was an actor. There may have been little in common between the man himself and the colorfully dressed, feather-haired fellow who brought laughter and smiles to the faces of his TV nieces by pretending to be Popeye the Sailor Man.
In fact, there had already been some Full House precedent on this type of thing. Bob Saget, prior to landing the role of good-natured single-father Danny Tanner, had made a name for himself as a very raunchy, adult-oriented stand-up comic.
What I think has inadvertently given the Morissette/Coulier story such a long shelf-life was that neither individual would confirm the rumors for a very long time. I’m not sure Morissette ever has, and Coulier waited over a decade after the song had become an enormous hit to do so (and even then, he was pretty low-key about it).
But there was an update on that front just last week, when Coulier appeared on a SiriusXM talk-show. He was asked point-blank about first realizing “You Oughta Know” was about him. And this time, he provided a pretty in-depth answer.
After confirming that Morissette was indeed writing “Jagged Little Pill” while they saw each other in the 90s, he said:
“Here’s the story. I’m driving in Detroit and I’ve got my radio on and I hear the hook for ‘You Oughta Know’, come on the radio. And I’m like, ‘Wow, this is a really cool hook.’ And then I start hearing the voice. I’m like, ‘Wow, this girl can sing.’ And I had no idea, you know, that this was the record. And then I was like, umm, listening to the lyrics going, ‘Ooh, oh no. Oh, I can’t be this guy.’
And I went to the record store, bought the CD and I went and I parked on a street and I listened to the whole record. And there was a lot of familiar stuff in there that her and I had talked about. Like ‘your shake is like a fish,’ you know — I’d go, ‘Hey, dead fish me,’ you know, and we’d do this dead fish handshake. And so I started listening to it and I thought, ‘Ooh, I think I may have really hurt this woman, and that was my first thought.”
Coulier added that he and Morissette reconnected years later, and now have an amicable friendship. He has nothing but good things to say about her, which I think is pretty cool.
Now, the artistic influence Coulier unwittingly had on Morissette might sound, at first, to be quite unique. But it’s really not. It’s only feels like a big deal because Coulier was famous, the song was an enormous hit, and Morissette’s stardom shot to the moon after that. The truth of the matter is that just about everyone who writes stories — whether they’re in the form of poems, lyrics, literature, or something else — shares, in their work, very intimate parts of their lives… including the personal relationships (romantic and otherwise) they’ve had with others.
I am certainly no exception. In fact, I’ve heard from a number of friends over the years who’ve read my books, and wondered, “Hey, is this about <fill in the blank>?” I’m usually pretty coy with my replies, mostly for legal reasons. And maybe that’s why, in part, Morissette (who’s written many songs about specific individuals) has been purposely vague as well.
But yeah, just like nearly ever other storyteller, my books are overflowing with influences from, and experiences with, real-life people — maybe even some of you reading this newsletter.
Let that sink in. 😉
So, if one of my novels ever ends up on a New York Times bestseller list, and I become a much hotter commodity than I am now, hopefully certain excerpts won’t haunt you too terribly.
Think you’re in one of my books? Let me know in an email or in the comment section below, where I will neither confirm nor deny it. Okay… I might deny it in some cases.
Obligatory Dog Shot
Lush dog photos are today’s excuse for why I haven’t cut the grass.
A Bonkers Amazon Kindle Sale!
For a limited time, you can get the entire Sean Coleman Thriller series for less than $11… total!
This is not a joke. It’s a perfect storm of eBook savings!
Since the album I originally intended on featuring this week appears to have gotten lost in the mail, I figured I’d go with another purchase I made at Third Man Records in Nashville last month: Jack White’s latest, Fear of the Dawn. It was released just a few months ago, and was recorded in the same building I bought it at.
That’s all for now. Thanks for reading today’s Daly Grind.
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Also, if you’re not caught up on my Sean Coleman Thrillers, you can pick the entire series up at a great price on Amazon. And if you’re interested in signed, personalized copies of my books, you can order them directly from my website.
Take care. And I’ll talk to you soon!