Editorial: A Man Named Fritz

Summer has arrived, which means the return of The Closer. I love the show but admit that its heroine has flaws. What makes Brenda a great Closer makes her a lousy wife! There are times I want to shake her until she realizes what a great man she has at her side. Her husband Fritz is far from perfect but he’s a saint for what he has to put up with. Not a day goes by when Brenda does not use, argue, show up, ignore, or fail to confide in him. He has to fight for closet space and usually is stuck eating Chinese takeout. Don’t even get me started on the fact that even though he is a former alcoholic, she keeps liquor in the house and there are days when it is all he can do to go to an AA meeting.

One might think based on that assessment that I don’t like her much. Far from it. I love Brenda even though she is flawed and maybe because of it. She’s smart and talented and knows how to get what she wants. Sadly, she has not yet figured out that in order to make a marriage work, you have to put your spouse first. Brenda is so driven in her job that she fails to see what Fritz needs in their relationship: for her to be home when she’s home and not tied up on her cell phone or trying to escape to a crime scene to avoid having a serious talk. He needs a stable home environment, someone to confide in him and make decisions with him, and on occasion a hot meal. But what she really needs to work on is not undermining his authority. To let him be the man, to listen to him and trust his council, because sometimes he’s right and she’s wrong. An incident where he wanted to send her niece home after Charlie snuck drug-laced brownies into their home comes to mind. Brenda would not allow it, so the girl stayed. Maybe I’m a bit old-fashioned but I think he was right to come down hard on the situation, and to be angry that Brenda refused to listen to him. Sending Charlie home wouldn’t have helped the girl much but would have helped Brenda and Fritz a great deal.

There are usually two kinds of men on television: those who are dominated by women and those who are womanizers. The former invoke my pity and the latter incite my annoyance. Fritz is neither one. He is more than capable of using his Loud Voice to communicate dissatisfaction and on more than one occasion he has been… well, awesome. Last season after taking out a murderer with a sniper rifle seconds before the man intended to kill Brenda in a hostage situation, he marched right up to her, shook her, and said, “Don’t ever do that again!!”

You’re the man, Fritz.

There is nothing wrong with being a strong woman. If you are confident and secure in who you are, you can be an incredible asset to the men in your life. Brenda is the Big Cheese at the office, the head of her division. She doesn’t have to bring the attitude home. The rise in feminism has done a lot to invalidate the role of men in our society, to diminish them enough that we forget they have needs. They need to be a Provider; it is directly tied into their self-worth and self-respect. They need to be respected and not undermined. And they need us to listen to them once in awhile.

I have hope for Brenda. I hope one day she comes to see that, and to become as good at marriage as she is doing her job. ♥

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