When I’m running for president of the Former United States of America in 2045, it’s going to be on the platform that every single one of us should get our own professional breakup photo shoot set in a toxic wasteland, to symbolize corroded love and depleted resources.
By then, of course, it won’t have to be staged, as it was for Riverdale stars Cole Sprouse and Lili Reinhart, who have continued their mysterious, rumored conscious uncoupling with a Chernobyl-core photo spread and interview in W.
In the future, plumes of noxious gases will already be everywhere, as will the chain-link fences, bleakly puffing factory smoke stacks, mushroom clouds, and irradiated sunsets. We won’t need Photoshop (actually we won’t have Photoshop because the electric grid will have failed and internet access will be meted out by warlords, who also have all the water). Anyway!
The shoot was done two months ago, but Reinhart and Sprouse were suspiciously adamant about being interviewed separately for the profile, despite being the subject of teen-romance fandom the world over. Hints of a breakup, announced by “sources” this week, were already in the ash-filled air. “We’re acknowledging that we’re in a relationship, but it’s a small part of who we are as people. We want our own separate identities,” Sprouse said to W, while “pulling on a Marlboro.”
We have no choice but to assume without evidence that this photo shoot was a cathartic way to stage the demise of their two-year, Netflix-born love affair. How often have we all wanted to force an ex to simulate crying while you hold his hand and stare solemnly into the camera?
Perhaps most impressive is the detail with which Spouse and Reinhart nail the coming nuclear winter. Yes, we will be fainting from airborne illnesses. Yes, our eyes will be red-rimmed and our skin will be pale from the chemical shroud. Yes, men will wear their tuxedo jackets without their shirts due to textile scarcity. Yes, breaking up will be even harder because we will all be living in small survivor communes, where we’ll likely run into our exes as we wait in line for our rations.
Sprouse and Reinhart have made matters more complicated by sharing the article with cryptic messages to the haters. Sprouse joked that the couple was consuming “the flesh of ‘reliable sources’ to fuel their bacchanalian sex cult.” Reinhart wrote that “none of you know shit.” Which is perhaps an even more genius plan: to use one’s breakup photo shoot to confuse everyone. And to raise climate-change awareness, obviously.