By Whitney Spaner
"We would give each other electric shocks all the time," says actressand filmmaker Marianna Palka, of meeting her boyfriend, actor JasonRitter. "I remember writing to my mom about it because it was happeningall the time, like every time we touched each other we would get ashock, and my mom was like, 'Maybe it's the shoes you are wearing. Areyou wearing rubber shoes?'" The 27-year-old Scot met Ritter, son of thelate John Ritter, while in school at the Atlantic Theater Company in NewYork. "I was really into Jason before I knew his name or before I knewwhere he was from," Palka continues.
Ritter, 28, was a little tuned out at first. "I just thought shewanted to be my friend, so I was trying my best to just be her friend,"he explains. "But then she sort of kissed me on the cheek, half on thelips at one point and that really threw me for a loop." Palka recallsthe night they started dating: "It was just before Halloween in 1999. Hehad a leather jacket on and we were on the roof by ourselves at onepoint. It was in Queens and we could see all the lights in Manhattan. Wewere just sitting on this box and he said, 'Do you want to beboyfriend-girlfriend?' and I was like, 'Yes!' I thought that was sopolite and respectful." Ritter laughs thinking about it. "There was areally long period of stuttering, way beyond the charming threshold."Nine years later, the two are still going strong. They've recentlybought their own LivingHome in L.A. -- a house built in a factory with allsustainable products to downsize their carbon footprint -- and lastyear they co-starred in the Sundance film Good Dick which Palkaalso wrote, directed and produced with the couple's production company,Morning Knight. Ritter can also be seen in The Deal alongside William H. Macy and Meg Ryan released this month on DVD.
Where's your favorite spot to get it on in L.A.?
Marianna:Well, I can't be honest about it, because I feel reallydirty -- so I'm just going to say the Museum of Jurassic Technology.
Jason: I like pulling over -- just, like, finding a littleresidential area and pulling over. I'm always sort of fascinated bysuburban areas, because I like the idea of people just in their housesand [that other] people driving by just assume [ours] is another parkedcar.
Where's your favorite place to go when you just want to reallyfeel each other -- be romantic, private, alone?
Marianna:I would say bed.
Jason: There's a placecalled Hamasaku that we'll go to for a special occasion. We have ourregular places that we go to a lot. Marianna really likes Real FoodDaily, but if there's some kind of Valentine's Day or anniversary orsomething like that, we'll try to expand our horizons and find a newplace.
What do you like the most about your mate?
Marianna: His humanity and the way that he regards people are soimpressive to me. I come from this place where people are who they arewithout other things. In L.A., people are like, "What do you do?"instead of, "How are you?' I feel like character can be decided by whatyou give and he's so giving
Jason: I've always been in awe ofher courage. I'm always like, "Well, now, hold on. How thick is the fireand how injured will I be on the other end?" She always runs headlonginto any problem. I think you find people that you have similaritieswith, but even stronger than that, as we've all been taught by PaulaAbdul, opposites attract. [Marianna] stands up straight and doesn'tapologize for herself, and I've always tried to accommodate other peopleand apologize for myself -- but there is a part of me that seesMarianna being strong, and that gives me strength in my own self.
What annoys you more than anything else?
Marianna:Jason never annoys me.
Jason: I have to tread carefullyhere, but if I were to look at the moments that I get annoyed, it wouldprobably have more to do with me. When I see her, I want to be the bestof myself and all of these things, and then sometimes a smaller part ofme just wants to play video games all day. [I feel] like, "Why do youhave to hold up the mirror to my potential?" So most of the times that Iget all whiney are because she’s doing something that's moving usforward, and I'm feeling lazy.
What model car do you drive? And if you're going to an event, whodrives -- you or him/her?
Marianna: We both have aPrius. He steals my car because I have Sirius radio and GPS, and I'mlike, "Dude, don't steal my car." He drives usually, but sometimes Idrive. It depends who's on the phone.
Jason: We both havePriuses -- or Prii? I got one first and then right after GoodDick, she traded her car in for a Prius. I like to drive her carmore.
What's the most L.A. thing you've ever done as a couple?
Marianna: We have seen like four movies in a day. That's kind ofL.A. to me.
Jason: We've eaten at a studio commissarytogether. When I was working on a show or something, she'd come andvisit and we'd eat on the lot.
If L.A. slid into the ocean, where would you move?
Jason: In that situation, theworld would probably be in pretty bad shape, but if the world wasn'tfalling apart and it was just an isolated incident, then I would say NewYork for sure.