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Throughout Firefly Lane, we see again and again that nothing will stop the upward climb of Tully Hart (Katherine Heigl). After a tumultuous childhood and traumatic adolescence, Tully finds purpose when her best friend Kate’s mother suggests she can be the next Jean Enersen. This sparks an obsession for the young woman that follows through college, into the workforce, and arguably defines her life. Everything for Tully — that’s not about Kate (Sarah Chalke) — is about being the “next Jean Enersen.” But who is Jean Enersen!?!?
Okay, before all of the Seattle metro area sends me hate mail for not previously knowing about the great Jean Enersen, please remember the iconic anchorwoman never left the Pacific Northwest.
For instance, I grew up in the metro Philly area which meant that Buffy star David Boreanez’s IRL father Dave Roberts was my favorite weather man when I was a kid. We all have our local news heroes and Enersen is Seattle’s…
But who is Jean Enersen, what is she up to in 2021, and what does she have to do with Firefly Lane?
WHY IS JEAN ENERSEN TULLY’S IDOL IN NETFLIX’S FIREFLY LANE?
Netflix’s Firefly Lane tells the story of lifelong besties Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart. From the start, we learn that Tully has had a rocky childhood thanks to her hippie mom, Cloud (Beau Garrett). After Cloud moves the 14-year-old Tully (Ali Skovbye) to the titular Firefly Lane, the girl experiences the trauma of sexual assault and the continued shame of having a drug-addicted and irresponsible mother.
Once Kate’s mother Margie (Chelah Horsdal) figures out what Tully is dealing with, she gives the girl a pep talk…and a role model.
Nope, Tully doesn’t walk away loving the awesome Margie. Instead she becomes fixated on becoming the “next Jean Enersen.” But what does that mean to folks who didn’t grow up in the metro Seattle area??
WHO IS TULLY’S HERO, JEAN ENERSEN, IN REAL LIFE?
Jean Enersen is not only the first woman to anchor a local TV news broadcast in the United States, but she also holds the record — 42 years — for holding down that gig. Born Jean Stanislaw in San Mateo, California in 1944, Enersen was later raised in the Seattle suburb of Magnolia. She would go on to study journalism at Stanford University and by 1968 was working at NBC’s Seattle affiliate, KING-TV.
In 1972, Enersen was promoted to anchor duties at KING-TV. The progressive move soon became a lucrative one for the affiliate. Enersen’s popularity would ensure KING led in the news ratings for decades, with Enersen becoming a beloved local celebrity and national icon for aspiring female anchors.
Jean Enersen retired from full time anchor duties in 2014 and officially retired from KING-TV in 2018.