Why Does Twitter Think That Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ Is About ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton?

A conspiracy theory from the ‘It’s Always Sunny’ subreddit has been making its way downtown across social media
Why Does Twitter Think That Vanessa Carlton’s ‘A Thousand Miles’ Is About ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton?

Apparently, the recommended distance for “Separate Entirely” is about a thousand miles.

Anyone who ever found themselves within hearing proximity to a radio in the early 2000s is well acquainted with singer-songwriter Vanessa Carlton’s smash hit debut single “A Thousand Miles.” Even just the opening piano patter is enough to spread a smile across most Milennials’ faces as they remember the time in their youths when this song was more ubiquitous than bootcut jeans and Dane Cook put together. 

This Sunday marks the 22nd anniversary of the release of “A Thousand Miles,” and Twitter is celebrating the unofficial pop music holiday by examining whether or not Carlton, walking fast as faces pass, was in the grips of the Golden God and his D.E.N.N.I.S. System when she wrote her magnum opus. After all, it’s definitely a five star song. 

In recent years, an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia fan theory about Carlton’s possible connection to series star and co-creator Glenn Howerton has basically become an internet fact. Back in 2021, a user in the Always Sunny subreddit watched a documentary video by Vice about “A Thousand Miles” and Carlton’s path to platinum, in which she explained that the lead single from her debut album, Be Not Nobody, is about a crush she had on an unnamed college classmate of hers who is “a famous actor now.” Thus, user thewaybaseballgo began connecting the dots like he’s searching for Pepe Silvia.

As the legend goes, Carlton and Howerton were both students at the prestigious performing arts conservatory The Juilliard School at the turn of the millennium when Carlton first started crafting her biggest hit. Because the alumni list of Julliard is basically a who’s-who of Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony winners, information about each class is surprisingly public, and thewaybaseballgo was able to narrow down a list of possible subjects for “A Thousand Miles” to a half dozen men.

According to the class construction, Carlson could have written her hit about actors Glenn Howerton, Wes Ramsey, Steven Boyer, Jeffrey Carlson, Anthony Mackie, Lee Pace – but the “famous” part of her description makes thewaybaseballgo think that Howerton, Pace and Mackie are the only real candidates. 

As Always Sunny users dug into the data, they noticed that, in Carlson’s dating history, a certain type arose. Specifically looking at the singer’s current husband, rockstar John McCauley of the band Deer Tick, there is, to be ruthlessly superficial, a certain coldness to his eyes that might suggest to some that the Deer Tick tour bus doesn’t leave town without McCauley’s tools.

Carlton’s description in the Vice documentary may be the closest we ever get to knowing for sure whether Howerton’s god-chiseled face and Michelangelo’s David-esque body captured the heart and imagination of the defining songwriter for early 2000s piano girls. However, as today’s many speculative viral Twitter threads prove, it’s way more fun when a journey of “A Thousand Miles” begins with an implication.


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