Monday, November 30, 2015

A Love-Hate Relationship: Homeland vs. The Affair, Part 2

The Affair has become the show I love to hate: I’m just hate-watching it now.
This show should have just lasted one season and called it quits. I think what happened was that the show was surprisingly renewed after its even-more-surprising (and undeserved) Golden Globe win for Best Drama and the producers suddenly had to scramble to find writers, so they hired every playwright in New York. (How many writer/producers does this show have?)
To be fair, Ruth Wilson, who won a Golden Globe for her performance as Alison, does do a good job (considering the material she’s been handed), and I was loving Joanna Gleason when she appeared as Noah’s publisher. But most of the time I’m embarrassed for the actors (especially Dominic West as Noah), given the cringe-worthy lines they have to say.
One of my pet peeves (and one of the signs of the writers’ desperation) is the number of times they use the word “fucking” on the show (as an adjective, not a verb). Now, I like the word “fucking” as much as the next guy, but we’re not talking about a life-and-death situation with ISIS here, we’re talking about whether or not you get the summer house in the divorce settlement.
I think the low point for me came when Maura Tierney was dancing around her bedroom in her lingerie, drunkenly singing along to some music. What indignities Ms. Tierney has had to go through this season (the actress, not just her character)! Ms. Tierney is an attractive woman, but I think her character’s a little too old to be behaving like her bratty teenage daughter. She’s a divorced woman with four kids, for God’s sake!
And, speaking of immature behavior, how about Noah’s night of cocaine and attempted illicit sex with his publicist while his wife is in the hospital having his baby? These plot twists would strain the credulity of even the most rabid soap opera fan!
Last night’s episode (the first to forego the gimmicky “he said/she said” format, which just made most episodes twice as long as they should have been) ended with Cole burning his house down while Alison was in the hospital.
Homeland, on the other hand, has gotten better and better. Granted I only started watching last season, but I didn’t see how they’d be able to top that (and I had a lot of company).
We just had another one of those episodes where the suspense was so high, you could barely watch: Carrie Mathison’s CIA supervisor, Alison (another Alison!) is revealed as a spy for the Soviets while her former colleague Quinn is being used as a guinea pig by Islamic terrorists to test sarin nerve gas.
Then, when Alison and her Soviet co-conspirator are finally captured by the CIA (after hiding out in a Soviet safe house), she spins the story around to make it look like she was just bringing in the Soviet agent herself.
There are only three episodes left of both shows, but I don’t see how Homeland can get any better or The Affair can get any worse.

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