The Affair (The Tv Show, not the act.)

The Affair is the greatest show nobody watches. I mean, I’m sure loads of people do watch it, otherwise it wouldn’t still be going. But nobody in my circle of friends/podcasts/YouTube videos/blogs/skin-walkers/flesh-eaters/Mormons/other multimedia discussion spaces seems to even mention it. Which is strange, because it’s a show I can’t stop thinking about.

That’s the main reason it’s so incredible, if you ask me. It’s the way it burrows into your mind like a lost mole, the way it lingers with you like the stench of death. It’s something you don’t just watch but which you disagree with, in a way that isn’t only ‘god this character is so horrible right now’. It makes me mad because it feels like the writers have political opinions leaning a certain way, and it comes through incredibly strongly in the plotting, and it feels so extreme. But then they flip it, and seem to be coming from the entirely opposite angle. It’s disorientating and strange and really really interesting.

It achieves this because it’s a show about gender, and sex, and love in all its forms. It’s a show that has male protagonists who act like such men. It’s a show that has female protagonists that act like such women. It’s a show with teenagery teenagers, and kiddy kids. Wrinkly grandparents, argumentative siblings. You could label everyone in this show one stereotype or another. Usually a contemptible one. But people are like that in this (probably) real world of ours. Not always, but often. Which is where the Affair starts to reveal it’s magic. Every character in this show is vastly different from one another. Which is strange, because all the men are such men. But they’re different degrees, with different problems, different lives. It’s realistic because they’re similar, but also incredibly distinct.

More so than in a lot of other shows, I think the Affair treats its characters like friends. It treats them like friends who do awful things, but friends nevertheless. There’s a lack of sympathy towards many of its characters; they do bad things, and the consequences of those things form the basis of much of the show. But it always, always gives them the opportunity to change. It isn’t a show that presents you a character you’re supposed to grow attached to, and then turns them bad. It does do that. But then it keeps on going. Change doesn’t stop once you do something wrong, and the Affair understands that. She’s such a woman, god, but maybe she’ll be better in an episode or two.

This isn’t always something I think is right. Which is strange. I don’t want to spoil anything, but I think it’s pretty obvious there’s an affair involved. So let’s say character A cheats on his wife. I don’t think that’s a good thing, and it sometimes grates on me that the show so readily accepts that as an action. But when worse things start happening, when more horrible acts start to occur, the complete lack of judgement starts to make me uncomfortable. There are consequences, and the show even takes a few moments to just have characters discuss the lack of moral ambiguity regarding certain events. But it’s a show set in a world with momentum, where doing something doesn’t make you a villain. Other characters don’t treat each other like villains. The camera, which lingers beautifully and with complete empathy, certainly doesn’t treat any of the characters like villains. Which is difficult, because sometimes people do things that are hard to forgive.

So I end up thinking about the show a hell of a lot. I think about it in a way I don’t nearly any other piece of media. I think about it emotionally, and intellectually, and it’s a show where I my irritating habit of imagining the behind the scenes, the writers room, the sheer amount of work that must have been done to put this on screen, actually helps rather than hinders. I feel like the writers challenge my beliefs on feminism, on gender, on sexuality, and often in ways that I really wouldn’t expect.

It’s really something special. More people should be talking about it, preferably in my general vicinity. If any of you would like to form small groups outside of my home and loudly discuss your opinions about it then please, do let me know. So yeah. That’s why the Affair is a good. I usually have a stronger finish than this so sorry if I’m disappointing y .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-..ou or .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-..anyth .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-.. .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-.. .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-.. .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- .-..I ho .. / .- — / -. — – / .-. . .- you have a lovely day. Buh-bye.

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