Season two of Husbands is here! It has controversy, laughs, Joss Whedon in a role that may surprise you, and a few things to say about society still being rather gun-shy over the idea of two men being married to each other. More after the jump, but it INCLUDES SPOILERS from the first episode.
It’s been nearly a year since Brad Bell and Jane Espenson created a sitcom called Husbands that takes a romantic cliché and turns it on its head… and also has a few things to say about how important love can be even if it’s between two men.
In season one, baseball player Brady (Sean Hemeon) and actor/provocateur Cheeks (Brad Bell) tried to get used to married life after a few weeks of dating and an implusive drunken wedding in Las Vegas. In season two, it’s time for society to get used to it.
We see the couple waking up together three weeks after the wedding. Cheeks takes a picture of them kissing in bed and tweets it immediately. Brady is worried about how people will take this. Literally a minute later, a housewife (Amber Benson) in the “billion moms” movement condemns the picture on TV news. Then, Brady’s agent Wesley, played brilliantly by Joss Whedon, calls with his concerns. He suggests that Cheeks be “less gay” or at least a more acceptable form of gay to mainstream America. Otherwise, he hints that Brady may be kicked off the team through a morality clause. So, Brady asks Cheeks to be more appropriate to society, “like Anderson Cooper.” Cheeks agrees… sort of.
Sean and Brad are great as the still newly-wed couple, trying to figure things out. The writing is incredible and makes good points about how society is still scared of same-sex love, yet has no problems sexualizing women and putting them in homoerotic situations at every turn. My favorite scene was Wesley giving his opinion on Cheeks: “Voice like a tulip, eyelashes I can fucking hear through the phone… and that’s the problem. He is unacceptably sexy, and that terrifies America.” That’s an interesting way to avoid the real issue: mainstream America, or those with too much media access, trying to define what kind of love is acceptable, even if same-sex marriage is legal in the Husbands universe. Why else would Brady and Cheeks’ kiss be blacked out on TV?
Brady tries to explain to Cheeks what “acceptable” gay behavior is, such as singing about acceptance or adopting babies. Or this interesting metaphor: “We’re Kobe. America is his wife.” Cheeks doesn’t get it but it’s clear that Brady will be proud that Cheeks is his husband… on “America’s” terms.
Cheeks gets some great lines, like when he’s shown examples of his “inappropriate behavior” in a DVD: “You got visual media for my intervention?” As for what his Instagram has done, “One of these days, I’m gonna get out of bed before the trouble begins.” His point is that love is love, and America in general should be OK with it and worry about stuff that really matters. If not, well, he’s got a response for that. He isn’t Kobe, and Brady is his husband, not America.
The new website for the show, lovehusbands.com, will have the new episodes plus behind-the-scenes videos. Currently there is a behind-the-scenes video that shows how Jane and Brad got the story and season into shape. On August 22 there will be a new video about shooting the first episode. The plan is to have a new episode of Husbands one week, followed by an extended behind-the-scenes film the following week, then a new Husbands, and so on. There are a total of three 8-minute episodes for season two. At the end of this first episode, there is an extended view of a TV show promo featuring Tricia Helfer (Caprica) and Dichen Lachman (Dollhouse) that plays in the background during a scene in the living room. Also on the TV in the background, Felicia Day makes a blink-and-you’ll-miss-her cameo.
With its fast-paced and thought provoking wit and humor, it’s possible that Husbands is the show that will define “The New Normal” a lot better than a new broadcast television sitcom with that name.