10:08 AM PST 12/5/2013 by Kimberly Nordyke, Michael O’Connell
Excerpt: The Writers Guild of America on Thursday announced its nominees for the 2014 Writers Guild Awards in the TV, new media, news and radio categories — with Orange is the New Black, House of Cards, Ray Donovan, Masters of Sex and The Americans among the new series making the grade.
The awards will be handed out Saturday, Feb. 1, 2014, at simultaneous ceremonies in Los Angeles and New York. The WGAW ceremony will once again be held at the JW Marriott Los Angeles L.A. Live, and the WGAE ceremony will be held at the Edison Ballroom.
The nominees announced Thursday — for names of all nominated writers, those details are on the WGA site.
SHORT FORM NEW MEDIA – ORIGINAL
“Episode 4: The Collected Sylvia” (Sylvia Plath: Girl Detective), Written by Mike Simses; sylviaplathgirldetective.com
“Episode 8” (Lauren, Season 2), Written by Jay Rodan; youtube.com/wigs
★ “I Do Over Part 1” (Husbands), Written by Bradley C. Bell & Jane Espenson; cwseed.com
★ “I Do Over Part 2” (Husbands), Written by Bradley C. Bell & Jane Espenson; cwseed.com
Read full article and list of nominees here
Written by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson
DIGITAL COPIES available at Dark Horse Digital
December 2, 2013 — via Brad Bell (@GoCheeksGo)
YOU GUYS. I’m about to ride along with an EMT squad, smack dab in the middle of all the action. (And hot firefighters!)— Cheeks (@GoCheeksGo)
— Cheeks (@GoCheeksGo)
Laura chats to the creators and cast of Husbands about the online comedy’s third series…
At this year’s San Diego Comic Con, we had the chance to sit down with Husbands creator/writers Jane Espenson and Brad Bell, as well as actors Sean Hemeon and Amy Acker to talk about their new home on CW Seed, passive-aggressiveness, and why Brady and Cheeks won’t be shopping for a crib anytime soon…
Do you think that working with CW Seed is going to affect the format of Husbands in any way?
Jane Espenson: Not currently…
Brad Bell (Cheeks): No, in fact I know that it hasn’t because the episodes are done, so the answer is no.
So how did you guys get together with CW Seed?
Bell: Well, we got a meeting with them because we had gotten wind that they were looking to acquire properties and content. Before they launched Seed, they had a couple of digital shows that they had “acquired” more than “paid to produce.” And so we went in, and when we went into the pitch meeting, they were already fans; they already knew the show, which was incredibly rare. So we were super excited and grateful and loved the idea of working with them. I mean, when I heard, “Hey, a a potential meeting with the CW,” I thought, “You know, that makes sense…” It was somewhat unexpected, but it made perfect sense.
Amy, you’re from Texas, which sometimes produces women like the one you’re playing. And Sean, we’ve discussed your personal history (as a Mormon who came out of the closet after high school), and I’m wondering how that plays into your characterization as the Mormon baseball player who recently came out and his ex-fiance who shows up at Brady’s wedding to Cheeks.
Sean Hemeon: My experiences?
In an earlier interview, I got the idea that you had girlfriends before you came out. Or are you a “gold-star” gay?
Hemeon: No, no.
Amy Acker: What’s a gold-star gay?
Hemeon: Gold-star means you’ve never been with a girl, never.
Hemeon: But I am not a gold-star gay. I tried very hard to be straight. Very hard. I had girlfriends.
Congratulations on your failure.
Hemeon: Yeah, thank you. I’m glad I failed too. (laughs) But yeah, had girlfriends. And now, actually, they are my best friends, ten years later.
Acker: No one got mad at you?
Hemeon: If they are, they aren’t saying it.
Acker: You didn’t tell them while you were dating them…
Hemeon: No, but I definitely knew. And I guess I was, well, cheating, because I was having sex with guys.
Acker: Yeah, that’s cheating.
Hemeon: Yeah, but in my mind… but I don’t consider myself a cheater. You know I couldn’t do that now. That’s how I rationalized it in my mind… wow, this is awful. But you know, at the same time, I was trying to be a good Mormon boy. (Laughs) This is awful…what was the question again?
Let’s change the question: Amy, are you the villain of the piece?
Acker: I mean, there’s other people who are making bad things happen… (Hemeon laughs loudly). It’s not just me.
Hemeon: She is so lovable, so adorable, and she just makes you want to squeeze her cheeks.
Hemeon: Oh my God! Which is so awesome because, well, I know so many… you know, this isn’t just a Texas thing. It’s a Christian thing, a Mormon thing. In those places, if you’re angry, you’re not doing your religion right or something, so they all keep the anger in themselves. They hold it in and it comes out as…what’s a word for extreme passive-aggressiveness? Because that’s what it is.
Acker: I had a teacher—I went to SMU (Southern Methodist University, a conservative private college in Plano Texas, and home to the George W. Bush Presidential Center)—she was hilarious actually. But I was thinking about her when this character came up because she taught sewing for costuming and we had to make these black rehearsal skirts. And I remember the guy sitting next to me, and his was just a complete disaster. She came up with just the sweetest smile and then was like, (Southern drawl) “Well, now, that looks like shit…” And that’s pretty much what I come from.
(To Espenson and Bell): So what do you think? Is Amy Acker’s Claudia the mistress of passive-aggressive?
Espenson: Well, that’s not far off. I think that makes it sound very one-note (after viewing it, I can attest, it isn’t) and you know, Brad always writes characters… there’s a couple of layers under the passive aggressive.
Bell: Yeah, passive aggressive is too simple; it’s more complex than that. And we were actually worried that people might relate to her so much that she didn’t feel villainous enough
Espenson: We didn’t want her to be the hero of the piece.
Bell: Or for people to not like Brady because they feel so much sympathy for her. So yeah, it’s layered… an onion of a performance. I mean, a good villain doesn’t see themselves as a villain, right?
Espenson: Exactly. I think she is very sympathetic and aware.
Why did you go that route with her character? Because when we think “gay-bashing,” we tend to think very active and violent and that’s not what she’s doing here…
Espenson: You know, this isn’t really gay bashing at all. This is just a person in their life that has some sort of conflict with them. This isn’t about their being gay. If Cheeks were a woman, she’d be having the same reaction.
Bell: Yeah, it’s not quite that, but even if it were, that’s the obvious choice. And most of the time like we were talking about in the panel (on Bullying) today, that’s not the way that manifests itself. People don’t walk up to you in the department store and say, “Hey, I think your lifestyle’s really gross!” I mean, you know, sure that happens but mostly the way that it happens is, you know, the father’s tugging on his kid’s arm and saying, “You don’t want to watch that.” It’s more subtle, to the side, behind closed doors behaviour. And it’s the more of a creative challenge to write. “Okay, so they can’t lash out. So how does this manifest?” and it becomes more interesting to see that.
And I’m wondering…so many of us have the experience of falling in love with the gay boy, and then we find out that he’s gay and we have various reactions to that. Are we going to get into that or is it more personal to her situation: ‘I’m from the South and he left me pretty much at the altar and I’m going make his life hell’.
Espenson: You are so in the area of the story so that to make a distinction sort of says what the story is.
Bell: I would say the latter. But I think that it’s that you could see what that experience is in the performance, be it the first of those options or the second. I think that it is open to interpretation. Which gives me an idea for a whole other episode.
Back on the subject of passive aggressiveness for a moment, this is a tool that a lot of gay men have used to deal with the bashing and the general prejudice and bigotry. Do you see Cheeks as being passive aggressive? And is part of his challenge to sort of work out of that with Brady because, you know, Brady isn’t that person.
Bell: I don’t see Cheeks as being passive aggressive.
Well, he’s also just aggressive…
Bell: He’s aggressive aggressive.
Espenson: I’m reminded of “Did you say wait, or fate?” That line was sort of open to interpretation.
Bell: Open to interpretation. I think it rides that line. And I think part of the fun and the charm is never knowing (how aggressive he’s being). We had a take, which I never liked that was much more pointed… “Oh, I didn’t hear you.” And I didn’t like that because I don’t like that character type. We actually don’t really have characters like that. Even Claudia, who Amy plays, is not that mean. It’s not that evident.
Espenson: As I said, she’s sympathetic. We try to make our characters like each other and be positive and have the conflict come not because the person is bad…
Espenson: But simply because there’s a conflict of interest.
Bell: Although I will say that, maybe when pushed, to make a point, Cheeks can be passive aggressive. I think we get to see some of that. But he will do his best, and then, at a certain point, he’s like, okay, we’re done now.
Espenson: I think Cheeks’ Achilles heel is probably a certain lack of empathy. But the great thing about Cheeks is that you get to see him have those moments of revelation of going, “Oh…” I think that Cheeks is a great character because he is flawed but lovable.
It was suggested in the San Diego Comic Con panel that Brady may be less committed than Cheeks. Is that really true?
I think what Sean (Hemeon) was saying is that dealing with this stuff with Claudia has sort of made things real for him. This isn’t just something that was done on the whim, but that this is a life choice he’s made and that finally hits him.
Bell: I think they are both going through that.
Espenson: Well I think that’s been a part of the fact that they only been married for a very few weeks and they’ve only known each other for three months.
Bell: And yes, they’re starting to learn. Brady has learned some things about Cheeks that he didn’t know.
So Cheeks has a checkered past, is what you’re saying?
Bell: And Cheeks is learning about Brady—they’re both learning about the other and going, “Oh, is that a thing? I didn’t know that was a thing…”
Espenson: So it’s getting real for both of them.
So I am sensing, based on something from our last interview, that Brady and Cheeks will not be having a child anytime soon and I would like to give you a little soapbox to stand on to talk about that.
Espenson: Yeah, because we’ve got thoughts on that.
Bell: Okay, part of the thought on that… children in gay stories, I think that it is very important to show that. That is a very important story, adopting and the family and all of that good stuff…
Espenson: The having of the babies and the milk and all that.
The New Normal…
Bell: I think that part of that is to make them (gay people) more relatable to straight people. You know: “What straight people have. Oh, yeah, all straight people have babies, so let’s give them a baby!” I think it puts the focus on raising their baby, and shifts that focus from them being hot for each other and them having sex.
Those stories also tend have very large ensembles with other characters that have “B stories” that are about straight things and, you know, we’re not interested in that. We want to show a story that is not on either end of the spectrum: it’s not, “they are totally safe because they are parents and it’s also not twenty-somethings doing drugs and having sex with people whose faces they haven’t seen. Brady and Cheeks are not Queer as Folk, and they’re not Modern Family. And those are both wonderful shows that we both love, but this is a different story that is somewhere in the middle. This is about two young men who are married and are hot for each other and that’s what they want. I think at one point before we talked to you about the pilot of Mad About You where they have a quickie in the kitchen. And you don’t see a lot of gay men having a quickie in the kitchen, you know, especially in the first episode of the show. And our intent was to make that show.
Espenson: And you know, there’s a reason why they didn’t have that baby until season six or whatever. It was a story about young newlyweds, and we’re a story about newlyweds, and the race to make them safe - by giving them a baby…
Bell: It’s skipping a step…
Espenson: It is skipping a step. These are stories that need to be told.
Bell: They go from the partying-using-drugs-gay-club-world to diaper-changing daddies. And it just seems odd that, with marriage equality in the headlines, those are the two stories that you get.
Jane Espenson, Brad Bell, Sean Hemeon and Amy Acker, thank you very much!
An introduction to Husbands the series. Where it all began. Really interesting, funny, clever people. Love this show.
So proud of Team Husbands and what they’ve accomplished so far!
Written by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson
DIGITAL COPIES available at Dark Horse Digital
Written by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson
DIGITAL COPIES available at Dark Horse Digital
Brad Bell, Sean Hemeon, Alessandra Torresani, Deborah Theaker, Beau (Jack Russell Mix), Beth Grant, and Michael Hogan — Husbands Season 3
husbands + kissing (I do special) part 6
Catch up / re-watch Season 1 & 2 here
And be sure to SUBSCRIBE to both youtube accts! :D
Take one part civil rights, another part I Love Lucy, a pinch of drunken decisions mixed in with a self-aware sense of humor and emotional resonance where you least expect it, and you’ll get a wedding cake with two “Husbands” on top. Husbands is a webseries sitcom created by Brad Bell and Jane Espenson that stars two gay men, Brady and Cheeks (played by Sean Hemeon and Brad Bell) who, in the aftermath of marriage equality, get accidentally married in Las Vegas. Season 3 just wrapped up and can now be found on Youtube.
We were able to talk to Jane, Brad, and director Eli Gonda at New York Comic Con.
The Quad: How’s NYCC going?
Jane Espenson: Good!
Brad Bell: So fun! It’s always really packed for us. The schedule is wall-to-wall, so we don’t really get to enjoy the more fan-oriented things, but we do get to meet as awesome fans as ours. And that’s always really fun.
Eli Gonda: Yeah, I’m seeing my first con and it is something that’s unreal.
JE: This is your first con?
EG: Yeah. I lost my con virginity [everyone laughs] at the Javitz Center and it’s been fantastic.
And how’s it been meeting with fans while you’ve been here?
JE: It’s great.
BB: Incredible. More and more, it’s more intense and they are bigger in numbers and their commitment, engagement, excitement–we just got fan gifts that were inspired by the show. People are making shirts and forming street teams and it’s all really cool.
Has it been fun seeing that grow?
BB: Yeah, it’s more than fun, it’s humbling and rewarding and it feels like that’s what we set out to do.
How does it feel that the final episode of Husbands’ most recent season is out?
BB: Great. It’s getting a really great response, and now we’re going to be able to put them on the CW’s Youtube, so that we can release them internationally. People around the world will be able to get to see them and enjoy them and it will start all over again for them. It’s really great just seeing the fanbase grow more energized and more excited. It feels more and more like the show has found it’s voice, you know? It feels the most now like the show we set out to make.
Eli, you directed the last three episodes, so how does it feel for you?
EG: Pride. Pride to be a part of something that’s as funny and as touching as it is. And as special. And the fact that now more audiences in more countries are going to be able to see it is wonderful.
With Husbands being translated into different languages, there may be some translation issues. Do you feel comfortable that the humor and story will still get across?
JE: Absolutely. And a whole lot of people speak and understand English, so the world domination of the United States is working in our favor [laughs].
BB: We are a part of the expansion of the totalitarian industrial complex [laughs].
JE: People are getting and loving it, a lot of the jokes are language-specific, but interestingly enough, in the most recent ones that Eli directed, there’s a whole lot of physical comedy. So this last one, I think, is extremely good for international viewers.
BB: It’s funny in any language!
JE: Brad falling on his ass, everyone likes that!
A new twist on the “classic” sitcom visual. | Image courtesy of CW Seed.
What were your goals when creating Husbands?
JE: Mostly, to be funny. The next priority was to say something important, and we were right in the middle of the marriage equality fight, and still are, and it seemed like what better way to the make the case than to say “here’s a couple, fall in love with them.”
BB: We wanted to make a show that we wanted to watch, and the shows I always loved to watch have been shows that do take into account the issues in society, real problems that you can relate to, and maybe even problems that we can’t, but that are also really entertaining and have great characters. Like theGolden Girls, All in the Family–the shows that weren’t afraid to be real, and at the same time, they were an escape.
JE: I think the fact that TV shows have been so accessible to people of Brad’s generation, even older shows, means that both Brad and I grew up watching the same shows, even if we grew up 20 years apart. We both grew up watching Norman Lear shows with a great social conscience, and you don’t see shows do that anymore, where they will take on an issue, make it funny and make you think, and we hope we’re a part of that tradition.
What are your goals now?
BB: To do that more, but bigger.
JE: Just to keep telling stories. We’ve got some in mind that would require more sets—
BB: Just a little more money, not a lot. Just a few more resources for it. Like being able to build a soundstage for a plane in an episode.
JE: Or a locker room, we’d love to go to Brady’s workplace and see his professional baseball life. And how does Cheeks fit into that?
How important for you is it to strike a balance between humor and having a social conscience?
BB: The goal is always to have a humorous show that is about something real. To say “strike a balance” is not really what it’s about, we want it to be 100% funny all the way.
JE: The “strike a balance” metaphor suggests that they work against each other, that if you have more social conscience that there’s less funny. And it’s not. Think of it as two wells that both fill up with water.
BB: Or like a recipe for a really funny, yummy cake.
JE: So if you add more of one, you gotta add more of the other, or your cake is going to come out all weird. The best jokes are about something real. The more that you make a show about something, the more it’s got the funny built in.
BB: Truth is one of the things in the triangle of comedy.
JE: And the other two are marijuana and heroin.
BB: Heroin doesn’t make things funny, Jane, it makes things swirly. I’ve got to refresh her on drugs and their effects. Mushrooms are the giggly ones.
What can you say about the future?
JE: Well, the CW has been very clear that they like the show very much and I think they are also interested in seeing more stories. We will see how that materializes.
BB: I think if anyone out there is interested in seeing more, they should make that known. So that the CW knows that those people exist.
EG: If you love the show, let them know.
“Husbands” creators Brad Bell and Jane Espenson | Photo courtesy of Matt Sayles Photography
Newlywed Game Round!
Between Brady and Cheeks, who is more likely to…?
Leave the stove on?
Both said Cheeks!
Leave the toilet seat up?
JE: “That’s Brady. Cheeks wouldn’t like that.”
Hog the bathroom?
JE: “Cheeks has a lot of products, but Brady’s unaware of his elbows.”
BB: “Hm, hogs it spatially. I didn’t interpret in that way.”
Both still ended up with Cheeks!
Secretly be a hoarder?
JE: “I can see Brady doing that. That he collects all of his souvenirs, I think Brady is a real sentimentalist. He probably has the ticket from the first movie they saw together, so I’d say Brady.”
BB: “I said Cheeks because it’d be a secret. He doesn’t want anyone to know how sentimental he is, so that’s why he’d secretly be a hoarder.”
JE: “Brady would be secretive about it because he wouldn’t want Cheeks to laugh at him.”
BB: “Maybe he secretly hoards things from their relationship. Really insignificant things.”
Different answers! Jane answering with Brady and Brad answering with Cheeks.
Give out Halloween candy?
Both said Brady!
Score: They matched 4 out 5 times!
November 17, 2013 — via Brad Bell & Jane Espenson
OMG, @GoCheeksGo — can you believe who’s sitting RIGHT BY US on this flight?— Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson)
YOU GUYS. I’m on the flight home to LA and sitting in front of MICK FUCKING JAGGER. RIGHT. NOW. …IDEHTW— Cheeks (@GoCheeksGo)
OMG Squeeee! lol
UPDATE: I slept during the flight. Just arm’s length away, so did Mick Jagger. That means I just slept with Mick Jagger.— Cheeks (@GoCheeksGo)
Hmm. I nodded off a bit too. So I do believe that means I had a threesome with @gocheeksgo and Mick Jagger.— Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson)
Oh My… LOL
November 16, 2013 — Cologne, Germany — via Brad Bell (@GoCheeksGo)
Beautiful! It looks like a crystal ball.
Note: Brad and Jane have been teaching a class about #Husbands at Cologne’s internationale filmschule.
November 16, 2013 — Cologne, Germany - via Jane Espenson
— Jane Espenson (@JaneEspenson) November 16, 2013”