The Affair

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The Affair

Post  RiverThames on Mon Jan 12, 2015 3:40 pm

So, this one Best Drama at the Globes (as well as Best Actress, Drama), which kind of fascinated me. I mean, I knew the show existed, of course, and was well reviewed, but it wasn't exactly a "buzz" show people were talking about. (Case in point: no topic here.)

So I watched the first two episodes, and I have to say, it's pretty damn good. The central conceit--that each episode shows the same period of time from first Noah's perspective, and then Allison's, with neither one being definitively given to us as "correct"-- works pretty well. Since there usually is only two or three of the "same scenes", and the Dueling Rashomons make them staggeringly different, while somehow hitting some of the same notes. (Case in point, when Noah walks Allison home and shows him her outdoor shower, in his version her asking, "You want to try it out?" is a definitive come on, while in hers it's a perplexed, you're-way-too-excited-about-an-outdoor-shower comment. Plus the fact that she takes a shower right after he leaves is clearly in both narrative, but in his, she strips down in front of him and offers that he join her, and he panics and leaves; in hers, it's an ugh-wash-this-day-off-me shower after he is gone.)

So I'll keep watching.

There's one thing I want to call bullshit on: in the second episode, Noah's in-laws are throwing a big party. Noah's father-in-law is Grisham/King type Big Name Writer, while Noah has had one book come out to middling success, and has an advance on a second book he hasn't started. FIL introduces Noah to his agent, and pressures him to pitch what his second book is about to the agent, like the agent might take him on and wouldn't that be great? Except, no, that's BULLSHIT. Because, frankly, if Noah has one book out and an advance secured on the second, the likelihood that he doesn't have an agent is incredibly low. And even if this would be a better, big-name agent, it wouldn't matter, because the contract on the second book would have been negotiated by Noah's current agent (or Noah himself if he didn't have one). Big Name Agent can't rep him on the second book because it's already contracted. Sigh. OK, end rant.
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Re: The Affair

Post  Morning Angel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 8:32 pm

I watched the whole first season in real time, but yeah, I don't think I know anyone else who watches it, besides critics. I liked it well enough, especially initially, because I enjoy the 4 main actors, but as it progressed, it became clear to me that the writers didn't fully know what to do with the dual narratives, which is disappointing. (Some of the differences in the narratives just make no sense, especially in the later episodes.) Also, the last episode of the season was really quite disappointing to me, and from the few critics I read, I wasn't alone in feeling that way.
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Re: The Affair

Post  Poubelle on Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:14 pm

I have one friend who watched this, and she was so disappointed by the ending she told me not to bother starting. (I was curious because sounded like an interesting concept, plus Dominic West is pretty and I'm shallow.) She had the same critique you did, Morning Angel--the writers either didn't know how or didn't put the effort into what should've been an interesting concept.
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Re: The Affair

Post  RiverThames on Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:35 pm

Morning Angel wrote:Some of the differences in the narratives just make no sense, especially in the later episodes.

I've noticed that. I mean, in many cases, each of the narratives cast the other person as the instigator, but in a way that the same basic events or turns of phrase exist in both narratives. (In the second episode, Alison says "Marriage means different things to different people" in both versions, but in one it's as a come on (i.e. "Me being married doesn't mean I'm not into you") and in the other it's sad and defensive ("Don't compare my messed up marriage to yours"). But there are elements that seem oddly irreconcilable-- for example, Noah's story has him finding Alison having a cigarette outside the party; hers has him finding her inside at the moment where she catches her brother-in-law and Noah's daughter about to sneak upstairs. I mean, I'm presuming given the set-up (their stories are being told to the police) that they are each deliberately A. hiding something and B. casting themselves in the better light. But if that doesn't pay off in the end, that is disappointing.
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Re: The Affair

Post  Morning Angel on Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:56 pm

Poubelle wrote:plus Dominic West is pretty and I'm shallow.

This was a big draw for me.  He's just so good in everything.  I saw him on stage in London a few years ago, and he was fantastic.  But truly, I just wish he was still doing The Hour because I loved that show & boo to the BBC for cancelling it.

RiverThames wrote: I mean, I'm presuming given the set-up (their stories are being told to the police) that they are each deliberately A. hiding something and B. casting themselves in the better light. But if that doesn't pay off in the end, that is disappointing.

Without spoiling anything, don't hold your breath.  That might be why I was so disappointed; I was waiting for something to pay off the narrative structure, but meh.  Truly, I was on board until quite late in the season, but there are some pivotal things that happen in the last 2 episodes, and it is very, very hard to reconcile how Noah and Alison can have such different versions of it.  But more to the point, I then started thinking, "Why does it even matter that they have different versions of those events anyway?  Why should I care?"  Sarah Treem, the showrunner, gave a post-season interview all about the subjective nature of memory and how people remember the same things differently...   This is not exactly a new idea, and I don't really see what this show adds to the conversation.  So eh, I'm not sure I'll be back for season 2.
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Re: The Affair

Post  blixie on Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:06 am

It has a ton in common with Gone Girl, in terms of structure and in terms of the main characters being challenging to...like. I think it's an interesting failure so far, so I'll still watch S2, but the finale really really stressed my breaking point with the aforementioned messy finale. Like 80's night time soap messy, there was a real sense that the story Treem is telling and the one I was watching aren't really the same story.

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Re: The Affair

Post  truecrystal on Tue Jan 13, 2015 12:38 am

blixie wrote:I think it's an interesting failure so far

That's why I'm planning on still watching, plus the performances are really good (except for Josh Jackson who is just alright to me -- unpopular opinion). I definitely don't like any of the characters but I do understand them for the most part, finale notwithstanding. I didn't dislike the last 2 episodes as much as most, but I also thought the dual viewpoints ended up being mostly a gimmick instead of meaningful to the story. On my list of tv sins, wasted storytelling is #2 just behind being boring.

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Re: The Affair

Post  MichiSichi on Tue Jan 13, 2015 9:22 am

So
Hagai Levi who is the creator of the show ( and of course the Israeli show which became In Treatment) hated the first season and had a fight with the writers m I guess it is forgotten with the win but I understood that things will probably different for the next season.
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Re: The Affair

Post  Morning Angel on Tue Jan 13, 2015 11:46 am

MichiSichi wrote:So
Hagai Levi who is the creator of the show ( and of course the Israeli show which became In Treatment) hated the first season and had a fight with the writers m I guess it is forgotten with the win but I understood that things will probably different for the next season.

If that is the case, I'll probably tune back in.  The only reason I was thinking of not keeping up with the show in S2 is that Sarah Treem appeared thrilled with her vision, and I was left thinking we were just not watching the same show at all.
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Re: The Affair

Post  RiverThames on Tue Jan 13, 2015 5:02 pm

Well, if nothing else, Episode Three had me screaming "Bullshit!" at the screen because That's Not How Publishing Works.
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Re: The Affair

Post  mokey75 on Sat Aug 22, 2015 11:22 am

We just watched this whole series, and while the end was definitely a disappointment, I'll probably be back for season 2. (Though I feel like this show would be super frustrating to watch one episode at a time, so I'll probably let it build up before starting.) Apparently, they're adding Helen and Cole's perspectives as well. That might make it more of a mess, though. I kept wishing they'd do an episode showing what ACTUALLY happened in some of those scenes that don't match up at all (particularly in the last couple of episodes). Some of those episodes were like a battle between who was the biggest asshole (Athena won the crown a few times, even with Bruce around), but the funniest part to me was that Noah always came across as a dick, even in his own narrative. Also, I kept hoping Alison would go full Alice (from Luther) in some of those episodes. Like when her
Spoiler:
asshole mother in law threw Gabriel's death in her face to deflect from bankrupting the ranch.
What a cow.
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