So, on to part two of my delightful conversation with the renowned television writer Jane Espenson. You can read Part 1 here.
Jane Espenson’s critically-acclaimed and popular web series, the “marriage equality” situation comedy Husbands has just completed its second season. Written with star Brad Bell and directed by Jeff Greenstein (Desperate Housewives, Will and Grace), the series revolves around the typical conflicts and idiosyncrasies of a new marriage—with one important addition. The newlyweds are gay, which is all well and good for actor Cheeks (Bell, who also goes by Cheeks even when not on screen), but not so easy for husband Brady Kelly (Sean Hemeon), a major league baseball player whose career (and popularity) could suffer a big hit as he comes out of the closet. Season two addresses the issue directly as Brady’s agent tries to do some damage control, while Cheeks isn’t cooperating, not sure that there is any damage to control.
Cheeks has no interest in tamping down on the “gay” even for the love of his life. But Brady is as concerned as his agent about not ruffling too many feathers too quickly or to visibly—for the sake of his thriving career, and because, as his agent says, there may be issues with the morality clause in his MLB contract. From Cheeks perspective, they are who they are (and Cheeks is a pretty free spirit, not given to doing anything low key, including his sexuality!).
Season two features last year’s cast of Sean and Cheeks, and Allesandra Torresanni (Caprica) as Cheeks’ best friend Haley. But this year, Husbands features a whole new crew of guest stars, including Joss Whedon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Firefly, and this summer’s hit movie The Avengers) as Brady's agent.
The series also boasts some other big names, including Tricia Helfer (Battlestar Galactica, Tron: Uprising); Jon Cryer, who just won an Emmy for Best Actor in a Comedy series for his work in Two and a Half Men, and Felicia Day (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), who was a pioneer in developing professionally-produced web-based television series.
The first season was made up of 11 very short segments, but for season two, the creators decided on three longer episodes. “But,” explained Jane, “it's the exact same length as season one. It's just sliced into three instead of 11.” The longer format works well, letting viewers settle into the story and characters a bit more.
Jane agreed. “I just think it felt right for season two. Season one is…people are reluctant to commit to a new thing. They don't necessarily want to commit to nine minutes of people they've never met before. But season two, people wanted to settle in more.” And fans will be able to settle in even more than that; a Husbands comic-book series is set to launch October 24.