Brrrrr! On this chilly weekend, the new FX television series The Americans premiered at the DGA Theater: a young couple played by Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell enter a Maryland motel room circa 1960's. Russian spies, they are finding the U.S. summer brutal. Spying an air conditioner, they are relieved to bask in the frigid air. Talk about the Cold War!
A question arises: Are American audiences ready to embrace appealing KGB operatives on television? Has enough passed from the post-war era to neutralize our view of Soviet spies? After the first thrilling, action-packed episode, to air this Wednesday night, the crowd including many New York actors: Noah Emmerich who plays a CIA agent in the show, Margo Martindale, as yet to appear in the series, Patricia Clarkson, Amy Ryan, Adam Driver, Tovah Feldshuh, Megan Fox, John Ventimiglia among many others, moved on to the renovated red of the Russian Tea Room where the blinis and beef stroganoff provided warm welcome.
Everyone of a certain age reminisced about the famous haunt in its heyday. My own Russian Tea Room story involves an aunt from Switzerland dining with my family as Gregory Peck walked by. Others remembered meals with Tony Randall and Paloma Picasso. Richard Kind who will host the Writers Guild of America Awards at B. B. King's on February 17 had us in stitches, telling how he was a waiter there for one night. The funny man could not repress his impulse to schmooze with patrons, a no-no, or firm niet from the maître-de.
A version of this post also appears on Gossip Central.