I have to admit I wasn't a huge fan of season one of Showtime's The Affair. While I loved the concept -- a happy family man and father of four falls for a younger, sexy, married woman, has an affair with her and blows up his marriage, I found the two main characters to be unlikeable and the storyline way too slow. Still, for some reason, I was compelled to watch every episode.
I feel entirely different about season two. I seriously cannot get enough of the show! I LOVE it. Whereas last season was all about cheating and sex and seemed sleazy and cheesy, The Affair might as well be called The Divorce now. Plus, I think producers outsmarted me, as whoever said they wanted viewers to particularly like the characters in season one?
Noah and his wife, Helen are now going through a divorce, and I have to give huge credit to the writers, producers and actors because they are 100 percent right on in depicting what really goes on. I'd be willing to bet a lot of these writers and producers have personal experience when it comes to divorce.
Episode 4 is notable in that Helen, who has always been a great mom sort of goes off the deep end due to the stress of the divorce process and the end of the first romantic relationship she gets into. She engages in a drug and drinking binge. She then goes out in public and makes a huge idiot out of herself in front of customers in the gift shop she owns and her hair stylist. But that's not the worst part. Helen ends up picking up her children, getting into a car accident, and getting arrested for DUI. She now has huge legal issues, especially when it comes to custody.
In episode 6, one of their children ends up in the hospital and it forces Noah and Helen to bond together for his best interest, to stop being petty and to prioritize what's really important in life. Aha! Now we like the characters.
Writers really nailed a scene where Noah says good-bye to his kids and is leaving his old house. He's getting ready to drive away and stares at the house, making it easy for viewers to read his mind. I personally think he was asking himself, "What the hell did I do? I ruined all of our lives for some chick I've convinced myself I'm madly in love with, and now I'm not so sure I did the right thing." That said, it takes him a matter of thirty seconds to talk himself back into the fact that he's in love with Allison... until he goes to see her and realizes they have serious issues.
One word for episode 9, which aired last Sunday: brilliant. Again, the producers I thought were romanticizing an affair in season one fooled me. In recent episodes, the show is painting a realistic picture of what often happens when a relationship begins while one or both people are married and cheating -- the spouse having no idea anything is wrong with the marriage.
In Noah and Allison's case, the shoe is dropping big time (like from a skyscraper) as Allison is understandably disenchanted with her now cheating fiancé. I have actually had many divorced friends tell me that The Affair has validated what they have thought all along about their now ex's new relationship. Of course, my friends will probably never know for sure if their ex's are unhappy in the relationship they left them for, but they say that seeing Noah and Allison being less than blissful sure is comforting.
I'm not saying that if someone leaves their spouse for someone else that the relationship won't work. Some do. But, Noah and Allison are proof that there just might be a period of time in the new relationship that the woman or man who left realizes that this new person isn't going to send them into happily ever after. In other words, the imaginary bliss bubble always bursts.
I would highly recommend The Affair. It's entertaining, but more notably, brilliantly realistic! The Affair airs on Showtime on Sunday nights at 9pm CST.
Jackie Pilossoph is the author of her blog, Divorced Girl Smiling, and the comedic divorce novels, Divorced Girl Smiling and Free Gift With Purchase. She also writes feature stories, along with the weekly dating and relationships column, Love Essentially" for Chicago Tribune Media Group local publications. Pilossoph lives in Chicago. Oh, and she's divorced.