FILM & TV

THE REAL REEL | Showtime's 'The Affair' Addresses Homophobia & Racism

I Love That This Show Finally Found a Reason to Weave Racism and Homophobia Into Their Highly Sexualized Plotlines…But Why Now?

In it's 4th season, Showtime's drama The Affair, which started out as a steamy forbidden romance, is suddenly taking on issues pertaining to gender and race. Non-hetero normative sexuality was barely ever touched upon on this show, and racism was never talked about…and now all of a sudden (spoiler alert), key characters are facing obstacles surrounding racism and homophobia. What gives?

Don't get me wrong, I love that this show finally found a reason to weave racism and homophobia into their highly sexualized plotlines…but why now? I can't help but think that networks as boundary-breaking as Showtime know their audience, and they must know that anyone who will watch a show about extra-marital affairs…for four seasons…is also concerned with gay rights and racism. Too far a stretch?

Let me connect the dots. If watching someone dissolve a marriage, in almost the most destructive way possible (Noah Solloway did not bow out of his 20-year marriage gracefully) is entertaining to you, it's likely because you relate to some of the characters. Even if you swear that you don't relate to the cheating Noah himself (he is very relatable), the wife he cheated on, Helen, isn't exactly a bowl of ice-cream. Noah is "the cheater" but the writers do a great job at compelling us to love and forgive him despite his indiscretions. So audiences must like Noah at least a bit, as the show's plot-lines rely solely on the fact that there is no one "bad guy," and all characters are flawed and forgivable. Then, isn't it possible that Showtime is making the assumption that audiences who find intellectually sharp, emotionally challenged, complicated characters compelling must be progressives and thus must care about homophobia and racism? I hope so! (I'm sure there is technology that Showtime is using to know if this is true or total malarkey).

So how does the show address racism? Wellll…the best way! From the perspective of white privilege, which is fantastic since even in the era of Black Lives Matter, so many well-meaning white people think they can end racism just by "being nice" to people of color. But you, my sophisticated readers, know that that's ridiculous! You know that racism relies on a system of privilege and it is this system (not individual acts of racism, though duh…those are bad too) is what needs to be disrupted. This unhelpful, "white savior" approach to racism is what I think the writers wanted to depict when they have Noah inspire teenagers of color to stage a school wide walk-out. What happens? He almost gets the kids shot. Why? Because when white suburban kids walk out of a high school the police assume they are protesting peacefully. Guess what they assume when Black teenagers walk out of a high school?

So, Noah learns that he is not Michelle Pfeifer and this isn't Dangerous Minds, and clearly he has no idea how to serve communities of color (hint, it's not by leading them). But don't worry. It looks like he will sleep with the very smart Black principal of the school and all will be forgotten. I said the show "takes on racism," I didn't say it did it well. But don't worry…he has a gay son! I think.

Noah and Helen's son seems to be coming out as gay…but the best part is that Helen is obsessed with the fact that there is a reason for it. It's 2018, this show was seemingly filled with very progressive characters, and yet, the idea that a parent can accidentally make you gay is still a thing. I like this. No, I don't believe it, but I like that this show is shining light on some of the darker ideologies that many families are still dealing with. Yes, we have made progress, and yes we have Queer Eye, Ellen, and Modern Family, but we still have kids being bullied for being gay, families that blame themselves for "making their child homosexual," and millions of people globally who think gay people are sick, broken, and morally screwed. Even in progressive familes you can hear parents say out loud, "Of course we accept you!" and in the same breath utter, "Where did we go wrong?"

This show doesn't get it all right, but I enjoy the nuances of the characters, their outward progressive values, and their veiled unaddressed ignorance. It's how many of the liberals I know exist. When it comes to real life people, it's not all bumper stickers and memes. "Black Lives Matter"…unless you really want that 3 bedroom Victorian in that "up and coming neighborhood" and "Gay Rights Are Human Rights" ...unless I have to take time out of my day to organize a petition. After all, I have a haircut and a basketball game to catch.

Keeping It Real,

Rachel


By Rachel Hall, Rachel has a Masters in Cultural Gender Studies, is a writer, a personal coach, and even though she is very very fun (just ask her three-year-old daughter) due to her academic inclinations, always the pooper at the party. She works with all kinds of people to improve their ability to work with all kinds of people. She can often be found hiding from her two children in her laundry room. More about her on her website.


If you're expecting the season finale of The Affair to leave you with all your questions answered, think again!!

First of all, Noah is one dirty dirty bird. He and Helen are now in the midst of an unsavory divorce, so naturally Noah has reside to having sex with anything on two legs. Like, a lot of sex. When he is caught screwing some teacher at his school, he's sent to some disciplinary class at the Department of Education. There he meets a guy who is obsessed with his first book, which inspires Noah to finish his second. And through the magic of television (and some really weird montages), voila! He's finished! This is the beginning of a lot of back and forth, past/present scenes in which we begin to understand just exactly how much trouble Noah is potentially in.

Cut to the present with Noah chatting with good ol' Detective Jeffries who's still drilling him about the death of Scottie Lockhart. He continues to deny knowing anything about the death, and as he leaves the police station he has a very interesting flashback. It seems that Helen's mother hired an investigator to dig up dirt on Noah for the divorce and Helen now has a very incriminating video...it's Noah threatening the now dead Scottie Lockhart at the Planned Parenthood while Whitney was getting her abortion. That's not good. But just as we were beginning to love the strong, no bullshit Helen, she confesses that she wants Noah back and tragically, they have sex. Oh, Helen.

Present- Noah bribes the auto mechanic who fixed his car at the beginning of the season with $20K.

Past- Helen and Noah confront Whitney about her baby daddy Scottie. The tell her that the plan to file statutory rape charges and she goes ape shit. She tells her dad that both she and her mother think he's a sociopath and that he's one to talk about good behavior, being a cheating cheater and all. Good point Whitney. Later Noah wakes to a text from Alison telling his that Whitney is at her house. HAHAHAHAHA!

When Helen and Noah drive to the Lockharts to pick up Whitney, Scottie is nowhere in sight. Cherry pleads with them not to press charges against Scottie and all hell breaks loose. Helen loses her mind when she notices Alison staring at Noah and Cherry tries to calm everyone the eff down. Whitney reluctantly leaves with her parents, and as they're walking out, Scottie comes down the stairs saying, "Did you get rid of her mom?" WHAT A DICK!!!!!! Noah obviously heard him and completely loses his shit, telling him he's going to fucking kill him as he's punching him in the face. The fighting is broken up by a frigging gun shot. It's Cole who is demanding a reason not to shoot Noah. As Noah looks to Helen, then to Alison, we see Cole cock the gun.......End scene....

In part 2 with Alison, we find her living upstate with her crazy mother Athena doing yoga and shit. Guess it didn't work out with Cole, huh? She heads home to deal with reality and ends up at Phoebe's house telling her the story of how her life unraveled, and Phoebe gives her some very practical advice. "It wasn't real."

We find out the next morning through Alison's sister in law that the Lockharts lost the ranch, and she also informs Alison that she's a wretched bitch for abandoning the family. That being said, she drives Alison the the ranch where she has a very awkward conversation with Cole. He quickly realizes that the only reason she's there is to sort out the logistics of the house. He's crushed and tells her that he loves her, but she's pretty much like, "I want to forget about you."

Ouch.

As this shit storm is raging, MK informs them that Whitney has shown up at the ranch.

Back at the ranch, Whitney is explaining the situation to Cherry, Alison and Cole. Cole is freaking out about how young Whitney is, and they all decide that Alison should call Noah and tell him that Whitney is with them.

Flash to the present where we learn that not only does Detective Jeffries have the video of Noah threatening Scottie at Planned Parenthood, but it turns out the auto mechanic tape recorded his conversation with Noah!

Past—Noah and Helen arrive at the Lockharts for a Whitney showdown.....Naturally, in Alison's version, things go verrrrry differently.

Noah tells Whitney to "get the fuck up" and leave with them, and something in Cole snaps. He asks Noah what he's supposed to do now that his wife wants nothing to do with him. Noah's legit freaking out and tries to get his family together to leave because now Cole has a gun.

He's basically saying that he has nothing and no one left to live for now. Alison tries to shift the blame away from Noah and on to her. That backfires really hard when he agrees with her and points the gun at her! She talks him off the ledge by saying that their son wanted to be just like Cole and that he can't let him down by, ya know, murdering people. He calms down, and Helen wants to get the fuck out of there. Then, Noah does the most bizarre thing. He hugs Alison. In front of lunatic Cole. WTFF?

Flash back to the present in New York.

Alison is in an apartment with Noah! AND they have a little daughter!!!!

As they discuss the details of their happy perfect life, there's a knock at the door. Detective Jeffries and  a shit ton of cops arrest Noah and take him away.

Yup, that's how they end the season. Bastards!

What did you think of the season finale of The Affair? Sound off in the comments below!

Check out Popdust's The Affair gallery to see all the hottest photos of the season

This week’s episode of The Affair started with Alison (finally!) who is looking like a hot little adulteress while on the train into the city to see her man.

Noah meets her at the train station, they make out a bit, then he takes her back to his house…ot should we say his wife’s house because he’s broke as fuck. Seriously, the balls on this man. He actually has the nerve to screw his mistress’s brains out in his wife’s bed, and they confess their love for one another mid climax. How romantic.

Noah mentions to Alison that he’s been thinking about getting a writer’s studio that would be a perfect love shack for the two of them when she’s in town. Uh, with whose money Noah? Pretty sure after you leave you wife like you’re planning on doing, she’s no longer going to foot the bill for your philandering lifestyle.

Alison takes a post coital shower because she’s a dirty little mistress, and is flabbergasted at the price of Helen’s ritzy shampoo. At first she uses a small amount, but then something flips and that bitch pours nearly all of it down the drain. Then later as she’s snooping around in the house, she accidentally breaks a small glass jar. As she goes to shove it in the trash, she finds a positive pregnancy test. DUN, DUN, DUUUUUN.

Of course she assumes it’s Helen’s and that therefore Noah is still screwing his wife, but c’mon. We all know it’s pukey Whitney’s, right?!

Later as Alison and Noah walk toward the train station, Noah surprises her by showing her the studio that he wants. She loses her shit and tells him that she knows it’s just a place to stash her so they can fuck. He tells her he has 4 kids, blah blah blah, he needs more time, yada yada yada and Alison tells him that he’s full of shit and will never leave his wife.

When she gets back to Montauk, she goes to a bar to drink her sorrows away and sleazebag Oscar walks in. As if her day couldn’t get any worse. Only she definitely made it exponentially worse by basically throwing herself at him and then actually having drunken sex with him at his terrible apartment.

The next morning when she wakes up and realizes what she did, she wants to die. She’s being a real bitch to Oscar and tells him that she’s leaving Cole, taking her half of his money from the sale of the ranch, and getting the hell out of Montauk. Oscar happily fills her in on one shitty detail…Cherry has refinanced the ranch so many times that it’s not worth shit.

She drives to the ranch to confront Cherry, who at first denies everything then tells Alison that none of that matters anyway because she’s not selling the ranch. Alison tells Cherry that she has to tell the boys the truth or she will. Then Cherry turns on her and starts antagonizing her about Gabriel’s death. Apparently being a nurse, Alison should’ve known to take him to the hospital but she didn’t. Alison loses her shit and drives away, then pulls over and starts cutting herself, but she cuts too far and drives herself to the hospital.

Once there, a nice old doctor that she knows takes care of her and tells her that even if she had gotten Gabriel to the hospital, he still might not have made it. (Apparently he died of a dry drowning.) She goes home and tells Cole that she’s leaving. She says that she loves him but she’ll die if she stays there. He says fuck it, I’ll go with you.

Cut to Noah’s part 2, where he and Alison are having sex in his marital bed. After they finish, Noah goes downstairs and he finds the pregnancy test.

Alison gets on the train and Helen and the kids come home. Later Noah confronts Helen about the pregnancy test, and she’s like yeah right that shit’s not mine.

They soon realize it’s Whitney’s and immediately confront her. She tells them that she’s has an abortion scheduled for the next day but refuses to name the baby daddy. The next day, Noah goes to the Planned Parenthood to catch the little weasel who knocked up his daughter and it’s Scott Lockhart.

Oh. Shit.

Later he goes to Max’s apartment to complain about his life. While standing on the patio, he witnesses a man commit suicide by jumping off the building across the street. Did that just happen?!

Noah goes home and confesses to Helen that he’s in love with someone else and he’s leaving her. Helen turns into a badass and tells him to get the fuck out of her house.

Hell yes!

As she’s packing his shit for him, she finds Alison’s pink bra in one of his drawers. Helen LOSES her shit and so do we.

Leave Noah, just get the hell out of there.

Noah hops on a train to Montauk to be with Alison, but when he gets to the Montauk station he sees Alison there with Cole. That sucks.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Affair?

Sound off in the comments below!

And, check out Popdust’s The Affair gallery to see all the hottest photos so far

The Affair returns from it’s two week hiatus, but instead of a warm sexy summer we’re in the middle a cold, sexless winter.

Noah and the fam are trying to get back into the swing of things in Brooklyn. Noah just so happens to be teaching his class about Romeo and Juliet, the star-crossed lovers who suffered a terrible fate.  “Pure love cannot sustain in an imperfect world,” he says. Oh give us a break, Romeo.

Later that day, Noah meets Helen for dinner. She tells him that her store is going to be featured in the New York Times style section. As if on cue, Noah hands her a very recognizable blue box with a white ribbon. Anyone? Bueller? It’s a beautiful (and expensive) necklace from Tiffany’s. There’s no possible way Noah could have known about the NY Times, which means that he just bought the necklace to thank her for sticking it out with him. He expects her to go all girly and be surprised and thankful for his extravagant gift, but instead she’s kind of pissed that he spent money they don’t have and she tells him to return it. HA! You’re still in the dog house dude.

Later in therapy as the two discuss Helen’s stress and Whitney’s potential bulimia, Helen admits that she could have married anyone she wanted but married Noah because he was a safe bet. She figured he adored her so much that he would never cheat on her and they would have a safe, boring marriage. Ouch. Noah admits that he feels like a failure and that maybe he had the affair to do something wrong for once. He offer’s to take her place at her father’s benefit in Montauk, and swears that he won’t see Alison and wants nothing more to do with her. Mmmmhmmm.

Noah get’s to the fancy benefit, and guess who is serving the wine? They have a brief flirty conversation until they are interrupted by Bruce. Bruce asks if Noah had an affair with Alison and goes on to tell some long winded story about the time he had an affair and how the woman was his muse. When Bruce leaves, Noah finds Alison on a frantic phone call with the hospital about her grandmother. Of course she has no car and no ride, so Noah drives her. Once they get there, she asks him to come in with her but he declines like a reformed cheating husband should.

He goes home to the Butler house where he and Bruce continue their conversation about Bruce’s affair . Noah asks Bruce if he ever think about the woman, to which he responds, “Every f*cking day.” Whelp, that was all Noah needed to hear and he raced to the hospital to rescue his own muse.

Flash forward to present time where Noah is at a book reading for his new novel/movie, The Decent. The particular passage he’s reading leads us to believe that he pulled A LOT of inspiration from his summer in Montauk.

Cut to part 2, where the Lockharts are talking about Christmas and how they’re going to spend their share of the money after the ranch is sold. Cherry is acting kind of weird and forgetful with things around the house, and Alison is convinced that she’s trying to hold up the sale of the ranch.

Alison and Cole are all lovey-dovey, “Let’s make a baby,” but no positive pregnancy test yet. Alison gets a call from her crazy mother Athena that her grandmother has had a serious heart attack. Alison races to the hospital and finds Athena and her “friend” Dennis standing over her grandmother’s bed. Athena tells Alison that she has to sign a DNR, but Alison refuses.

Later Alison is at the catering event and has no idea until she get there that the event is for Bruce Butler. She lies and asks to go home because she doesn’t feel well, but is forced to stay and work the coat check room. Bruce eventually arrives to the benefit and checks his coat, and as he walks away Alison sees Noah talking to someone (in sappy slow motion, of course) looking very happy and very handsome.

Noah eventually goes over to talk to her, and they go outside for a cigarette and some chit chat. Noah flirts with her, but she stays strong and tells him about how great things are going with Cole and how they’re trying to have a baby. Sensing that there’s no potential for fornication, he turns to head back inside. Just then he overhears Alison getting a distressing call about her grandmother and drives her to the hospital. In her version, Noah offers to go into the hospital with her but she declines. When she gets inside she and Athena go at it about the DNA, with Athena trying to convince her that her Western medicine is barbaric and unethical. Alison decides to sign over proxy to Athena, not wanting to be the one to pull the plug.

The grandmother eventually passes. Alison talks to her mother about funeral arrangements, only to be told that Athena and Dennis are hi-tailing it out of town. Athena goes on and on about her closed pathways and a need for spiritual clarity, telling Alison that it’s the most difficult thing in the world to lose a mother. Uh, yeah bitch. She knows. See you in another ten years. Noah comes to rescue her form her mother and then drops her off at ranch, but not before telling her he loves her. And if that wasn’t enough, she tells him she loves him too. These people deserve each other.

Cut to present day, with Mr. Detective walking into Scottie’s funeral. Can somebody tell us what the hell happened already?!

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Affair? Sound off in the comments below!

And, check out Popdust’s The Affair gallery to see all the hottest photos so far

Attention all potential adulterers-- What happens in this week’s episode of The Affair is TV writing at it’s best, not necessarily real life. Proceed with caution.

Part 1 begins with Noah and Helen getting a talking to from Whitney’s therapist, basically telling them that her problems stem from their shitty relationship. Noah tells Helen that they need to get the hell out of Montauk and back to reality in Brooklyn, and she agrees.

While getting the kids packed up to leave that same day, Martin tells Noah that he wants to go to the ranch to say good bye and to apologize for letting the horse out last week. He reluctantly takes him, and when he sees Alison he barely acknowledges her and leaves without so much as a toodle-loo. What a dick.

Later he tells Helen that he’s going to “get gas” and heads to the Lobster Roll to leave Alison a goodbye note in her bike basket. As he’s leaving it, Oscar pulls up and flat out blackmails him. $10k or he’s telling Helen. Noah obviously shits himself, mainly because he knows he doesn’t have that kind of money. But guess who does? Max. When Noah gets back to the city he beelines it to his best buddy’s office to ask for a loan, confessing that he’s being blackmailed for cheating on Helen. Max gives him the money but makes him promise to never confess to Helen just to make himself feel better.

Noah goes on a jog to clear his head, but midway through has what he thinks is a heart attack and is taken to the hospital. Turns out it wasn’t his heart, just a panic attack. Awww, why so stressed Noah?! He can’t take it anymore and does the one thing Max told him not to do…he confesses. Helen is really pissed, but definitely not pissed enough! She keeps it together while they’re in public, but once they get home and into their bedroom, the shit hits the fan. Noah blames the whole thing on his lack of confidence and self worth after his book flopped and claims that Alison pursued him. They finally go to bed, and after Helen falls asleep Noah gets a text from Oscar taunting him about the money. Noah calls Oscar and tells him that he already to Helen “so you can go f**k yourself.”

In part 2, Alison is at The Lobster Roll to collect her last paycheck. Oscar laughs in her face and tells her to get lost, so she steals some pies and carries them home in her bike basket. She heads over to Cherry Lockhart’s house where the boys are all gathered for dinner. Later she’s in the kitchen with Cherry helping with dinner and Cherry starts in with some long winded story about when Cole was a baby and having a sixth sense about when he was in danger. Then out of nowhere she asks, “Who’s Noah?” Ooooooh shit. What had happened was Alison put the pies in her basket on top of Noah’s note, which stuck itself nicely to the bottom. Before Alison could explain or get the note back, Cherry lit it on fire and told Alison to end it and never to tell Cole about it.

Later, Alison and the boys drive out to Oscar’s to make peace and tell him that they’re going to get him his permit for the bowling alley. Everything’s going ok until Scottie loses his shit and succer punches Oscar in his fat beer belly. Oscar sees red and tells Cole that Alison is screwing some guy. So predictable.

Back at home, Alison confesses to Cole that she had the affair with Noah. The next day she heads into the city to stay with her friend Jane for a few days. When she gets there she gets stoned and tells Jane the whole story. Being as they’re high out of their minds, Jane thinks it’s a good idea to look up Helen’s store on the internet so they can go spy on her. (This is becoming more and more like Fatal Attraction.)

Obviously they go to the store, and obviously Helen recognizes Alison. It’s not really clear whether or not Helen knows about the affair yet, but she says hello and thanks Alison for saving her daughter when she choked. So she’s either oblivious or she doesn’t want to beat her ass and get blood on her store floor.

Later as Alison is wandering the streets of New York, she stands outside of Noah’s house and stares in the windows like a creep and a half. Noah notices her and closes the curtains. Ouch. Alison goes back to Jane’s and Cole’s there waiting for her. He tells her that someone stole the coke that he buried in the field when he thought the cops were coming for them. After a midnight walk through the city and a teary heart to heart about their son’s death, they head back to Montauk and learn that Hal has been hospitalized. Apparently he tried to make a deal with the drug dealers who give them the coke and he got beaten to a bloody pulp. So bad that he’s going to be in the hospital for a month. Cole decides that they need to sell the farm and be done with drug dealing, and he and Alison go home to “make a baby.”

Are you fucking kidding me?!!!

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Affair? Sound off in the comments below.

Check out Popdust’s The Affair gallery to see all the hottest photos so far:

The drama continues on Showtime’s The Affair, and this week’s episode let some mangy cats out of the bag.

Part 1 begins with Noah randomly going out and partying at a club called The End with his friend Max. Noah watches Max buy some coke from the cab driver, who just happens to be Hal Lockhart. They sit at a table and have some drinks and suddenly Alison appears in a red dress, pretending she has no idea who Noah is, and asks to sit with them until her friend shows up. Max eventually leaves the club, but Noah and Alison party all night then end up shagging at a hotel.

Early the next morning, Alison supposedly heads home on her bike, but as creeper Noah watches out the hotel window he notices that she turns the opposite direction of her house. Naturally he follows her and he sees her pick up a cooler from the docks then drop it off at taxi dispatch. He begins putting the pieces together in his head and starts to suspect that the Lockhart’s big, bad drug dealers.

Later that day, Noah heads to lunch at the Lobster Roll with his family and Max, and surprise surprise Alison’s working. At one point the douchebag takes his young daughter to the bathroom and while waiting for her has a very inappropriate makeout sesh with Alison in the next stall. Uh, gross. Later his family leaves with Max and Noah stays to have a drink with Oscar and smooth things out between them. While having a beer, Scottie walks in demanding the money that Oscar owes him. When Oscar refuses to hand it over, Scottie opens the register and pulls all the cash out of it. Clearly this pisses Oscar off, so Noah witness Oscar call the cops and tip them off that some shady dealings are going down at the taxi dispatch. Then he actually tells Noah that the Lockharts are drug dealers who are “dirty as dirt.” Takes one to know one.

Noah heads to the ranch to confront Alison about her drug dealings. At first she denies it until Noah tells her that he heard Oscar call the cops. Then she flips out and leaves little question about her involvement with the coke ring. She immediately runs to tell Cole that Oscar ratted on them, and Noah leaves in a huff. In fact he’s so repulsed by the whole situation that he actually goes home and screws his wife.

Obviously in part 2, Alison has a slightly different story. Apparently the same shit went down at The End, as Alison wakes up in the hotel room with Noah and heads to the docks on her bike before 5am. Noah follows her and we see her pick up the cooler from a guy who isn’t “Will,” the guy she usually picks up from.

She rides the cooler over to taxi dispatch and hands it over to Caleb. They go into a back room where it becomes extremely evident that these people are definitely drug dealers.

Later that day as Alison leaves her shift at work, she finds a note from Noah in the basket on her bike telling her to meet him at Phoebe’s. When she gets there, Noah tells her that he followed her to the dock and he knows all the coke situation. He tells her how stupid she’s being and she pretty much says she doesn’t give a shit if she gets caught or goes to jail. She explains that they’re upside-down on the ranch and they need the coke money to keep it going. Noah trips out as he realizes this chick is kind of crazy, but warns her about Oscar's phone call anyway.

She heads over to the ranch to tell Cole and they do a cleanup/sweep of the drug room that’s mob movie worthy. There’s a knock at the door and they’re expecting it to be the cops, but it’s sleazy Oscar. He tells them that he never really called the cops, he just pretended too. When Caleb leaves the room, Oscar lets Alison know that he knows she screwing Noah. Not good.

What did you think of this week’s The Affair? Sound off in the comments below!

Check out Popdust’s The Affair gallery to see all the hottest photos so far