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The Handmaid's Tale (The One On Hulu, Not on CSPAN)
#36

In Episode 1, Moira's description of what happens to those sent to "the colonies" is similar to what happens to those exposed to radiation over a period of time, so it's entirely possible that an entire section of the U.S. mainland is irradiated.

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#37

One thing I've been thinking about is: 


How do they plan on handling the final chapter, which is crucial to the narrative and the themes of the story? 

Basically, the main narrative ends ambigiously and you realize what you've been reading is a reconstructed narrative from tapes recorded by Offred during her captivity and abandoned after she was either captured or fled. It's now the year 2179, and Gilead has fallen, and is now studied as part of "Gileadean Studies," of which the thing we've just read is being presented as a conference. The final chapter basically is a commentary on historical analysis and how we treat oppressed peoples in history. 

I've been wracking my brain on how you could translate this to television, and the best I can come up with is that the penultimate season ends with either a triumphant moment, or more ambiguously, as in the novel. Then, the final season, we "flash forward" to reveal that what we've been watching is not the Handmaid's tale, but an adaptation of it, with Elisabeth Moss playing the actress playing June, and across the board. It would be a big hurdle for the audience to leap over, but I think you could get into some really fascinating issues of gender as it relates to narrative/film/television.
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#38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Boone Daniels View Post
 

One thing I've been thinking about is: 


How do they plan on handling the final chapter, which is crucial to the narrative and the themes of the story? 

Basically, the main narrative ends ambigiously and you realize what you've been reading is a reconstructed narrative from tapes recorded by Offred during her captivity and abandoned after she was either captured or fled. It's now the year 2179, and Gilead has fallen, and is now studied as part of "Gileadean Studies," of which the thing we've just read is being presented as a conference. The final chapter basically is a commentary on historical analysis and how we treat oppressed peoples in history. 

I've been wracking my brain on how you could translate this to television, and the best I can come up with is that the penultimate season ends with either a triumphant moment, or more ambiguously, as in the novel. Then, the final season, we "flash forward" to reveal that what we've been watching is not the Handmaid's tale, but an adaptation of it, with Elisabeth Moss playing the actress playing June, and across the board. It would be a big hurdle for the audience to leap over, but I think you could get into some really fascinating issues of gender as it relates to narrative/film/television.


Well, I've heard it's been renewed for a second season. Maybe ultimately what might happen is that they fill in the blanks between the end of her story and the final chapter by showing what actually transpired between the two. I heard Atwood's involved in some way, maybe they'll use what she suggests as at least an outline or framework if that's actually the case.

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#39

It was renewed this week, and the plan is for it to be an ongoing series.



I've always liked the historical ambiguity that the novel provides; I'd hate for it to turn into the Hunger Games or a rote story of "rebellion."

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#40
A[quote name="WendellEverett" url="/community/t/156225/the-handmaids-tale-the-one-on-hulu-not-on-cspan#post_4282051"]This show gives me the heebie jeebies.  I'd like to know the timeline between the massacre and Moss bailing to Canada.  I'll have a hard time believing that they waited more than a week or two to split - especially since it was clearly stated that she has 4 grand in savings and her husband has access the money.  I'd also like to see how America is divided up (Chicago and Florida are in play, Cold War with Europe) - this is the kind of thing that man In The High Castle put out front to avoid confusion, but I think the geography mystery adds a lot of suspense.

I'll go out on a limb and say I think this show is better than the book.  It's kinda kooky because it's such an iconic novel, but after the first movie shit the bed, I guess nobody thought of this as a hot property for adaptation.  The book is up there with Dune and Jurassic Park in terms of cultural saturation, and it has has the same type of meticulous world-building that everyone loves.  Between this and American Gods, that's two amazing pilots back to back.
[/quote]

The book is pretty great but aside from GOT, this is one of the better adaptations of source material I've seen. I'll wait until the end of the series to judge which is better but a case could be made for the show. Lots of smart deviations from the book.
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#41

Imagine being MIKE PENCE and being so fucked up, that you watch this and say to yourself "I don't see a problem here".


(then triumphantly masturbate into a red towel during the credits sequence)

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#42

Just finished the third episode and JESUS CHRIST this show.



Wow.

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#43
Quote:

Originally Posted by Chief Hallorhan View Post
 

Imagine being MIKE PENCE and being so fucked up, that you watch this and say to yourself "I don't see a problem here".


(then triumphantly masturbate into a red towel during the credits sequence)



I think what he did in relation to HIV in Indiana was just abominable.



https://www.romper.com/p/the-mike-pence-...know-14479



http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/mi...hiv-235153



The header to the Politico article is even more enraging than the first article and before I saw it, I wouldn't have thought that was possible.

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#44
ASo I'm guessing episode 3 cleared the room. This episode was interesting as it was 10% book (Serena Joy's backstory) and the rest was original to the series. Lots of jaw dropping moments but that last scene was exhilerating, depressing, and exhilarating again. Another smart expansion on the book.
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#45

I've just been busy at work; I'm hoping to binge the last few today or tomorrow.

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#46

Loving the series but one question - it's seems that Mexico is NOT a religious cult like Gilead so maybe the Handmaids would want to go there as part of a trade for better treatment?

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#47
Quote:
Originally Posted by dynamotv View Post

So I'm guessing episode 3 cleared the room. This episode was interesting as it was 10% book (Serena Joy's backstory) and the rest was original to the series. Lots of jaw dropping moments but that last scene was exhilerating, depressing, and exhilarating again. Another smart expansion on the book.


Yeah, I like how they changed Serena Joy slightly from the book -- in Atwood's novel, she originated as a Tammy Faye Bakker TV evangelist-type, but here she's actually far more terrifying as some sort of twisted cross between Ann Coulter and Tomi Lahren in the events leading up to the overthrow of the country. Plus her direct complicity in those events was also a great expansion from the book -- ever since I first read the novel years ago, I'd always wanted to learn more about how the right-wing "Sons of Jacob" thinktanks managed to pull off their takeover, and the show is now giving us some of those answers.

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#48
A[quote name="Ejoiner" url="/community/t/156225/the-handmaids-tale-the-one-on-hulu-not-on-cspan/30#post_4291255"]Loving the series but one question - it's seems that Mexico is NOT a religious cult like Gilead so maybe the Handmaids would want to go there as part of a trade for better treatment?
[/quote]

Well the Handmaids are still being sold off into slavery and there's no guarantee that they will be artificially insemenated. As horrible as the ritual rape is, there's a detachment involved that might not be the case in Mexico.
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#49

IIRC, the book states that most African Americans were sent away to the outer colonies once the regime took over. But in the latest episode, minorities aren't only Handmaids and wives, they're also represented in the leadership of Gilead. It's hard to believe that this kind of society would also be post-racial, and I wonder why the show made that change.

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#50
A[quote name="Draco Senior" url="/community/t/156225/the-handmaids-tale-the-one-on-hulu-not-on-cspan#post_4291695"]IIRC, the book states that most African Americans were sent away to the outer colonies once the regime took over. But in the latest episode, minorities aren't only Handmaids and wives, they're also represented in the leadership of Gilead. It's hard to believe that this kind of society would also be post-racial, and I wonder why the show made that change.
[/quote]

That is actually something that has really bothered me about the show. America has a long and storied past of placing racial minorities into submission when crisis arises (or really whenever). It makes the world of the show feel a lot less believable to me. I get that the show just wasn't that interested in exploring race, and thats fine. It just rings a bit false.
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#51

Well, there are racial minorities in the Trump Administration, so...

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#52

There are extensive interviews - some linked in this very thread! - about why the show is racially diverse. The reasoning was both an artistic choice and a narrative one. Artistically, they knew that they were going to be dealing with a ton of tough, difficult issues when it came to Gilead, and to have Gilead be a society that was white supremacist in addition to a misogynist theocratic regime was one level too many, and they felt it would make the show too hard to take/unnecessarily complex. Narratively, they realized in discussing the granular details of Gilead that if fertility were such a major issue, the leaders wouldn't care about race - just if a woman was fertile.

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#53

In my opinion, the farther they stray from the book, the goofier things get.  The thing I like about the show is that it takes the meticulous details from the book and brings them to life, but there's been some very unrealistic stuff where the show writers fill in the gaps.  It's fine, I still like the show, but the writing could be a little tighter:



1)  June sticks around in the US until it's "too late" even though she's seen people mowed down with machine guns, she has a small kid, she's got at least four grand in checking and a car, and the Canadian border is 500 miles away.



2)  There are Handmaidens everywhere in crowd shots, but when Boston's Handmaidens assemble for events like the Mexican diplomatic dinner, there are about 50.



3)  I didn't believe for a second that the Mexican ambassador would be partying with the Commanders.  There are inside-baseball trade deals around embargoes, but you don't see many diplomats partying with Castro and Kim Jong Un.



4)  The bit where the Mexican diplomatic secretary tells June that her husband is alive is just goofy - so contrived, like something on Saved By The Bell.



5) I kinda doubt that if Serena Joy and The Commander were such holly-rolling Theocrats, that they would have such trendy clothes and go to R-Rated movies.  People like that in real life already wear those blue dresses.  Plus The Commander discussing pending terrorist attacks in a crowded movie theater - dumb.

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#54
A[quote name="Boone Daniels" url="/community/t/156225/the-handmaids-tale-the-one-on-hulu-not-on-cspan/50#post_4291768"]There are extensive interviews - some linked in this very thread! - about why the show is racially diverse. The reasoning was both an artistic choice and a narrative one. Artistically, they knew that they were going to be dealing with a ton of tough, difficult issues when it came to Gilead, and to have Gilead be a society that was white supremacist in addition to a misogynist theocratic regime was one level too many, and they felt it would make the show too hard to take/unnecessarily complex. Narratively, they realized in discussing the granular details of Gilead that if fertility were such a major issue, the leaders wouldn't care about race - just if a woman was fertile. 
[/quote]

I'm not sure why you are assuming that I haven't read any interviews, when I noted that I get it was a deliberate choice to not focus on that issue. If all the minorities we saw were simply Handmaidens, that would make logical sense, but they are also soldiers and even commanders. That strikes me as disingenuous. That being said, it is not any artist's duty to examine every minority or subgroup in a piece of work, and I still think this show is great.
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#55

I mean, yes, there is a strain of Protestant Christian fundamentalism that is expressly white supremacist in addition to being misogynist, but the most popular forms of Protestant Christian fundamentalism/literalism in contemporary America is ethnically diverse. It's not just Jerry Falwell Jr., but Creflo Dollar and Joel Osteen.

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#56

Currently watching "A Woman's Place" and I really have been wanting this episode. I needed to see Mrs. Waterford's backstory. To be honest, it has been a while since I had read the novel, so I love the additions, like her disappointment in being cut out of the leadership after the coup. I can overlook some of the goofier aspects, in part because I truly think the concept of a society like this is so foreign, even the producers and writers are having a difficult time nailing the reality. It is so unreal to the average person that it is difficult to portray. But that is also part of the concept. The coup and complete reversal of the American lifestyle happens so quickly it seems unreal. Even as the Handmaidens begin training, they don't realize the nature of their new reality.



Of course, I am not an American diplomat, but I wonder if this is what it feels like to be a diplomat and go to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan under the Taliban.

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#57

Great finale, ends pretty similarly to the book. Moira's escape was a pretty necessary catharsis after so much misery. Very interested to see where Season 2 goes, although I doubt June is escaping anytime soon.

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#58

Excellent piece on the show: 


http://www.vulture.com/2017/06/the-handm...%20Year%29

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#59
AWas nervous when I heard the show was being picked up for a second season. My fear was this slight novel would be stretched out over multiple seasons. Instead it ends pretty much where the book ends which makes for a best case scenario if it was a one and done season.

In fact, I wouldn't doubt it if the epilogue from the book was filmed when this was going to be a mini series instead of an ongoing series. Instead we are going to see the stuff only hinted at in the epilogue.

EDIT: How great was the person who played Aunt Lydia? One could watch the stoning scene in the finale and have several different interpretations of how she feels about the whole thing. My guess is that she was secretly relieved about her girls not stoning Janine while at the same time passed at them for failing to obey her. Such a great performance.
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#60

Yeah, that's Ann Dowd who also did a great job in "The Leftovers" for the past three seasons Smile

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#61
AYeah. Ann Dowd has done a fantastic job as a middle manager of a cult in two shows. Does she get typecast after this?
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#62

She was also terrific in Quarry



 

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#63

I just finished watching this last night. Great series. Moss is amazing, particularly in her car ride scene with Mrs. Waterford. She displayed such palpable hatred. I hope more people check this show out.

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#64

It was a fantastic finale. Every actor is pulling his or her weight in this show. Discovering Lady Waterford's role in the creation of Gilead and her dissatisfaction in it has been great.

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#65

One thing that's unclear to me, when June and Moira were at the protest, was June's daughter born yet? June says things turned to shit gradually, but the protest turning deadly would have been the biggest sign that the time had come for them to leave, and that the current state of affairs was not just temporary. Did she and Luke (and their daughter) spend four or five years in Boston after it was made so that women could no longer work, and that the police could open fire against protesters?

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#66

Watched the first three episodes of this show, and it's incredibly compelling but also incredibly harrowing. Gah, it makes me so uncomfortable thinking about my daughters growing up in a world that could tip over into this so plausibly. Still, beautiful show with great performances, and I'm enjoying the uncertainty.



In terms of timeline, it seems that when June's bank account is frozen and all women are let go from their jobs, her daughter is a toddler. I know this because when June and Moira are at the dinner table drinking wine, June's husband comes in after putting Hannah down for a nap and he has a sippy cup for toddlers. Moira mentions the protest, then we see that later.



It appears that in the opening of the first episode Hannah is five or six. In the "present" June mentions Hannah would be eight. And we see June tell Moira she's pregnant, and at that time the epidemic of women being barren has already started. So I'm thinking it's been about a decade since the epidemic started (we see a projector showing pregnancies declining up to 2015, so the show is probably set in 2025), about five years since the protest, and about three years since June became a handmaid.

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#67

I still haven't gone back to this show. The last scene of episode three fucked with my head in a major way.



Love Bort's thoughts on the timeline. That seems to make sense.

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#68

It's so rare that stories of dystopias take the time to show how things unraveled. There's usually a before and then long after when things are already status quo, or before is only hinted at but not seen.



But here things are still fresh enough to be relatable, and yet totally believable. When June arrives at the hospital to give birth we see the crowds of protesters in desperate prayer. If women around the world started going barren, I can totally see the United States reacting this way. Some crazy military coup taking advantage of the chaos to overthrow the government, and swaths of people willingly giving in and even welcoming it.



It's the Handmaids that have obviously drunk the kool-aid and walk around in a kind of religious ecstasy that make me so uncomfortable. And beating the accused rapist to death gave me flashbacks to Shirley Jackson's "The Lottery". Keep them satiated by giving them something to take their aggression out on. Sigh.



What's also fascinating about the show is the implicit unsustainability of it all. Only the rich and powerful get a handmaid, and even then there's no guarantee their child is born "normal" or lives. Controlled breeding is certainly not how you balloon a population.



This is a country holding hands and singing hymns at ground zero, there's no future here.

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#69
AEpisode 3 made me mad because I know people who would have been like "those liberal hippies got what was coming to them"
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#70

This show is basically an expansion of Martin Niemöller's poem:



First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Socialist.


Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Trade Unionist.


Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.


Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.



It's not just the black vans and men with machine guns. It's June's boss that doesn't protest firing all the women. It's June's husband being flippant about how "temporary" it all has to be.

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