Victims of the Hollywood Paradox

Seth’s Blog: Victims of the Hollywood Paradox.

The studios spend ever more on the blockbusters they make because that demonstrates their power and pays everyone in the chain more money, which creates more (apparent) power for those in charge.

But since they pay so much, they have no choice, they think, but to say, “This must work!” So they polish off the edges, follow the widely-known secret formula and create banality. No glory, it seems, with guts.

Every meeting is about avoiding coming anywhere near the sentence, “this might not work,” and instead giving ammunition to the groupthink belief that this must work.

And as soon as you do that, you’ve guaranteed it won’t.

Every bestseller is a surprise bestseller, and in fact, nobody knows anything.

(And of course, it’s not just movies, is it?)

Ah, Seth Godin, you sayer of sooth. Scratch around on this blog and search for references to “EastSiders” and “Husbands” and “The Outs” and “Whatever This Is” which are all independent productions, done for miraculously little money by writers and filmmakers who are truly committed to telling great stories and presenting them in innovative ways. None of the banality of “Hollywood,” I can assure you.

How “Husbands” Predicted The Future For Gay Marriage And Digital Hollywood

How “Husbands” Predicted The Future For Gay Marriage And Digital Hollywood.

Fortunately, Husbands has not had to worry about suffering from performance issues. When Bell and Espenson launched it two years ago as a web series on YouTube, it won a rave from no less than The New Yorker, and generated enough of a passionate fan base that the duo was able to raise $60,000 on Kickstarter for a second season. That season, which debuted on YouTube last year, saw a roughly 35% boost in viewership. “Everybody has access to the ability to make their own product now,” says Espenson. “It really is ‘the best will thrive.’ Like, whole networks are set up to guess what people are going to like. You don’t have to guess anymore. You can put it up and see what they like. That’s what we did. And they liked us.”

Excellent article and interview with Bell, Espenson and Hemeon about the impact of Husbands and finding new venues for content.


Husbands’ co-star Sean Hemeon is flanked by series co-creators Brad Bell and Jane Espenson at the 2013 Entertainment Weekly San Diego Comic Con party. The much-lauded marriage equality series centers on Hemeon and Bell, who play a hilarious mismatched married couple in the crisply written show. | Image: Chelsea Lauren/WireImage.

It’s very interesting to me that the trio no longer use the phrase “Web series” to describe the show, now beginning its third season (and this time on CW Seed, the companion site to the broadcast network), but rather simply call it a “series.”

I think they are right — and it’s very interesting to see language and usage change — sometimes practically overnight.

Says Espenson: “There’s nothing on YouTube that you can’t see on your smart TV. There’s nothing on TV, essentially, that you can’t find online in some form. So [saying “Web series” is] like saying, “I heard a radio song” vs. “a CD song!” Well, what’s the difference? You can get it either place.

I’ll have to start checking myself.

Meanwhile, you can watch — please do; it’s terrific!! — the new season of Husbands on CW Seed.

Watch the first two seasons and some behind-the-scenes videos HERE.

Read some of the Husbands-related posts I’ve made over the last year HERE, HERE, and HERE.

Brad Bell: Fine-tuning the Image of Gays in Hollywood: An Open Letter to Amy Pascal

Great article by Brad Bell. There’s not a single point he makes that I don’t agree with. Take a read. It’s extremely thought-provoking. Also, take a few minutes and watch Husbands, the great Web series that Bell co-created with Jane Espenson.

First, I applaud your acknowledgement of this issue and want to thank you for setting a precedent which makes this dialogue possible. Yes, I agree with you that an alarming volume of movies and TV shows thoughtlessly rely on anti-gay slurs for humor, thus perpetuating the idea that homosexuality is a shameful and comprehensible source of ridicule. Just one example is The Hangover, which manages to call texting “gay” and use the nickname “Dr. Faggot” in the first few lines of the movie. However, I also think that calling for an across-the-board ban of the word “fag,” with no consideration to context, is counterproductive for creating a climate of learning and compassion. I assume, of course, this is a concept you’re familiar with, after the public’s polarizing response to Django Unchained.

via Brad Bell: Fine-tuning the Image of Gays in Hollywood: An Open Letter to Amy Pascal.


You’re Out? You’re Off the Air: Networks Swinging the Big Gay Axe


NBC’s “The New Normal,” a gaycentric series the network chose not to renew.

Although most people associate the month of May with the Kentucky Derby, Memorial Day weekend traffic or beautiful spring bouquets for Mom, television has only one thing on its mind: Out with the old and in with the new. Manhattan is awash with TV folks in town for the upfronts, the annual ritual in which the networks present their fall schedules to advertisers in hopes of wooing big bucks. It is too early to tell which network will be the big winner, but this year there is a clear loser: gay characters.

via Derek Hartley: May-day! TV’s Big Gay Bloodbath. Huffington Post


Will Horton (Chandler Massey) and Sonny Kiriakis (Freddie Smith) on “Days of our Lives,” one of the few gay couples on American television.

Sadly, Hartley tells it for the truth, but I’m not sure he actually goes far enough in his hue and cry against the broadcast networks.

Last year there was a lot of positive buzz about the numbers of gay characters on the networks. The sum total of gay characters was about 6% of all characters — lame — but it was the highest percentage ever. After wiping us off the map for all intents and purposes in primetime, in daytime it’s not much better. There seems only to be  Sonny and Will’s  front burner storyline on “Days of our Lives,” amongst the sordid lives being lived on the few remaining televised soaps. Other than that, gay characters on traditional American television are few and far between. (Eden Reigel’s Bianca stands alone — as a proud but lonely lesbian in the gay landscape of Pine Valley on the Web reboot of “All My Children.” It will be nice if that changes.)

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Van Hansis, Kit Williamson and John Halbach star in the superlative Web series “EastSiders,” created by Williamson and now available on

Moving away from traditional TV to find entertainment, I would encourage you to check out these great Web series: EastSiders, The Outs, Husbands, and others. If you go to Logo to check out EastSiders (highly recommended), explore some of their other Web only offerings, such as Hunting Season.

Gay Web Dramas Flourish

Gay web dramas flourish as TV networks cling to the status quo | Television & radio |

Good article in The Guardian about the proliferation of gay-themed content in web series and how this might be the next new content delivery method for this type of entertainment. (Duh.) As Husbands co-creator Jane Espenson says, “We consider Husbands television. It’s just television that arrives in a different box.”

Some us have been ahead of The Guardian in reporting this. Ahem. See many links below. H/T Tommy Heleringer’s Facebook.


(l-r) Hunter Canning, Sasha Winters and Adam Goldman star in the exceptional Web series, The Outs. Photo: Interview/Unusually Fine Photography

More HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE to get you started.

The Outs – Very In

The Outs.

I don’t know if you’re familiar with this web series, but if you haven’t seen it, I do urge you to give it a look.

Tommy Heleringer as Scruffy and Hunter Canning as Jack, two of the adorable stars of the web series The Outs.

The Outs is the brainchild of Adam Goldman who wrote the six-episode series with Sasha Winters. Both of them act in it as well. The show features nuanced acting, creative camera work, and something that you find too little of — especially in made-for-the-Web-stuff — excellent lighting. (I know, I know. That’s always the dead giveaway in theatre reviews — talk about the lighting instead of giving a bad review.)

But I’m telling ya, it’s lit great and it highlights these performers.

The writing is smart, edgy sometimes, gritty, unflinching, real. These characters speak as real people speak. So refreshing to see.

I love the web series Husbands, too, but for entirely different reasons. Husbands is the parfait of a sitcom I wish was on television in prime time. The Brooklyn-centric The Outs is the great indie project that only you and a few savvy friends have found and it makes you feel good for having some knowledge that the rest of the hoi polloi don’t deserve to care about.

Well, watch The Outs. And tell somebody smart to watch it. These talented folks deserve our support.

Why ‘Husbands’ Matters: An Exclusive Look at the Marriage Equality Sitcom’s Second Season | ThinkProgress

Why ‘Husbands’ Matters: An Exclusive Look at the Marriage Equality Sitcom’s Second Season | ThinkProgress.

Excellent article by Alyssa Rosenberg. Read it.

This is an intriguing web series — and a cut above almost every other web-exclusive show. It helps that they are in Hollywood and they’ve got some connections because, let’s face it, how else do you get Jon Cryer and Joss Whedon to appear in your web series?

The first season is a series of approximately 2 minute eps. Longer, but fewer eps for the just being released season 2.

The writing is excellent. And the eye candy is first rate.

Watch it.