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Tag Archives: final season

Saying Goodbye to The Americans

30 May

Television fulfils many roles; there are shows for all kinds of viewing experiences. In this age we call Peak TV, there are now more options than ever before. Shows you watch to keep up with the conversation, long running series’ you just can’t quit, the thing you stick on to fall asleep to, the ones you obsess over and can’t get enough of. It isn’t just new TV that is readily available, when Hulu added E.R. earlier this year, the level of chat from new viewers and old fans filled my Twitter feed for days/weeks, much to my delight.

My So-Called LifeThe X-FilesE.R.Buffy the Vampire SlayerThe Sopranos and Lost are all examples of shows that impacted me on deeply personal level. They made me understand what television could do and be. An inspiration to this career path I have taken.

In recent years Mad MenThe Leftovers, Friday Night LightsThe Good WifeHannibal and Halt and Catch Fire have resonated in way that have made me a better writer. But there is one show, which has run parallel to some of the biggest leaps I have made in my freelance career. And that show is finishing tonight.When The Americans made its debut on January 30 2013, this blog was just a twinkle in my eye. I was reviewing The Vampire Diaries for free for another site; I had a different blog that mostly consisted of (bad) Mad Men musings. Cut to April of that year and TV Ate My Wardrobe was born. It didn’t take long for the disguises to make an appearance on here. The second ever “Out of the Box” column,featured Elizabeth in curly wig and glasses.

I was hooked on The Americans from the first episode, from the first TUSK. The spy stuff was fun, but the central relationship was what drew me in. And this has since turned into thousands of words about Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. The costume design, which didn’t scream the 1980s of music videos, wasn’t just a case of throwing on a ridiculous outfit whenever the story called for a cover disguise. Big glasses, big hair, later big shoulder pads all factored, but it was grounded in the narrative. And as her permanent cover, no one has made me want to wear silk blouses as much as Elizabeth has made me want to wear silk blouses.

Now for a brief interlude with my Top 5 Elizabeth disguises. Not to discount the many dirtbags and mustache dudes Philip has played, but Elizabeth is my style queen. Yep even when she is Jennifer.

1) JenniferLovely, lovely Jennifer. The first appearance at Clark’s wedding was also an early “Out of the Box” contender. It is hard to make Keri Russell look dowdy, but this almost does it. And there is a vulnerability we don’t get to see too often when she has to interact with her husband’s other wife. Face eating specs are my weakness, Jennifer’s sartorial prowess in this area is strong.

2) Patty

Super glamorous Patty was the first time Elizabeth got to play into the ’80s trends we might expect. Big earrings, bigger coats. The first time Elizabeth had connected with one of her targets on a personal level. The Young Hee storyline was devastating, the costumes were incredible. And this shot from the Matthew Rhys directed “The Magic Of David Copperfield V: The Statue Of Liberty Disappears” is one of my favorites from the six seasons.

3) Brenda 

Brenda is probably the most on trend disguises Elizabeth has worn, she is a fashion buyer after all. And I was subconsciously influenced by Brenda’s specs when I bought my pair last year.

4) Velma (and Clark)

The blonde Velma look from season one and an outfit I would wear now.

5) I don’t have a name for this disguise, but everything about this look is fierce af. Also my Halloween costume inspo.

Back to the task at hand.

The reason why I wanted to write this specific goodbye post is because The Americans has made me, not just a better writer, but has given me the push into pitching various outlets over the last few years. The first costume designer I ever interviewed was Jenny Gering, the first professionally paid writing gig I got was writing about The Americans.

My knowledge of these characters, this world, what they wear, made me feel confident pitching articles calling Paige “The Final Girl” (will she be?), asking why Cold War panic was on trend, discussing the complex relationship dynamics of these characters and how The Americans is the rare prestige drama to get the teen family members right (it still is). Or how I obsessed for ages about the concept of ‘summer’ and ‘winter’ shows and finally got to put it in writing.

I have interviewed costume designer Katie Irish about Coach coats as pregnancy bump concealers, retro sports apparel and leaning in to the ’80s in this final season. I spoke to Jenny Gering about an article of clothing that rarely gets costume design column inches; the foundation garments, the underwear.

I went to a wedding earlier this month and even though I have bee freelancing for the last few years, this was the first time I felt fine saying “I’m a writer” when asked what I do for a living. In the past I would mention this career, but make some self-deprecating joke about how it was my side-gig. That I wasn’t worthy to call it my profession. I still get that imposter syndrome feelings, but they are getting easier to push to one side. Bury deep. What would Elizabeth Jennings do? I mean, not care about writing about TV shows for starters, but in this final season she has softened to the idea of what art can be. Just don’t ask her to watch a soap opera without pulling faces.

[Source]

Here at TV Ate My Wardrobe I have reviewed every single episode since the season one finale. I dread to think how many words this adds up to. I have talked best wigs, the marriage disguises, the vulnerability of Elizabeth, the huge season three truth telling moments and a personal essay about my wedding in relation to this secret service (that could now be Philip and Elizabeth’s undoing).

To the showrunners, Joe Weisberg and Joel Fields, thanks for making a show that didn’t pander to its audience. That was smart and sad with a thread of hope throughout.

To Emmy voters, now is the time not only to honor the show, but also two of the best performances on TV for as long as I can remember. I talk about it a lot, but it is worth repeating; the things both Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys do with their faces without any dialogue is constant wonder. And what they do with those words is just as compelling.

You never know what you’re going to get with kid actors when they are cast. Luckily Holly Taylor was a Kiernan Shipka and Keidrich Sellati was not a Bobby Draper. Noah Emmerich hasn’t always had flashy scenes that will play as a nomination clip, but it is a steely performance that deserves examination and praise. My stomach hurts just thinking about Stan in this finale.

It is a cast from top to bottom that has wowed, but special shout outs to Alison Wright, Costa Ronin, Annet Mahendru, Margo Martindale, Frank Langella, Dylan Baker, Ruthie Ann Miles, Miriam Shor, Richard Thomas, Brandon J. Dirden and Lev Gorn.To all the other many people that have worked on this show in the costume department to props. Those photos I always point out in the Jennings house, small details like that add to the depth of The Americans. And I am definitely going to miss writing about these characters.

Don’t worry, I still have a few more pieces in me still. I have no idea how this show is going to end, but just know I will be looking as sad as Philip and Henry do in this season three finale moment. Actually I won’t look half as composed as this.

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Breaking Bad Final Season Teaser Poster

6 Jun

The wait is almost over for the final 8 episodes of Breaking Bad and the first teaser poster has been released; it reveals pretty much nothing, other than it is really the end. Its design is simple and if you’re looking for clues you might have jump down the rabbit hole and enter the Megan Draper is already dead levels of investigation.

breaking bad s5 teaser posterSadly as the poster states “All Bad Things Must Come to an End” and showrunner Vince Gilligan admitted at a panel for the Nerdist Writers podcast (which was benefiting 826LA) that he got emotional writing the final script “I haven’t told my crew this. I actually cried writing the end – ‘The end’ on the last episode.”

As this is the first part of the final promotional campaign for Breaking Bad I like the sparseness of this design and the impact comes from the ominous smoke and lack of characters in the image.

Breaking Bad returns to AMC Sunday, August 11.

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