Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Affair: Whose Side Are You On?

You know that cliche: There's two sides to every story and then there's the truth?

I bet that phrase was uttered during the first 90 seconds of the pitch for the new Showtime series, The Affair. For those of you who haven't seen it, it tells the story of two characters who are cheating on their spouses with each other.  #1 Noah (Dominic West): the "happily" married teacher/struggling novelist, father of four, who's still getting financial help from his father-in-law (a super rich successful novelist). #2 Alison (Ruth Wilson): A married, bohemian, former nurse turned waitress-- who also has a deceased child. The series documents the duration of their affair through flashbacks as they're separately interrogated by a detective about a homicide/accident in present day. (Only three episodes of the series have aired so far.)

Each episode is broken up into two parts. The first follows Noah's version of events and the second follows Alison's. While an extra-marital affair is hardly a new or interesting story, it's this device that makes the show so intriguing. Each version comes with different nuances of the same events. Some minor (clothing, hairstyles), some more significant (who kissed who first). Each version leaves out certain conversations, while also showing the characters with their own significant others and families.

It's obvious that both of them are at least partially concealing the truth, but it's not always clear whether they're lying or if this is just the way they remember events. Maybe it's a little of both, but I'm leaning towards the former. The biggest difference in stories comes into play when they describe their romance/sexual relationship and how it began. In each story, the other is the aggressor.

I happened to be watching it with my best friend this past Sunday and she asked me whose story I believed so far and I immediately answered-- Noah. She felt the same and then we wondered what it said about us. Does that make us bad women for believing the man over the woman? Should we side with the woman based on the sole fact that she's female? Are we contributing to decades of sexual inequality by siding with him? What's the difference in psyche between people who side with Noah and those who side with Alison? My rationale is that Alison is clearly a broken woman still reeling from the loss of her son and that would subconsciously manipulate her version of events.

Have you guys seen The Affair? What are your thoughts on who's telling a more truthful version of the story. Do you think there's a deeper issue or tendency that separates those who believe Noah from those who believe Alison? Or is it the acting? Or that us ladies want to believe Dominic West after we watch his sex scenes? Comment below!


*PS Do we think it's a coincidence that the character's names are Noah and Alison (Allie) a la The Notebook?

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