The best thing about Sunday is not that I get a sleep in. Nor that I don’t have to hustle kids off to school or work. The best thing about Sunday is that it’s Homeland night.
I knew Homeland was a winner that would soon fill the Spooks’ shaped hole in my TV viewing, from the very first episode. Hell, there was real sex not make-up-on-not-a-hair-out-place-sex in the first scene. And the female lead was attractive but not perfect. Definitely a flawed heroine. Then was all the intrigue about the long lost American soldier miraculously found in the Taliban bunker after eight years of captivity.
And if that wasn’t enough, there was also Damian Lewis…..WITH A FULL WILD MAN GINGER BEARD!
It simply got better and the more I watched the more I was hooked. The writing is brilliant – witty, but real, invective used as vocal exclamation marks as it is in real life. None of this f-ing and blinding for the sake of it. And there was no obvious sign-posting. You actually had to watch and listen to see what happened.
I think we’ve all became inured to the irritating way of writing for television that employs the presentation skills training technique of telling us what is going to happen, telling us what is happening and then telling us what has happened. That doesn’t happen in life and it’s irritating when script writers do it for TV or film, but as an audience we’ve become so used to it we don’t even notice any more..until they don’t do it!
But Homeland has none of that, thank God. It simply has more twists and turns than a twisty turny thing (to quote Blackadder). You simply don’t know what’s going to happen next, and as for Damian Lewis’ character – is he a hero or a traitor?
Clare Danes is wonderful as Carrie, intense, clever, and just a little bit screwy. My kind of heroine. I love how her depiction of Bipolar disorder has challenged stereotypes. See, Bipolar sufferers can be useful helpful members of society, and even lead the one-woman charge against the entire Taliban! Yeah! There’s only two things I find disconcerting about Carrie.
Why doesn’t she have more wrinkles? With her face permanently screwed up in desperate concentration – a la major constipation – you’d think she’d have more wrinkles than a Sharpei, but there’s not a sign of it.
The only other issue I have with Carrie is that she’s painted into the old stereotype of ‘bright woman = crazy lady’. I appreciate she isn’t a sex bomb like a Bond girl, but can’t help wondering if there’s a bit too much of a link between the crazy woman in the attic and the intelligent woman for my liking. But that doesn’t stop me watching, because after all….there’s Damian Lewis.
Damian Lewis’ character, Nicholas Brody, is likewise full of flaws, and he’s a ginger. But he wears his ginger in such a delicious way. Manly, intelligent, but complicated and flawed, he truly is thinking woman’s crumpet.
But the problem I have with Brody is this – Surely he should be more loyal to the wholesome American family he left behind him, than the Taliban family and child who befriended him in captivity whilst in Afghanistan. Would the blood bonds with your own children really diminish that easily? Let’s not forget that if he does pull the trigger or push the button on the suicide vest he will directly threaten the safety of his real American family.
Would Stockholm syndrome be enough to screw your head up that much?
But these psychological plot glitches aside Homeland is a brilliant watch. So much so that even President Obama has admitted to Lewis that he is a big fan, according to Entertainmentwise. Apparently when Damian Lewis asked him how he had time to catch the show when he was supposed to running the free world the President replied that he pretended to go and do work in the Oval Office on a Saturday afternoon when the first couple’s daughters are at tennis, but instead of hovering on the red phone or appearing on C-Span he’s really catching up with this week’s goings-on in Homeland.
And if Obama says it’s good, that is a good enough recommendation for me!
Homeland is on Channel 4 Sunday nights in the UK. You should watch it with me.
Do you ‘get’ Homeland? Is Brody a goodie or a baddie? And do you think Carrie is a true heroine or too screwy for you?