Can a raucous, silly web series actually be considered art? Without me in it?
Sir Philip Sidney said the purpose of poetry is to “teach and delight”, meaning that for poetry to achieve greatness, it must do both. I think to do both in any artistic medium puts the resulting work on a higher level. The new web series “Husbands” achieves both, flawlessly.
With its premise based on the comedic tradition of the “happy idea”, the husbands of the series are a pair of secret, somewhat Odd Couple lovers who’ve had the happy idea to get hitched one blind-drunk night in Vegas. Then they wake up with hangovers, wedding rings and total recall. Since they’re both in the public eye (one is an actor and one a baseball player), the news gets out fast. Their only course of action is to make it all seem planned--thereby giving it a positive spin--and then to see the marriage through in order to remain the credible role models they desire to be. Unexpected situations, crackling dialogue and a screwball best friend add to the hilarity.
So “Husbands” does, indeed, delight. But it also teaches. We’ve all seen romantic comedies involving marriage (accidental or not) and how crazy it can get. But the invention here is that the couple is made up of two gay men. That not only makes it fresh, but allows for lessons by comparison: we see the guys struggling with much the same things with which straight couples struggle (moving in together, compromise, new relatives, etc.), thus illuminating the fact that—at our cores—most of us are more or less the same, straight or gay.
Therefore, by successfully managing to teach and delight, I argue that “Husbands” is a work of art. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but what is? And just because you don’t like a work of art, does not diminish it. Some people have had homophobic reactions to the show, but these reflect attitudes of the viewers—attitudes which “Husbands” clearly offers an opportunity to consider and, hopefully, change. Again: it’s a show with many layers beyond its giddy, glitzy surface. As such, “Husbands” is a trail-blazing triumph, a bold first step; it will be fun to see what follows in its footsteps.
Watch “Husbands” at: http://husbandstheseries.com/
“Husbands” is co-written by Jen Espenson and Brad Bell, directed by Jeff Greenstein and stars Sean Hemeon, Brad Bell and Alessandra Torresani.