[This story contains spoilers from the FX limited series Fleishman Is in Trouble.]
In FX’s restricted collection Fleishman Is in Trouble, creator and showrunner Taffy Brodesser-Akner desires you to rethink whose facet you’ve been on.
Described by Brodesser-Akner as an “absurd comedy” blended with marriage drama and based mostly on her debut novel of the identical title, the collection follows physician Toby Fleishman (Jesse Eisenberg) after he and his spouse Rachel (Claire Danes) break up and assume shared custody of their youngsters. A free man (in his center age), Fleishman makes an attempt to re-enter the relationship scene by way of relationship apps whereas juggling his work and now single parent-esque duties.
“It’s a modern story about the way marriage is now. It’s not about marriage for the long haul,” Brodesser-Akner defined on the present’s New York premiere earlier this month. “It’s about the way things are weird now between men and women in heterosexual marriages with women out-earning men and the tension that those things cause.”
“There’s essentially three marriage narratives, all interesting and all representing somewhat different aspects of a potential marriage,” added star Adam Brody, who says his character Seth, Toby’s good friend, represents “the hedonistic side of the male perspective.” “It takes a long look — a somber and contemplative, yet wistful and romantic in addition to bleak, view — at newfound middle age in the world at this time. And I think there’s a lot of universality within all the relationships, even though clearly it’s about a specific group of people in a specific income, in a specific zip code.”
Though lonely, Toby is seemingly doing high-quality till sooner or later when Rachel drops the youngsters off at his place — after which disappears, reducing off contact along with her former husband. Spanning a number of many years, together with the more moderen 12 months of 2016, a part of the twist of the collection, the showrunner and her forged informed The Hollywood Reporter, is when and the way Rachel comes again.
“[Fleishman Is in Trouble] shows this fraught marriage from both sides. You see the world from my eyes and my wife looks like the villain,” star Eisenberg added. “Then you flip the script and see it from her eyes and realize that I’ve also been the villain. My character seems like a put-upon, aggrieved, jilted husband, and I think Taffy very slightly upends that expectation by showing the same story from the woman’s point of view and seeing that actually, maybe, the male sympathy you had as a viewer was misplaced.”
That twist is one thing star Danes stated was each the “great thrill of the novel” and in addition scary to tackle as a performer, notably in gentle of how the restricted collection — not less than initially — frames her character.
“It takes you by such surprise because it does happen so late on the continuum, so you’re just a bit blindsided and then you’re horrified to discover that you’ve been sort of complicit in this very biased telling of the story, that somehow you’ve been duped into this or you’ve done so willfully,” she stated. “It’s a little scary to play somebody who is not portrayed in the most flattering light, but I trusted the structure that Taffy had created, and the reward at the end should hopefully be thrilling and gratifying.”
“I’ve played many characters who are kind of despicable people and this is not the case with this show. This character is not a monster. He’s just a guy,” Eisenberg stated of his personal character. “But I have experienced trying to figure out how to rationalize and empathize with people who, to a reasonable viewer, are acting horribly. And I think this challenges viewers in a very subtle way to think about the way we expect to have sympathy for the man by default.”
As Brody famous there are different gamers (and marriages) within the narrative, which additionally explores the realities of contemporary heterosexual marriage. Those different gamers embody Lizzy Caplan’s character, Libby Epstein, who’s a author — and the story’s narrator — who’s trapped in suburban life whereas married to Adam Epstein, performed by Josh Radnor.
The latter teases that their relationship is extra of a “slow boil, and then it kind of heats up and heats up and heats up and there’s this great explosion between the two of them in the last episode.” And considerably dissimilar to the present’s main relationship between Eisenberg and Danes’ characters, Caplan’s character serves because the main lens each for her and Radnor’s characters’ relationship and, ultimately, your entire viewers.
“My character Libby says that she feels like she can’t get anything that she’s written read unless it’s written about a man. That she can’t tell her own story. The only way she can get an audience is if she’s talking about a man, which is basically the entire show,” Caplan informed THR. “You think the show is about Fleishman, but it’s Libby telling her story through her friend. She comes to that realization later and the audience goes along for the ride with her.”
Radnor stated his character acts “in support of Lizzie’s story and her perspective and her narrative” — a pivot he’s completely satisfied to make in a tradition dominated by male narratives and ones informed in a selected method by way of a selected lens.
“I’ve certainly been the center and the story has asked women to congregate around my narrative as a protagonist, so I’m happy to return the favor,” the actor stated, laughing. “There is such a strong perspective — even the men were beautifully written in this. That’s something I wish more male actors understood. Women have been writing great roles for you.”
Brodesser-Akner, who spent years between locations like GQ magazine and The New York Times profiling males, stated writing for males turned a spot she was extra snug. “But also it’s a numbers game,” she added. “We live in a terrible culture where everyone will read a story about a man, but only women will read a story about women. A man will only be interested in male stories historically, and a woman will be interested in both.”
Fleishman Is in Trouble then serves as an opportunity to unpack that for TV, just like the novel did for publishing and her profiles did for journalism. “I like the idea of subverting it and saying this is a story about a man and what if it was told by a woman? What if it was told by someone who grew to become frustrated with the story as she was listening to it because it stopped making sense to her? It stopped sounding exactly accurate?” she says. “That’s certainly what I hoped to do when I was telling stories about men at GQ and then at The New York Times.”
Fleishman Is in Trouble releases new episodes Thursdays on Hulu.