I spoke too soon in my last post because I got a job interview! (Cue the gasps and excited screaming.) We shall see how the interview goes because I’m dreading the salary question: “how much would you like to be paid?” I don’t think anyone ever knows the correct answer. It’s just an awkward guessing game of numbers and I’m not excited to play it.
So onto my most recent obsession: The Handmaid’s Tale. It feels really weird to be saying this, but Hulu is making some great television. If you don’t already have a Hulu account then mooch off of someone else’s.
Elisabeth Moss in The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale is about America in the near future where an extremist right wing group has taken over and created a simpler, more traditional society. In this future, fertility is rare so the few fertile women are rounded up and forced to become handmaids (have children for the right wing leaders). The story follows June (Elizabeth Moss) as she deals with being a handmaid.
So first things first, Elisabeth Moss is perfect. Of course, I already knew this because of her fantastic acting in Mad Men as Peggy Olson. I could go on and on about the transformation of Peggy from season 1 as timid secretary to season 7 boss ass head copy writer.
Her acting in both series has a remarkable authenticity and truth. Especially in this newer series, that must be hard to create considering June is living in dystopian America where she is forced to have children and only men can own property and participate in government. (Though that is beginning to sound like the present in a very scary way.) I don’t feel as if I’m watching Moss act. I’m really seeing June deal with her “job” as a handmaid. Props to Elisabeth Moss for creating such an interesting and somehow relatable character in sci-fi chaos.
I love The Handmaid’s Tale because the viewers are not only getting June’s point of view,
but Nick and Serena Joy’s as well. We slowly learn that Gilead, the oppressive government, has made victims out of everyone. Nick, a driver, and Serena Joy, a government official’s wife, have the chance to be heard and understood. It adds a nuance and sophistication to both their characters and the show.
The last thing I want to talk about is the coloring of the series. The muddy and dull colors create a stark landscape for The Handmaid’s Tale. All shades of browns, grays, and blues are included. The production designer has deliberately eliminated any bright colors. This creates a distinct difference between the present and flashbacks. June can be seen wearing a variety of colors in the flashbacks. In the present she is only allowed one: red. A sense of sorrow and detachment is ingrained through the whole society. No one is allowed to create close relationships because of the whistleblower aspect of their culture and this is reflected in their drab clothing.
The color chosen for each position, wife, ‘martha’ (housekeeper), and handmaid, represents their importance. The marthas wear grey because they are easily replaced. The wives wear teal because they’re higher class. The only ones who are cared for and cherished are the handmaids. They are, of course, dressed in red because they are important. They stand out starkly against the dull colors.
June in her red uniform with a ‘martha’
I hope you enjoyed my thoughts on The Handmaid’s Tale. I really love it and I’ll be watching every week on Wednesdays when the new episodes come out!