attended The Americans
panel event at NYCC and wanted to share some insights/thoughts/observations with you! This is my first post, so I'm kind of nervous, but hope you enjoy . . .
I sat in the third row. The panel discussion had a good turn out, which was surprising to me, because I don’t consider The Americans
a Comic Con-type-of-show. Maybe a “quasi-Comic Con” show?? I eavesdropped on the conversations around me. Nobody sitting around me had seen Season 2. A few people had never seen the show, but were huge Felicity
First 8-10 minutes
- How I’d summarize the general audience consensus about Season 1: “took some time to get into it, but then the s&*^ got real.”
—a montage of clips from “Echo.” The people around me chuckled a little when Philip and Elizabeth woke up Paige & Henry. I wonder if those who had never seen the show understood what was happening.
Commie Con T-shirts.
- My Personal Side Note. NYCC marked the first time I viewed The Americans on the big screen and what a delightful experience it was!!! I never realized how well the show translates on a big movie screen. I have viewed “Echo” about a million times on both my television and my mini iPad, yet on the movie screen, I enjoyed the episode 200% more than I already did. I’m kind of shocked at how much I enjoyed seeing the show on a movie screen. I’ve never enjoyed watching movies for MANY reasons, but I will discuss the two most prominent reasons. First, I don’t find movie theatres to be an intimate setting. Physical space matters to me—when I watch something, I need to feel the comforts of my home. I did not subjectively enjoy the first The X-Files movie, because I was so accustomed to watching the show from my bed. Second, I have a difficult time investing in characters within a two-hour time span. Ironically, I was hooked on The Americans Pilot within the first hour because I though it displayed the visual feel of a movie and I emotionally connected with the characters rather quickly. **Btw, for The Americans' final season (yes, I know—a depressing thought), I hope we get a 2-hour season premiere/finale with the budget the show had for the Pilot. **
- I admit that I don’t think I would have enjoyed viewing “Echo” on the big screen if it was my first time seeing the episode. I’m still on the fence if I would ever want to see a movie adaptation of The Americans. Of course, this point is moot, because sadly the show is not profitable enough on the small screen to justify a movie. Nonetheless, an intriguing thought.
As I am sure you all noticed, the entire gang was wearing the same shirt. The shirt was Matthew Rhys’ idea. Because he grew up in South Wales, which had “Communist influence,” he thought there was a convention called “Commie Con” in Wales and confused it with “Comic Con.” I received a free The Americans
bag, but I would have preferred the t-shirt—just sayin’. Andy Greenwald was a superb moderator
—no surprise there. He knew when to keep quiet and when he did ask questions, they were insightful, eloquent, intelligent, and humorous—just like his essays!Panel Discussion.
General disclaimer: not too many spoilers were revealed. Did any of you seriously expect any hardcore spoilers? Nonetheless, here’s a list of discussions I noted:
• First question was for the writers and their experience writing the show, given that they have two seasons under their belt. Joe Weisberg said the first season was the most exhausting.
• Andy Greenwald made a funny comment/observation about Philip’s love for cowboy attire. He noted that during season one, Philip donned the boots and a pervert took a beating and during the second season, he donned the hat and a busboy got killed. He then asked Matthew Rhys what would happen if Philip actually did end up in Texas. Matthew Rhys said he’d bring a lasso with him.
• Andy Greenwald asked whether Stan was going to have a better time next season. There was conversation about the Phil-Stan racquetball scenes—the writers had fun with that set. Writers seemed to hint at some Phil/Stan scenes next season.
• There will be focus on Afghanistan next season and Joe Weisberg is REALLY excited about that. Don't ask Joel Fields why Joe Weisberg is really excited :-P
• Andy Greenwald asked about the multiple levels of acting (the actors have to act like Philip and Elizabeth, who in turn, have to act like other personas in disguise). Matthew Rhys said that Philip doesn’t have to be a great actor; he just has to convince the person sitting in front of him.
• Season 3 will focus on parenting—nothing new there. Nina will live (yes, there are STILL people asking this question).
• Noah Emmerich joked about how he still confuses Joel with Joe.
• Andy Greenwald asked whether the writers come up with material/stories based on the disguises. The writers agreed that "Clark" is the one disguise they write to the most.
• Season 2 disguises will return in Season 3 and will be fleshed out (YAY!)Audience questions.
A majority of questions were ones you’ve read in every interview (e.g., what’s your favorite disguise), but here are some questions that elicited funny and/or interesting responses:
• A person asked about experience in researching old school technology. Joe Weisberg remarked that unfortunately, he didn’t have to research the technology because he actually remembered using the technology. The entire panel began to laugh. Then, he clarified that technically only he, Joel Fields, and Noah Emmerich are old enough to remember. Noah Emmerich then quipped, “Remembered what? Wearing shoes?”
• Both Andy Greenwald and an audience member asked about the on and off -screen dynamics between the actors. Specifically, an audience member noted that both Noah Emmerich/Annet Mahendru and Matthew Rhys/Keri Russell film a majority of their scenes together. Thus, how do the respective acting pairs “cool” off after filming, because they spend long hours together tackling dark subject matter.
o Annet Mahendru joked that Noah Emmerich tells “knock-knock” jokes
o Noah Emmerich said that he and Annet Mahendru have a good time after filming, but noted that he’s weary of bonding TOO much with any of his co-stars off-screen, because he’s afraid of how their off-screen relationship might affect the dynamics of a particular scene (e.g., sometimes a scene calls for an argument; other times, a scene calls for amorous eye gazes). Matthew Rhys took keen interest in Noah Emmerich’s remarks and nodded in agreement with him. **I really liked Noah Emmerich’s answer. I admire that he’s the consummate professional and his answer shows just how much he cares about the characters and the overall integrity of the show. As I noted before, Matthew Rhys definitely respected and agreed with Noah Emmerich’s answer—good to know they have the same ideals for the show : D **
o Matthew Rhys apologized for mentioning the “slapping” story again and joked that his relationship with Keri Russell had not changed off- screen since filming the Pilot because she still slaps him. :P
• A woman in the audience asked whether Nina is pregnant, because the writers said that next season’s focus is on parenting. The entire panel and audience laughed. Matthew Rhys joked that the writers are now scribbling down notes. Then, the woman waited at the microphone and said, “Well, you didn’t answer my question.” There was an awkward silence and of course, the writers and actors were mum. I read an article, in which the author surmised that Nina is pregnant, because the writers’ silence implied that she was pregnant. **My personal take—I don’t think the writers’ silence is an implication that Nina is pregnant. Well, at least, I will give the writers a benefit of the doubt that they will not be resorting to such a cliché, soap opera-ish rouse **A little side story.
I attended NYCC immediately after I left a meeting, so I was dressed in a conservative attorney’s outfit. When I entered the Javits Center, I immediately thought about how out-of-place I looked. Coincidentally, for some reason, the audience for The Americans
panel was also inappropriately dressed for NYCC. Matthew Rhys noted the attire in the audience and joked, “I want to congratulate this particular audience for showing the spirit of Comic Con. Given that you’re supposed to dress up in costumes, I appreciate this audience’s very subtle costume choices—clearly, I see you’re fans of the show because you’ve dressed like The Americans
.” [Paraphrase] As much as I loved the Commie Con shirts, I would’ve paid a million bucks to see all of the actors dress up in disguise for the panel discussion. Personal Musings/Vents/Rants
• I am so incredibly happy Matthew Rhys attended NYCC. Matthew Rhys was not originally scheduled to attend NYCC; only Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields, Keri Russell, Noah Emmerich, and Annet Mahendru were originally scheduled to attend. Matthew Rhys was clearly the highlight of the panel and was hilarious! I want to start a Twitter petition to get Matthew Rhys to host SNL
to promote The Americans S
eason 3 opening. Anyone want to join???
• I’m also SO happy that nobody discussed the “69” scene from Season 2. Seriously, people—get over it! Sorry, but I thought that was the most over-hyped scene of Season 2. I guess I’m in the minority . . .
• I missed Alison Wright and Susan Misner at the panel. I would’ve loved to see Holly Taylor and Keidrich Sellati, too! (Neat side story: I take acting lessons on the side and I just found out my coach is in the same theatre group w/ Alison Wright--how cool is that?!?! I'll get to meet and see her the next time she performs!)
• Dear person sitting next to me—Please do not bring gross smelling food with you. That’s rude. I felt like puking for the first 5 minutes of the panel discussion.
• I sat in the third row, so I had REALLY good seats. However, if you want first & second-row seats, you have to come to the room when the doors open. The people in the front two rows were not fans of The Americans
; they came to the room at 10 AM to claim seats because they were waiting for a comic book panel discussion in the room. Miscellaneous Tidbits
• I think I heard Andy Greenwald say something about Joe Weisberg guest starring? Sorry, I didn’t hear the complete context, because I was trying to prevent myself from puking :< UPDATE:
I just found out on Twitter that Joe Weisberg will be guest starring on The Good Wife
tonight. So take that--The Walking Dead
• Season 3 will start in January—only 3 months away!!!
• Season 2 DVDs come out on December 16th! ***Pictures to be posted soon***