‘The Affair’ and striking a ‘Pose’

The fourth season of Showtime’s series returns to real-estate porn

 (photo credit: Courtesy)
(photo credit: Courtesy)
After a ghastly third season in which many loyal viewers dropped out, season four of The Affair, which runs on Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on HOT HBO and is available on HOT VOD, has begun and it has returned to its original mission: real-estate porn. In this category, it is virtually unparalleled. The deepest problem with season three was that it was set in large part in an unappealing college town. But now that most of the action has moved to California – with a bit in Montauk, Long Island, its original setting – it can truly be called triple X real-estate porn once again.
Could anyone ask for anything more? Well, if you want truly interesting character development and dialogue, this might not be your cup of tea. The first two seasons were a bit more enjoyable, as the series traced the path of the two married characters having an affair – grief-stricken waitress Alison (Ruth Wilson) and novelist/ teacher Noah (Dominic West) – and how this affair impacted their spouses Cole (Joshua Jackson) and Helen (Maura Tierney). There was a murder mystery thrown in, but that was never the point of the show. The Affair was always primarily a story about attractive people in gorgeous locations, with an intellectual veneer – knowing comments about the Brooklyn literary scene, for example – and the device that each episode was told from different characters’ points of view.
More memorable than any plot turn in the first episode of season four is the incredible house where Helen lives with her new husband, Vik (Omar Metwally), a doctor who has just gotten a prestigious job in Los Angeles. As usual, Helen doesn’t appreciate what she’s got – great spouse and dream house – and keeps imagining there’s an earthquake taking place. Eventually she realizes that the earthquake is Noah, or at least her fear that he will find some new way to hurt her. The tagline for the season is, “No coast is clear.”
Noah is now teaching in a tough Los Angeles charter school (which introduces some non-white characters, apparently to distract us from the fact that this is a story about four white people) and (no spoilers) gets involved in another big mystery involving one of the main characters, which will keep you tuning back in, if you’re in it for the plot. If you’re in it for the real estate, though, you’ll tune back in just to see the house.
The series was co-created by Hagai Levi (of In Treatment fame), who is now at work on a new series for HBO and Keshet, with Joseph Cedar, about the kidnappings of Jewish and Arab boys that led up to the 2014 war with Gaza.
MADONNA MADE the mostly African-American drag-queen ball scene familiar to mainstream audiences with her song, “Vogue,” and a new series, Pose , is set in that era. It starts on YES Edge on Sunday, June 24 at 10 p.m.
The series is set in New York in the mid-80s, at the height of the AIDS era. These balls took place in black neighborhoods, where groups called houses – that would often become surrogate families to their members – would dress up in an extraordinarily elaborate clothes, and dance and pose in them.
This scene was the subject of a wonderful documentary by Jennie Livingston, Paris is Burning , which was likely part of what inspired Ryan Murphy ( Glee, American Horror Story ) to tell this story. Damon (Ryan Jamaal Swain) is a gay teenager from Pennsylvania studying classical dance who gets kicked out by his family and finds his way to New York.
Blanca (Mj Rodriguez) sees him dancing in a park and introduces him to the ball scene, where she is starting her own house and breaking away from the revered Elektra, the mother of the House of Abundance.
The series throws in a couple of white, straight characters to lead us through this world, as Piper introduced us all to prison life in Orange is the New Black . But the real action is at the balls and in the houses – the dancing and costumes are wonderful.