Jane Espenson, Cheeks, and Sean Hemeon talk ‘Husbands’

Jane Espenson is a crown short of being named “The Queen of All Genre Television”, so when she teamed with Youtube sensation Brad “Cheeks” Bell, actor Sean Hemeon, Alessandra Torresani from Caprica, and sitcom director Jeff Greenstein, the geekosphere took note.

I interviewed Jane, Cheeks, and Sean about the now concluded first season of Husbands, concerns about typecasting, and if they care about offending people. Take a look at what #TeamHusbands had to say.

Sean, Brad, Jane, season 1 is through, you earned your success merit badge, is season 2 definitely happening and can we expect a Husbands DVD, Blu Ray, or Betamax in the future? Not VHS, VHS is gauche.

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: VHS is so not gauche. It’s totes got retro hipster appeal now. Cassette tapes too. Now, CDs? Those are gauche.

Jane Espenson: We don’t know yet about a season two, but we are exploring the idea of some kind of bonus content. We’ll see. And we’d like to make a DVD or iTunes version — this is all still up in the air. 

Are you looking to aggressively sell Husbands as a TV show or are waiting for TV to come to you?

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: Ha! TV coming to us? Does that ever really happen? I don’t think anything can get done in Hollywood unless you’re shopping it in some capacity or another. Unless maybe you kill someone and they want an exclusive… say, there’s an idea. 

I’m open to many future avenues for Husbands. My main priority is the ability to produce the show we envision and to retain the incredible creative team and cast we have assembled. The platform is all a part of the details.

Jane Espenson: We’re not waiting. On the other hand, I wouldn’t say we have a “TV or nothing” attitude. We are talking to people with the means to help us continue the show, through whatever means.

The world that you have created for the show is, sadly, a fantasy world where full marriage equality exists, and where a baseball player can be out of the closet and in the spotlight. I’m curious, what made you choose to make Brady a baseball player?

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: I think I might have suggested athlete and Jane is the one who settled on baseball. I wanted someone who was opposite of Cheeks in every possible way and also high profile. Obviously there is still plenty of taboo about openly gay men in the sports world, so it just sort of made sense. 

Jane Espenson: We wanted Brady and Cheeks to both be public figures, to raise the stakes in maintaining the marriage, but we wanted them to have different relationships with their fans.  By making Brady an athlete, we gave him a much more conservative fan base, which gives him very different concerns than Cheeks.

If you will, talk about Jeff Greenstein’s involvement in the project and what that meant to you all. 

Sean Hemeon: I have been absolutely spoiled by having Jeff as a director! He’s the real deal – a genuine stand up guy. He’s the biggest little kid I know and really tries to keep a fun and drama free set. He has a graceful way of steering the ship. He makes it look effortless. And certainly has enough great stories to keep anyone entertained for days!

Jane Espenson: Oh, man, we couldn’t have done this without Jeff.  Jeff is a long-time writer and executive producer, and also an accomplished director.  We needed his keen eye and keen mind. More than anything, it was Jeff who made the show look like a show. 

Sean, Brad, is there a concern about typecasting? 

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: If my role as Cheeks provides so much media exposure that the public just can’t see me as anything else, I’d consider that a high end problem. I should be so lucky. I also think that much of that question is up to the actor and his abilities. Ultimately, I see it like this: I’ll keep doing what I’m doing and cross that bridge should I come to it.

Sean Hemeon: Not at all worried about it. Brady’s not a typical gay character – he’s just a guy who happens to be gay. You could see him in straight situations and gay. 

Glee just had an episode where two gay characters lost their virginity. The sun still rose, the seas did not part, and kittens didn’t take to the streets with switch blades. Naturally though, some people were up in arms. You guys didn’t really seem to offend anyone with Husbands and I’m wondering if that was a surprise and if you would have cared about offending people?

Sean Hemeon: We, as gay men, offend people every day just by being out and open in our daily lives. If others want to be bothered by it, then its fine by me cause its their day they’re ruining, not mine. I’m happy in my gay world.

I don’t think, though, Husbands set out to offend people but rather to support people… we got a fan letter from a young boy in the middle of the midwest who saw Husbands and became hopeful that one day he could be out, married and HAPPY!

Brad “Cheeks” Bell: I would have cared about offending people if we’d done so for the sake of a joke, such as throwing a group of people under the bus to make a gag or punchline work. Other than that, for the people that are already morally opposed to what we’re creating, why should I care about offending them? They’re not our audience. They can watch Nancy Grace. They’ll be happier in doing so, as will Nancy Grace.

Jane Espenson: I was kind of looking forward to the kitten gangs because that sounds adorable. But yeah, the viewers are much more ready for content like Husbands than I think some people realize. As we’ve taken Husbands online, we’re finding that we don’t just have a lot people watching, but that there is a core of highly engaged superfans. What we have not found is the opposite — there’s been very little negative reaction and certainly no core of haters. The world has changed a lot in recent years and Glee is a show that’s reflecting that change. So is Husbands.

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You can re-watch or discover Husbands for the first time by going to HusbandsTheSeries.com. 

Oh, and genre fans, here’s a bonus question for Jane Espenson…

Did Barnabas really die in Caprica?

Jane Espenson: I didn’t see a body.  If you don’t see a body, the writers are probably keeping it open for a reason.

Jason Tabrys

Written by (@jtabrys)

The former editor-in-chief, Jason still reappears in the rafters of our fair site from time to time but he now spends his days leaping from one place to another, trying to put right what once went wrong. You can still find his words across the toxic constellation that is the… More »

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