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Palimpsest: Novel vs. Show

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I wonder what would have happened to women like Oprah, Diane Sawyer or CEO's of big companies and other high profile powerful women.   Would their fate be becoming a Martha or an Aunt? Would they have been able to buy their way out of the US or be hanged along the wall? 

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Thanks for responses.  After watching an episode I lie in bed thinking about it all.  

It has to be almost impossible to oppress a once free society presumably overnight.  I don't know how it could be done to be honest. Like keeping a lid on a pot of boiling water.   But the world is strange place and people can be easily brainwashed.

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9 hours ago, Baltimore Betty said:

I wonder what would have happened to women like Oprah, Diane Sawyer or CEO's of big companies and other high profile powerful women.   Would their fate be becoming a Martha or an Aunt? Would they have been able to buy their way out of the US or be hanged along the wall? 

They probably would have taken their private jets and flown to Europe.

If they stayed, they would be killed, too influential to let live.

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19 hours ago, Pondlass1 said:

It has to be almost impossible to oppress a once free society presumably overnight.  I don't know how it could be done to be honest. Like keeping a lid on a pot of boiling water.   But the world is strange place and people can be easily brainwashed.

The thing with The Handmaid's Tale novel is that Atwood deliberately ensured that all that happened in the novel had really happened somewhere in the world. Look at just how successfully the Nazi's oppressed first Germany and then most of continental Europe. Or just a few years before Atwood would have been researching and writing, the Iranian Revolution had changed Iran from a country where the middle and upper classes lived not too dissimilarly to their western counterparts into a society every bit as oppressive and nightmarish as Gilead. (Sorry for the DM link but it's telling collection of photos.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/travel/travel_news/article-4148684/Stunning-photos-reveal-life-Iran-revolution.html )

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It bothered me that they changed both the things Moira told June, and didn't make her costume actually look used, the shoes fit, no sequins falling off and a bad fit, no smeared makeup.  I also wished she had ordered a weak drink, as she did in the book, knowing she had to keep her wits about her, and worried that a strong drink after so many years would be risky, even if she did want it.  

I really wish Moira had told June she's fucked Fred and he was terrible, and about the movies with the colonies and seeing June's alive but obviously soon to die mother in the film.  Non book readers seem to be doubting colonies exist, as well as wondering who the rapist raped.  Frustrating.

Edited by Umbelina
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Splitting off from a post in the episode thread as I realized I was getting too book specific.

I'm seeing some complaints elsewhere this morning that Jezebels was too glamorous too, that it was still too male gazey while downplaying the amount of female effort that generally goes into creating it.  Thinking about it further I can see where they're coming from.  In the book, most of the women's costumes were ragged and ill fitting, missing sequins or proper accessories, obviously castoffs from the earlier era.  The makeup is old and either dried up or runny.  It reads like a sad caricature of men's clubs of the before time and paints a picture of a world that just stopped as the new regime took over.   Here, June's hair comes out of the bun and ubiquitous cap and immediately falls into perfectly coiffed waves, which as someone with long hair I can tell you does not happen.  Even years out of practice, she's able to immediately and quickly do a pretty decent makeup job in a hand mirror and shitty lighting, even while being watched like a zoo animal.  Her ear piercings haven't grown closed.  It's a far cry from book Offred begging cheap hand lotion for dry skin and being acutely aware as her relationship with Commander Fred progressed that her legs haven't been shaved in forever. 

I wished for more Moira interaction too.  In addition to saying she'd also had Commander Fred, book Moira give me the pretty clear impression that he's not even the only commander doing this.  That they're all so bored and hypocritical that it's come to this.

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Yeah, honestly, it felt like the producers/directors wanted to just show titties. 

The entire experience had much more impact in the books, and many more layers to the story.  Why no June voice over about ordering a weak drink, or how the make up was old and use, or how the outfits were threadbare and shoes didn't fit? 

I didn't exactly hate the show version, but it honestly felt cheap.  The first director of Hunger Games on the DVD spoke very specifically about choices he  and they made, saying basically, "at what point do we become the capitol?"  He avoided glitzing it up and making it full of fantastic fight scenes to WATCH to avoid that trap, to not make it a spectacle show, but instead to stick to Katniss' point of view of the horror and how wrong that would be to have us enjoying it as the people in the Capitol did.  It is a very fine line.

Last night, the director/writers/producers crossed that line a few to many times.  If we ever needed June voice overs, it was last night.  If they ever needed to not make us "Commanders" with the titillating but shiny new and revealing costumes?  It was last night.  Even small things would have elevated those scenes, such as while Moira was taking off her uncomfortable boots, instead of saying what she did say, an aside about "they don't really care if they fit, it they look hot with whatever shabby costume they've dug up?  We wear them.  Not  that specifically, but you get what I mean.  June looking at pit stains on the dress "he picked out" or for crying out loud several missing fringe areas.

The outfits seemed there to titillate costumes watchers, which made those people more Captain like than most realize.

Edited by Umbelina
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Is this sacrilege but I kind of think that the 90s movie got Jezebels better. It looked cheap and tawdry and like it was aping after a lost past that the Commanders never really understood even though the lived through it. The costumes were ill fitting and ill advised. I remember a grown woman in a cheerleader outfit. Jezebels looked like and had the vibe of a crap nightclub full of middle-aged men hoping to find some very drunk early 20 something women willing to help them cheat on their wives. It had the stink of desperation which matched the desperation of these Commanders to convince themselves that they are masters of the universe and happy with it.

That said I did enjoy that the upcoming purge of Fred was hinted at more than once. First with Fred voicing his fears and secondly in the flashback of Nick as an Eye arranging the arrest and purge of some other Commander/official. It's made me feel quite hopeful that we'll be witnessing that happen before too long.

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I agree and I hope so too.

I should watch that movie, even though it was supposedly horrible and widely panned. 

Fred getting hauled away by the Eyes will be something I'll really enjoy.  I hope we get to watch his torture and confessions as well, and see him "dance" after hanging.

I also seriously hope it's Serena that turns him in, or at least is involved with that.  Of course, impossible, she can't, being a "wife" is her only protection, and once he's dead?  Off to the colonies with you bitch!  Maybe we'll see that too.  I wonder if Jezebels would hire her?  She seems too old, but the other guys their might like the novelty of fucking a former commander's wife?

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25 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

I should watch that movie, even though it was supposedly horrible and widely panned. 

Confession. My first introduction to The Handmaid's Tale was catching the movie one night when I was a teenager babysitting my neighbour's kid. It's not a great movie, it's extremely cheesy, especially everything surrounding the particicution with special honours going to Ofglen's delivery of 'that man was no rapist, he was one of our best men!' But it does get a few little things right. Teen me had a bit of a crush on Aidan Quinn too, so that helped, especially as the 'studio approved' script does make the change of removing the ambiguity from the male (romantic) lead. 

Spoiler

Nick is confirmed as Mayday and Kate (Offred's name in the movie) does escape.

The ending of the book came as a shock to me when I read it a few years later. All the way through I was reading every scene of Nick's through the eyes of someone who thought she knew what he was really up to.

 

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IIRC I was excited to see it back then, but then the reviews came out and I decided, "yeah no."  It must be out there somewhere for free.  I'll try to find it.  I wonder if it's free on Amazon Prime?  Ha.

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Agreed about the Jezebels not showing as much how tawdry, faded, and leftover from the old time they were (pathetic ill-fitting costumes, cakey old make-up). In the book I felt as if the Jezebel parties had descended into a sad parody of a Hugh Heffner Playboy Club. The men still got get their rocks off, of course, but it felt like a pale, dusty imitation. In this version it worked on the "omg those kinky hypocrite bastards" level (the men). But, instead of feeling faded and forlorn, it felt here more just typical juxtaposition: puritanical Gilead vs. bacchanalian Jezebel parties---amputees, violence, groups, whatever.

Few Jezebels attempted escape because most were drug or alcohol dependent by this point. I felt that came across more strongly in the book in relation to Moira. She seemed very broken here too but her fire being extinguished hit me way harder in the book.

Edited by JasonCC · Reason: clarity and typos and coffee vs wine posting
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10 hours ago, Umbelina said:

The entire experience had much more impact in the books, and many more layers to the story.  Why no June voice over about ordering a weak drink, or how the make up was old and use, or how the outfits were threadbare and shoes didn't fit? 

I didn't exactly hate the show version, but it honestly felt cheap.  The first director of Hunger Games on the DVD spoke very specifically about choices he  and they made, saying basically, "at what point do we become the capitol?"  He avoided glitzing it up and making it full of fantastic fight scenes to WATCH to avoid that trap, to not make it a spectacle show, but instead to stick to Katniss' point of view of the horror and how wrong that would be to have us enjoying it as the people in the Capitol did.  It is a very fine line.

I had a similar reaction - I kept waiting to feel the same impact as I did with the book, especially with the June/Moira scenes, and it didn't come. Actually, after I finished watching it, I kept thinking of how much richer - and more powerful - the same sequence was in the 2000 BBC radio adaptation, where the depiction of Offred witnessing Moira defeated at last left me totally gutted. I definitely felt that typical pay-cable male gazey vibe creep into the show for the first time.

Edited by Becks
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That's exactly in @Becks!  I said it poorly, and you said it well.  I don't feel well today, that's my excuse.  ha

I also really miss Moira telling her how bad the Commander is in bed, and about June's mother in the films Moira watched, cleaning up waste.  It wasn't the acting, that was great as usual.  For several reasons, verifying the colonies in a real way, and knowing that the Commander is there a lot.  Although I guess that was made clear by Nick and the sassy Martha.

The writing though?  They should have taken that directly from the book.  Complete fail there, they could have had Moira commenting that the boots didn't fit, and no one cared, which is why she's rubbing her feet.

The costuming?  Major fail.  Think of how much more impact all of that could have been.  It's sad. 

The lighting?  Abysmal through the entire episode and I couldn't find a way to lighten it up on their website.  (I was watching on my computer.)  I hate it when you can barely see anything on screen.  There is such a thing as being dramatic, and then there is crap lighting.  This was crap.

The directing?  The T and A was just...this isn't about being prudish, because I generally love nudity when appropriate, but this felt so icky for the reasons you stated.

The acting?  Stellar.

Edited by Umbelina
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On the TV version of Jezebel's not being sufficiently tawdry...I agree, but I think it ties into the broader complaint about the show being too pretty. The costumes, even the Handmaid gowns which one would think should be shapeless potato sacks, are beautifully cut and flattering. The cinematography is gorgeous and beautifully lit no matter which horrors are being depicted. I think the Jezebel's scenes are an extension of this general tendency of the show to prettify everything.

Tonally, my impression is that the show pushed the bleakness to the max with the incredibly brutal 1x03 and then backed away from it as quickly as possible, as if the writers were afraid to linger too much on the awfulness, thus the uplifting 1x04 ending with the Handmaid march of solidarity, June fucking Nick at the end of 1x05, June finding out Luke's alive in 1x06, etc. etc. While I can understand why the writers would want to put a gloss of hope on what is generally a very bleak story, it feels like a disservice to the source material, which focused more on ambiguity (Luke remaining a blank) and didn't shrink from the darkness.

Edited by Eyes High
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I never saw the movie, so my notions of what all of this looked like have always been solely dependent on the book.   I'll agree that I envisioned especially the handmaids' dresses to be much more shapeless and enveloping to avoid even the barest possibility of being enticing.  I can't remember what scene it was now, but there was one in which Elisabeth Moss was standing in some particular way where the light hit her just right and I thought to myself that taken out of this context that's actually a color and a style of dress I could see myself wearing on a fall day.

Those first three episodes burned through a lot of the book material in their world building.  They were also written and directed by the same two people.  If you look it up, you can see that several different directors and writers have been credited for all the subsequent episodes.  Some of this was to be expected, especially as we now know that they're going to stretch this out into at least a second season and every episode can't be unrelentingly bleak bleak bleak or risk losing some of your audience.  (I actually do know of a couple of people who bailed after the third episode for that reason.)  While there's been plenty to like in each of these episodes since, they haven't been quite as tightly constructed to really capture the book's darkness and sense of being buried alive.

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The more I think about the series the more I hate the direction it's going in, especially since episode 6. I love the idea of getting an expanded look at the universe but I feel that the more the series expands on events, the more it misses the points that made the novel great. The fertility crisis is much, much more dire in the series than the book ever hinted at. It was certainly real in the book but it never felt like it could lead to human extinction. However the fertility crisis leading to the rise of men like the Commanders made it so bad that it might become the very thing they claimed to be working to prevent. That's a great story, that's real. That's this Thursday's British voters, frightened by a spate of terrorist attacks voting for the woman who sells weapons to the country who train the very terrorists people are frightened of. It's something that happens time and time again and will keep happening until enough people wake up.

Instead the series is showing us that the fertility crisis is absolutely dire. So much so that a Mexican city the size of Boston can't produce a single child in 6 years. A Mexico that presumably accepts male infertility as part of the problem, that offers women fertility drugs like clomid, progesterone, etc, that practices IVF and ICSI (the latter specifically targeting male fertility issues), that treats endometriosis, dietary malnutrition that might be preventing conception, that will take healthy donor eggs and implant them in a healthy uterus in cases of women who have one but not the other, etc. I mean just a very, very basic lack of vitamin D can lower fertility and increase incidence of miscarriage and Gilead has all it's handmaids walking about with their only exposed skin under a giant peaked hat, facing the ground. But somehow they are an international baby making success story. It makes no sense whatsoever.

I'm also starting to see too much of a caricature of evil creep in Fred. The Fred of the book (and as played by Robert Duvall in the movie) was not a man who would immediately make your skin crawl if he spoke to you. He was almost genial, paternalistic, proud of his society but a little part of him seemed to know it was a stupid mistake doomed to failure. And he was all the more terrifying for it. If you met a Fiennes' Fred in real life, most people would instinctively dislike him and avoid him and know he was not to be trusted or listened to. If you met an original recipe Fred, you might like him a bit in spite of his politics, think he was an old fuddy duddy but nice enough anyway. You'd be far more likely to let him close and that would make it all the easier for him to use you up and spit you out. And that's so, so much scarier (and why Brian Cox is a far superior Hannibal Lector!).

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I just thought of this: how do you think they will handle the recording of the story since they have shifted the "present" to 2017-ish versus 1985? Cassette tapes are not the norm anymore. Do you think she'll have found a cell phone along the way and made videos of herself telling the story? That also kind of negates the mixing in the music idea, which is too bad because I loved that detail.

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4 hours ago, Eureka said:

I just thought of this: how do you think they will handle the recording of the story since they have shifted the "present" to 2017-ish versus 1985? Cassette tapes are not the norm anymore. Do you think she'll have found a cell phone along the way and made videos of herself telling the story? That also kind of negates the mixing in the music idea, which is too bad because I loved that detail.

I don't think the show will make the ending as ambiguous as the book did. I think we'll see June giving interviews on TV, or testifying at the Gilead Nuremberg trials, rather than making tapes.

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Tapes are still around though, even now, people without high tech gear still have them, and I could buy that in whatever old deserted farmhouse she eventually lands in, she finds an old fashioned recorder and tapes she could tape over.  Heck, I still have one, haven't converted all of the old (personal/family/karaoke/etc) recordings yet, and held on to the tape recorder/player because of that.

I'm so interested in what will happen to the wife that now has no husband!  I can't imagine the leaders of Gilead has a single use for her now, and that valuable baby would probably be given to someone who still is a "wife."  Maybe we'll see her arrive at the colonies next season!

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On 6/1/2017 at 10:32 PM, Becks said:

I had a similar reaction - I kept waiting to feel the same impact as I did with the book, especially with the June/Moira scenes, and it didn't come. Actually, after I finished watching it, I kept thinking of how much richer - and more powerful - the same sequence was in the 2000 BBC radio adaptation, where the depiction of Offred witnessing Moira defeated at last left me totally gutted. I definitely felt that typical pay-cable male gazey vibe creep into the show for the first time.

Thought of your post when we had "wanna have sex with your friend Moira?" implications for the second time this season, this time from the commander.

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34 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

Thought of your post when we had "wanna have sex with your friend Moira?" implications for the second time this season, this time from the commander.

It made no sense that he left them alone. Paraphrasing...

FFred: "I know you want her. I noticed. You wanted to come back just to see her. I'm not stupid. "

OFfred: no dude, we were just friends.

FRed: oh well, since we won't be having a three some, let me go shower and leave you alone with this person you were desperate to see, even though I have no idea now why you wanted to see her. I'll be in the shower so you can have privacy to say whatever it is you were do desperate to tell her.

 

Every time the show deviates from the book, it doesn't make sense.

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5 hours ago, NoSpam said:

I don't think the show will make the ending as ambiguous as the book did. I think we'll see June giving interviews on TV, or testifying at the Gilead Nuremberg trials, rather than making tapes.

And that's part of the problem with the show as I see it. They have done a good job with so much but they've removed ambiguity from so much and I miss it.

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It looks like they will have Moira aid in rescuing June too, as well as Luke, or instead of.  We'll see what they do with Nick.

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8 minutes ago, Eureka said:

And that's part of the problem with the show as I see it. They have done a good job with so much but they've removed ambiguity from so much and I miss it.

Yes.

The ambiguity was much more terrifying, and more effective. You didn't know, in the book, what was true and what was false.

7 minutes ago, Umbelina said:

It looks like they will have Moira aid in rescuing June too, as well as Luke, or instead of.  We'll see what they do with Nick.

My money is on Nick nobly sacrificing himself.

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2 minutes ago, NoSpam said:

Yes.

The ambiguity was much more terrifying, and more effective. You didn't know, in the book, what was true and what was false.

My money is on Nick nobly sacrificing himself.

Too much like the book.

They are painting Moira and Luke as the heroes of this tale.  I hope I'm wrong.

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1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

Too much like the book.

They are painting Moira and Luke as the heroes of this tale.  I hope I'm wrong.

WE're never sure what happens to Nick in the book, but if the professor is correct that

Spoiler

Waterford was killed in a purge for harboring an enemy agent, maybe that agent was Nick? I always assumed it was Offred they were calling an enemy agent, since she escaped. If it was Nick who was identified as an agent, then I guess he did expose himself by saving Offred from Serena Joy's wrath.

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You don't have to use spoiler tags in this thread.

Nick shoves her into an "Eye" van, tells her he's Mayday, and later the tapes turn up.  I'd say he did save her.  I hope it was June he harbored, Nick has enough on the Commander right now to bury him.  We shall see....

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2 hours ago, Umbelina said:

You don't have to use spoiler tags in this thread.

Nick shoves her into an "Eye" van, tells her he's Mayday, and later the tapes turn up.  I'd say he did save her.  I hope it was June he harbored, Nick has enough on the Commander right now to bury him.  We shall see....

I Always forget what thread I'm in and when I post on my phone, I can't scroll up. That's why I sometimes use spoiler tags.

 

I Know Nick saves her in the book.

 

What I meant was, I'm not sure who the Commander was accused of harboring (the violation that lead to his purge) . Nick is an Eye, but since he's also Mayday, he definitely would hang if anyone found out. So both Nick and the Commander could have been killed in that purge.

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11 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Tapes are still around though, even now, people without high tech gear still have them, and I could buy that in whatever old deserted farmhouse she eventually lands in, she finds an old fashioned recorder and tapes she could tape over.  Heck, I still have one, haven't converted all of the old (personal/family/karaoke/etc) recordings yet, and held on to the tape recorder/player because of that.

I tend to agree with NoSpam that June's story will probably be recorded in some other way, but did anybody else catch the old-fashioned tape recorder Hannah was playing with at the cabin in episode 7? Easter egg for the book readers, or a sign of things to come...?

9 hours ago, Umbelina said:

Thought of your post when we had "wanna have sex with your friend Moira?" implications for the second time this season, this time from the commander.

This kind of stuff is so endemic in 'premium' shows...even when there are female writers involved, the male gaze of the showrunner and other male producers set the tone, and I think some people equate male-gaze stuff as being synonymous with an 'adult', serious story, so they don't even see what the issue is anymore. Even with well-meaning progressive male showrunners, it seems to slip through. It gets so freaking old.

7 hours ago, NoSpam said:

My money is on Nick nobly sacrificing himself.

You might want to go read the Elisabeth Moss interview in Elle that I just posted a link to in the media thread...she seems to be dropping a hint there.

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9 hours ago, NoSpam said:

It made no sense that he left them alone....

.....................

Every time the show deviates from the book, it doesn't make sense.

It's why I think it would work better if Fiennes wasn't playing Fred as such an obvious creep. If he was still original recipe Fred you might believe that he'd bring Moira to June for them to talk just so he could show June that he's such a great generous guy. He knew June was trying to play him by pretending she really wanted to go back to Jezebels for their shared sexual pleasure, when she really wanted to see her friend, but he's such an indulgent owner, he's happy to use his power to 'gift' his Handmaid a few minutes with her friend. Then when he returns to the room to find Moira gone and June sobbing, he could have turned cold and nasty, reminding us that regardless of how kind or charming he is on the surface, at his core he's a nasty rapist. He did her a favour and she damn well better stop sobbing and get over here and show him how grateful she is.

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Disclaimer - I don't know where to put this question/comment/observation but I thought this might be the most appropriate thread......

Where are the churches of Gilead?  When and where are their services?  We know that catholic churches are closed and being demolished, most likely the same with any protestant churches that are too decorated and certainly synagogues and temples, etc., but where do the faithful and the forced of Gilead do their worshiping?  

I don't remember if there were any church scenes in the book but I do remember one from the old movie but so far in the series, the only churches we've seen have been either closed or desecrated as places of execution for rebels.  

A regime based so completely on a "religion", especially one that has been forced on a public that previously wouldn't ahve shared it would, I think, be shoving it down people's throats even more than we've seen by mandatory church attendance, forced societal bonding through that kind of activity, and reinforcing it constantly.   It would at the very least keep a population busy who have had every other diversion taken away from them.  

But we've seen nothing, at least nothing I can remember.  

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@boes, the book doesn't say much about churches. There is an old church graveyard that Offred and Ofglen 1.0 stop by on their walks sometimes that has apparently been left intact because "it's only recent history that offends them", but the church the graveyard belongs to has been converted to a museum. There's also the Soul Scrolls place where people can phone-order passages of the Gilead bible. It seems like the Gilead group rituals mentioned in the book - Prayvaganzas, Salvagings, etc. - take place outdoors.

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1 hour ago, boes said:

Disclaimer - I don't know where to put this question/comment/observation but I thought this might be the most appropriate thread......

Where are the churches of Gilead?  When and where are their services?  We know that catholic churches are closed and being demolished, most likely the same with any protestant churches that are too decorated and certainly synagogues and temples, etc., but where do the faithful and the forced of Gilead do their worshiping?  

I don't remember if there were any church scenes in the book but I do remember one from the old movie but so far in the series, the only churches we've seen have been either closed or desecrated as places of execution for rebels.  

A regime based so completely on a "religion", especially one that has been forced on a public that previously wouldn't ahve shared it would, I think, be shoving it down people's throats even more than we've seen by mandatory church attendance, forced societal bonding through that kind of activity, and reinforcing it constantly.   It would at the very least keep a population busy who have had every other diversion taken away from them.  

But we've seen nothing, at least nothing I can remember.  

My guess is that the state church(es) of Gilead are closer to the evangelical megachurches than mainstream Protestant or Catholic churches.  There's aspects of the Quiverfull movement ideology present too, specifically men being at the head of the household and having control over the women in their household's bank accounts, post coup. 

June states in conversation with Emily that St. Peter's, the church that was being demolished in the second episode, that it was her father's family parish and Hannah had been baptized there.  She seems to have some religious education, shown when she finishes Aunt Lydia's beatitude.  As a lapsed Catholic, I found it rather ironic that June, who seemed to have been raised Catholic, had a better grasp of the New Testament than the fundamentalist Aunt Lydia. 

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Yeah, I don't remember a single actual church service being mentioned in the book, in fact, I don't think I ever heard Offred say anything like "At least Sunday mornings are free, they are in church" or mentioning Easter or Christmas or any other service.

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2 hours ago, anyanka323 said:

As a lapsed Catholic, I found it rather ironic that June, who seemed to have been raised Catholic, had a better grasp of the New Testament than the fundamentalist Aunt Lydia. 

Ah, but Gilead's faithful have re-written the bible. I think Aunt Lydia says, in the Red Center, "Blessed are the meek!" and June's voice over says, "They left out the part about the meek inheriting the Earth." 

The other biblical passages they use are definitely revised. There is the reading before the Ceremony, which is altered from what I remember, and there are a few other quotes I remember being different.  (I know there are different versions even today, but I've read two versions of the bible, the NAV and the King James, and the show's passages are different). 

1 hour ago, Umbelina said:

Yeah, I don't remember a single actual church service being mentioned in the book, in fact, I don't think I ever heard Offred say anything like "At least Sunday mornings are free, they are in church" or mentioning Easter or Christmas or any other service.

Are there mentions of TV in the book? I don't remember any. I know there is TV in the movie, but we haven't seen it on the show so far, have we?

Edited by NoSpam
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On 2017-06-01 at 8:15 PM, Umbelina said:

IIRC I was excited to see it back then, but then the reviews came out and I decided, "yeah no."  It must be out there somewhere for free.  I'll try to find it.  I wonder if it's free on Amazon Prime?  Ha.

 

On 2017-06-01 at 8:15 PM, Umbelina said:

IIRC I was excited to see it back then, but then the reviews came out and I decided, "yeah no."  It must be out there somewhere for free.  I'll try to find it.  I wonder if it's free on Amazon Prime?  Ha.

I found it last week either on Vimeo or Daily Motion, I tend to think it was Vimeo. It was cut up into 15 mins chunks per, and numbered 1, 2, 3 etc. I think one part, part 5 was missing but I'm not sure, having never seen the movie before. Except to say it was pretty terrible, but considering it was the 90's with big bad hair and Robert Duval as Commander, it was ok.  Well, I guess it was pretty bad...but watchable.

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On 2017-06-07 at 5:49 PM, Umbelina said:

Tapes are still around though, even now, people without high tech gear still have them, and I could buy that in whatever old deserted farmhouse she eventually lands in, she finds an old fashioned recorder and tapes she could tape over.  Heck, I still have one, haven't converted all of the old (personal/family/karaoke/etc) recordings yet, and held on to the tape recorder/player because of that.

I'm so interested in what will happen to the wife that now has no husband!  I can't imagine the leaders of Gilead has a single use for her now, and that valuable baby would probably be given to someone who still is a "wife."  Maybe we'll see her arrive at the colonies next season!

Heh, I still have all my childhood and young adult cassette tapes, can still fix a wonky tape, splice it, and yes, I still play them. They had a simple beauty in their ease of use...I grew up on reel to reel as our main way of saving stuff in the 60s   I also still have my records, and they get played too. CDS, mostly turned into coasters... ;) 

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56 minutes ago, NoSpam said:

Are there mentions of TV in the book? I don't remember any. I know there is TV in the movie, but we haven't seen it on the show so far, have we?

Alma mentioned tv in the first episode. When the Handmaids were looking at the oranges in the supermarket, she mentions what's happening in the war and when they all look at her in surprise she hurries to say she saw it on tv and didn't read it.

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There's at least one scene of Serena flipping on the TV news while they're waiting for Commander Fred to arrive to start the pre-ceremony reading in the book. There are reports about ongoing fighting in other parts of the former U.S. and Offred remarks that there's no way to tell how much any of what they're seeing is real.

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12 hours ago, whoknowswho said:

 

I found it last week either on Vimeo or Daily Motion, I tend to think it was Vimeo. It was cut up into 15 mins chunks per, and numbered 1, 2, 3 etc. I think one part, part 5 was missing but I'm not sure, having never seen the movie before. Except to say it was pretty terrible, but considering it was the 90's with big bad hair and Robert Duval as Commander, it was ok.  Well, I guess it was pretty bad...but watchable.

I actually watched a badly dubbed filmed version of it in some other language, just for the visuals, on You Tube.  The (whatever language it was) subtitle's covered the bottom third of the screen and it cut off all their heads on the top, so it wasn't a captivating experience.  

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On 6/1/2017 at 9:45 AM, nodorothyparker said:

Splitting off from a post in the episode thread as I realized I was getting too book specific.

I'm seeing some complaints elsewhere this morning that Jezebels was too glamorous too, that it was still too male gazey while downplaying the amount of female effort that generally goes into creating it.  Thinking about it further I can see where they're coming from. 

I'm just catching up on the last two episodes, and this bothered me so much. They have Jezebels styled like a generic high class prostitution establishment you'd see on any given pay cable prestige drama. Way too glamorous, way too clean and pretty, and the way the women were shot by the director felt completely driven by the male gaze. I mean, gratuitous tit shots, really? June in a cocktail dress with perfect hair and makeup, Moira with some fancy fetish head gear and a nicely fit, very expensive looking ensemble. COME ON. They completely missed the point of what this place is supposed to be. Their few attempts to undercut the titillation in later sequences didn't make up for it, IMO.

On 6/6/2017 at 8:17 AM, AllyB said:

The more I think about the series the more I hate the direction it's going in, especially since episode 6. I love the idea of getting an expanded look at the universe but I feel that the more the series expands on events, the more it misses the points that made the novel great.

They've been losing me since the mid-point of the season. I don't think either of the male character-focused episodes were executed very well, and there's some fuzziness I can't quite put my finger on around June. I just don't feel like I have a strong sense of who she is and what she values, aside from her daughter. And even that doesn't come across to me as her sole driving force, and I think it's supposed to. Some of the plot decisions, like excising Econowives from the universe, are just bizarre to me.

I don't know, man. This show hit me so viscerally for the first few episodes, and I thought it was something really special. With each passing week and each attempt to widen the scope of the story and stray from the laser-focused book plot, that feeling lessens.

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I don't know, man. This show hit me so viscerally for the first few episodes, and I thought it was something really special. With each passing week and each attempt to widen the scope of the story and stray from the laser-focused book plot, that feeling lessens.

I don't know if the book had a laser-focused plot.  We get insight into June, but a lot of things are left vague and open ended.  I guess it's also the difference between the book which had a definitive beginning, middle and end, versus a tv show which it appears they are trying to sustain for a few seasons.  They have to make June's world bigger and move things forward because the book makes for good source material, but they'd probably be out of story after several episodes if they tried to keep things contained solely to events that happened in the book.   

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Laser-focused doesn't mean no ambiguity. It means concentrated on one specific thing; in this case, Offred's experience. I understand that when they made the choice to make THT a long term series (a bad choice, IMO), it necessitated that they expand the universe and flesh out other characters. But I don't think they're doing a great job of it on the whole (Emily being the exception), and it's taking away from the part of the show that initially did seem perfectly calibrated. This story is meant to be short and pointed and brutal. 

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Expanding the book is fine, actually even fun, or it could be.

CHANGING a scene which was horrific and scary for June into your standard HBO sex romp with a bit of added distaste isn't "expanding" it's changing everything about Jezebels.  Having the outfits, hair, and make up all "just so" was not OK.

THAT was when we needed June's voice overs back, but instead?  We get more male POV.  Oh and both tits and ass.

They've been doing this kind of thing too much, or adding things that make no logical sense, like the whole Mexico plot, which I've finally realized was probably just a "clever" way to introduce Luke back in the story, as a hero no less, according to the Mexican city's ambassador's assistant.  

They are blowing it.

I still like the show, but the writing is failing at this point.  The cinematography is atrocious, scenes so dark you can barely see the people, let alone the environment or their expressions. 

The acting alone is saving this, and the source material they haven't blown.

It was a huge mistake to not include racial discrimination in this show, but I let that go and tried to enjoy it for the limited tale it was telling.

The later episodes?  Changes in the book for no reason at all.  None.  Zip.  Also, too many things simply don't make sense.  Mexico, super hero Moira and her false eyelashes and perfect lipstick as she easily escapes probably the most guarded place in that city, pretending to be a man.  She's stupid enough to leave her make up on though, and it's PERFECT.

 

I'm going to go back to the Hunger Games series.  They expanded the world but didn't CHANGE that world.  We got to see President Coin, and the game control room, and all kinds of things Katniss (another first person story, which is why I'm using it) couldn't possibly have seen.  Yet that all remained completely true to the books.  The succeeded incredibly well, mostly because the first movie was co-written by the author and a great writer who didn't change the story set the tone for most of the series.  Subsequent movies changed since the writer changed, but remained good until the finale when they decided to leave important scenes out and make a "Hollywood blockbuster" fight scene that was boring and interminable, instead of sticking to an extremely well written final book. 

This show is doing that.  It's "going Hollywood" instead of expanding.  That is really too bad.  It would be so easy to fix.

ETA

I'm rewatching now, and since I'm bitching, here's one more that bugged me.  Moira leaves June alone in the train station during her escape.  WHY?  She knows that one woman in a bright red dress and white monster hat will be noticed.  Why not manhandle June or at least stay with her?  One handmaid with an Aunt is explainable, she could be delivering her, whatever.

So they both look like idiots just so June can be there and they can both look tragic as Moira goes away, with June's nod of permission.

One more, this obsession with 3 somes that include June and Moira that the writers seem to have.  Guess they kind of got it, at least a woman watching June have sex with a guy, when the chose to have Serena Joy stay in the room while Nick and June had sex.  In the book she waited outside and guarded the door.  That one didn't bother me much at the time, but in the light of the stuff they've done since?  It's chaffing. 

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11 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

They have to make June's world bigger and move things forward because the book makes for good source material, but they'd probably be out of story after several episodes if they tried to keep things contained solely to events that happened in the book.   

But they are ignoring an awful lot of story strands from the book. Most notable is June's mother. She was a huge part of the book and could have been used to great effect in the series. The racism and white, (right kind of) Christian supremacist angle. We could have amazing flashbacks of the racist round-ups and the forced repatriation of Jews, and expand that to include Muslims. Having Samira Wiley play Moira could have been a masterstroke as we could have seen the National Homelands through her eyes and introduce other characters through her. While still having her end up in Jezebels as the Commanders would want diversity there.

We could have seen more about Serena as a genuinely influential public figure before Gilead, instead of someone always waiting in the wings as her flashbacks showed. She was infamous in the former US, she was someone always on tv and scary enough that there was an assassination attempt on her life by people who could see Gilead coming. We should be seeing just how very much Gilead is her fault, how very, very powerful she was and just how she justified losing not just that power but nearly all of her ordinary autonomy. She actually genuinely seems to want a baby for the sake of being a mother, so maybe we could have seen that become an obsession for her, something that made her willing to destroy so many lives including her own.

We could see Luke act as he did in the book and keep his head down to protect his family while also starting to enjoy his privileged status just a bit too much. And then have the laws keep changing until suddenly he and June were criminals and see his reaction to how the decisions he insisted on to protect his family actually doomed them. That would also mean that the Econowives could be introduced because the way the series is telling it, all fertile women were just rounded up as quickly and as secretly as possible, meaning that the Econowives shouldn't actually exist in Hulu's Gilead.

The story could be expanded to show more about the wars that Gilead is fighting. When the book opens Gilead has lost Central America to the Libertheos, suggesting that Gilead had ambitions beyond 48 states and that the Central and likely South Americans banded together to force Gilead back into the former US. Canada shouldn't be the safe haven that the series portrays, as it has the threat of Gilead invading hanging over it without the security of an entire continent on the other side to form an alliance with. In the book we learn that Gilead conducted semi-regular raids over the border to recapture escapees. Imagine how the show could use that! We could have seen Moira or Emily escape over the border, think they are safe, prepare to tell the world their story and find themselves recaptured after a few weeks of freedom. That would be devastating.

There is an absolute wealth of stories that could expand the book while remaining true to the world Atwood created. We also pretty much know that Atwood is working on a sequel about the Mayday resistance, so the producers could collaborate with her on that to expand even beyond the very detailed universe she created.

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AllyB, I wish you were part of the writing team. There are indeed too many interesting threads which are neglected in order to, as Umbelina wrote, "go Hollywood". 

I must say that, more generally, I'm getting resentful of shows that start so strong that I put them on my must watch list and involve myself in, only for them to become formulaic a few episodes down the road.

I don't think that's where The Handmaid's Tale is now, but truthfully they have changed the viewpoint so much that now the character I'm most interested in is Serena Joy. Which I don't think is where the book expected me to be.  I'm still happy with it, but the focus from the book has changed so much that I'm not sure long time lovers of the book will all hang in here.    

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We could see Luke act as he did in the book and keep his head down to protect his family while also starting to enjoy his privileged status just a bit too much.

I remember in the book Luke urging Offred not to make a scene when she found her mother's apartment ransacked, and that her mother was gone, but I don't really recall much of him enjoying his status all that much, except maybe him making a bad joke or two. 

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The racism and white, (right kind of) Christian supremacist angle. We could have amazing flashbacks of the racist round-ups and the forced repatriation of Jews, and expand that to include Muslims. Having Samira Wiley play Moira could have been a masterstroke as we could have seen the National Homelands through her eyes and introduce other characters through her. While still having her end up in Jezebels as the Commanders would want diversity there.

 

 

Yes, but then you lose the parts of the book where Moira and June are in the Red Center, and how Moira made her escape.  My only point being that for every change suggested, other things would have to change.   

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They could have also included the camps, which is where Moira would be since they decided to make her black.  There were rebels there as well.  I love your other points AllyB!  However, with so many flashbacks, she would still be on screen quite a bit. 

Oh well.

I'm cancelling Hulu after the finale, so I decided to rewatch the entire series yesterday in one huge swoop.  There is so much that is good, but many things stood out to me as clunkers or "I wish" on this sequential watching it all together. 

One thing did make me laugh though.  When they brought in all the children at that banquet?  So many of them were African American!  I thought to myself, "Well, at least they got that right, the POC had far less issues producing children than the Caucasians" at least according to book canon.  That's one justification for their racism they used, white birthrates we drastically down.

I still will watch next season, mostly because I feel like they will at least take into account Atwood's vision of her sequel, no matter how much they change it around, we will get a glimpse of more canon information about that world.

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8 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I remember in the book Luke urging Offred not to make a scene when she found her mother's apartment ransacked, and that her mother was gone, but I don't really recall much of him enjoying his status all that much, except maybe him making a bad joke or two. 

June says it. She said that in Gilead 'they stopped being each others and she became his' and that she feels a part of him actually enjoyed the shift in power in their relationship. 

 

 

6 hours ago, Umbelina said:

They could have also included the camps, which is where Moira would be since they decided to make her black.  There were rebels there as well.  I love your other points AllyB!  However, with so many flashbacks, she would still be on screen quite a bit. 

That's what I meant by the National Homelands. We could see Moira taken and sent there in flashback. See her life there, which is different but likely just as awful as June's. Meet the people she interacted with there and after Moira leaves the Homelands, maybe in an attempt to escape to Canada. The show could still return to the characters introduced through her.

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