When I saw that red wig, it was all over–I wanted to be Sydney Bristow for real (even Brit Brit was into it, back in the day). I even attended a CIA information session in college and almost applied for an analyst internship. I accidentally got a history minor from all of my History of Espionage and Soviet Secret Police electives.
Um, I was told this was about The Americans? Yes, ok–my point is, there is a very large Vaughn-shaped hole in my heart that I never expected to fill. Then I saw this:
Spies! Drama! Love? Disguises! Could this be my new Alias?
Well…no. It’s not–but it’s pretty entertaining in its own right.
The Americans is set in 1981, the foremost indicator of which is THE FASHUNS. In the pilot, we learn that Felicity is a KGB agent under deep cover in the American suburbs. She’s proudly prancing around the kitchen in a tight purple leotard with high-waisted Guess jeans, being super American…
“I thought I had sufficiently changed! Can I never escape my past? I speak perfect English and act the idyllic soccer mom, but I still wear my signature belted ENSEMBLE OF
CAMELTOE GREATNESS!” Ashamed and fearing her cover is blown, she runs to the garage for some self-reflection.
There’s some fighting and explosions and someone dies. Maybe a few people. Then, in a soul-crushing turn, KGB Felicity makes yet another sacrifice for Mother Russia (the first being, you know, her whole life) and dons a dress for her superiors.
Meanwhile, someone is playing hit after hit on Vh1’s Greatest Songs of the 80s list, each one starting up with some truly incredible timing. This plays while they have sex in a car:
Give those music people a raise, please, and keep the hits…er…comin.
Some other stuff happens, but I think I covered most of the important points. I didn’t realize until I watched the pilot (because I don’t really pay attention to promos, apparently) that the protagonists are KGB operatives. And…I’m supposed to root for them? Ok. If Alias taught me anything, it’s that things are more interesting when the lines between good and evil are aggressively blurred (see Sloane, Irina, etc).
In closing, I will continue to watch, even if only for the music and the costumes (The Americans already seems like it will deliver in the “wacky disguise of the week” department.) It was hard to see amidst all of the cheese, but I do think I caught a glimpse of some actual nuance in this show, particularly in KGB Felicity. FX has a reputation for making some smart TV, so I hope The Americans can continue to grow without taking itself too seriously. But like, more seriously than Covert Affairs.
My viewing notes include:
- Oh, someone’s getting laid tonight (after her husband takes care of her “past”)
- Wig husband
- Worst parts of Homeland (about the kids, I assume)
- KGB Felicity on Americans: “There’s a weakness in the people. I can feel it.”
- FBI dude, at the FBI: “…all of the men and woman in this room…
- Cheesy KGB stuff is likely accurate, from what I’ve read
- Better than Covert Affairs
- Where is Vaughn
- Astronauts were the Justin Beibers of the 80s
Did you watch The Americans last week? (If not, catch up on Hulu here.) Are you into it? Did you also LOVE Alias?
The Americans airs Wednesday nights at 10pm on FX.