Or as Greenstein puts it, “There is no studio I would rather work for than Jane Espenson.”
Jane was part of a panel at WonderCon this past weekend which included stars Brad “Cheeks” Bell and Sean Hemeon, and director Jeff Greenstein. The panel was moderated by Buffy favorite Amber Benson.
Jane revealed that she joined the Buffy writing staff through an NYPD Blue spec script. She explained why she has a soft spot for Jonathan, who was played by Danny Strong. “There’s something about being the character that never gets to be the hero,” she said. “No one is a supporting character in real life. We’re all heroes in our own story.” She says she makes sure her character is fully formed, and has real depth. This is also true in Husbands. While Cheeks may be dismissed as someone who is over-the-top, he shows real depth when dealing with suddenly being married. The panel included episode three of the show, where Cheeks and Brady are still trying to figure out whether to stay married.
Greenstein, who used to work for Will and Grace, said he had been disappointed with how same-sex couples are depicted on TV and movies. He thinks Husbands is the next logical step. “Let’s show a full-fledged gay couple in a romantic comedy,” he said. “This is a show that is very much in the spirit of Mad about You and Barefoot in the Park.” He says this is just about how newlyweds get used to living and loving together, even if it’s a same-sex union.
This season, a Kickstarter program will be set up for Husbands so that fans can help raise money for production costs of new episodes in exchange for fine prizes.
So why not bring Husbands to regular TV or even cable TV? “TV may not be the place to take things that they haven’t seen before,” she says. “The internet is a beautiful place where it can live and be what it should be.”
Jane talked about how she was lucky to find Greenstein and how he was impressed with the quality of the production of Husbands on a small budget. She also talked about following Joss’ advice that when making a series, get a good line producer, because it includes getting good people.
Bell also recalled how he and Sean filmed their characters getting married in Las Vegas, with L-A Live pretending to be Vegas. Thing is, they did this without film permits. He talked about the reaction of the crowd: “It was so cool that you were out there looking as ridiculous as we were, and yet people were supportive and really letting us know they were behind us.”
Fans later asked questions about the show and what it was like for Espenson to write for Once Upon a Time. She said the showrunner and the writers all agreed exactly what should happen in an episode, and Jane would come in and write the words. She admitted she decided to step down as showrunner of Caprica because it was a massive task. The panel also explained why they prefer TV to movies, whether it’s a collaborative medium, or whether it’s better to know someone through 100 episodes than two hours. They even listed their favorite shows from Dick Van Dyke to Soap. As foradvice to writers, Espenson suggests that people write a show they’d want to watch. “If you want to watch it, and trust your good taste,” she says, “other people will want to watch it, or at least pass it around and behind the mailroom at CAA, and say ‘who’s this young writer who’s got such refreshing ideas?’”
The full first season of Husbands is available at husbandstheseries.com. Espenson also said the Kickstarter drive will start soon.