What if I told you that Hulu was about to air a new show in which women have all their rights taken away from them and become little more than property for men; they are forced to become sex slaves; and they are forced to bear children?
Women are prohibited from working, owning property and having money, or even reading. Women are physically and psychologically abused. Their names are taken away from them, and their new names are derived from their male “masters.”
And all of this happens in a country where the secret police are watching the populace’s every move.
It’s absolutely appalling. It’s against everything we stand for.
And there would be repercussions. Backlash. Can’t you see it now? People outraged about a show they had yet to see would band together on social media and do everything in their power to keep it from ever seeing the light of day.
There would be protests. Boycotts. The producers would be pilloried. The stars would be pariahs. Hulu’s parent companies — Disney, Fox, Comcast and Time Warner — would become targets. Advertisers would be called out. There would be attempts to use negative publicity about this show to prevent Disney from acquiring most of the 21st Century Fox assets, a deal that is being evaluated by the government. And it would be another stumbling block in AT&T’s plans to acquire Time-Warner.
Oh, and the prematurely offended would take to Twitter to attack anyone who suggested we should wait until we actually see a show before we pass judgment on it.
I’m sure about that last item. They did it when I wrote a column criticizing efforts to pre-emptively force HBO to cancel “Confederate” — a show about an alternate timeline in which the Confederacy successfully seceded and continued to sanction slavery into the present day.
Hulu, of course, already has that “anti-woman” show. The first two episodes of Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” begin streaming on Wednesday — and, once again, it portrays a world where women are not just considered second-class citizens, they’re treated like something less than human.
As Season 2 begins, June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) has escaped from Gilead and is trying to make it to the Colonies … but there are no happy endings anywhere in sight.
To say that “Handmaid’s Tale” has been well-received would be an understatement.
Season 1 won eight Emmys (including best drama), two Golden Globes (including best drama); an AFI Award (TV program of the year), a DGA Award and two Television Critics Association Awards (best drama and program of the year).
It was able to do all that because it wasn’t driven off the air before it debuted.
The series — based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel — is allegory. It shows viewers a dystopian future centered on a theocracy known as Gilead, illustrating the current plight of women by carrying it to extremes. In a way, viewers become part of the story.
“When June’s voice is heard [in voiceover narration], she’s us,” said executive producer/writer Bruce Miller. “She’s looking at this situation, going, ‘This is messed up.’”
Miller said groups like Human Rights Watch have given “Handmaid’s Tale” writers “on-the-ground details of what’s going on in the world” that have been incorporated into scripts. The point, other than to create a compelling drama, is to illustrate the problems women face and, by doing so, make viewers realize something has to be done.
I was hoping that “Confederate” would do the same thing for African-Americans. At this point, it appears unlikely the show will ever go into production.
How ironic would it be if online protesters killed a show that would support social justice for African-Americans the way “The Handmaid’s Tale” does for women?
Streaming on Hulu • The first two episodes of the second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” begin streaming Wednesday, April 25, on Hulu. One additional episode will stream on each of the eight successive Wednesdays.