Gay web series Husbands has officially premiered the long awaited season two.
The series, headed up by Buffy the Vampire Slayer writer Jane Espenson and actor Brad Bell, describes itself as the world’s first marriage equality comedy.
Set in a fictional America where every state has legalized gay marriage, two celebrities accidentally do a ‘Britney’ and get drunkenly hitched in Las Vegas.
One is an out-and-proud actor, and the other is a baseball player who has just come out as gay, and they have only been dating six weeks.
The hilarious series, which first aired on YouTube in September 2011, has famous fans like gay singer Adam Lambert and Avengers director Joss Whedon. Whedon, who also created Buffy and Angel, has said: ‘Husbands is full of the kind of whip-smart remarks you wish you'd written yourself.’
Husbands has a highly loyal fanbase that helped raise over $60,000 (£38,297, €48,848) for the show’s second season, which premiered online yesterday (15 August).
Gay Star News chatted to Bell and Espenson to find out more about the much loved series.
What can we expect for season two, and what themes and stories do you cover?
Espenson: 'You can expect everything to be bigger and better. We've found the voice, the groove, the identity of the show. Season two covers a single story, half hour sitcom length. Each act is an episode, so there are three episodes running about eight to 10 minutes each.
'The theme has to do with how a couple presents themselves in public, and how they negotiate that decision. It's complicated by the fact that this is a very public same-sex married couple.
'And of course, it's a romantic comedy, so these concepts are explored in very funny ways.'
When you began to write Husbands, did you or Brad Bell dream Obama would be the first sitting president in US history to back marriage equality?
Espenson: 'Yep. I actually expected it sooner. But yay! That turning point, and the new public realization that this is part of the larger history of civil rights in this country is actually something that we anticipated in the writing of season two. So that felt very good – felt that we were tuned into the national conversation.
Bell: 'It did feel gratifying, to make that comparison in our script and see Obama echoing the sentiment just a week or so later. And yeah, it's great that we have a president who is supportive of marriage equality.
'I guess it's better than the alternative, but at the risk of being a downer, I'd be more moved by the whole thing if there were actions to accompany Obama's words.
'Instead, the Obama administration is putting more energy into appealing [National Defense Authorization Act] which robs all Americans of the right to a trial and legalizes indefinite detainment. I can't help but wonder if the battle for equality is a distraction.'
When you’re writing the web series, do you try to think about the statement you’re making about marriage?
Espenson: 'Yes. I think being truthful is the first thought, and being funny is the second. If you do those, then the idea of making a positive statement almost happens on its own. But, yeah, we are constantly checking in with each other – what does this say, is that what we want to say?'
Bell: 'Instead of commenting on the ideology of marriage -- like what it should be, how it works, its function in a societal context -- I think more about the statement we're making overall. What can we infer as a moral by the way conflict is resolved? If the character takes this action, what philosophy is he embracing?
'There's an opportunity to comment on civil rights here, what will we say about it?
'We start with our point of view on a social issue, but we make sure to keep the focus on the couple: what they want from life, what they love about each other, what gets in the way, and how they are going to adapt to one another.
'Their goal is achieving real intimacy - fearlessly, completely, forever.'
Buffy fan favorites Emma Caulfield, Amber Benson and Felicia Day are appearing in the second season. What was it like working with them again, and what did they think of the material?
Espenson: 'It was so thrilling to see the people we contacted respond to the material with such excitement. These are some powerful and accomplished people, they aren't going to lend their talents to something that is unfunny or negative.
'Even Joss wanted in on it! Having their support meant a great deal to us – it really is a stamp of approval!'
How have you found the extremely positive reaction to Husbands? Do you know of any famous people who say they like the show?
Espenson: 'YES! The reaction has been very positive. In fact, so far, we've had very little in the way of negative flailing – I think humor disarms people.
'Famous people – yes, Adam Lambert, Eliza Dushku, Rick Fox, Andy Richter, Russell Davies, who created Queer As Folk. Joss Whedon told us the script was to be envied – and that was before we approached him about appearing in the show.
'Plus, we've earned praise from some very hard to impress critics.'
What would you like to say to the fans after their amazing generosity after season one?
Espenson: 'Here is season two. You made this happen. We hope you love it!'