We continue our celebration of webseries today by spotlighting Husbands, a brilliant comedy by Jane Espenson and Brad Bell.
Each Wednesday on Hypable, we feature a different webseries that has caught our attention and deserves to be shared with the world.
‘Husbands’: An Introduction
Husbands was first created in 2011 by Jane Espenson (known to TV fans for her work on Buffy, Battlestar Galactica, Game of Thrones and Once Upon a Time) and Brad ‘Cheeks’ Bell.
While the show was first launched on YouTube and Blip.tv, The CW has recently added Husbands to its Digital webseries library – bringing us one step closer to the merging of network television and digital productions.
The first season opens with sports star Brady’s (Sean Hemeon) shotgun Vegas wedding to secret boyfriend Cheeks (Bell), and follows the newlyweds as they deal with both their own feelings about suddenly finding themselves married, and the media fallout which inevitably follows.
Reminiscent of Hollywood comedies like What Happens in Vegas and Laws of Attraction, the pair haven’t been dating for very long, but decide to give their marriage a go anyway.
What follows is a series of hilarious events, made even more enjoyable by the fact that even though these two characters happen to be men, that is not the punchline – merely the setup.
Cheeks and Brady are simply an untested couple who get drunk and married, and most of the comedy is derived from the everyday problems that follow.
The pair is joined by Cheeks’ sassy best friend Haley (Alessandra Torresani) in season 1, and the show also makes good use of its copious guest stars.
In season 2, we have appearances by the likes of Jon Cryer, John Hodgman and Sasha Roiz, as well as several Whedon-verse notables (Joss Whedon, Emma Caulfield, Dichen Lachman, Felicia Day, and more).
Expanding the Universe
One of the things that makes Husbands stand out from the crowd, other than its high quality production value and talented cast and crew, is that Espenson and Bell have big plans for the series.
Although the online platform allows the writers to take the show further than a network ever could, in terms of quality, Husbands looks and feels like something you might see on television – if television was ready for it, that is.
Further, a Husbands comic book series (Husbands: the Comic) was launched in October 2012, in partnership with Dark Horse.
The comics do not follow show canon, but rather explore an alternate universe in which Cheeks and Brady receive a mysterious wedding present, which kicks off a series of wild adventures you could never replicate on screen.
Why you need to watch ‘Husbands’
Husbands is groundbreaking. Not only because it raises the bar for webseries in terms of production and scope, but because of its message – or rather, because its message is not its message.
Of course gay characters exist in films and on television. Sometimes they are well-written, too. And every once in a while, you’ll even find one whose purpose is greater than just to be ‘the token gay.’
What sets Husbands apart is that while you’ll find every gay stereotype in the book, you can’t use any of them to describe the main characters. Is Cheeks flamboyant? Absolutely. But, as much-too-quickly-forgotten opera sensation Susan Boyle would say, that’s just one side of him.
Husbands does what it says on the tin: it is a sitcom about two gay men who get married. But once that has been established, there’s really not much left to say about the fact that they’re gay.
And from there on out it’s a hilarious, thoroughly enjoyable ride into solid sitcom territory, but without the restrictions of network television.
So come for the set-up. But stay for the comedy, the quality, the guest stars, and the clever writing. Husbands is a top-notch sitcom all around, proving just how far a TV series can go – and it’s not even on TV!