SGLS Team Writer
San Diego Comic-Con 2014
Of all the interviews, this was the one where I was ultimately tongue tied. The force of the Fangirl completely overtook me as I had a chance for a one on one with Jane Espenson.
Jane Espeson has been the showrunner and amazing force behind my (and most likely yours too) favorite shows. Look at this list: Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Battlestar Galactica, Caprica, Torchwood (co produced), and Once Upon a Time. Yet my introduction to her was not through these projects but through Husbands, a rom-com webseries.
Husbands is written and produced by Jane Espenson and Brad Bell (who plays Cheeks on the show). It is a show that takes the romantic comedy into a fun and quirky twist.
Husbands starts off when Brad ( a very prominent baseball player) and Cheeks (a popular actor) wake up together in Las Vegas. Turns out they married each other overnight after celebrating the federal amendment for marriage equality. The two have been dating for six weeks so the relationship is still new and the marriage just highlights all the bumps and obstacles they experience in learning about each other. There are many hilarious moments and genuine scenes. For a web series, this carries a lot of heart and humor.
After watching the show and connecting the dots, I came to appreciate the powerhouse that is Espenson. I have her to thank for many of the addicting shows and powerful stories that will forever stay with me.
First second into the interview, I was already stumbling at trying to be cohesive in front of her. She had a very packed con schedule, I was anxious to not waster her time. Despite my stammering ,she was patient and kind throughout the whole short interview.
My introduction to you was through Husbands. I love that it’s not just a webseries about Gay Equality but that it’s a genuine romance
J.E: I love that! I agree. We really wanted do a thing that had something to say but at its heart existed because it’s funny and romantic. There is not a lot of romantic comedies going on right now. We also didn’t like that there wasn’t a legitimate gay couple as the center of the show instead of an ensemble. We didn’t like the fact there had to be a baby in the show to make it. We felt like gay couples should identify with Brad and Cheeks as they are going through classic couple conflicts with our little spin on it.
J.E: Oh, I don’t know if I’m a geek celebrity [ writer’s note: Your right, you are the Empress of all that is Awesome]. I think I worked in enough genres and cult shows that at a certain point there is a critical mass. Having Buffy: The Vampire Slayer and Battlestar Galactica together did it. Now adding Once Upon A Time getting mainstream network appeal, that, that kind of did it.
Buffy and Battlestar are kind of niche, Once became the accelerator.
Which comic books have you worked on?
J.E: Buffy, Husbands, The Lone Gunman.
Congrats on becoming part of the CW seed! What kind of hopes do you have for Husbands? How big do you want it to become?
J.E.: We want it so big that it eclipses the sun! We want it to get very, very big. We want Brad and Cheeks to become household names.Whatever happens to CW seed, we are happy to be apart of that family. They reach a lot of eyeballs.
Has anyone ever come up to you and tell you that you changed their perspective on gay couples?
J.E: that’s interesting. We didn’t have anyone say that explicitly. A lot of people have come up to us as fans of the show. There was even a retired Christian couple. Young straight married couples. It seems that it takes longer for those people to find the show. When they do find it, it’s hard for them to resist it.
Any surprise fan stories?
J.E: The christian retired couple! They were older and in retired age. That really surprised me. We get a lot of young straight guys who I thought would have been scared to think about sexuality at that age. They come up and say “I love Cheeks!”. This is where the world is heading. Straight men don’t have to be scared to like Cheeks and want to hang out with him. That’s the new thing that is happening. The new generation coming along has fewer terrible barriers and the show is speaking to them.
Do you have any side projects coming up?
J.E: No I’m really focusing all my energy on Once and Husbands right now
What are you most passionate about geek-wise? Guilty pleasure?
J.E: My guilty pleasure is the Big Brother live feeds.Other guilty pleasures is reading YA novels. Currently reading the original book of the 101 Dalmatians. The book that the movie was based on is so funny, it’s such a fun read. I looked for it on a whim and it was there! It’s by Dottie Smith. It’s very much of its time, very patriarchal but it is hysterical! It’s really funny, I thoroughly enjoyed it.
That seems so random!How did you get started on it?
J.E: I was thinking about Pongo on the Once Upon a Time Show, Archie’s dog. So I was wondering about his back story. That’s how I got into it.
It was a short but truly humbling experience. To be given a chance to interact with one of the most prolific showrunners out there will be stamped forever in my mind. Conversing with her eventually put my nerves at ease. She is truly a wonderful person to meet. Almost at every convention she visits, she is interacts with the fans as much as possible. If you have a chance to meet her, I would highly recommend it. Especially if she’s in the California Browncoats booth. They have amazing Firefly gear!
Plus, I even got a lovely sticker out of the whole interview!
Showrunners are becoming more acknowledged for all their work and efforts. Espenson will be one of the many high lighted in the upcoming documentary titled Showrunners.
If you haven’t had a chance check out Husbands the series and the comic book. Highly recommended for those who love romantic-comedies. There are also some surprise cameos from the Whendonverse.
With every fiber of this fangirl’s soul, I would like to thank Smart Girls Love SciFi, San Diego Comic-Con, and M4 PR company for granting me access for this interview.