What Did Montauk Do To Deserve This?

It’s Friday. Yesterday was “heavy.” Let’s have some fun.

Before you read on, if you missed the earlier post on this subject, you may want to click here. The caveats and essential points are there, in “Part 1.” This is “Part 2.”

At the end of that “Part 1,” I promised an update if I changed my mind about The Affair. Well, I watched the 3rd episode. Update aside, I’m still not sure about it….

* * *

Presiding at his study’s massive wooden desk (it has to be massive), books on shelves behind him (evidently so we remember what he is supposed to be), the wildly successful novelist father-in-law calls “Noah” – who’s soaking wet from a swim in the pool – in for a hearty man-to-man talk: “So, how’s the writing going?”

Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.
Free Stock Photo: Illustration of a stack of books and reading glasses.

I’d thought the father-in-law resembled a 1960s car dealer more than a novelist. I still see that. But now I’m also thinking sorta Donald Rumsfeld (sans eyeglasses), turned novelist.

The sage advice includes, “I know what you’re doing swimming. You’re avoiding the page…. I’d play tennis. I stopped playing tennis. Next year I had a New York Times best seller.”

As “Noah” walks out, I expected the great novelist to stand up and slap “Noah” on the back in a suitably masculine manner.

The novelist’s wife, “Noah’s” mother-in-law, seems meant to be a cross between Pamela Harriman and Cruella De Vil. She is also extremely disdainful of her son-in-law’s supposedly less than money-chasing life outlook. “You’re happy to take our money for private school fees. The mortgage.” (Natch. Darling.)

Her daughter, “Noah’s” wife, jumps to his defense: “Don’t pick a fight with my husband.” (Nothing like a summer beach holiday with the rich in-laws.)

Cue the lunch meeting for “Noah” (apparently arranged by the great novelist) with the stereotypical publishing guy: “Everyone’s self-publishing, wasting their talent,” the guy sneers to “Noah.” (Obviously indie publishing really sticks in the craw, Mr. Publishing Guy?)

Down near the harbor. Dusk. “Noah”: “[When] I’m f-cking my wife, I’m thinking about you.”

“Alison”: “You could just f-ck me and get it out of your system.”

How romantic. Jane Austen herself couldn’t have hoped to have topped lines like those.

Abruptly we’re beamed back to the interrogation room. (The only quick cutting in the series.) “I wasn’t having an affair, detective,” she asserts. (No, but you just had sex in harbor grass in public with a man you barely know. Given that’s illegal in Florida, it must be illegal in New York too. Uh, not the “barely know” part, the “public” part – to be specific.)

Turns out “Alison,” the waitress, is really a former nurse. Apparently she left that job; that seems to have had something to do with the death of her son. She seems to want the job back, though. Who knows? At the hospital, after speaking to a former boss, abruptly “Alison” changes her mind upon seeing an ill child in a hallway.

Using her boss’s pass, she sneaks into a stock room and steals medication. After shoving it into her handbag/ pocketbook, she leaves the pass behind on a table and rushes off. (Guess she won’t be returning to that job after all.)

Hold it. Now we’re at the lighthouse. The ocean is breaking against the cliffs. Birds are flying by her.

Of course.

I’d thought “Noah” had three kids. My mistake. Turns out he and his wife (she’s the best, most believable character by far), have four.

Clearly, I was not exactly taken by the cherubs.

One of the sons faked hanging himself in the bathroom in the 1st episode. He thought “Noah” would find it funny. Then he cried to Dad that he’s unhappy. (I’d say that kid needs to see someone. And, like, right now.)

The eldest daughter seems unable to do anything other than snark and roll her eyes. Her entire demeanor is p-ssed off, well-off, older teenager. And suddenly she’s gonna be a summer au pair locally for some English couple?

Oh, yeh, like any of us – any nationality – would want that watching kids of ours.

But Cruella has arranged it. She wants to keep her granddaughter busy and make sure she won’t have “s-e-x.” Which she spells out – loudly, in the magnificent kitchen/ lounge – and which “Noah’s” wife promptly points out is a word the girl can SPELL. (Which one would think Cruella would know given she and the great novelist are coughing up stratospherically high Manhattan private school tuition for her.)

An Italian military helicopter over Rome. [Photo by me, 2005.]
An Italian military helicopter over Rome. [Photo by me, 2005.]

May I borrow the helicopter? Because I think maybe I’m finally figuring this program out. Someone who liked Nancy Meyers films decided that instead of writing for perhaps unrealistic, but humorous and entertaining, “lovely and rich” folks, better to concoct a humorless, dysfunctional, sordid, slow moving, cable TV series.

Wait, “Noah’s” back with the detective: “Do yourself a favor, read my book.” (Yes, “Noah,” that snide suggestion should wow any police detective. If I ever get questioned by one, I’ll open with that, champ.)

Back to “Alison,” and her boss (at the diner): “Bowling is enjoyable. Having sex with you would be enjoyable.”

“Alison”: “You’ve heard of sexual harassment?”

Boss: “So sue me.”

Actually, kill me.

Next we’re in Montauk library.

If I were the town of Montauk, and portrayed this way, I’d sue the makers of this program.

“Noah” looks at “Alison.” She looks at him. They discuss his prospective book he just can’t seem to write. (Because standing in a bookstack flirting with a woman you fancy who’s not your wife, slick…. well, golly, sure, that’ll write your book.)

Free Stock Photo: Young woman in white skirt on the beach.
Free Stock Photo: Young woman in white skirt on the beach.

“Noah” suggests his main character will be a fisherman. (What an unexpected twist! Her husband’s one of those!) He adds that he’s thinking the leading woman character will be an, umm, waitress. With big breasts, “Noah” jokes to her. (Heh. Heh. He’s a novelist.)

Next they’re walking down at the harbor. Again. Something happened that led them here, but I don’t now recall exactly what it was. I do remember her next explaining to “Noah” how the fishermen raped the seabed for generations. Or something. (I gather a certain Billy Joel song won’t ever be played? Or maybe I’m wrong?)

Suddenly, they’re kissing again under the bleachers…. sorry, sorry, I mean between some shacks where the boats are docked. They think no one can see.

Imagine that?

But a fisherman sees them! And she sees him having seen them, but also expresses relief she doesn’t know him. (Although she seems to know everyone else in town? Regardless, whew, that was close.)

“I can’t do this,” she says.

“You drive me insane,” he declares.

Aside from “Noah’s” wife, everyone on screen is driving me insane, too. But not in that way. Nonetheless, I’ll stay with the program – if only in the probably forlorn hope that somewhere down line “Noah’s” wife eventually murders him. 🙂

Happy weekend!