Writing about ‘The Americans’ with Alicia Sometimes

It seemed that the show's producers had spent more on wigs than they had on the script.

After watching the first few episodes of The Americans, it seemed to me that the show’s producers had spent more on wigs than they had on the script. But later, having watched all six seasons of the show, I changed my tune. 

Across the show’s various story arcs, what starts out as a cheesy 1980s homage quickly descends into vaguely horrifying Cold-War-era gore, complete with dismemberment, assassinations, undesirable sex and, well, honky tonk. I got hooked on it, and I’m not too proud to admit that.

Anyways, about a year ago the forever-bulk-ace Alicia Sometimes and I were chatting about The Americans online, as you do, and she sent me a poem she’d written about Keri Russell (who plays a Soviet secret agent posing as an American housewife, Elizabeth Jennings, in the show). 

It was, of course, a great poem. And, you know, even though I don’t write so many poems anymore, I was immediately inspired to write a kind of response, about Elizabeth’s husband Philip Jennings (another Soviet agent, played by Matthew Rhys). 

Then Alicia casually let slip that she’d submitted her poem to an online literary zine called Freeze Ray, and we thought it’d be fun if I submitted my poem, too.

Well, I’ll bet you can guess what happened next. Sure enough, Alicia’s poem, ‘Keri Russell’s voice in The Americans’, was selected for publication in that esteemed journal. 

For your viewing pleasure, a montage of Matthew Rhys’ wig-based disguises in The Americans.

Meanwhile, my effort, ‘Line dancing with Matthew Rhys’ was  rejected by the Freeze Ray editors, via the immortal burn phrase: ‘Unfortunately, we’re going to pass this time around’. 

Now, I’ve been rejected many a time before, and even had some other poems that didn’t make it into this or that literary journal, too. So I was not greatly bummed by this turn of events. 

I mean, the whole world got to read Alicia’s bodacious poem, and the two of us still got to read mine. 

But, you know, I got to thinking, and then to tinkering with the opening lines of my admittedly rushed effort, and after a week or two I felt like I had a new draft I was happy with. 

And rather than subject myself to the whole publimication fandangle, I thought I’d just pop the thing up on my own website HQ instead. 

So, anyway, there you have it. Have a read of ‘Line dancing with Matthew Rhys’, and let me know what y’all think. 

Oh and don’t forget to check out Alicia’s poem in Freeze Ray in all its sustained glory (and listen to an audio version as well). 

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