It's No Joke

Why We Need 'Take My Wife'

by J.M. Suarez

17 August 2017

As Seeso shuts down, this excellent series is in need of a new home.
Rhea Butcher stars in the semi-autobiographical Take My Wife. (IMDB) 
cover art

Take My Wife

Cast: Cameron Esposito, Rhea Butcher, Zeke Nicholson

(Seeso)

When fledgling Comedy network Seeso announced it would be shutting down earlier this week, it was quick to also mention that several series had already found a new home. Noticeably absent was Take My Wife, a semi-autobiographical show chronicling the lives of its co-creators and writers Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher. A married couple, who frequently perform comedy together, their series marked a sharp delineation from the overwhelming amount of content created by and featuring white, straight, cisgender, male voices. That they may no longer have a home for their creative, funny, and critically acclaimed show is unthinkable.
  
Esposito and Butcher offer an honest portrayal of their relationship and their struggles as comics working in Los Angeles, peppered with appearances from fellow comics, including Maria Bamford, Paul F. Tompkins, and Ron Funches, among others familiar to comedy fans. The authenticity of their experiences, both individually and as a couple, are relatable, sometimes frustrating, and often hilarious. More importantly, there’s never any sense that there’s a false note in the story they’ve chosen to tell.

Season one of Take My Wife focused on Butcher’s attempts to leave behind her job in order to pursue comedy full-time while dealing with the financial implications of that decision for her relationship. Meanwhile, Esposito’s comedy career is on an upturn. They live their lives in pursuit of a creative calling, while surrounded by other artists, both successful and struggling. Whether interacting with their eccentric artist neighbor, Frances (an excellent Laura Kightlinger), or meeting movie stars who live up to every horrible Hollywood stereotype, or trying to adjust to bombing while on a potentially career-changing comedy tour, Esposito and Butcher present nuanced observations that illustrate just how fully they inhabit this world, as well as offering a perspective rarely given a voice on television.

As the save-the-series Twitter campaign that’s currently underway—wholeheartedly endorsed by Esposito and Butcher—makes its case, they’ve emphasized the purposeful way they’ve approached creating Take My Wife, namely in offering as much representation possible to those frequently underrepresented on television. In resolutely seeking out cast, crew, music, and product placement from women, queer folks, and people of color, they’ve managed to achieve what is regularly trumpeted as impossible: a truly diverse set and series. Their commitment to bring to the fore those left on the fringes or completely left out helps to bring to life a story that puts those same character-types at the center.

Sadly, Seeso is no more. The good news is that season two of Take My Wife has already been completed. Now it’s only a matter of time to see who manages to snatch up this gem of a series.

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