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How To Understand The Americans Finale: Q&A with Show Creators Joe Weisberg, Joel Fields

One of the best, most-political and most-personal TV shows ever just ended. What did it all mean?

FXFXLast night, the long-running show The Americans ended its run with a series finale that is drawing rave reviews (no spoilers ahead).

Before the start of the final season, I sat down with the series creator, Joe Weisberg, and its main writer, Joel Fields, to discuss the themes and issues raised by the show, which follows the adventures of married Soviet spies in deep cover in 1980s' Washington.

Here's the the video interview, produced by Meredith Bragg, followed after the jump by a full transcript of the conversation with Weisberg and Fields.

A brief snippet:

Gillespie: ...how does [a] commitment to an individual rather than an ideology inform the final season?

Weisberg: We ask that question specifically in terms of the characters in our show and their ideologies. But we also like to kind of step back, and just look at it generally, in terms of what marriages are like. The truth is, we're all spies in our own lives.

We all have our secret inner lives, and even those of us who try to share as much as possible with our spouses have a part of us that we don't know how to express, or that gets repressed because we're expressing so much, and there's a part we have to hold back. So we all struggle with questions of our true identity, our identity with our loved ones, and our public personas. And that just gets magnified a billionfold when you're a deep-cover spy, because it's actualized.

So in this final season, that all comes to a head for the characters, who have to deal with it in their careers as spies, challenging their loyalty to their family but also testing it against their loyalty to one another in their marriage, and their loyalty to their country, and their core idealistic beliefs.

Fields: I'll just add, in a way, this is a profoundly political show, but it's not political necessarily in the sense of a lot of what we've been talking about, about which country is better, or how do the two systems compare. It's political simply in terms of our perspective. It's political in the sense that the two main characters, Philip and Elizabeth, are driven by politics. Their motivation in life—not just in work, but their motivation in life—is ideological. They are political beings of a kind that you rarely see.

They've come all the way across the world and started this whole family and done everything for political reasons. Their hearts and souls are political. So in the final season, when Gorbachev has now come to power and is starting to change their country in very profound ways, Philip and Elizabeth are going to react to it differently.

And so, imagine how that's going to impact their marriage. And that's really what the final season is going to be about.

The interview has been edited for clarity. Check all quotes against the audio for accuracy. For an audio version, subscribe to the Reason Podcast.

Nick Gillespie: Joe, you were actually in the CIA for a number of years, and you've said that the agency, of all things, is what got you started thinking about doing something about your time in the agency. What was going on there?

Joe Weisberg: One of the things that I sort of absorbed when I was there— I didn't think I was going to ever write about spies, or anything like that, but I still absorbed a lot that came out later. So, I was very, I worked with a lot of people who were married and had families, and like me, were lying to the people around them. And I didn't have kids, and I wasn't married at the time, but colleagues of mine had to lie to their kids about what they did—couldn't tell them they worked at the CIA, until a certain point that was known inside the agency as "the talk."

When you sat down with your kids—and nobody told you what age to do it or anything like that, you had to determine for yourself when your kids were mature enough to keep it secret. And then you sat down, and you told them what you really did for a living. And if you thought your kids were maybe never mature enough for that, there were even occasionally some people who never told their kids.

But that idea, even when I was there, I thought that was like, pretty intense. And after I'd left the CIA and sort of was no longer a part of that culture, the further away I got, the... In a way... I don't want to... It's not just that it seemed odd to me, it started to seem really like the most emotional and dramatic thing. And when I was later going to write a series about spies, it seemed to me that was something that had never been explored, and something that could form almost a perfect dramatic spine for a television series.

Gillespie: And then you upped the ante by taking Russian spies and putting them here, and so they're hiding from their kids. What was the starting point? Did you have a kind of goal in mind? And then, has that changed as the series has developed over the years?

Weisberg: What happened was, if you remember, a lot of Russian sleeper agents—or "Illegals," they're called—were arrested in 2010. And I was working on the science fiction show called Falling Skies, and I got a call from some of the producers of that show, and they said, "Why don't you develop a series based on this thing that just happened?" And I said, "Well, I don't know, things aren't really that bad between Russia and America, I'm not sure that's really a good idea, but let me think about a little bit."

And I started wandering around the streets a little bit, and after a couple hours, I suddenly thought, "Oh, you just put it back in the Cold War," and suddenly that's a really good idea. And you make the KGB spies themselves the heroes, rather than the FBI or anything like that, and that'll make it a very interesting twist. And you really center it on the marriage, about this couple, and about these things I was talking about, about the family lying to the kids, and suddenly you've got a very new, original show.

Gillespie: Setting it in the '80s is a stroke of genius. You guys are both in your early 50s, so that's a period that you know extremely well.

Weisberg: Right.

Gillespie: And we didn't know it at the time—I'm in the same age range—we didn't know at the time that it was the last decade of the Cold War. But what... I mean, Joel, what, you know, in the '80s, what were you thinking? Did you care about the Cold War at that point? Or were you more into parachute pants and the band Living Colour, or something like that? And hair product?

Joel Fields: Boy, don't ask my mom for the photos, but they do not involve parachute pants.

I remember really hoping that we didn't all blow each other up. And it's been hard to explain to some of the writers on the show, over the years, that there was a time when we really felt like we were on the verge of thermonuclear armageddon. And The Day After, remember, played a prominent role—

Gillespie: Right.

Fields: —in the show itself. Testament was a big movie at the time.

Gillespie: And The Day After was a TV movie about what happened if there was a kind of exchange of nuclear weapons, and then after that, there was a panel with, what, it was like Elie Wiesel and William F. Buckley, Jr., and people discussing what it would be like.

Fields: That's right, it was a huge—

Gillespie: And Testament was similar.

Weisberg: Yeah.

Fields: And The Day After was a huge national event. It became part of our show, the family's experiencing it.

Gillespie: Right.

Fields: I know for both of us, 'cause we've talked about it, it was a pivotal thing for us and for the nation. And you ask, "What was it like, to be young at that time, that looming sense of the Cold War as a real threat?" Boy, it was a powerful part of what formed you.

Gillespie: One of the things that's fantastic about this show is that it is, it's not by any stretch a booster, you know. It's not some kind of vapid boosterism of, like, "America, fuck yeah." But it's Reagan... I mean, after the '70s, there was a palpable sense that America was in decline. The Soviets in '79 invaded Afghanistan, they seemed to be on the march.

Reagan took office and was kind of largely seen as a madman who was capable of discussing limited nuclear war in Europe and whatnot. And his first few months, or year really, in office was kind of a disaster. He got a lot of things done, but the economy was still tanking. But then, very quickly, America was back.

So, you know, what were the tensions on the Soviet side? Obviously, by the end of the decade, everything had gone to hell for them, but what were the '80s like for Soviet people?

Weisberg: Well, I mean, that was an incredible decade for them. You know, in the early '80s, up through when Gorbachev came to power in '80, there was a kind of stasis, and a kind of economic malaise and decline, but I don't think we were aware of it to that much of a degree. We still felt incredibly threatened by them, as they went through the final years of Brezhnev and Andropov and Chernenko. We weren't seeing them as in decline at all, and I think it's hard to say what their own sense of themselves was.

You know, I think they had to be on some level aware that their economy was continuing to go down, or not do very well, but they were a superpower, and they were aware of it. And they had nuclear weapons, they could challenge the United States. But obviously, something happened, they had some level of awareness, because in 1985, they knew they needed to bring in a younger generation of leader, and not just that, but one who was willing to start embarking on some kind of change.

Gillespie: You went into the CIA because you felt that we were in a kind of twilight struggle and we needed to win, and you saw things in very binary terms. The show certainly doesn't reflect that kind of moral certitude. What changed?

Weisberg: I had a very black-and-white vision of things. I saw the Soviet Union as an evil empire. I was a Cold Warrior. I loved Ronald Reagan's views on foreign policy. When he talked about an evil empire, that resonated with me. I thought that's what it was.

And I started to, particularly after I left the CIA, I started to open up. I think first as a person in general, as a human being I started to open up. And I think that allowed me to open up more politically, and stop seeing... Once I stopped seeing the whole universe in black-and-white terms, I was able to see the world of politics in less black-and-white terms, too.

And then, a couple of things happened at once. One, I was able to go back and revisit all the things I'd seen and studied and learned about the Soviet Union again, and start to see them differently. And then, two, I started to learn new things about the Soviet Union, and see them now with a new open mind. Everything started to look differently.

So instead of seeing this sort of simplistic evil-empire totalitarian society where everybody was repressed and the Communist Party, the government, were just these terrible people and everybody there suffered, I started to see a real society. A real place with real complexity, and many layers of society, with many people who felt many different ways and had many different experiences, just like, really, any large society. Like our society as well. And so, I just started to not have those simplistic views anymore.

Gillespie: It's a weird irony of kind of 1980s discourse, conservative discourse, certainly, that the American government was always inefficient and kind of stupid, Reagan famously said, "Government isn't the solution, government is the problem." But then, when we talked about the Soviet Union, it was a well-oiled machine, right?

Fields: Right.

Gillespie: Nothing ever went wrong, and everything happened according to what they planned.

Fields: Yeah.

Gillespie: In the '80s, certainly in the United States, there was a very clear para— Or, not a parallelism, but, anti-communists were... If you said anything that equated the United States with the Soviets, you were morally bankrupt, you were a relativist, you know, to make any kind of similarities.

The series, though, and one of the things that's rich about it, is that there's all of these parallels. You know, obviously, Soviet spies, FBI counterintelligence people. But even the opening of the show begins with kind of scenes from a Soviet childhood and an American childhood. I mean, do you see the systems as kind of morally equal?

Weisberg: That's a great question.

Fields: Yeah. For me, no. It's not at all about moral equivalence. It's about human equivalence. And I think that's what... I'd be interested to see whether Joe feels the same way, after all these years of working together, 'cause nobody's ever quite asked that question.

But to me, it's actually really important not to get, not to confuse human equivalence with moral equivalence. There are better and worse ways for human beings to experience the world, and there are better and worse systems. And we can argue about those, and test those, and see how they function in the world, and there are different kinds of people, but all people are human. And I think that's what's been exciting about, to explore in the show.

Everybody who has a family, has a family. Everybody who's in a marriage struggles with marriage, and it may be in their own individual ways, but there's a universality to the human experience. Whether or not you're a deep-cover Soviet agent, or an American counterintelligence officer, those two characters, they should be the most different, but at their core, they're still human, and exploring that is at the heart of things for us.

Gillespie: Yeah, and I mean, I think this is something that, now that the '80s and the Cold War are past a little bit, we can actually explore that, rather than worrying that we're getting a little bit too soft on communism. To go to your point, Joel, of, there are better and worse ways. And I'm sure we all agree that, broadly speaking, the American way was superior, because one of the reasons is, it allowed people to become more human, or to kind of express their humanity more than a more rigid Soviet system. But part of what the show seems to be about is that Philip and some of the other characters on the Soviet side are able to express themselves more freely, in a kind of modern consumer economy.

Weisberg: It's a very complicated question. You know, there are all sorts of people here who express themselves freely, and all sorts of people who don't. Certainly, that society put a lot of restrictions on how people express themselves, but there were all kinds of ways that people expressed themselves that we probably didn't quite understand, or didn't quite see, that did happen in that society, too.

But probably, what is unquestionable is that the ability to be free and creative in the economic sphere, and in the scientific sphere, things like that, allows a capitalist economy to thrive in ways that their economy didn't allow.

Gillespie: So, well—

Fields: But I'll tell you, in terms of getting to a better place for the human condition, the story is still being written, as we all know. We read a really interesting piece of research that people were having more, better sex in East Germany than the next generation did, after the wall fell. And they interviewed some people, and one of the interviews said, "You know, we couldn't get good jobs. We didn't have much. But now my daughter has all of these professional opportunities, and she's a vice president of the company, and she comes home and she's exhausted. And they have less sex, she and her husband have a worse sex life than I had under the East German jackboot." So, you know, we're all still figuring these things out.

Gillespie: Yeah.

Fields: I don't think, unfortunately, we haven't reached nirvana yet.

Gillespie: For sure. Do you think, though, I guess in the long run, that the Soviet Union collapse— Did it collapse, ultimately, because it couldn't produce enough blue jeans and cigarettes for people? Did it collapse because it bankrupted itself, trying to keep up with Reagan defense initiatives? I mean, these are two counternarratives, and it seems...

I mean, the show is certainly not a political treatise in any way. It's a great drama because it is moving out from individuals and the way they interact. But, you know, why did the Soviet Union collapse, then?

Fields: I mean, you get me started on this, I'll go for an hour. But I'll give you the short version: that I don't think it was about trying to keep up with Reagan's defense initiatives and the economic pressure from the West. I don't think there's any real evidence to support that, although a lot of Americans do think that, and a lot of—

Gillespie: Well, it's flattering to us, to think that way.

Weisberg: It's flattering to us, right, and a lot of people want to, in a way, think that we drove that to happen, and that Reagan's pol— And, by the way, it wasn't just the defense initiatives. You know, Reagan drove a lot of covert action specifically designed, with the specific plan, to bring down the Soviet Union.

But I don't see any convincing evidence that any of that really was responsible for it, whereas Gorbachev coming to power and making all these changes, with glasnost and perestroika, to open things up and change the economy, seems fairly... I mean, there's a clear story you can see taking place there, where society started to open up, people started to talk about all the problems.

It opened up both in Eastern Europe and through all the non-Russian republics for the nationalist sentiments started to open up, and those places just started to break away and break free. And for the economic sphere, as it tried to reform itself, to start to break apart and crumble as it tried to reform itself, instead. And you can just see how that kind of unfolded and the country started to break apart. So.

Fields: Here's another theory I like. Someone once said that it wasn't Ronald Reagan and nuclear weapons that brought down the Soviet Union, it was Aaron Spelling and the VCR.

Gillespie: Mm-hmm [affirmative].

Fields: And just the fact that Dynasty became available, and those tapes could be shuffled around from house to house. Once you start looking at that, it's a little harder to support your Soviet lifestyle.

Gillespie: Let's talk a little bit about the marriage that's at the center of the show. I mean, one of the things that's really delightful is that these are spies who are like, "Who's got the kids tonight? Because I've got to go and fuck some guy to get information and then kill him, but Paige has to be at a band practice at a certain time." Where does that come from, and how do you come up with scenarios for that?

Weisberg: We really asked ourselves a lot of questions about, "If this were really happening, what would it feel like? What problems would they face? Which situations would they be in?" And then just, you know, along with other writers, tried to just run the scenarios. It's really just what we came up with.

There's a great, the head KGB archivist, a guy named Mitrokhin, stole the entire archives of the KGB and brought them over to the West. So we had a really good resource material that told us about a lot of things that Illegals actually did. So we were able to take certain things, like, for example, the marriage to Martha was built on an actual story of how KGB Illegals did—not often, but a couple of times, very occasionally—did marry women in order to get intelligence.

So we had things like that that we could build on. But we'd take things like that, and say, "Well, what would happen next? What would happen next?" And made that stuff up. But it felt real to us.

Gillespie: Did, you know, on some level, the kind of long-term... I don't want to say it's a plot arc, it's kind of a moral arc of the show, and this gets to some of the points you were making. It's really about the individuals being committed to one another, rather than ideological promises. How does that inform the final season of the show?

I don't think this is giving anything away to say that, at the opening of the season, Philip is kind of done with spy work. His wife is not. There are also larger complications that come from Gorbachev and Reagan actually getting together to talk about limiting nuclear weapons and whatnot.

But how does that commitment to an individual rather than an ideology inform the final season?

Weisberg: We ask that question specifically in terms of the characters in our show and their ideologies. But we also like to kind of step back, and just look at it generally, in terms of what marriages are like. The truth is, we're all spies in our own lives.

We all have our secret inner lives, and even those of us who try to share as much as possible with our spouses have a part of us that we don't know how to express, or that gets repressed because we're expressing so much, and there's a part we have to hold back. So we all struggle with questions of our true identity, our identity with our loved ones, and our public personas. And that just gets magnified a billionfold when you're a deep-cover spy, because it's actualized.

So in this final season, that all comes to a head for the characters, who have to deal with it in their careers as spies, challenging their loyalty to their family but also testing it against their loyalty to one another in their marriage, and their loyalty to their country, and their core idealistic beliefs.

Fields: I'll just add, in a way, this is a profoundly political show, but it's not political necessarily in the sense of a lot of what we've been talking about, about which country is better, or how do the two systems compare. It's political simply in terms of our perspective. It's political in the sense that the two main characters, Philip and Elizabeth, are driven by politics. Their motivation in life—not just in work, but their motivation in life—is ideological. They are political beings of a kind that you rarely see.

They've come all the way across the world and started this whole family and done everything for political reasons. Their hearts and souls are political. So in the final season, when Gorbachev has now come to power and is starting to change their country in very profound ways, Philip and Elizabeth are going to react to it differently.

And so, imagine how that's going to impact their marriage. And that's really what the final season is going to be about.

Gillespie: What do you think explains the appeal of the show? I mean, the show is airing now, at a time when the American economy is kind of messed up. We have a threat from Russia, as well as communist China. You know, I mean, there's a lot. We have a madman in the White House, etc. What do you think is appealing about this show? What does it allow us to do that less successful shows don't?

Fields: When you put it that way, it just puts me into a panic. And I don't want to watch.

Weisberg: I thought the economy was good, is the economy messed up?

Fields: Apparently, there's a madman in the White House. We've been too busy making the show.

Gillespie: Yeah, yeah.

Fields: Someone get us a paper, or an internet connection.

You know, I think, clearly, there's all of that, everything that you said. At the end of the day, for us, it's the human story, and the marriage story, and the family story.

We had a great moment in season one, where we sent one of our rough cuts in, I forget which episode—Philip and Elizabeth had just done something horrible, honeytrap, murder, something terrible. And they had this argument about how it went. And we get a call from the network executive, who gave us his reaction to the episode.

And he said, "You're going to get a call later with all of our notes, and thoughts, and comments, but I just wanted to tell you: I saw that episode, and I thought, 'That's exactly the fight I had with my wife last night.'" And we thought, "OK, now we're cooking with gas. Because if we can take this crazy spy story and make it about the universals of marriage, then the show just might be able to work."

Gillespie: We've talked about the content of the show, let's talk about the distribution and the possibilities. This is a show that would not have been possible 15 years ago, 20 years ago. You're on FX, which is putting out cutting-edge material on basic cable, as opposed to something like HBO. How have you benefited from creative freedom in order to tell these types of stories?

Weisberg: Just start to finish. I mean, what you're saying, first of all, is, this show wouldn't have been on the air, really, at any other time. And we were able to go on the air, we were able to stay on the air. You know, at the beginning, there was pretty, not the highest-rated show, at the beginning. And to some degree, it was never the highest-rated show. But really, with just critical acclaim, and then a kind of growing audience, we were able to have a full run of six seasons.

And also just the support from the network, telling us: "Do whatever you want to do. Just make it a great show. Don't stress out. Don't worry about the numbers." And that, it's hard to even express, as writers, the freedom you get from that. The feeling that instead of sitting there panicking about, "We have to do this this episode, or this this season, to try and draw in more viewers." All we had to do was try to make it good. And that was, by the way, John Landgraf said that to us. He said, "Don't worry about anything, just make it good, and then that's where success will lie."

Fields: I tell a story about John Landgraf, actually—

Gillespie: And explain who he is.

Fields: John Landgraf is the chairman, guru, head of everything at FX.

Weisberg: That's his title.

Fields: That's his title. I'm going to tell you a story about John Landgraf, who's the head of FX, and something that happened in-between season one and season two. Because you asked what it's like with all this creative freedom, and we do have a great amount of creative freedom, but I would put it differently. I'd say we have creative support, that support comes with freedom.

And it almost became a joke with us, that all the notes, calls would start and finish with either John, or whoever was giving notes, they would start and finish with them saying, "It's your show, these are our comments, take them for what you want, but you make the choices you want to make."

So we had that freedom, but the freedom comes with an incredible dramaturgical support from them. Incredible insight. And they all spend a lot of time talking and thinking about the show from a perspective that we can't have. They're really our first audience, and that's so valuable.

Between seasons one and season two—remember, as you said, we had a wonderful critical response to season one, but not the greatest of ratings—and we had this talk with John Landgraf as we were figuring out where we wanted to go in season two. And he said that he'd given the show a lot of thought. And that means a lot, 'cause John gives everything a lot of thought, but when he says he's given it a lot of thought, it's a lot of thought.

And remember, he said, "I've tried to think about things you guys could do, or that we could do for the show, that would boost the ratings. But I can't come up with any ideas that won't ruin your show, and we don't want to do that. So let's just keep making it good." And that was really liberating.

And so, that's... Again, it's not just freedom, it's support that we had from the network. A lot of insight along the way, from the beginning, really through the final episode. But also the wisdom to let the show be what it wants to be.

Gillespie: Let me ask you, though, because you, more than Joe, have a background in TV, and you've been in it for what, 25 years? Something like that?

Fields: Well, my post-CIA cover runs—

Weisberg: Your effort to get out of that question is failing, by the way.

Gillespie: Is it easier—and it's never easy to make a good show, much less a great show—but do you feel like the medium has really matured in your lifetime? When you go back and look at stuff, you know, I'm thinking of 25 years ago, I was interviewing Alf as an entertainment reporter.

Fields: Right.

Weisberg: Hey, that was a great show.

Gillespie: And that's not a bad show, but like—

Weisberg: No.

Fields: We like Alf.

Weisberg: That was really funny.

Gillespie: But it's not as good as what we've got now, is it?

Fields: Well, there's... Look, there's been a real cycle. First of all, it's easy to forget all the great shows that came before. I mean, we're here on the shoulders of Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue. Norman Lear made some of the greatest comedies ever made.

There was great TV. And none of this would be possible without it. That said, gosh, when I think about all the years that I've made TV, what cycles I've been through. When I started, I started in TV movies, because that was the place you could do really exciting work. That's where The Day After had been made, and that's where The Burning Bed had been made. And you could tackle important contemporary issues. You could tackle important dramatic issues. You could do romantic comedy. You could do a thriller.

And I had a great time in that world, and then it slowly kind of changed and I cycled into the TV series world. But I never could imagine that, where the TV series world was headed was this incredible world of drama. When I pivoted to TV series, I hoped to work on good ones, but the really great dramas were being made in feature films.

And today, we're very lucky. Suddenly, we found ourselves in this place where, when we started making The Americans, we were trying to figure out what the stories were, week-to-week. And by the time we got to the second year, we found ourselves letting go of the week-to-week storytelling and just telling this long story following the drama of these characters. And there was this total liberation that came with where we happened to find ourselves, in the landscape of TV. So, it's been a pretty great journey.

Gillespie: Do you think that, in a broader sense, the type of show that you're talking about here, which is this incredibly rich and complex, multilayered story that unfolds over years—is that kind of serial TV playing the role that the novel might have in 19th-century Europe and America? You know, this thick slice of a whole society, in the way that it fits together. And if that's true, why are we watching now, rather than reading? And what is gained, and what is lost in that transition?

Weisberg: That's interesting. I mean, this show does feel novelistic, to me at least. Specifically in the sense that it doesn't feel... It feels leisurely in its pacing, it doesn't feel like it has to get anywhere. It doesn't... You know, some novels have cliffhangers, and some don't, but this one doesn't feel like it has to. Every season doesn't have to end in a certain place. It just sort of...

In particular, it's character-based, and it just goes on telling the lives of these characters, and it could end anywhere. Now by the way, again, all novels aren't that way, but some certainly are. And this show has always felt that, from the beginning.

But why there's a move to that, or why that's becoming such a popular form of storytelling right now, I don't know. I can only tell you that I've found something very interesting for myself, which is: I've always been a big reader, and I find myself now going back and forth in phases. I find myself having a heavy TV phase, where I'll watch a lot of serialized TV, and then I'll stop watching TV and start reading books again. And then I'll go back to TV, and back to books. And I can't figure out what any of it means.

Fields: I think one reason for that may be technological. Fifteen years ago, you couldn't do that. The option wasn't there, of getting into something and just binging it. You know, I think... It's actually changed the process for us in a different way. Which is: When we make the show, there's less of a creative feeling that it has to achieve something in a particularly urgent way that's going to get everybody to scramble to watch the next episode. But that we can tell the story that feels right to us, and if somebody finds the show in two years, or in five years, or in 10 years, it's going to be there. And knowing that is very reassuring, and I think it does impact the storytelling a bit.

Fields: A related thing is that we're not really under pressure to bring the episodes in at a particular length. We can pretty much go as long as we want on any episode, and that is fantastic. That really allows us to just do what we want in episodes, and it's great.

Gillespie: As a kind of final question, you have created this incredible world. And you know, it's a world that people can recognize, because we kind of lived in it. But it's a fictional universe that is, you've mapped in incredible detail and nuance and sophistication, and it's kind of a great place to hang out. It's true, you know, sometimes, you want to be like, "OK, I've got to go step outside and take a deep breath or snort some cocaine and clear my head," but... What is it like to walk away from it? I mean, at the end of this. It is hard to say, "OK, we're shutting the door here"?

Weisberg: It's horrible. We're like, suffering with that, right now we're suffering with it. I mean, just yesterday, we watched them filming literally the last scene of the show, except we're still filming for two more weeks. 'Cause you know, we don't shoot the scenes in order. So now, even that is so weird, and so confusing. And in a couple weeks, that world is closing its doors. I'm dying, I...

Fields: Yeah, it's tough, and emotional. Literally across the street, they're tearing down our sets right now, as we speak. And it's been, it's been such a wonderful and gratifying experience, been a gratifying experience creatively, and personally. And I'm just in denial, that it's an end. I'm just going to hang onto denial as long as possible, and keep making the show, until it runs out.

Gillespie: So you'll have nostalgia for making The Americans.

Weisberg: Oh, yes. We will definitely have nostalgia for making Americans. Hey, maybe our next show will be about making The Americans. You think that's kind of an universal nostalgic thing?

Fields: I'm in.

Weisberg: OK, done.

Gillespie: Well, we'll leave it there. We've been talking with Joel Fields, and Joe Weisberg, the creators, showrunners, of The Americans, whose final season starts at the end of March on FX network. Guys, thanks for talking.

Weisberg: Pleasure, thank you.

Fields: Thank you so much. It was fun.

Gillespie: For Reason, I'm Nick Gillespie.

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  • loveconstitution1789||

    Gillespie liking this show explains a lot. A lot.

  • $park¥ leftist poser||

    What did it all mean?

    Why?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    NO SPOILERS

  • Juice||

    You realize that no one who visits this blog watches these shows, right?

  • HGW xx/7||

    Au contraire. It is my favorite series of all-time. Mind you I am a Cold War buff. I could never understand why the Left fawned over the show. It exposed how evil militant communism it. Granted, it wasn't exactly a vindication of capitalism either, sadly, but it definitely showed that our system is superior, in general. The acting was exceptional, as well, and the script impecible. As a final feather in the writers' cap, despite pressure from all the shitty publications praising it - Vox et al - it never once tried to make any allusion to our present day "DEMOCRASSY 1N CRISIZ!1!1", despite having numerous chances to social signal.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Juice meant the regulars never watch this show.

  • HGW xx/7||

    I've been "visiting" - to quote juice - the blog for quite a few years. I am well-acquainted with the postings of long-gone posters suck as Nikki and Cytoxic (shit already forgetting how he spelled it) and the glorious rankings of Hihn, and the cadre of other postings. I just enjoyed watching from the sidelines. My apologies for the stalking.

  • HGW xx/7||

    And I assure you I meant *such. That was a bad place for autocorrect to fuck me over.

  • Brandybuck||

    I'm a regular. Not a toxic as some, but I've been around almost since the start. And I watch the show. Probably because I have no life.

  • You are very stupid||

    Honestly, you're both nobody here.

  • I am the 0.000000013%||

    That latter statement probably goes with out saying since you are commenting here.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm a huge fan of the show.

  • You are very stupid||

    That also explains a lot.

  • JWatts||

    "Gillespie: In the '80s, certainly in the United States, there was a very clear para— Or, not a parallelism, but, anti-communists were... If you said anything that equated the United States with the Soviets, you were morally bankrupt, you were a relativist, you know, to make any kind of similarities."

    What kind of drugs was Gillespie doing in the 80's? Because that's not even remotely true.

    Hell Ted Kennedy took a trip to Moscow in the 1980's to "counter the militaristic policies" of Reagan.

  • Brandybuck||

    I started watching the show after this interview two months ago. I'm now starting season five, so I two full seasons left. Season three was a bit flat, but season four picked it up.

    What I love about it is that you have this couple with a family in totally ridiculous situations, trying to keep everything secret, while raising a family. At some point the kids gotta find out about it, and then what? Then one of the kids does figure it out, and the train is seconds away from derailing. It's a giant house of cards and every episode threatens to knock it all down. What happens if they get discovered and have to flee back to Russia? Do they take their American citizen kids with them? They actually worry about this, right from the start in season 1 episode 1.

    Crazy shit. Like the guy in the FBI trying to find them is literally their next door neighbor. By accident! Plus all the regular bureaucratic fuckups on both the US and USSR side of things. You gotta watch it.

  • loveconstitution1789||

    Nothing like shows requiring you to overlook completely unrealistic humor labelled as a spy thriller.

    Sounds boring and stupid.

    What's amazing is that there are all sorts of actual spy stories that are better than fiction.

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