I read the book. I think I watched one and a half episodes of the Hulu series before I couldn’t take it anymore — I knew that this wasn’t ever going to get to a happy place. Kammy has it perfectly pegged, though, that it’s feminist torture porn.
Yeah, I said it. Feminist torture porn. Basically we have two full seasons of the men getting away with every sort of physical, emotional and psychological torture imaginable, with June either blankly staring in resignation or with a barely concealed look of rage on her face. I mean, don’t get me wrong. Elisabeth Moss’s ability to convey emotion with just her eyes is amazing, but for fuck sake it shouldn’t take nearly two seasons for one of those asshole Gileads to get stabbed. I literally cheered when Emily stabbed Lydia and kicked her down those stairs. When Emily stomped that dead guy’s nuts after he raped her was another stand up and cheer moment. All I’m saying is that the writers have shown way to much of these shitheads getting away with it and not enough of the women fighting back.
I’m going to have to recommend some counterprogramming, a guilty pleasure: Afterwar, by Lilith Saintcrow. It’s a rough, brutal, post-apocalyptic war story, so not to everyone’s taste, but the twist is that it takes place in a future America, after an all-too-plausible take-over of a large chunk of the country by fundamentalist Christian fanatics who run concentration camps and death camps and enslave or kill anyone of a different ethnicity than white Anglo-Saxon. The premise is very Handmaid’s Tale-ish. This story starts up, though, with the wars to crush the evil neo-Nazis, and the aftermath as the bad guys are hunted down and their regime demolished. Everyone suffers, and it’s not a happy story either, but at least the right-wing fanatics suffer more.
It’s all about people fighting back, so it’s a wish-fulfillment fantasy for those of us watching the current ascendancy of scumbags.