My Letter To Gansa
All of us who’ve been participating in Homeland communities know how much personal grief and confusion has been shared online since 6.12. We also know that the Homeland producers seem unaware and unconcerned about how their finale impacted their viewers. Rupert Friend is the only team member who has expressed empathy for the confusion and sadness many of us feel. Instead, we have seen a steady stream of the producers pandering for Emmys, which has sent a clear message that the Homeland creators are primarily interested in winning critical acclaim rather than understanding the emotional impact their story had for ordinary viewers.
This attitude is perhaps understandable, as traditionally creative professionals were not able to communicate with fans. Even today it would be impossible to monitor each and every Tweet, blog, and Facebook post. However, the extremity of their refusal to listen and respond to our reactions has feels like contempt – as though they have disdain for our emotional involvement in their story and their characters.
The #NotOurHomeland campaign aims to make it easier for the professionals behind Homeland to listen to fans by collecting our stories and presenting them to Alex Gansa. We’ve already raised over 3 thousand dollars to help brain injured vets and we hope that sum will communicate the real intensity of our feelings and pressure Mr. Gansa into taking the time to read about how his work effected his audience.
My own story about Season 6 is focused on Carrie Mathison’s desire for intimacy. I realize that Alex Gansa and Leslie Linka Glatter have both stated that Carrie’s journey in Season 6 is her growing disillusionment with the American Government, as represented by Keane’s betrayal and the ending shot of Carrie looking at the capitol. I didn’t see Keane’s betrayal as approaching the significance of Carrie’s loss of Franny and Quinn, and I am amazed that the creators do not view those losses as the central theme for Carrie in Season 6.
When an exhausted Carrie said “We’ll make it work;” when she tried to get home before her daughter fell asleep but also felt pulled to make things right for Sekou; when Franny calls to Carrie while she is in the middle of an intense interaction with Quinn at the same time Redda telephones; when Carrie arrived home late just to be called back to help her client; I completely related to her struggle. She was trying desperately to care for everyone who needed her and she never could do enough. I have three children and I am absolutely dedicated to the mission of my career, so I felt a connection to Carrie at a deeply personal level. Most of the female heroes we see on TV fit the stereotype of the nearly perfect intimate partner and in-control professional. That image of society’s expectations for me does not capture my heart like Carrie Mathison with all her flaws.
I never thought that Carrie would achieve balance, but I did hope she would make some progress. Instead, I was punched in the gut when Carrie ended the season losing both Franny and Quinn because she was too focused on her mission. Isn’t her mission her career? I always thought of Carrie as a feminist character because she rejects society’s demand that female heroes are virtuous and self-controled. When she suddenly lost her personal relationships due to her emotional investment in her vocation, I felt like vomiting.
I hoped that some insight from the producers would help me to understand how Carrie’s loss and Quinn’s despairing death might move the Homeland narrative forward. Instead, Leslie Linka Glatter has said “I don’t see how Carrie can ever get over this.” At the beginning of this season, we heard a lot about how excited the HL team was to tell the story of a disabled action hero, but we now have no acknowledgement of how that story turned nihilistic and no sympathy for fans who expected some restorative relief for the unrelenting suffering of a beloved character. Instead, the few interviews producers have given are focused on awards, the significance of addressing fake news, and Carrie’s disillusionment with the American government. Nothing we have heard indicates any understanding that fans are focused on yet another devastating loss. This disconnect between the artists and their viewers seems strange and adds to our pain and confusion.
That is my story, Mr. Gansa. I thought I was watching a feminist antihero, but Carrie has turned into a cautionary tale for women who love their work and value personal relationships. I thought we would see how compromises can result in hurting people and how forgiveness and love are both powerful and imperfect. Instead I saw how personal mistakes can result in complete despair followed by death and isolation. Then, rather than acknowledging the dark ways you’ve changed your story and expressing empathy for the viewers, you are giving us contemptuous silence.
I hope that others who related to Quinn or Carrie in personal ways will share how the finale affected them (I know a lot of you out there relate more to Quinn than Carrie!). With unity and determination, I believe we can get someone to listen.