The Handmaid's Tale, Margaret Atwood's searing novel, was written at the height of the Reagan administration and satirized political, social, and religious trends of the 1980s. It's also a hit television series on Hulu that returns on June 5.
While we still have a long way to go before we can find out what's next for June/Offred in the Republic of Gilead, we can, at the very least, regale you with some cool facts about one of the most enduring stories of the last three decades.
The Trailer for Season 3 Plays Off a Slogan from the Reagan Era
Perhaps the best thing that came out of the Super Bowl––aside from the memes haggling Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, that is––was the trailer for the third season of the Hulu series.
The trailer lampoons former President Ronald Regan's 1984 "Morning in America" political campaign television commercial.
"It's morning again in America," you hear over a soundtrack and images that resound with boundless optimism. Things turn dark from there. Soon the camera freezes on Elisabeth Moss's face: "Wake up, America," she says.
Margaret Atwood's Follow-Up Will Be Released Later This Year
Margaret Atwood will release a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale titled The Testaments in September 2019. TheTestaments is unconnected to Hulu's adaptation and will feature the testimonials of three female narrators from Gilead.
This literary device keeps with the metafictional epilogue that follows Offred's story in the original novel. The novel ends much in the way Season 1 ends: with Offred entering the van at Nick's insistence. The epilogue explains how the events of the novel were recorded onto cassette tapes after the beginning of what scholars have come to describe as "The Gilead Period." An interview with a noted academic implies that a more equitable society, one with full rights for women and freedom of religion restored, emerged following the collapse of the Republic of Gilead.
Serena Joy Waterford Is Likely Based On A Noted Conservative Activist
As the series goes on, we learn more about Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) and her beginnings.
Serena was a conservative activist who, along with her husband Fred, spearheaded the Puritan movement that ultimately gave rise to Gilead. Inspired by women whom she perceives to have "abandoned" their families in the name of female autonomy, Serena Joy delivers impassioned speeches at venues around the nation calling for policies that would place women back in the home. She even wrote a bestselling book, A Woman's Place, that served as the vessel for much of her conservative dogma and inspired many of the Commander's Wives who become her friends and neighbors.
Serena was likely based on conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, who established herself over many years as one of the fiercest antifeminist and anti-abortion advocates in the United States. Schlafly was also a vociferous opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment, which she considered an attack against traditional gender roles.
The 1990 Film Adaptation Had a Messy Production
A film version of The Handmaid's Tale was released in 1990. It starred Natasha Richardson as Offred, Faye Dunaway as Serena Joy, Robert Duvall as Commander Waterford, Aidan Quinn as Nick, Victoria Tennant as Aunt Lydia, and Elizabeth McGovern as Moira.
The film was not well received and had a messy production. Director Volker Schlöndorff replaced original director Karel Reisz amid internal bickering over a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Schlöndorff asked for rewrites, and Pinter, who was reluctant to do them, directed him to author Margaret Atwood, who was one of several who ended up making changes to Pinter's screenplay.
Pinter told his biographer years later [as quoted in Harold Printer, p. 304] that:
It became … a hotchpotch. The whole thing fell between several shoots. I worked with Karel Reisz on it for about a year. There are big public scenes in the story and Karel wanted to do them with thousands of people. The film company wouldn't sanction that so he withdrew. At which point Volker Schlondorff came into it as director. He wanted to work with me on the script, but I said I was absolutely exhausted. I more or less said, 'Do what you like. There's the script. Why not go back to the original author if you want to fiddle about?' He did go to the original author. And then the actors came into it. I left my name on the film because there was enough there to warrant it—just about. But it's not mine'.
Star Natasha Richardson reportedly felt "cast adrift" when much of Offred's interior monologue was sacrificed as a result of cuts made to the screenplay.
The Film and TV Series Aren't The Only Adaptations of This Seminal Work
There are several different adaptations of Atwood's seminal work, including, but not limited to:
- an audiobook read by Homeland actress Claire Danes that won the 2013 Audie Award for Fiction
- a concept album by Canadian band Lakes of Canada
- a radio adaptation produced in 2000 for BBC Radio 4
- an operatic adaptation that premiered in 2000 and was the opening production of the 2004–2005 season of the Canadian Opera Company.
Elisabeth Moss, the Star of the Hulu Series, is a Scientologist
Between The West Wing, Mad Men, Top of the Lake, and The Handmaid's Tale, Elisabeth Moss has a reputation for starring in critically acclaimed television shows.
Much has been made, however, of her casting as Offred. Moss was born into the Scientologist belief system, which the German government has classified as an "anti-constitutional sect," the French government has classified as a cult, and the American government has allowed individuals to practice freely though not without considerable contention. Moss also identifies as a feminist.
Asked by a fan about the parallels between Gilead and Scientology (namely the belief that "outside forces" are inherently "evil") Moss responded:
"That's actually not true at all about Scientology. Religious freedom and tolerance and understanding the truth and equal rights for every race, religion and creed are extremely important to me. The most important things to me probably. And so Gilead and THT hit me on a very personal level."
An Episode During Season 2 Highlighted President Donald Trump's Border Crisis
Last summer, President Donald Trump and his administration created a crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border when he and Jeff Sessions, his former attorney general, announced their "zero tolerance" family separations policy. The president blamed Democrats for the policy, imploring them to "start thinking about the people devastated by Crime coming from illegal immigration."
As images and stories of children ripped away from their parents at the border began to circulate, the Season 2 episode "The Last Ceremony" showed just how timely the show really is: After Offred is raped by the Waterfords, Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) allows June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) to visit her daughter, Hannah, in an undisclosed location. June is given 10 minutes with her daughter before a guard forcibly separates them again.
The episode, written well before the crisis was initiated, premiered just as Homeland Security admitted that more than 2,300 children had been separated from their parents.
Another Episode During Season 2 Appeared to Predict Canada-U.S. Relations
The fallout between the United States and Canada during the G7 summit appeared to have reached its peak once President Donald Trump refused to sign a joint statement with America's allies and threatened to escalate a trade war between America's neighbors. He also referred to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as "weak."
The Season 2 episode "Smart Power"––in which Canadian diplomats ban Gilead's representatives from the country and choose to stand with the women imprisoned in the totalitarian nation in a nod to the #MeToo movement––was written and premiered before the G7 blowup, but is no less prophetic.
In Season 2, Kate Bush's "This Woman's Work" Becomes an Ode to Female Resilience
"This Woman's Work," a ballad written by singer Kate Bush that is also one of the tracks on her 1989 album The Sensual World, serves as an ode to female power and resistance in the horrifying Season 2 opener, where June and the other handmaids realize they're about to be executed. The women are forced to summon strength at a moment of debilitating weakness. As the camera pans over the bleak environs of Fenway Stadium, Bush starts to sing:
Pray God you can cope
I'll stand outside
This woman's work
This woman's world
Ooooh it's hard on a man
Now his part is over
Now starts the craft of the FatherI
know you've got a little life in you left
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I know you've got a little life in you yet
I know you've got a lot of strength left
I should be crying but I just can't let it show
I should be hoping but I can't stop thinking
All the things we should've said that I never said
All the things we should have done that we never did
All the things we should have given but I didn't
Oh darling make it go
Make it go away
"It was shattering and perfect," said Bruce Miller, who created the Hulu Handmaid's Tale adaptation. "One of the things I really like about the song is that on its face, there's a bit of very interesting lyrical play. It's nice that that's going on while you're watching."
"The Handmaid's Tale" Was the First Streamed Series to Win the Best Drama Series Emmy
Hulu beat out Netflix and Amazon to become the first streaming service to win an Emmy for Best Drama. Unfortunately, because the third season doesn't premiere until June 5, it's ineligible for the 2019 Emmys. Guess we'll see the show back onstage in 2020!
Our parents should be able––and willing––to protect us and to fight for our best interests. But that's not always the case, and the unlucky ones can spend years seeking mental health counseling to figure out what went wrong.
Our parents are human and they have the ability to disappoint us and devastate us like anyone else. It just hurts a little more, as we were reminded once Redditor banbidoe asked the online community,
"What's the worst thing your parents ever said to you?"
"My family never went on vacations, we couldn't afford them."
"When I was 18 my parents told me that they were going out west to see the Grand Canyon, do some hikes, etc. I exclaimed how cool and fun that would be. Then my dad said, "Oh, you're not going. You're staying here with Sally (16). We're only taking Mary (14) and Jeff (12)."
"I froze for a minute, trying to compute what he said. "Why can't we come?" I finally asked."
"You have summer jobs."
"We can take time off..."
"Well, we just can't afford to take you."
"They had a really fun time without us. I still think about it over ten years later."
"Gotta be when I was 12..."
"Gotta be when I was 12 and my mum told me my uncle fancied me. She said it so matter of factly. Like it was the most natural thing in the world. I've never really been able to get past that."
"10 years later..."
"One month after my sister died unexpectedly, I was having a complete breakdown about it and called my mother for comfort."
"Get over it." She told me, before hanging up."
"10 years later in therapy, I was finally able to trace the start of our relationship breakdown to this moment."
"I hate that phrase now."
"I'm 30 now..."
"My dad telling my brothers (10 & 6 years old) and I (8 years old) over and over again that we should go find a new dad because he didn't want to be ours anymore while ranting and raving after our mom served him with divorce papers. The best part is that he would also tell us "You'll understand why when you're older." I'm 30 now and the only thing I understand is that he's a lunatic."
"They told me..."
"They told me they didn't want me, they wanted a girl so they tried again and got lucky and had the girl they wanted."
"I'm adopted, and at one point my mom said to me "If I had known you'd grow up to be so screwed up I would have picked another child," as if my physical conditions are my fault somehow and my mental disorders aren't at least in part caused by how she raised me."
"That I was faking my depression..."
"That I was faking my depression, and I need to "man up."
"When I was 15..."
"When I was 15, my dad patted my belly and said "put on some weight haven't you?"
"Which is probably not the worst thing in this list, but as I was already struggling with my body image, this was the last nudge I needed to push me into an eating disorder."
"After my sister died..."
"After my sister died, I was in a very dark place mentally / emotionally. The way I dealt with the grief was to keep it bottled up inside - I know it wasn't healthy, but that's how I survived the trauma. My mother was frustrated that I never talked about my sister. I couldn't even say her name or visit her grave. I did attend the funeral, but after that I went back to my silent grief."
"One day, my mother was pushing me to talk about what happened. I was frustrated because I didn't want to talk about it and she wouldn't let it go. My mother told me I disgraced my sister's memory by not talking about her, and it broke me."
"My Dad once told me..."
"My Dad once told me that no girl would love me because I'm fat. That cut me like a knife! There are people who love fat people!"
"Who does he think he is?"
The ones we love the most absolutely know the right buttons to push when it comes to an insult.
Do you have similar experiences to share? Let us know below.
It's human nature to have various opinions about the people we come across.
What sets us apart from heathens is that we keep our judgments to ourselves–especially when they are not of the flattering variety.
The people who probably interact with strangers the most are those who work in any type of service industry, and they should be good about keeping their mouths shut if they don't have anything nice to say about a customer or of their purchases.
But Redditor gracoal gave those who worked in retail the opportunity to share their anecdotes by asking:
"Cashiers of Reddit, what items make you silently judge the people who buy them?"
When it came to the sale of beverages, these Redditors had some interesting thoughts.
"When I worked at the liquor store we only judged people if they came back several times a day."
"Edit: I only did this because it was illegal to sell alcohol to drunk people, when you have someone making multiple trips during a shift they may be drunk, whether or not they where an alcoholic wasn't my concern, but yes I had to judge them."
"When I was drinking heavily every night I’d go to a different store each day so as to avoid judgment lol"
Quality Of Water
"The ethos water at Starbucks. We literally give out free water and it’s way better than the ethos water like sir."
Some of these are examples of how cashiers shouldn't respond to items being purchased.
"This was about ten years ago, but the only time I judged someone was also when I lost a little faith in humanity."
"Guy in his late twenties comes through the line. Belt is filled with junk food; chips, chocolate, popcorn, candy, etc. The whole time I'm ringing him up he's saying how glad he is to be out of the house, that the baby has a flu or something and hes at his wits end."
"Fair enough, I suppose."
"I get to the total, tell him, and wouldn't you know, he's short a few dollars. So what does he put back? The only non-juck food item: children's cold and flu medicine."
"I still judge that man, and I don't even remember his face."
"At the pharmacy I had a guy not buy an epipen for his child with a $50 copay but pay $100 for tretinoin which was not covered for his own acne which, honestly wasn’t that bad. He really could have used an OTC med. I felt sorry for his offspring."
"I bought toilet paper and laxatives at the same time. Teenage cashier looked at it and got the giggles. This got the bagger laughing. I just stood there stupidly pretending it wasn’t funny."
"Not judged as much as hated when people bought dozens of those individually wrapped snack sized cheese slices. At my store we had to scan each one of them."
"🧀 Beep 🧀 beep 🧀 beep 🧀 beep"
A Lesson Learned
"Currently working as a cashier and I was reading thru these thinking 'what was something I really judged people for?'"
"Then I remembered this one customer I judged wrongly. Every morning this one guy would bolt into the store, go to the drink aisle, and come out with 5-6 energy drinks. He would come everyday so one day, I made a joke and said: 'don't drink them all in one setting.'"
"He then proceeded to tell me that it's to help with his ongoing chemo therapy. Stopped judging people based on their items after that one."
It's not always the merchandise that prompted judgment.
Checking The Attitude
"I was a cashier for 3 years, and I can't think of a single thing that anyone bought that I judged them for."
"I certainly judged people for their attitudes, for inappropriately asking for a discount, or for various other petty things, but never for the items they were buying."
"back when i worked nights at a gas station, i had a lady come in wanting a sale that had ended the previous week. when i refused to give it to her she did the whole 'DO YOU KNOW WHO I AM?!' bit, and swore her uncle owned the gas station chain and was going to have me fired. i really didn't give a damn. i made $12/hour. i told her go for it. then kicked her out."
"talked to my boss the next day who was a little peeved i didnt give her the discount but said i did the right thing by kicking her out because she doesn't tolerate customers being rude to her staff. never did find out if she really was the niece of the gas station owner, and never got fired. quit a year later for a better paying job."
These former cashiers couldn't be bothered with assessing the behavior or shopping preferences of customers.
"Nothing. Absolutely nothing. I barely pay attention to what im scanning most of the time. You could point a loaded gun at me and leave a note saying you're gonna rob me. So long as I swipe it through and hear a beep, I won't even flinch."
Free From Judgment
"I cashiered at a grocery store for 4 years, same. I never judged people for what they were buying. I did judge people for being rude, for complaining about paying for disposable bags, for eating produce before paying for it, and for lying to my face to save a couple pennies. You can try switching the produce stickers but I can tell the difference between a Fuji and a Sweet Tango."
"Something I always wished people knew that we DO NOT judge people for"
- "having their card declined. If you only knew how frequently this happened all day long. No one cares and I do believe you when you tell me the account has money. I believe you. Cards get declined for all kinds of reasons, all day long. It is not a big deal at all."
- "I do not judge you for bringing a reusable bag from a different grocery store. People seem to think it’s bad etiquette or something and would always apologize for using a trader joe’s bag or something. No one cares. At all. Use whatever reusable bag you like, it’s just a bag."
The Wild Lovers
"I worked as a grocery store cashier many years ago when I was in college. I saw lots of weird stuff, but never judged what people bought, but did judge them if they were a-holes. Even people on wic and foodstamps buying beer or steaks didn't bother me - sometimes you have to enjoy the little things, and who am I to deny or judge someone wanting a small enjoyment if their life is already rough enough?"
"But there was this one time that was freaking hilarious. Late on a weekend night, a really trashy couple were all over each other as they bought a 12 pack of beer and a box of condoms. Hey, at least they were being responsible. But the funniest part was when they came back not 30 minutes later and bought smokes. I still laugh thinking about that."
You never know what a cashier might be thinking, but that shouldn't stop you from buying the merchandise you want for fear of being judged.
Just make sure you treat them all with kindness. Because the positive impression you give will be something that stays with them after a long shift dealing with wacky customers.
The Mandela effect is when multiple people share the same, incorrect memory.
Its name stems from when paranormal researcher Fiona Broome falsely believed that the future president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, died in prison in the 1980s.
A false memory she shared with a number of others.
Our memories have been known to deceive us, as we might frequently forget someone's name or one of our numerous online passwords.
But when we share a memory that turns out to be false with many others, convincing ourselves it wasn't the truth can be a very difficult ordeal indeed.
Redditor Mysterious_Boat_1701 was curious to hear people's most unsettling experiences with the Mandela Effect, leading them to ask:
"Which Mandela effect freaks you out the most and why?"
A mysterious gym
"Just had one personally."
"Went to a mall where there was supposedly a gym, asked around and nobody that worked at the mall knew what I was talking about."
"Looked around and couldn't find it."
"Come back a few months later and it’s right there in front of my face, you'd have to be strung out to not notice it."
"idk how or when it just appeared but it freaked me out."- prex320278
A "fruit"ful logo.
"That the fruit of the loom logo never had a cornucopia."
"What’s crazy about that one is that someone emailed the creator of the logo about it and he said even he remembers it having one."- mrcock2·
Less well intentioned than they thought.
"I Mandela effected my whole family once."
"Years ago there was a football player on a rival team that always did a dumb celebration after he got a sack and my family and I always hated it."
"One night after he did it my family started trashing the celebration and I said as a joke 'we are all going to feel terrible when we find out he is doing that celebration as a request from a make-a-wish kid'."
"Fast forward to years later and our team is playing that team again."
"The player got a sack and did the celebration."
"I rolled my eyes and said 'I hate that celebration so much' my mom instantly turned and said 'don't say that, he is doing it for a sick kid'."
"'I actually like it."
"So I was like 'what?'"
"'No there is no sick kid', my whole family then proceeded to argue with me'."
"They all vividly remembered reading articles about it, seeing special report segments before games about it, and other information."
"Some of them even thought they knew the disease the kid had and even extra details about why the kid chose that specific celebration."
"They all had these shared memories that they were sure were true."
"I was floored by all this and insisted none of that was true."
"So we looked it up.'
'No kid like that ever existed.'
"They still have trouble wrapping their heads around this one."
"Turned out human memory is not near as reliable as we think"
"It was American Football and the player was Jared Allen of the Minnesota Vikings and his cattle roping sack celebration."
"This was maybe 10 years ago."- AUSpartan37College Football Win GIF by Michigan State FootballGiphy
His eyesight was better than we thought.
"Mr. Monopoly's monocle."- Additional_Day9903
It's not easy being green.
"I have a personal one that to this day a decade later still destroys my mind."
"I had an old(ish) 2001 dodge neon."
"With BLACK SEATS.'
"I drove this car for years and years, like 80,000 miles.'
'All through college."
"I took work breaks in my car, commuted hours every day total, to college and then the opposite direction to work and back."
"I even lived out of this thing on several occasions.'
'The day I go and trade it in, I'm pulling misc things out of the car at the dealer."
'And the seats are GREEN."
"Not even a little."
'Like very unmistakably GREEN."
"In my black Neon, with black interior, that ALWAYS HAD BLACK SEATS."
"My girlfriend then, wife now, goes oh they've always been green."
"EXCEPT THEY F*CKING WEREN'T DON'T LIE TO ME."
"This is still upsetting to this day..... life is a lie and nothing is real."- ZakuLegionWinona Ryder Omg GIFGiphy
An urban legend was born.
"Not a global one, just a family thing."
"Back in 2002 my grandma had her 60th birthday, my father took us home at 10.00pm, ready for bed."
"We, me and brother, were 12 and 14 at this time."
'All went well."
"Over the years, a story was made up that we went missing after visiting the local playground after dinner at said grandma's birthday party."
"Some neighbors help to search us, the whole train of 'missing children in a smal village'-thing."
"Fun fact: we never went missing."
"Dad brought us home, put on 'Toy Story' on tv and left."
"My brother and I heard first about this in 2015.'
"From different people on different occasions."
"'Ah your one of the missing boys'."
"I first thought they were mocking me for a different event.'
"I got lost, but it was 2013, alcohol inflicted, different story."
"But then they ALL tell us the same story about us going missing."
'And the stories are damn close to 'true' in every story my mum is driving around the same neighbors to different locations to search, old wine yard, old mill etc."
"Sometimes I think I got lost on the most brutal way."
"I was lost and changed this plane of existence with another one."
"It sometimes made me think about my whole life."- tjorben123missing kenny mccormick GIF by South Park Giphy
Memories are a fascinating thing.
They can be changed or altered with even the tiniest suggestion.
And making the truth seem less believable than lies.
One last time. One last meal.
How do you chose a last meal?
Let's hope we never have to find out.
People on death row get that option.
Do they deserve it?
Whose to say?
But they have it.
A steak. A pizza... Burger King.
The food world is their oyster.
Oyster. Also an option.
The menu is endless...
Redditor No-Caterpillar4212 wanted to know what our menu choices would be if we faced the end. They asked:
"You're on a death row, you have one hour left, they ask for your final meal - what is it?"
I'd want 2 hours in a Golden Coral with a bar. Covers it all.
Masailor moon cooking GIFGiphy
"Everything my mom has ever made."
"I want a nice filet mignon, medium rare, a baked potato with everything on it, and a nice Cabernet from a good year - I'm thinking 2135."
"'Sorry, we couldn't get the Cabernet from 2135. So instead of what could have been a great wine request from a more plausible period of time, you get this crappy stuff we sourced from Wal-Mart. Enjoy your meal, I hope that maintaining your sense of humor was worth it."'
"Something badly cooked so I will be sick and want to die sooner and have diarrhea so bad it will be a last revenge!"
"Taco bell it is!"
"If Taco Bell makes you poop a lot, it's a sign that you probably need more fiber in your diet."
The Yuck Factor
"A huge bowl of baked beans, a bowl of shredded wheat, a six egg omelette, and a gallon of apple cider. I'm gonna make it awful for everyone."
"Save yourself the hassle of eating all that, just ask for one pack of sugar free Haribo gummy bears. Should make for an interesting time for the folks watching you die."
"You void your bowels when you die too so that should be lovely."
PerfectFried Chicken Scandal GIF by ABC NetworkGiphy
"Fried chicken with some Fanta."
Fried chicken is on the top of everyone's list!
DetailsInterested GIF by Nick CannonGiphy
"150mg of MDMA. I’m dying happy."
"This should absolutely be allowed. If our leaders insist on the practice of capital punishment then the condemned should be able to ingest any substance they damn please."
"McFlurry. Those machine are always broken. I just bought myself some time."
"Is this like an American thing? I worked at a McDonald's in Denmark once and our machine was never once broken when i was there."
"I saw a video about this once. I'm a little fuzzy on the details but I think it has something to do with the contract that was signed in America. Only one company is allowed to do maintenance on the machines and they basically lock out if it's cleaned incorrectly. It's a crap system."
"Cabbage!! Add some cabbage. I don’t know if an hour if enough to take effect but there was an old coworker on a cabbage diet. Omg she smelled, like it was coming out of her pores. She knew she smelled and kept apologizing and reminding us of the diet."
The OG Always
"Olive Garden. Unlimited soup and breadsticks."
"I saw a sketch once, can't remember who it 2qs from. But a an inmate ordered the all you can eat buffet and had been eating for like 8 years. He's constantly on the toilet and takes micro-naps between bites."
"Unlimited for 1 hour. Cool."
How GoldenGolden Girls Dorothy GIF by HULUGiphy
"If my grandma is still alive her potato soup and cheesecake. Hopefully I'd be able to cook said meal with her one last time."
Let's hope none of us has to make this decision.