Personal Faves: Having A Sex Dream About Nicholas Brody

Instead of ending the year with a slew of Best Of lists, BlackBook asked our contributors to share their thoughts on the most important moments in art, music, film, television, and fashion that took place in 2012. Here, Drew Grant discusses why she loved the year’s most popular cable TV drama, Homeland. [Warning: spoilers ahead!]

I fully expected Homeland to be that kind of show I would never watch, for several reasons:

a) I had never seen a single episode of 24, which was created by the same people who adapted Homeland from the Israeli original, Prisoners of War.

b) I wasn’t a huge fan of Claire Danes, who cried constantly—like during the Emmy’s where she won for playing Temple Grandin—and then would be promoting non-drip mascara during the commercial breaks.

c) No one looked that attractive or fun. There was no saucy Sawyer, no cutely-ghetto Jesse Pinkman, not even one measly sardonic vampire to take the edge off what appeared to be (at least from the commercials), a deeply earnest show.

d) Everyone was telling me to watch it, and I am a passive-aggressive pop culture rebel.

So when asked to review Homeland‘s second season, I had to cram the entire first episodes down my brain-gullet in one weekend. And let’s just say: the first few were really hard for me. Claire Danes was constantly crying, and it made me depressed to see how old Mandy Patinkin had gotten since his Princess Bride years.

And that guy Brody? What a downer. His bland stoicism—presented as a protective front against his now-traitorous heart—just struck me as incredibly boring. I imagined Brody pre-war, pre-Abu Nazir, and he just looked like Joe Shmoe. Hell, without the scars, he looked like Joe Shmoe now. He was skinny-ish. He had a weak chin and a wet little mouth that squinched up like a butthole whenever he was supposed to express emotion. The first couple times he tried to have sex with his wife Jessica after being a POW for eight years, it was like watching a really uncomfortable scene from a Todd Solondz movie. Did he just masturbate on her? Gross.

But then came that episode.

You know which one: the cabin episode. The one where Carrie Mathison, the only CIA agent who still suspects that Brody is a terrorist, uses her bipolar brain logic to seduce him (i.e. she lets him fuck her in his car). Then they take a road trip to her family’s summer home—with a nice little detour to brawl with some white supremacists at a bar—and spend the rest of the episode having awesome sex, walking in the woods, and pointing guns at each other.

"Hmm, this show has promise," I thought.

The next night, I dreamt of Brody. I dreamt that we were hiding out in the tree house at the house of my best friend from elementary school (though it looked a lot like my ex-boyfriend’s bedroom, but whatever! Dreams are weird). My friend’s parents were below, and they were trying to make me feel guilty for cheating on my boyfriend with a potential terrorist.

"Oh, so you’d prefer me cheating on my boyfriend with a doctor or shoe salesman?" I shouted down at them. "Not that I am conceding that I am harboring a sexy fugitive up here, mind you, but just hypothetically!"

The my friend’s parents considered it. "Maybe if he was a doctor," they admitted. Brody had to get dressed quickly, and we were giggling as I hid him under my bed. Then, as the parents were ascending the rungs of the tree house ladder, I woke up.

The rest of the day I walked around feeling both guilty and thrilled with my little secret. I understand that it’s completely boring to hear about other people’s dreams, and technically Brody and I did not even have sex (though there was the assumption that we had, and I was just getting to my own storyline late, like someone who forgot to DVR the first half of an episode.)

But you have to understand: I never have sex dreams. Sure, when I was little I used to have this thing with Freddy Krueger appearing and offering his hand-claw in marriage, and sometimes we’d kiss—Freddy Krueger, being able to control dreams, often made himself look like Brad Pitt for me, which was weird because I didn’t think Brad Pitt was that cute when I was eight—but we never got to second base.

When I was thirteen I had a highly disturbing nightmare about having sex with a cartoon Mr. Smithers from The Simpsons. I’m not even sure if that counted, but it was pretty freaky. And from then on…no sex dreams.

Not even sexy dreams, which I always found odd because I spent so much of my day thinking about scenarios where I am engaged in flirty battles of wits with like, um, Jeff Goldblum from Jurassic Park. You’d think some of that would seep into my subconscious, but no, it was Nick Brody: the least talkative man on television. He’s like everyone’s dad right before the divorce. With Carrie though, he transformed before our eyes into someone much more complex than just a Muslim marine/Congressman intent on killing the vice president.

Look at his nuanced sneer in Season Two, when Carrie finally confronts him in his hotel room. Or the way he likes being manipulated by her crazy ass. Or how he was willing to kill the vice president for her. (Though technically, he was planning to get around to that sooner or later. Still, it was much more romantic in a hostage situation). Unlike today’s modern anti-heroes like Don Draper, Walter White, Dexter, and yes, even Rick Grimes, Nick Brody has revealed that behind blue eyes there lies only love. He’s replacing DiCaprio as the tragic Romeo to Danes’s perpetual Juliet.

The second time I dreamt about Nick Brody, we had sex. SCORE! It was like losing my R.E.M. virginity!

So thank you, Nick Brody, for giving that to me. Also by extension, a big thanks to you, Damian Lewis, for playing him, though I can’t watch you in interviews because I find your British accent and light-hearted sense of humor very disconcerting.

Follow Drew Grant on Twitter

New York Film Festival Hosts ‘Princess Bride’ Reunion

How should I start this one? "Speaking of Mandy Patinkin…" or "Do you want to feel really fucking old? Because it’s the twenty-fifth anniversary of The Princess Bride…" As much as I’d rather go with the former, I’ll have to go with the latter, as my theory that we all have a piece of Mandy Patinkin in our hearts has sadly not been proven as fact. So here we go: Holy shit, you guys, it’s been twenty-five years since The Princess Bride swash-buckled into our lives. Inconceivable! (Sorry.) To celebrate, The Film Society of Lincoln Center is hosting a cast reunion in early October as part of the New York Film Festival. 

According to The New York Times, original cast members Cary Elwes, Robin Wright, Billy Crystal, Carol Kane, Mandy Patinkin (Mandy Patinkin!), and Chris Sarandon will be stopping by the festival along with director Rob Reiner for a conversation and likely Q&A after a screening of the comedy-fantasy film on October 2. Notably absent: Fred Savage, Christopher Guest, and Wallace Shawn. What the hell are they doing? And, of course, no Peter Falk. R.I.P. Peter Falk, America’s Grandpa. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.

We Need To Talk About Claire Danes’s Emmy Dress

Look, I’m not going to pretend that I’m the biggest Claire Danes fan because, in fact, I am not really a Claire Danes fan. I don’t know what it is, exactly; perhaps I’m still bitter over the whole Mary Louise Parker / Billy Crudup mess from a few years ago (and I’m definitely not a Billy Crudup fan). Maybe it’s her attitude that gets me. Last night, when I saw her win her second Emmy—this time for Homeland—I had this general sense that she thinks she is deserving of accolades. She marched right up to that stage and was all, "Whew, I thought I’d be waiting around all night for THIS, my AWARD for BEING SO GREAT." But none of that is important because wtf was she wearing last night???

I know she’s knocked up and all, but why in the world would someone want to wear that giant dress to an awards show? Was she trying to hide her baby bump? Because guess what? Nothing brings more attention to your body that an ill-fitting fluorescent bag. It was so distracting that during the Emmy fawning over Homeland I completely missed Mandy Patinkin. Where the hell was Mandy Patinkin? Did Claire Danes hit him over the head sometime between the red carpet and that unfortunately unfunny opening sketch featuring a bunch of women punching Jimmy Kimmel in the face (FOR NO REASON?) and then stuff him into that yellow-green Glad bag she had draped over herself?

I regretfully admit that her hair looked great. 

Follow Tyler Coates on Twitter.