25 Nearest and Dearest 17/25
The Jennings Family (The Americans)
FX’s The Americans is without a single doubt one of the greatest series currently on air. While on the surface it appears to be your typical spy drama, at its core it’s a series about marriage and family. The Americans captures families as they are — imperfect and messy, but never loveless. And not to mention the fact that The Americans is one of the very, very few shows that represents teens as they are. Despite its greatness, The Americans isn’t always the easiest series to watch — it’s dark, and at times, very real and though I personally long for the happy-go-lucky series, the relationships on The Americans have managed to instantly capture my attention. At the end of the day, no matter how dark The Americans gets, I trust this show, and most importantly, I trust that Philip and Elizabeth will do anything and everything to protect their children. Secrets and lies are common in the lives of spies, but at the end of the day, love is the driving force between the Jennings.
During the first season of The Americans, I wasn’t sure how long it’d take until at least one of the kids learned their parents’ true identities. And while I figured it’d probably drive them apart, it’s beautiful to see that so far, it’s only brought Paige closer to her parents. Paige Jennings is an incredibly written character and never once do storylines involving her get “boring” or “annoying”. I could watch Paige and Elizabeth bond for hours and hours. The reason The Americans is so incredibly riveting is because even when things aren’t sunshine and rainbows, they’re hopeful. In some houses, when a teenager willingly goes to church, his/her parents are as happy as they can be, but for Paige Jennings, her journey with Jesus wasn’t as smooth as most of ours. But despite their atheism, Philip and Elizabeth give Paige the chance to follow her heart. And though they’ve attempted to stop her, in the end, they’ve accompanied her. It’s little moments like this prove family will always come first. It’s moments like this that solidify the fact that no matter how difficult things get, the children will always come first.
One of my most favorite scenes to date takes place in a bathroom where Paige and Elizabeth sit silently as Paige prays for her grandma. Because at the end of the day, that’s what this show is about — accepting one another as they are and loving them ceaselessly through everything. And for me personally, as a huge believer, and as a huge fan of this show, this may be the one scene thus far that’s left me completely speechless. In that moment, it’s not about faith, but rather unity. Paige’s prayer not only comes from the heart, but so does Elizabeth’s susceptibility. The choice to sit by her daughter in silence was numbing. And it’s beautiful to know that after bonding this way, it’s easier for Paige and Elizabeth to communicate with one another. Today, although Philip and Elizabeth want to protect their knowledge, it’s easier to be able to share with them and to have random conversations at dinner whereas before there was so much hesitancy. Similarly with Paige, although she couldn’t see how the choices her parents were making were okay, she chooses to accept them for who they are. She chooses to defend them. She chooses them. And that’s what matters most with families — continuously choosing each other with their flaws.
We’ve yet to see a similar kind of bonding with Henry that’s left me in awe, but knowing The Americans, when time comes to explore the life of their youngest child, I’m certain we’re in for an exceptional treat.
While I wasn’t able to talk about Philip and Elizabeth for the 25 Love Stories portion of #100DaysofFanFavorites, I figured I’d take the opportunity to discuss their life at home in this post. When it comes to their children, Philip and Elizabeth don’t always agree. Heck, they don’t always agree on other matters either, but as parents, it all comes down to doing what’s best for their kids. Decisions aren’t always easy to make, but with patience, understanding, an unexplainably profound love, the two always come to a place that’s right — a place that’s best. And some of the most entertaining moments on The Americans are the quiet ones where Philip and Elizabeth contemplate their next move — the ones where they discuss their futures. The ones where they consider the possibilities while doing everything they can, not to hurt their kids. When it comes to spy dramas, sometimes things are tweaked in ways where it seems it’s not a big deal, but The Americans not only takes itself very seriously, but it also showcases what it’s really like. The KGB, CIA, MI6 are no jokes and that’s why Philip and Elizabeth can’t just make their decisions as easily as say the agents in NBC’s Chuck for example. However, it is in the darkest times where we’ve watched their most beautiful scenes brought to life. My friend Katie writes about them best over at Nerdy Girl Notes, but very few couples do casual intimacy as beautifully as Philip and Elizabeth Jennings. In their most fragile, hollowed moments they’ve found comfort in the arms of their partner — they’ve found hope and understanding in each other’s hearts. At the end of the day, they always soldier on — adoring one another in the quiet moments that have defined and strengthened them. The quiet, brittle moments where situations were hardest, but they’d see each other as they truly are — in ways another soul would never understand.
The Jennings are one of the strongest, most brilliantly written families in TV history. Because of the rawness in their dynamics, even their darkest hours and their most heated arguments are overwhelmingly riveting to watch. This family would kill for each other. This family would go through hell and high water for each other. Philip and Elizabeth would do anything and everything to protect their children. Henry and Paige will always protect each other, and when it comes down to the truth one day, whatever the family faces, they’ll undoubtedly conquer it together.