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Listen: ‘The Affair’ Creator Sarah Treem Discusses Forgiveness, Moving on in Season 4

Welcome to “Remote Controlled,” a podcast from Variety featuring the best and brightest in television, both in front of and behind the camera.

In this week’s episode, Variety’s executive editor of TV Debra Birnbaum talks with Sarah Treem, creator of Showtime’s infidelity drama “The Affair,” along with the show’s lead Maura Tierney and its producer Jessica Rhoades about its fourth season.

Listen to this week’s podcast for free below and at Apple Podcasts:

The Affair” follows the complicated web of emotions and relationships two marriages spin after an extramarital affair rocks them to their core. The show focuses on how the affair affects both the adulterers and their spouses, and Treem said the fourth season looks to explore how people move on in relationships.

“Why do some people seem to move on from relationships and why do some people never seem to be able to move on from relationships?” Treem said.

According to Tierney, moving on in the show required her character to go through what she termed “radical forgiveness.” Treem explained radical forgiveness by saying it would be impossible for Helen’s character to fully be at peace with herself as long as she kept pushing her unfaithful husband away. She said it’s a way for Helen to also forgive herself in the process.

“She can’t outrun him, and she can’t outrun them,” Treem said. “She has to somehow face it and deal with it.”

Rhoades, who recently became an executive producer for the fourth season, said she was attracted to the show’s use of perspective, where the story changes based on each character’s perspective on a situation.

“Perspective is reality,” she said.

Treem said the show’s focus on perspective means there are specific rules that go along with shooting the show, often to the annoyance of the show’s directors.

“You never let up on it and we’re very diligent in the shooting. It drives the directors crazy sometimes, but a scene can’t start before the character enters, obviously it can’t continue after a character has left,” Treem said. “There’s a bit of a rigor to the way we think about writing it and shooting it.”

New episodes of “Remote Controlled” are available every Friday. Subscribe on iTunesStitcherSoundcloud, or anywhere you download podcasts. You can find past episodes here and on Apple Podcasts.

Let us know what you think of Variety’s podcasts! You can email us at podcasts@variety.com to offer comments, suggestions, and ideas for interview subjects you’d like to hear from. 

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