However, the feedback rolls in: “I can’t get a picture of who Susan is,” “Why do we care about Susan?”, and “What does Susan want?” Every time I get that criticism, a). I kinda think it’s sexist because women in drama have to want something* in a way dudes don’t**, and b). I’m hurt! How can you say that about Susan? Moreover, how can you say that about ME? Motherfucker! You must not understand my art!
** See Don Draper, See The Guy From High Maintenance, See Donald Glover on Atlanta, Oscar Isaac in Insidie Llewyn Davis
Okay, so the character of Susan is how I feel? Susan is afraid to go after her dreams, and, most days, so is Alex. When I started writing Susan, it was during a period where forces, acting, and men were acting on me. It’s hard to get a lot of career rejection, and it’s very easy to make out with a stranger from the internet at a bar in Alphabet City [New York]. It’s hard to feel like your friends took the one-way ticket to fame while you were dicking around in the library, and it’s very easy to let the stranger from the bar pay for a cab ride home. It’s hard to feel like you wasted four years of education, and it’s easy to let the stranger come upstairs after the cab ride. It’s hard to feel like maybe you were wrong, and it’s easiest of all to never call the stranger back, erase his number, forget his name, and dip a hand back into the sea of other dudes that don’t matter and pull up a small one to go to a bar in Alphabet City with before throwing him back in the water. It’s easy to go back to another bar the next night and look like you’re sinking into the cushions while you fight to stay above water career-wise. It’s easy to meet someone else and pretend like you are falling in love. Susan knew all this, and Susan’s really good at pretending to be in love. She’s an easier sell than I am, and it feels good to be sold on something.
Susan was able to see the insanity that surrounded her and to be a stranger in the strangest of all lands, NYC. All the people are mad here, and it’s my job to write them. Yet as the poor reaction to Susan came, I felt that she had let me down. "If only you were me, the way that I am!" (Alex Spieth would think to Susan). "People think I’m brilliant and special and cool, how come you don’t look that way? And is it my fault or yours?" The distance between Susan and Alex Spieth seemed to grow as Susan shrank back into the pages to make way for louder, cooler characters than she, and Alex Spieth started using all caps on social media and screamed to the world, CAST ME, I MADE A SERIES, CAST ME. CAST ME. CAST ME. CAST ME. CAST ME. CAST ME.
This year, I’ve had a number of smart eyes look at the series. One of the best and the brightest in the world said, LIKE A PROPHET, and she said, LIKE THE GOD OF WEBSERIES, and she said, LIKE THE VOICE OF AN ANGEL THAT WAS BOTH MALE AND FEMALE BUT THIS TIME SOUNDS LIKE A CIS-WOMAN --
The seasons aren’t united in time, theme, or eccentricity. The only thing which binds them together is Susan’s fear that she’s being left behind. Susan says it again and again throughout the series that she doesn’t want to be here while all her friends go along without her. Susan hates folks bettering themselves because maybe they are trying to leave her. Susan doesn’t want to be the last man standing when everyone else gets on the train to success while she was dicking around in the library. SUSAN IS AFRAID OF BEING LEFT BEHIND.
The prophet got off the phone with me and went to do her job at a Legitimate Theatre Company. Alex Spieth was stuck to the floor, because that’s what happens when you get kissed really good or you hear the voice of God or YOU CRACK THE CASE, GODDAMMIT. Here it was: Susan and I expressed ourselves differently but we’re both at the core looking to not be left alone, hanging off the monkey bars while everyone else gets to get in strangers' cars who drive them to Hollywood. She’s me! I thought she was different, but we’re the same! We look like each other, and, some days, she wears the clothes better, and, some days, I do.
This season, Susan gets to be a hero, and I can’t tell if it’s because I’m starting to see myself that way or if she was going to be that way all along. "I couldn’t help but wonder," thought Sarah Jessica Parker on September 29th while writing a draft for Her Film Project, "if you turn into the person you were meant to whether you want to or not. Sure the knocking on doors leads you to a bunch of doors where people want to show you their junk, but it puts you in the process of knocking and knocking and knocking until one day the door opens to someone who says "I have an extra pair of Louboutins. Do you want them? I know lots of people love Louboutins, I just don’t need these any more," and, as you take the shoes, you hear the paparazzi flashes cause they are GLASS Louboutins and you are also Cinderella and everything did work out alright!
It has to, right? It has to?"