The new Showtime series titled, “The Affair,” which is shown on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. on Showtime and then is available, “On Demand,” is without doubt a window into what is right and wrong about Montauk and the Hamptons.
The show dives into the two parallel universes that exist at all times on the East End especially in Montauk. That is the dynamics between the locals and the season/second home rentals owning folks. I believe it has been a social football in all the Hamptons for years. I had the opportunity to live in Ditch Plains, Montauk year round for 3 ½ years, trying to make ends meet as a writer for two free-weeklies. I attended many functions and tried to report accurately on the happenings in Montauk. I always kidded everyone I was out there living in Montauk full time on a guest visa red card due to divorce. Since I was neither local nor seasonal my unique status helped me understand the dynamics that are the under belly of “The Affair.”
Of course like all movies and TV Shows, liberties are taken and some shots/scenes are not where there are suppose to be and that stuff drives you nuts. But who doesn’t enjoy seeing the Montauk lighthouse or local beaches/venues as a background for some scenes in a show they watch. The “his view/her view” technique also used in the HBO’s series, “True Detective,” is interesting in showing how both male and female views of the same events differ. Quite frankly, at times it is too dead on. “The Affair” is about stuff we all have witnessed no matter where you live; two married people stepping out of their lives to find something they think they need at that time, and not totally realizing the effect on everyone else in their lives. If you have ever been there, you know how the forces of nature can be so disruptive. In this case Alison the married local daughter of a long time fishing family hooks up with Noah an author and married father of four children residing in New York City but vacations in Montauk at his father-in-laws luxurious digs in Montauk.
I believe “The Affairs” the sub plot of a changing for the worse Montauk with old values being corrupted by new money is actually a story that gets repeated every 20 or so years in Montauk. When the LIRR came in 1896 to Montauk there were less than two hundred people living there. Carl Fisher helped change that when he tried to make Montauk, the “Miami of the North,” in 1923. Then after WW II, another home expansion recruited blue collar/up island folks to buy homes. This was repeated in the 1960’s. Then came the condo/time sharing 1980’s, and the bubble/bubble bursting mega sales of homes and property in the 2000’s. The point is: Montauk has been changing since 1896 when the LIRR brought people out from NYC and beyond easily. “The Affair,” zeroes in on this and uses it to fuel the story.
My conclusion is I probably wouldn’t still be watching, “The Affair,” if it was filmed and took place in Babylon, Long Island, but since it’s Montauk, I will continue to watch.