If you have yet to discover the brilliance and adrenaline rush that is The Americans, think Homeland meets Scandal with a touch of House of Cards' sadistic humor set in a Cold War-era D.C. suburb. Philip and Elizabeth Jennings (Matthew Rhys and Keri Russell) are KGB operatives who have been living in the United States under the assumed identities of a nuclear American family: husband, wife, and two children. The twist of course is that their kids are actually their kids—and American!—with absolutely no knowledge of who their parents are or what they really do. And the parents themselves find the line between beings spies and a couple increasingly blurry.
On Monday the cast took a break from Russian reconnaissance to fete the show's season two premiere at The Paris Theater in New York. As the stars graced the red carpet a big topic of conversation, at least among the ladies, was the art of getting into the high-waisted (and painstakingly devoid of stretch) jeans that populated the early 1980s.
"Oh my god, the high-waisted pants!" declared Russell who stunned in a sleek black Saint Laurent suit, Balenciaga top and Jimmy Choo shoes. "Unanimously every single girl goes into a fitting with our costume designer, Jenny, and she pulls out these pants and it's like, 'No! There is no way I can get those on.' And she's like, "'Lay down. Keep zipping them up.'"
Designer Jenny Gering laughingly didn't refute. "I wish I had a loop of every actress who has put on our jeans. It's the same comment: 'Oh these don't fit.'" And then? "We finally get them on the ground."
Actress Susie Misner (Nashville, The Following), who plays the wife of the Jennings' FBI neighbor, weighed in without equivocation. "The jeans. That's it. That is all. That's the only thing that I hate."
And even young Holly Taylor, who plays Russell's 14-year old daughter, has to suffer through the pains of the past. "Sometimes they'll give me pants and I'm trying to get them on and my mom has to help me," she said. "I'm jumping around in the trailer and I'm like, 'Why did people wear these?'"
Though it's not all about the jeans. The show witnesses Russell seduce men to gain intel, drug targets, and deftly execute the men she's after. With many scenes involving both nudity and aggression, Russell is fearless. "You know, I'm okay with it," she said. "It's not something that I usually do or have ever done in my career. It's not something I've been cast to do, certainly. But I find it liberating."
The Americans season two airs tonight on FX at 10pm ET.