The series follows four successful Seattleites in their late 40's — Fred (commercial banker), Jim (intellectual property lawyer), Chuck (orthopedic physician), and Ralph (venture capital partner) — as they attempt to juggle punishing jobs, problematic marriages, and the social demands of middle school auctions.
Eschewing the superficial glitz of Housewives, The Real Husbands of Seattle probes the depth of the human soul as these driven, ambitious men inflict a crippling psychological toll on themselves and their loved ones in their pursuit of power, success, and winning at all costs.
Capturing the most poignant and dramatic moments in their outwardly conventional lives, Husbands rips apart their faÃÂ§ade of urban life to reveal their vulnerabilities, fears, and the emotional turmoil that lies just below the placid surface.
Husbands is the most brutally honest and psychologically revealing reality show ever produced for TV. It raises the disturbing question: Is the American Dream a Nightmare?
The series pilot is set at a golf club, and begins near the first tee with Jim, Fred, and Chuck taking stock of their lives, their achievements, and their failures. What have they accomplished, they ask, and at what price?
Fred: How are you?
Jim: Great, Great. And yourself?
Chuck (to Jim): Jim, how goes it?
Jim: Great. And you?
Chuck: Great. Great.
Ralph joins the group. Here is a man tormented by his inner demons. Sensing Ralph's anguish, Fred reaches out in an empathetic attempt to console him.
Fred: How's it going?
Ralph: Not so good.
Fred: What's the problem?
Ralph: I've been hooking my drives. Too much right hand.
Fred: That's too bad.
Cut to the first tee. This short scene introduces the principle themes of the program — the relentless struggle for success, the problems of marriage and family, and terrifying self-doubts of mid-life crisis — all conveyed in terse, taut dialogue:
Fred: Show the way, partner.
Ralph: Tee it high and watch it fly. (Hits his drive.)
Jim: Great drive.
Fred: You caught it on screws, partner.
Chuck: You really crushed it.
Ralph: Yeah, I got all of that one.
Fred hits his drive.
Fred: Bounce left! Shit!
Jim hits his drive.
Chuck: Nice drive.
Ralph: That'll play.
Chuck displays his inability to contain a self-loathing that is triggered by anything less than perfection.
Chuck: (Hits his drive.) Fuck! (to himself) You asshole.
Cut to Ralph and Fred walking down the first fairway together. They say nothing for three minutes. Then they admit that the financial pressures of two homes, private school tuitions, and extravagant lifestyles are becoming unbearable:
Ralph: How did the market do today?
Jim: It was off a hundred when I left the office.
They continue walking in silence for three more minutes. Ralph assesses his next shot, exposing his longing for a father figure:
Ralph (to Jim): I can't decide between a four and five iron.
Jim: There is little wind behind you. I'd hit the five.
Ralph: (Hits his shot.) Shit.
Cut to the first green. Here we witness the sudden, unpredictable shifts between peer support and aggression that torment these men by making their lives so insecure:
Chuck: Am I away?
Jim: I think it's Fred
Fred: (Hits his putt past the hole.) Damn these greens are faster than a speeding bullet.
Jim: Boldly struck, Fred.
Chuck: You've got a real tester coming back. There's some meat left on that bone.
Cut to Ralph preparing to put. Ralph and Fred ruminate on their confusion about sexual roles in a post-feminist world:
Ralph: (Hits his put short.) Oh hit it, Alice! Fred: Never up, never in.
Cut to Fred and Jim walking to the next tee as they discuss marital problems and worries about their children. Fred expresses his deep concerns over his teenage daughters:
Fred: How's the wife and kids?
Jim: Great. How are Jenny and the girls?
Fred: They're great. Just great.
Cut to the second tee and a probing examination of existential issues:
Fred: (Hits his drive.) That's better.
Jim: Great drive.
Ralph: You hit it large.
Chuck: Split the fairway.
As they walk from the second tee, Jim and Ralph wonder if their single-minded dedication to their careers has stunted their spiritual growth:
Jim: How are things at the office?
Ralph: Can't complain. What's happening at your shop?
Ralph: We've been busier than hell.
They walk on, in silent contemplation, towards their next shot. Their emotional torment is driving them towards the delusional, manifest as they attempt to control a golf ball in flight by shouting:
Ralph: (After hitting his shot) Whoa!
Ralph: Shit. I left my game on the practice range.
Do these men have any control over their lives, or are they characters in a Greek tragedy, mere playthings of the gods?
Jim: (Hits his shot.) What a rotten bounce.
Fred: Tough break.
Chuck: You were robbed.
Jim: I can't get a break today.
As they walk to the green, Jim, Fred and Chuck realize how the march of events, events beyond their control, contribute to their frustration and sense of despair.
Jim: Did you see the game last night?
Chuck: What a joke.
Fred: When are they going to fire that coach?
Cut to the second green. An intense philosophical discussion leads Chuck and Ralph to finally realize what is truly important and meaningful in life:
Fred: (Hits his put.) One time!
Ralph: Let him in!