CBS This Morning’s Gayle King is seriously concerned that the United States of America might soon turn into the dystopian, dictatorial nightmare of the far-left Hulu drama The Handmaid’s Tale. Interviewing the show’s star, Elisabeth Moss, on Monday, King admitted that she “worries” “a lot” about America going in the direction of the show.
Talking to Moss on the show and for the This Morning podcast, King fretted about the realism of a theocratic empire rising out of a civil war: “Do you get concerned about where we are in the country today?” She added, “When I first started watching, I go, this is so ridiculous.... Now I sit here in 2019 and I go, ‘Hmmm.’” Moss agreed, touting the plausibility, “I wish it was a fantasy. You know? I really wish we fell more into that category.”
Here’s a section of the podcast:
Contrasting the show with Game of Thrones, King declared this show to be much more plausible:
I could never get into Game of Thrones because I thought “That was too violent.” I know I’m watching Handmaid’s Tale. But Game of Thrones always seemed very fantastical to me. This feels very relatable to me. That’s the difference to me.
Now, none of that podcast exchange made it to air on Monday’s CBS This Morning. Apparently, the network tried to cut out some of King’s alarmism about the coming civil war and dictatorship. (The next presidential election is still currently scheduled for November 3, 2020.)
On the actual program, however, King still worried about Handmaid’s Tale becoming real, highlighting the “dismantling of women’s rights.”
Lately, you know, we are really struggling where we see the apparent dismantling of women’s rights. You see women showing up in protests in those robes. What do you think of that and how the story is really resonating with today?
Of course, it's easy understand the insulting point King is trying to make here. On May 31, she declared it was a “scary time” for the United States in light of all the pro-life legislation passing in the United States.
In one weird moment that was very uncharacteristic of the celebrity-friendly King, the co-host brought up Moss being a scientologist and connected that to the fictional Gilead of Handmaid’s Tale. Unlike with comparing the United States to a dictatorial nightmare, she asked the actress to explain why the Scientology comparison was wrong:
Some are questioning if actor’s longtime belief in Scientology can be compared to the show’s plot. I see the comments. I see people compare Gilead to Scientology. But what is it that they don’t understand that you do?
A Morning Consult poll on Monday found that 29 percent of Democratic men and 26 percent of Democratic women find Handmaid’s Tale to be “grounded in truth and could become reality someday.” Just 17 percent of all adults felt this way. So CBS and the Hulu show’s producers certainly know who their program is targeting: Fellow liberals.
Partial transcripts from CBS This Morning and the podcast can be found below:
CBS This Morning
8:42 AM ET
GAYLE KING: The critically acclaimed drama The Handmaid's Tale is back for its third season. The show made history when it won the Emmy for best drama series back in 2017. And that made Hulu’s original show the first streaming program to take home the big prize. Elisabeth Moss is the star and she’s the executive producer. Elisabeth Moss is the star and she’s the executive producer too. You go, Elisabeth moss. We met with her to talk about the impact of groundbreaking show and her decades long career.
KING: The series takes place in the fictional land of Gilead. With deep class divides, it’s a society where women’s rights are restricted and handmaids are forced to bear abortion against their will.
KING: The Handmaid’s Tale is based on Martha Atwood's 1985 award-winning novel inspired by real events throughout history. Margaret Atwood, she said that nothing I’ve written about didn’t happen. I was sort of blown away the that.
ELISABETH MOSS: Yeah. Yeah. In 1985 nothing in that book didn’t happen or wasn’t happening in that point in some part of that world. People are always so shocked by what we do on the show. We never, ever do anything that isn't real and hasn't happened. Never.
[Clip of The Handmaid’s Tale.]
KING: Lately, you know, we are really struggling where we see the apparent dismantling of women’s rights. You see women showing up in protests in those robes. What do you think of that and how the story is really resonating with today?
MOSS: I think it's incredible that you can see this costume and know exactly what side they're on and what they stand for. I get to put that on every day. That's my work outfit. That is such an honor and so empowering.
KING: I'm fascinated by the women element in this show.
MOSS: We have a pretty clear message that we've explored which is, sort of, together we're so much stronger and divided we're weaker. And divided, we’re weaker. When we turn against each other, the bad guys win. As soon as they band together, they're stronger, and you can actually challenge everything.
KING: Moss says she hopes those who watch are inspired. And that she does pay attention to the feedback. Some are questioning if actor’s longtime belief in Scientology can be compared to the show’s plot. I see the comments. I see people compared Gilead to Scientology. But what is it that they don’t understand that you do?
MOSS: The message of our show, and I think the most important to those of us who are making it, is that you have to be who you want to be, believe what you want to believe. You have to love who you want to love, and there are so many different choice that can make and should be able to make. But it is about choice. And we are not saying you have to do this or do that or believe that or whatever. But we are not even saying that certain things that people in Gilead would believe are bad. Family is very important. That’s a great message. But we believe in choice.
CBS This Morning podcast
13:06 into podcast
GAYLE KING: Do you get concerned about where we are in the country today? You know, because when I looked at go, I thought, “That could never happen.”
KING: When I first started watching, I go, this is so ridiculous.
MOSS: I know.
KING: Now I sit here in 2019 and I go, “Hmmm.”
MOSS: I wish it was a fantasy. You know? I really wish we fell more into that category. I would be much more comfortable with that and it would be a lot more fun if it was this crazy show about this world that would never happen.
KING: Like, I could never get into Game of Thrones because I thought “That was too violent.” I know I’m watching Handmaid’s Tale. But Game of Thrones always seemed very fantastical to me. This feels very relatable to me. That’s the difference to me.
MOSS: Yeah. And it’s now. It’s happening now. I read something online that was very interesting. It was talking about how this person felt like we were in the period now that in the show is the period right before Gilead. You know, when the cards stop working and they stopped being allowed to protest. And that sort of snowball of rights slowly being stripped away happens and this person was saying, “I feel like we are in that part of the show.” And that’s a frightening thing.