Real-life couple Rhea Butcher and Cameron Esposito make a perfect pair in 'Take My Wife.'

Stop me if you've heard this one before:

Imagine a sitcom based on the life of a stand-up comedian. Maybe there's some stage work thrown in for show, but for the most part, the story follows the life of the comic in his or her everyday life, friendships, romantic relationships, and the like. If that sounds familiar, it's because it's been done many, many times over. Think "Seinfeld" or "Louie," for example.

"Take My Wife," a new sitcom from NBCUniversal's Seeso digital streaming service, manages to take that well-worn premise and transform it into something entirely new and engaging. The story centers on the lives of real-life comics (and real-life couple) Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher, a duo in their early-30s living in L.A. who co-host a stand-up show at a local comedy club.


All GIFs from Seeso.

Originally sold as a stand-up show, Esposito and Butcher later re-pitched it as single-camera scripted show built around sketches of their lives off the stage.

"Beyond how awesome stand-up is, we really wanted to talk about, you know, our lives as small business people who happen to do stand-up for a living," Esposito says.

"It's just a sitcom relationship about two people trying to figure out how to make it work." — Cameron Esposito

And it's a good thing they did, because honestly, it's the off-stage material that makes "Take My Wife" stand out from the titles you'll find scattered throughout Netflix, Comedy Central, and HBO. Whether it's Esposito and Butcher's interactions with other comics, scenes of Butcher standing in her living room working on new material, or Esposito's meeting with an old college friend that makes her take stock of her own position in life, there's a lot packed into the roughly 20-minute episodes.

Same-sex couples remain in short supply when it comes to sitcoms. "Take My Wife" wants to change that in a big way.

"I think what I find to be so special about the show and what I hope people like about it is that our relationship and our lives are as normative as anybody's life," says Esposito. "I think we haven't yet seen that on TV. We haven't yet seen a queer couple that is dealt with as if they're any sitcom couple."

"Like, the camera doesn't slow down and candles don't get lit every time that we kiss, or there aren't dudes in our orbit that we may or may not be sleeping with on the side. It's just a sitcom relationship about two people trying to figure out how to make it work."

One of the most impressive aspects of the show is the commitment to pushing back on sometimes harmful tropes used to advance storylines for women, LGBTQ characters, and others.

One of the most hard-hitting examples happens at the beginning of the second episode, in which Butcher and Esposito discuss the merits of sex in a hypothetical TV show starring the two of them.

“I think it’s very important to show two women, I don’t know, being casually intimate with each other, but also, it’s us and we’re real people. We’re a couple," says Butcher in the episode.

"Well, if we don’t do it, then it’s like no actual lesbians on TV having sex with other women," replies Esposito. "And there’s also like no women on TV having sex with other women, period. I mean, maybe that happens, but then like, one of them dies or they both die. They’re warlords and they die or they sleep with a man and then they die or they’re like at school and they die or they’re an art professor and they die. My point is, I just want us to live."

In case you're not picking up what she's putting down, she's not wrong: Queer women tend to not fare too well in modern media. Check out Autostraddle's list of 162 (and counting) fictional lesbian and bisexual women who have been killed off on TV. (For her part, Esposito promises that no queer women will die on "Take My Wife".)

It's a funny show with a lot of substance — just don't expect it to be delivered in some sort of "after-school special" format.

"I think in terms of hot button issues that are often dealt with in [sitcoms] with these sweeping think pieces," says Esposito. "Things like sexual assault and rape jokes and queer people and bathrooms and everything that usually ends up in these very black and white situations where people are firmly against or firmly for it. I think that does a real disservice to talking about how complicated it is just to be a human being today, and there's a gray area to every single issue, and I really think that's the experience of being an outsider in some ways."

"As women, we're outsiders in our profession. As queer people, we're outsiders in the world in general. I think that the positive side of that is that you realize how much nuance there is."

Watch the trailer for "Take My Wife" below:

All episodes of "Take My Wife" are now streaming over at Seeso.com. Rhea Butcher's latest stand-up album "Butcher" will be released on August 19 from Kill Rock Stars.

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When Sue Hoppin was in college, she met the man she was going to marry. "I was attending the University of Denver, and he was at the Air Force Academy," she says. "My dad had also attended the University of Denver and warned me not to date those flyboys from the Springs."

"He didn't say anything about marrying one of them," she says. And so began her life as a military spouse.

The life brings some real advantages, like opportunities to live abroad — her family got to live all around the US, Japan, and Germany — but it also comes with some downsides, like having to put your spouse's career over your own goals.

"Though we choose to marry someone in the military, we had career goals before we got married, and those didn't just disappear."

Career aspirations become more difficult to achieve, and progress comes with lots of starts and stops. After experiencing these unique challenges firsthand, Sue founded an organization to help other military spouses in similar situations.

Sue had gotten a degree in international relations because she wanted to pursue a career in diplomacy, but for fourteen years she wasn't able to make any headway — not until they moved back to the DC area. "Eighteen months later, many rejections later, it became apparent that this was going to be more challenging than I could ever imagine," she says.

Eighteen months is halfway through a typical assignment, and by then, most spouses are looking for their next assignment. "If I couldn't find a job in my own 'hometown' with multiple degrees and a great network, this didn't bode well for other military spouses," she says.

She's not wrong. Military spouses spend most of their lives moving with their partners, which means they're often far from family and other support networks. When they do find a job, they often make less than their civilian counterparts — and they're more likely to experience underemployment or unemployment. In fact, on some deployments, spouses are not even allowed to work.

Before the pandemic, military spouse unemployment was 22%. Since the pandemic, it's expected to rise to 35%.

Sue eventually found a job working at a military-focused nonprofit, and it helped her get the experience she needed to create her own dedicated military spouse program. She wrote a book and started saving up enough money to start the National Military Spouse Network (NMSN), which she founded in 2010 as the first organization of its kind.

"I founded the NMSN to help professional military spouses develop flexible careers they could perform from any location."

"Over the years, the program has expanded to include a free digital magazine, professional development events, drafting annual White Papers and organizing national and local advocacy to address the issues of most concern to the professional military spouse community," she says.

Not only was NMSN's mission important to Sue on a personal level she also saw it as part of something bigger than herself.

"Gone are the days when families can thrive on one salary. Like everyone else, most military families rely on two salaries to make ends meet. If a military spouse wants or needs to work, they should be able to," she says.

"When less than one percent of our population serves in the military," she continues, "we need to be able to not only recruit the best and the brightest but also retain them."

"We lose out as a nation when service members leave the force because their spouse is unable to find employment. We see it as a national security issue."

"The NMSN team has worked tirelessly to jumpstart the discussion and keep the challenges affecting military spouses top of mind. We have elevated the conversation to Congress and the White House," she continues. "I'm so proud of the fact that corporations, the government, and the general public are increasingly interested in the issues affecting military spouses and recognizing the employment roadblocks they unfairly have faced."

"We have collectively made other people care, and in doing so, we elevated the issues of military spouse unemployment to a national and global level," she adds. "In the process, we've also empowered military spouses to advocate for themselves and our community so that military spouse employment issues can continue to remain at the forefront."

Not only has NMSN become a sought-after leader in the military spouse employment space, but Sue has also seen the career she dreamed of materializing for herself. She was recently invited to participate in the public re-launch of Joining Forces, a White House initiative supporting military and veteran families, with First Lady Dr. Jill Biden.

She has also had two of her recommendations for practical solutions introduced into legislation just this year. She was the first in the Air Force community to show leadership the power of social media to reach both their airmen and their military families.

That is why Sue is one of Tory Burch's "Empowered Women" this year. The $5,000 donation will be going to The Madeira School, a school that Sue herself attended when she was in high school because, she says, "the lessons I learned there as a student pretty much set the tone for my personal and professional life. It's so meaningful to know that the donation will go towards making a Madeira education more accessible to those who may not otherwise be able to afford it and providing them with a life-changing opportunity."

Most military children will move one to three times during high school so having a continuous four-year experience at one high school can be an important gift. After traveling for much of her formative years, Sue attended Madeira and found herself "in an environment that fostered confidence and empowerment. As young women, we were expected to have a voice and advocate not just for ourselves, but for those around us."

To learn more about Tory Burch and Upworthy's Empowered Women program visit https://www.toryburch.com/empoweredwomen/. Nominate an inspiring woman in your community today!

In the autumn of 1939, Chiune Sugihara was sent to Lithuania to open the first Japanese consulate there. His job was to keep tabs on and gather information about Japan's ally, Germany. Meanwhile, in neighboring Poland, Nazi tanks had already begun to roll in, causing Jewish refugees to flee into the small country.

When the Soviet Union invaded Lithuania in June of 1940, scores of Jews flooded the Japanese consulate, seeking transit visas to be able to escape to a safety through Japan. Overwhelmed by the requests, Sugihara reached out to the foreign ministry in Tokyo for guidance and was told that no one without proper paperwork should be issued a visa—a limitation that would have ruled out nearly all of the refugees seeking his help.

Sugihara faced a life-changing choice. He could obey the government and leave the Jews in Lithuania to their fate, or he could disobey orders and face disgrace and the loss of his job, if not more severe punishments from his superiors.

According to the Jewish Virtual Library, Sugihara was fond of saying, "I may have to disobey my government, but if I don't, I would be disobeying God." Sugihara decided it was worth it to risk his livelihood and good standing with the Japanese government to give the Jews at his doorstep a fighting chance, so he started issuing Japanese transit visas to any refugee who needed one, regardless of their eligibility.

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