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Liberty! Patriotism! Grown-up Sex!

Liberty! Patriotism! Grown-up Sex!

Listen to this 'Talk of the Nation' topic

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  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/89654899/89655635" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

A seriously great piece of history, made into a seriously great piece of art. Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images hide caption

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Source: Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images

Some historical miniseries are like eating your vegetables — I confess, I was afraid that HBO's John Adams would be a beautiful piece of asparagus. If it is, it is smothered in perfect hollandaise sauce. I can't stop talking about it — it's a really intimate version of the birth of the country. Yes, there's a revolution, and a less then genteel tea party — but most of that happens off camera. History is written in the arguments — and the passionate commitment and conversation of Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin (a scene-thieving Tom Wilkinson), and the wonderfully patient Abigail Adams. John Adams is one of the only times I've seen a really adult relationship portrayed — Abigail and John are a heartbreakingly beautiful love story, as well as patriots (plus, there's a wonderful love scene — grown up sex, finally, on tv). Paul Giamatti is so good — so virtuously eccentric — I find myself fending off tears at least twice an episode. We're talking to Tom Hooper, the director, today, and boy, do I have a lot of questions. Been watching it? What are yours?

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