Episode #43 The Handmaid’s Tale “Offred”

The Handmaid’s Tale “Offred”

Welcome to the Pilots and Petards Podcast! This is the podcast with nothing much ado about aircrafts, and potentially everything ado with first episodes of a filmic series. Join Drew, Mo, and Jimbo as they cast judgement and determine if the dystopian gender horror drama The Handmaid’s Tale will be hoisted, or not hoisted: that is the question!, or not hoisted: that is the question!

Cheat Sheet:

  • Petard = bomb
  • Hoist a pilot = bad episode
  • Not hoist a pilot = good episode

Follow the blog so you can contribute to the pre-recording discussions. Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel or Pose, then give us your feedback to get that petard fame.

Check out the Quest for the best and worst pilots ever to see if the pilot “Offred” can challenge Better Call Saul, Dexter, and or The Shield in a top ten position of best pilots ever.


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Petard Trivia: Sudden death battle for the #1 contender: Drew vs Mo.

Plugs: Read Drew’s GET OFF MY LAWN: Constantine (2005) super hero movie reviews at But Why Tho. Intro and outro music was mixed by Jake Drew contact him for beats or music for your podcast or musical career.

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11 thoughts on “Episode #43 The Handmaid’s Tale “Offred”

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  1. I have been WAITING for this one!!!! Yay!!! Can’t wait to see what you three have for the feminist dystopia that is Margaret Atwood. So looking forward…


  2. Is this the first novel to series you have done? I would love hear more about the themes, symbols, motifs, etc. from book to screen that you see represented in the pilot. From what I have researched, this series stays quite close to Atwood’s main intention for the book. At first I always labeled this as a “feministic book”….that Atwood was fighting for the rights of women by making the reader feel sorry for them…but there are also so many women in this book (the wives, Moira, Ofred’s mother, etc.) who abuse their own freedom and show that just by giving a woman liberty does not mean that it will change their perspective either.

    So much of the show highlights the themes of sexual violence and controlled reproduction….women as a symbol of turning politics. And yet, its absolutely fascinating that a woman wrote this story. If a man wrote this story there would be such a different perspective on sexual violence, but what does it mean coming from the mind of a woman?

    Jimbo- this book doesn’t appear on your Goodreads. Have you reviewed yet?


  3. I never read this book. Drew has read it. Maybe I can try to read a few chapters before we record.

    As far as books to series. End of the Fing World was a graphic novel turned series. Alias Grace was a novel by Atwood too! Altered Carbon which we will release next week was a novel. Friday Night Lights and Killing Eve were both loosely based off the books. One Punch Man and Dexter were very close to the manga and novel, respectively.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Although a bit biased from the start, this was my FAVORITE Pilots & Petard episode yet out of the shows I have watched thus far- This is Us, Dawson’s Creek, Boy Meets World and One Tree Hill (I know, I know, but the expansion of my show-watching ability is coming along thanks to you guys!!). I read this book in college, but am absolutely picking it up to read again thanks to the add by Jimbo in Goodreads and have finished both seasons of Handmaid’s Tale from start to finish on Hulu every week as they were released!

    The depth of conversation on the power of June’s drive for survival in regards to seeing her daughter again were huge topics of intrigue for me. I never quite thought about the act of survival as a mother being quite different than the act of survival alone as I am not a mother myself. I loved hearing Drew and Jimbo speak from the perspectives of having daughters versus what a possibly perspective would be for a father with sons in this storyline (Mo- I didn’t catch if you are a mother as well?).

    I also loved the topics of patriarchy versus power and how you each saw Aunt Lydia playing into that in a different way and how the recent Margaret Atwood statement described the woman against woman acts of bad feminism, or whatnot, and that what we really need to do is support each other, not pit ourselves against each other like the Wives, Aunt Lydia, Marthas and Handmaids are asked to do in this dystopia with the men in the background pretending like it is they who run things. This always gets me caught up on the chicken and egg….Mother Earth, females and creation versus man and seed. Who is really the beginning? Neither as well as both. In Yantra design and meditation, the Hindu form of mandala, the symbols of a downward pointing triangle symbolizing the feminine (Shakti!) and the upward pointing triangle (Shiva) symbolizing the masculine are often interconnected and united on top of one another to form a six pointed star, just like the Star of David (one triangle pointing down to earth and the other up to heaven. I think a lot of what Margaret Atwood symbolizes in this tale is the awareness of division…by using such an extreme measure through symbols of literal fertility it makes us, as readers/viewers, want to unite once again almost becoming “pregnant” with the idea of unity and lets us know how far our society has strayed.

    After thinking about the biblical quote you deemed Crab woman, I was so amazed….amazed that this idea of surrogate creation was such an old method of reproduction. I didn’t catch this through my first read that the ENTIRE book was designed around this one single theme. JIMBO- you rock.

    I thought you guys really hit the nail on the head with the Petarders picks of Night by Elie Wiesel, 1984 by George Orwell and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. I would also list Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl (“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”) and Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts (“It took me a long time and most of the world to learn what I know about love and fate and the choices we make, but the heart of it came to me in an instant, while I was chained to a wall and being tortured. I realized, somehow, through the screaming of my mind, that even in that shackled, bloody helplessness, I was still free: free to hate the men who were torturing me, or to forgive them. It doesn’t sound like much, I know. But in the flinch and bite of the chain, when it’s all you’ve got, that freedom is an universe of possibility. And the choice you make between hating and forgiving, can become the story of your life.”) (one of my favorite books of all time!) along with those.

    What I just noticed about every single one of these books is that they are just that- a Man’s search for this meaning out of the need for survival- either physically or mentally within the situations of life’s reveal. I would be curious as to any other Petarder recommendations from a woman’s point of view?

    I would love to hear more podcasts on these “serious” types of topics! You all have such thought-provoking minds and can really do some positive petarding (?) with these!!


  5. First story that comes to mind is Alias Grace, another dark story by Atwood.
    Another is Kate’s narrative in Lost.
    There are so many options for a woman’s perspective. At first I was thinking survival and Handmaid’s style stories, but so many others are coming to mind now.
    Short stories: The Yellow Wall-Papper
    Books: The Color Purple, Poisonwood Bible, Quicksand, Half a Yellow Sun, Still Alice, Gine with the Wind, Sold, War’s Unwomanly Face, Wild Swans, Beloved, Their Eyes Were Watching God, Let’s Get Lost, Jane Erye, The Awakening (check my goodreads for authors)
    Movies: What Happened to Monday
    I’ll get back to you with more too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. From your list above I have read The Color Purple and Still Alice, but have had Poisonwood Bible on my list to read since I saw it on your PC blog years ago. Will check out these other titles- I have always wanted to read Jane Eyre and now I will! Thank you!!

    I watched the pilot for Alias Grace last night after hearing your petardar from Handmaid’s and loved it! Then was able to listen to your Alias Grace podcast today on my dog run (new Pilots & Petard ritual- though I had to quickly Google Keep some crucial notes on my iPhone while running with a 50 lbs dog lol!).

    *New term for me:
    -Intersectional identity- what a terrific reference and concept….if A + B= C and B + C= A, it does not necessarily mean that A + C= B….an identity crisis between the mathematics of society slipping through the cracks, so interesting!! Thank you, Drew!

    *Favorite parts of the pilot:
    -Opening poem- “One need not a chamber to be haunted…” -E.D. another incredible example of the power and persuasion of first lines/phrases. Could potentially even describe this entire book/series or where Atwood received her inspiration for the novel- like Handmaid’s and bible quote?
    -Symbolism and description of quilts, uses of the bed (and quilts as the flags that cover the bed- BRILLIANT!, color of red (center piece of quilting square, blood, death in general, woman’s cycle as well as friend’s abortion…lots here!)
    -The dialogue of Grace’s description when Dr. Jordan is writing about her…I replayed this three times to get the words just perfect, but then realized it was a direct quote from the book:

    “While he writes, I feel as if he is drawing me; or not drawing me, drawing on me–drawing on my skin–not with the pencil he is using, but with an old-fashioned goose pen, and not with the quill end but with the feather end. As if hundreds of butterflies have settled all over my face, and are softly opening and closing their wings.

    But underneath that is another feeling, a feeling of being wide-eyed awake and watchful. It’s like being wakened suddenly in the middle of the night, by a hand over your face, and you sit up with your heart going fast, and no one is there. And underneath that is another feeling still, a feeling like being torn open; not like a body of flesh, it is not painful as such, but like a peach; and not even torn open, but ripe and splitting open of its own accord.

    And inside the peach there’s a stone.”
    ― Margaret Atwood, Alias Grace

    Per group agreement, I thought the literary references and language in this pilot were just fantastic and the conversation topics really spoke to my interest and love of books (and Emily Dickinson’s poem to start- a big hook for me). Since the dialogue held much more intrigue than the Handmaid’s pilot it made me wonder if this pilot followed the book more thoroughly…even though Handmaid’s seemed more enjoyable to watch from the beginning.

    I did not quite vibe the psychopathic tendencies of Grace, but I have not studied the check list that you referred to. I took her confidence and sheltering of truth/memory loss as a defensive mechanism of learned survival- more of a PTSD within the brain versus a psychopathy. A deep wound from experience versus the genetic disposition of causation.

    I just added Alias Grace to my Goodreads as well when I finish Handmaid’s, so I guess we will find out soon enough 🙂 I will definitely be continuing the series on Netflix per this review! Keep up the GREAT work P&P. Loving the podcast!


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