Sarah Treem of 'The Affair': "I Was Shocked by How Personally People Take the Idea of Infidelity"

"For me, season one was such a shock [in terms of how well it did]."

"I love season two. I felt like season one was the rough draft," admitted The Affair showrunner Sarah Treem during the The Hollywood Reporter's Drama Showrunner Roundtable. "Because you just don't know. You don't know the characters very well, you don't know the world that well. You don't know if it's going to work."

"For me, season one was such a shock [in terms of how well it did.]" The writer confessed. "I was glad we got renewed."

Once her show premiered, Treem said she "was shocked by how personally people take the idea of infidelity." Rather than focusing so much on an affair, she "thought we were making a show about two perspectives and how interesting that was. In retrospect I realize that was probably pretty naive of me."

The former In Treatment staff writer described her favorite scene of the season, one in which a wife (Maura Tierney) tells her cheating husband (Dominic West) she does not actually want a divorce, she simply wants him back.

"That scene really pointed to what happens in a relationship after 20 years of marriage. You forgive people so much. You have to, in order to stay with them for your whole life. Things you never thought you'd say, OK to, you say OK to — otherwise you have to leave them."

Says Treem of the scene, "that scene for me was a refutation of the expectations of romantic love and marriage, and what you think you're signing up for."

The show creator joined Michelle King (The Good Wife), Beau Willimon (House of Cards), Alex Gansa (Homeland), Lee Daniels (Empire), and Damon Lindelof (The Leftovers) for the Roundtable, where the biggest drama TV influencers discussed writing, creative collaborations, and taking risks.

The full Drama Showrunner Roundtable aired on Close Up With The Hollywood Reporter on Aug. 30, at 11 a.m. ET/PT on Sundance TV and HollywoodReporter.com. Tune in this Sunday for the next episode.

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