D.C. Time Machine

February 14, 2013

“The Americans” (FX, Wednesdays, 10 p.m.) calls itself a “period drama.” The period: 1981 in D.C. The plot: Two Soviets nefariously spy while posing as a suburban couple. Keri “Felicity” Russell is the lady spy.

Fellow D.C.ers, I know you’re wondering: Is the depiction of ’81 D.C. truthy or falsey? By coincidence, that was the very year my wife and I moved here. So let’s assess:

1. A Justice Department staffer cites “the sheer number of people working to destroy our way of life”: a common ’80s mantra among Russkie-haters and Reagan-bashers alike.

2. A man jogs wearing mid-calf white socks with blue rings. OMG, I still have my pair!

3. On a mission, Russell’s spy knocks at a stranger’s door, waves $100 bills and says, “I need to look out your living room window for a few minutes.” I can’t tell you how many times that happened to us!

4. Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight” plays during a tryst. That song was such a sexual trigger, I once saw horseshoe crabs mating at a beach while it played over the loudspeakers.

Verdict: Just like ’80s D.C. — even though the show films in New York.

Marc Silver has been watching TV since the days when people wrapped aluminum foil around TV antennae to improve reception.
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Nevin Martell · February 14, 2013