After fifteen years of marriage and two children, Sergey and Olga have grown apart emotionally. Their life has become a matter of routine and duty. When Olga finds her husband’s profile on a dating website, she decides to connect with her husband using a false identity. Sergey quickly becomes enamored with the mysterious woman named Emma.
Meanwhile, in their real life Olga is torn over her husband’s “infidelity” but believes their marriage is worth saving. The more she reaches out to her husband, the more distant he becomes. However, her virtual identity as Emma gives her new insight and understanding into her husband while also exposing the failures in their marriage. The more Olga pretends to be Emma, the more “Emma” impacts Olga’s life. But when Olga finally regains her sense of identity, will she still feel her marriage worth saving?
I took a chance on this series based on its’ interesting premise. This was my first experience with a contemporary Russian series and I really enjoyed it.
Part drama, part comedy, I Love My Husband is a portrait of marriage, family, infidelity and what happens when we lose ourselves along the way. Both Sergey and Olga are guilty of putting their marriage on the back burner. Sergey’s solution is to spice up his life with another woman, instead of putting that effort into his marriage. Despite feeling betrayed, Olga decides to fight for their family in the only way she knows how.
Olga’s position as a wife and mother who is taken for granted is so easy to relate to. It is also one she has allowed by becoming passive. By playing at being Emma, she also develops the strength to start standing up for herself at home and at work. Her journey is not just one to save her marriage but also becomes one to find herself. I love that aspect of this series the most.
Sergey is a man who should be easy to blame, but this story is more complex than that. I did find myself angry at his apathy towards his marriage. But he isn’t a villain. He’s just a man who has lost his connection with his wife and children. That loss of emotional connection sends him searching for it elsewhere. The fact, that Olga is eventually able to turn the tables on him a bit while creating an unfavorable comparison of Emma to Olga makes up somewhat for his betrayal. Sergey’s lesson that the grass isn’t always greener gives him a new appreciation for his wife.
Thankfully, Olga is not just a wife and mother. Her job at a nature channel gives her an outlet outside of home. It also provides some of the comedy for the series. Many of the “nature shows” provide a correlation with what Olga is experiencing in her marriage. There is an ongoing gag about a lone whale who sings at a frequency that no other whales can hear. Every man Olga interacts with ends up comparing himself to this lone whale. Just as Olga begins to take control of her home life, she also shows this same new determination at work. Her new confidence demands respect from everyone who has previously overlooked her.
The downside to this series is that I found it hard to believe that Sergey does not recognize Emma as Olga. That is easy to understand while their relationship remains online. But once they meet, it seems rather incredible. We are expected to believe that a veil, a wig, a change in clothes and attitude are enough to fool Sergey even after he begins spending time with Emma in person. But perhaps, that is part of the point. Sergey has long ago quit paying attention to his wife. In essence, Olga becomes invisible to him.
For the most part, the production aspects of I Love My Husband are well-done. The acting is excellent. Ekaterina Klimova and Ivan Oganesyan take you through a roller coaster of emotions as Olga and Sergey. Like both of them, I was torn between wishing they would call it quits and then hoping they would learn to love each other again. I really enjoyed Ada Rogovtseva as the wise, older neighbor who befriends and advises Olga.
This series is available on Amazon Prime with English subtitles. There are a few problems with the translations of this Russian script to English subtitles. Thankfully, it’s not enough to create too much confusion. I do wish that the text of Sergey and Emma’s emails and texts had been translated to English. I feel like I missed out a little by not being able to read their digital communications.
Overall, I really enjoyed I Love My Husband. With four, one-hour episodes, the series is just the right length to tell this story. Any shorter and it would have cheated the character and plot development. Any longer and it would have drawn out the conflict too long. If you enjoy a mix of drama and comedy and if you appreciate stories that don’t just focus on the relationship but on the individuals within that relationship, then I urge you to give this show a watch.