Friday, September 27, 2013
Showtime's "Masters of Sex" does play some games with some of my personal sensitivities
I got to preview the first episode of “Masters of Sex”, to premier on Showtime next Sunday night, at a small HRC fundraiser Thursday night at the Town Discotheque in Washington DC (described in the LGBT blog).
The pilot is directed by John Madden, starts in 1956 at Washington University in St. Louis. Michael Sheen plays Dr. William Masters, with Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson. Masters and Johnson, of course, are credited for the “sexual revolution”, mostly for heterosexuals first. In fact, they would publish a huge compendium book “Heterosexuality” in the 1990’s. They would become vociferous in warning that HIV would eventually and routinely affect heterosexuals.
The Pilot eventually comes around to setting up “live experiments”. Electrocardiographic leads are attached to the chests, arms, and legs of a man and woman about to “do it”. In the 1950’s, the were perhaps larger than they are today. You notice that it is convenient that women almost never have chest hair, and the male, fortunately, doesn’t have much. But the rest of his body is a but defiled (why put the electrodes on the top of the forearm? You might as well do a tattoo there.) Who could “do me” under such humiliating conditions?
The film also shows surgery advanced to an amazing degree for the 1950’s. It may have been further along than we think. My own mother had a hysterectomy at GWU in the mid 50s, and I was born at the old Columbia Hospital for Women nearby in 1943. Medicine knew more then than we realize today.
The Showtime website is here and the production company is listed as Sony Pictures Television.
The pilot was well-liked by the screening audience. I wonder if this subject matter would have made a better documentary feature film than a long television series.