Now that most of my shows have gotten past their first few episodes of the season and now that I am caught up on nearly all of my shows after a vacation in the beginning of October, it’s time to bring back my regular “episode of the week” posts! Each Sunday, I’ll talk about my favorite episode of TV from the previous week.
I have been really happy with my TV shows this season, so there were a lot of contenders for this week’s winner. The Good Wife is back on form after a rocky 4th season, Castle is better than ever with Beckett and Castle happily settled in to their relationship, Sleepy Hollow has consistently been my favorite new network show, and Masters of Sex has been incredible. While any of these four could easily have been my favorite of the week, I have to go with the episode “Standard Deviation” from Masters of Sex as my favorite episode because of it’s personal impact on me.
This week on Masters of Sex, we got some more insight into a young William Masters and how that made him into the person he is at the start of the show. He is a man who had an interest that was outside of social norms and so in order to be able to pursue his passion, he had to live a very specific life. He needed to be married to a good woman, having children would be the ideal, and he needed to be a respected doctor before he could be allowed to do the research he really wanted. As a result, he devoted himself to being the best OB/GYN in the Midwest and married Libby. It also helped explain why he was so interested in what he perceived as normal sexuality. His whole adult life had basically been a checklist of things he needed to do in a certain way, so he assumed sex needed to be equally regimented.
What really makes me love this show, despite the fact that Dr. Masters is a very frustrated individual to watch or like, is the passion that can clearly be found in Michael Sheen’s acting. He is a very precise actor and he is able to subtly act out William Masters mental state through his movements and facial expressions. He captures Masters’ love for his work and frustration over his inability to perform his study in the way he wanted. Above all things, William Masters was a scientist and the obsessive way he goes about his work is portrayed so fantastically by Michael Sheen.
I love watching shows about passionate characters. I love Leslie Knope’s passion for helping her small town and Kate Beckett’s passion for bring justice to the families of her victims. However, Masters of Sex is unique from those other shows in my mind because it’s about a topic that is also a passion of mine. Not necessarily in the same topics as Masters, but still in the general area of sexuality. It made me realize that just because I didn’t enjoy graduate school, it doesn’t mean that I don’t still love the topic. I may not know how to incorporate my interest into a future career, but I shouldn’t stop trying to find a way. Maybe psychology wasn’t for me, but sociology could be. Maybe looking into sexuality-related non-profits could be a possibility. Maybe I just want to write more about the way sexuality plays out on TV and how that represents and affects real-world views. As long as I don’t lose that passion, I know I can be happy.
While not related to the overall theme of this post, I do want to bring up how fantastic Lizzy Caplan is as Virginia Johnson. She’s strong and independent and so brilliantly portrays the struggles Johnson faced as a single mother who found joy in her work. She brings a human element to the research that Masters didn’t, and the dichotomy between the two approaches is so powerful because of the work of Caplan and Sheen.