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The Show that I Can’t Stop Talking About: Masters of Sex

Some shows take a while to grow on you. You see a trailer or read a synopsis and think that maybe the pilot could be worth checking out. Then you watch the pilot and it shows enough potential that you stick around for a few more episodes and before you know it, you’re hooked. With other shows, you read the synopsis and immediately know that this is a show for you. Everything just clicks and you know that you’re gonna love this show from minute one of the first episode. Last season, Masters of Sex was that show for me.

My early interest in the show was academic. The only thing I love more than television is sexuality research and Masters and Johnson played such an instrumental role in early research that I was immediately intrigued. Even if the acting and writing were bad, I still would have watched just to see how their research was portrayed and the issues that came up.

Fortunately for me, the show was fantastic. It was exactly what I wanted – a show about the research done by these two pioneers that was firmly anchored in the era it was a part of with some incredibly well-acted characters.

Let me start my singing the praises of Michael Sheen. As a character (and presumably as a person) William Masters was not a likable guy. He thinks like a scientist 99% of the time which was great for his research, but terrible for his personal interactions. He’s very reserved and does not spend a lot of time examining his own emotional state or how that may impact those around him. He’s arrogant, rude, and often loses sight of the human element of his work. Because his character is so internally driven when not actively engaged in research, he’s also a difficult character to play. Michael Sheen is able to portray the genius of the man as well as the part of him that is kind of a mess. It’s a quiet performance, it’s not at all flashy. But it makes that moment when the exterior facade that Masters has around him cracks that much more powerful and emotionally resonant and Sheen plays that perfectly. Still reserved and with a protective wall, but now with emotions that just couldn’t be contained any longer no matter how hard he tries to stop them.

Continue reading The Show that I Can’t Stop Talking About: Masters of Sex

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Finale Review: Masters of Sex

Episode Title: Manhigh

Renewal Status: Renewed for season 2

Pre-finale Thoughts: It’s not a secret that Masters of Sex has been one of my favorite shows of 2013. I love the subject matter and even more than that, I’ve come to love so many of the characters. They are all brilliantly acted and written and every single one of them deserves recognition. I may not always like them (especially Bill, who is difficult to love) but I believe them and that’s what I have been most thrilled with. I don’t like Ethan – I started warming up to him when he was with Vivian and then lost that all again in the last episode – but I think he’s an interesting character. 

I also love the variety of women portrayed on the show. Libby is very different from Virginia but also very different from Dr. DePaul and all are portrayed sympathetically and given complexity. Betty was written as a very likable character, which has not always been the case for sex workers on TV. For a show that I expected to predominately be about Bill Masters, it’s really been the female characters that make me love it as much as I do. 

Continue reading Finale Review: Masters of Sex

Episode of the Week: October 13th-October 19th

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.

Continue reading Episode of the Week: October 13th-October 19th