Masters of Sex, Masters of modern television

Hey happy readers!

As I already mentioned before, I watch quite an unhealthy amount of movies and TV series, and I’ve recently started to watch a show called Masters of Sex from Showtime. As the title suggests, it mainly talks about sex. However, not in a way that we might expect – meaning not in a Californication kind of way (don’t get me wrong, I used to love Californication, even if I grew tired of the never-ending sex conversations and sex scenes and was quite glad when it finally ended).

In my opinion, Masters of Sex follows the path of truly good American TV that has started to appear these last few years (House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Penny Dreadful, just to name a few) that can rival with the big screen in terms of the quality of the scenario and the impressive casting.

Masters of Sex takes us to St. Louis, Missouri, during the ’50s (and then moves to the 60’s later down the line) and features Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson, two pioneering researchers of the human sexuality (understand the play on words in the title now, huh?!). What does that mean exactly? Well it means that our two heroes spend most of their time watching and monitoring people having sex or just pleasing themselves on their own (or with the help of Ulysses, a big fat dildo with an incorporated camera) – as you can well guess, it was pretty courageous at that time and especially in America, and it was not quite well received at first!

As you can predict, one thing led to another and Masters and Johnson started ‘contributing’ together to the study, first in their lab, then in luxurious hotel rooms – all in the name of the study, of course. Masters and Johnson are thus not only the pioneers of human sexuality research, but also of the ‘complicated relationship’ status…

Needless to say, when you put Sheen and Caplan together, you can expect some pretty amazing acting! They both master the ambiguity between their characters, lying to themselves as well as to the others, refusing the fact that they are simply and crudely having an affair. Sheen is brilliant as the morose doctor, genius in his domain and kind with his patients, and yet so harsh with his own family. Caplan on the other side is trying to juggle between her two kids, her after work classes and her obsession with the study – bright and strong, she has to fight hard to be taken seriously as a woman researcher. We follow a lot of truly well written supporting characters as well, including Libby, Masters’ wife, who tries to get pregnant in the first series, and whose character then takes more depth by battling with her own prejudice against black people by finally joining them in their quest for civil rights equality. We also follow the University’s provost, Scully, fighting his homosexuality, thinking it’s a disease and trying to treat it as such, and his wife Margaret who doesn’t understand why her husband never looked at her with passionate eyes…

I’m not going to talk about every single character – we’d be here all night and there wouldn’t be any surprises left for you to have! But let me assure you that there are many more various thrilling stories throughout the seasons.

The costumes are beautifully chosen, making sure they follow the fashion trends as we move from the 50’s to the 60’s (though Masters never gives up on his famous bow tie!). I also love that they cover sensitive subjects, still today, like homosexuality, racism and the civil rights movement, but also (you might understand here why I love this show so much!) feminism: bright women trying to make their place in a man’s world.

Even if Masters and Johnson have actually existed, as well as their influential study, most of all the other characters and stories are completely fictional (but we love them so much that it doesn’t really matter!).

Showtime is showing the third season at the minute, and it’s already been renewed for a fourth one – yaaay!!

Now, if it’s not done already, go and watch it, and let me know what you think!

Hope you’ll like it as much as I do!

Sarah

Natter with Sawyer - Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson in Masters of Sex
Michael Sheen as Dr. William Masters and Lizzy Caplan as Virginia Johnson
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