1. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Masters of Sex

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by EdFromNY, Dec 5, 2013.

    Maybe this should be in The Lounge, but I decided to put it here because what has really gotten me hooked on this series is the characters, and I thought it might be interesting to use them as a springboard for a discussion about characters. I'll begin with a confession - I haven't watched a dramatic TV series with any kind of regularity since the middle years of "Law and Order", and then only because my wife was hooked on it. And I haven't seen a premium-cable series since I accidently stumbled upon "The L Word" (I was channel surfing late one night, saw the title and thought it was a political satire; I thought the "L word" they were referring to was "Liberal", watched for several minutes and wondered why there were only women, none of whom were politicians, and turned it off when I saw how dreadful the writing was). So, this is, for me, unusual. And, no, I didn't tune in because of the title. If you must know, I saw a poster for the show on a subway platform and was struck by Lizzy Caplan's eyes. Honest.

    I'll start with her character - Virginia Johnson, a struggling twice divorced mother of two in the 1950s. In the early episodes, we see her struggling to make ends meet as the former nightclub singer takes a job as a secretary with the taciturn Dr. William Masters (well played by Michael Sheen, who also did an excellent job playing the affable David Frost in "Frost Nixon"), whose study of human sexuality is just getting started. He brings her into the study as his assistant but soon is pressing for her to join him in the study.

    We see her separating her sexual activity from love, regarding them as two different things. One might find that believable in, say, a prostitute, but since many of us regard sex as the ultimate expression of mutual love, that struck me as odd. It also strikes some of the other characters as odd, and leads to some badly crossed signals.

    As the series unfolds, we see Virginia as an early proponent of women's rights, her advocacy growing more pronounced as time goes on. In this, I see the only flaw - and a minor one at that - in the creation of her character. It's almost as though she knows things have to change in 30 years or so, and that she is a harbinger of such change.

    So, there are two elements of Virginia' character that have struck me. For anyone else watching this series, how do they strike you? What other characters have you come across that you would compare her to? Do you see her differently than I do?

    Comments welcomed. If this takes off, we can delve into more.
     
    Last edited: Dec 5, 2013
  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i gave it a try and gave up after most of an early episode and bits of a few subsequent ones... it's just not 'entertaining' for me to watch all that supposedly 'clinical' sexual activity... i enjoyed the real thing far too much in my 'old life' to get anything out of watching it being faked by actors portraying the real people who did that, or any fictional characters in movies or on tv...

    and i wasn't impressed by either the actors or the writing... imo, it doesn't even begin to come close in any way whatsoever to the total brilliance of 'mad men' and 'breaking bad'... or 'nurse jackie' and 'the big c'...

    i'd be interested to know how the folks who are being depicted in this take on the real masters and johnson project feel about it, if any of them are still around...
     
  3. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    @mammamaia - I assume the sex scenes are intentionally dry. I thought that was the point. I didn't find anything particularly erotic about it.
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    My husband likes this show -- I'll ask him what he thinks. He keeps saying I should watch it, due to the WUSTL connection (my beloved alma mater). I will probably watch a couple episodes and see what I think and get back to you.

    But, what you are saying, as far as characters is the way I felt about Breaking Bad. Both the writing and the acting on that show were just phenomenal. I've long felt that what's most important on television shows are the characters, particularly on sitcoms. People will tune in week after week even if the show has become not particularly funny, if they really like the characters.
     
  5. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Dry sex would certainly rub me the wrong way.
     
    Renee J likes this.
  6. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I can't respond to that.
     
  7. Andrae Smith
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    Andrae Smith Gone exploring... in the inner realm... Contributor

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    Trying not to laugh... *snicker snicker*
     
  8. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I, too, prefer damp sex.
     
  9. Lewdog
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    Lewdog Come ova here and give me kisses! Supporter Contributor

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    ...but not too damp, I hate it when my skin gets all pruney.
     
  10. Wild Knight
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    Wild Knight Active Member

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    :rolleyes: Oh you guys... so mature.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    (Says the one with the handle "Wild Knight" :D)
     
  12. Wild Knight
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    Wild Knight Active Member

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    Yup. Me. Mature.:p

    I thought that my name was "cool". *sniffle*
     

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