Masters of Sex Review: A Woman’s Perspective
Last Sunday, Showtime debuted a brand new drama starring the incredible Michael Sheen. This show, Masters of Sex, focuses on Dr. William Masters and Virginia Johnson (played by Lizzy Caplan). Dr. Masters is the leader of sexual scientific studies. He discovered almost everything we know about sex today. He may not have taken away the taboo but he certainly helped us understand it more. He was more than a pioneer with how we understand sex but he also invented the vibrator as we know it now and the cervical cap, an early method of birth control for women.
This show is so adult in a good way and not in a pornographic way. You hear the title and assume that this is some skeezy late night Showtime half porno. This is very far from it. I think Masters of Sex is the best new drama this year and I really enjoyed The Blacklist. This show has the look and feel of Mad Men but it is a lot more sexually charged and THAT my dear readers, is a very good thing. It is not often that we get an adult show that deals with sex without it feeling like porn.
What I loved most about this show is Virginia Johnson portrayed by Lizzy Caplan. I feel that she is a modern woman trapped in the 1950’s. I feel bad for her and love her all at once. Virginia won me over the moment she told Dr. Masters that women often confuse sex with love, they don’t actually need to go together. At that moment, this show hooked me. These were not going to be women in the 1950’s who are clueless about the world. Virginia actually reminded me of Samantha Jones from Sex and The City. She was a woman playing a so called “man’s game”. It did get her in a bad situation with Ethan but it won over Dr. Masters.
I very much liked Dr. Masters as well. Michael Sheen is a great actor and I’m really excited about him doing a series like this. Dr. Masters is a brilliant fertility specialist who is married and having issues conceiving. He has told his wife that it is her issue but he’s the one with the issue. Dr. Masters is clearly attracted to Virginia. Now what I decided was not to look up anything about these people. I want to watch this show with no knowledge of their real life counter parts. I think a big plus side of this show is that there is a brewing relationship between Dr. Masters and Virginia. It gives everything a more personal aspect. It also helps the viewer understand the kind of man that he is. He is attracted to a woman like this so it shows that he is not accepting of the roles of women in this society.
The side story about him helping the black woman was genius to add. He is extremely likable. He helped her at a time when there was a HUGE racial divide. I can just imagine other women reading this and thinking “why would you find him likable? He’s married and he is going to fool around with this woman”. I don’t think it will go down that way. I 100% expect his wife Libby to find out that he has a low sperm count and has been lying to her by saying she is the problem is what will cause them to divorce.
I think where this show wins its women viewers is the way sex is handled. It is not handled in a way that shouts voyeurism. The sex here is done about 98% for the scientific studies that William is conducting. The sex Virginia has is to develop her character more. It is amazing to me how she confuses Ethan. I think women are just used to how things are now. We are totally aware that sex and love do not necessarily go hand in hand. Sometimes sex is just sex. Nothing else. Ethan really does not understand and his only reaction to her not wanting a relationship is to hit her. Its a huge reflection on gender roles and an examination on the double standard when it comes to sex. A man can sleep with tons of women and that’s ok, a woman sleeps with tons of men and she’s called a whore (something he calls her). I think that despite the female nudity (which should be countered by male nudity since this is a show about sex) is not something that will force female viewers away. It isn’t like Game of Thrones (a show I absolutely adore). The nudity there is sometimes funny and you can tell its being done because we all expect it. The nudity here has a point and purpose.
I think the only downside to this show is the Ethan story line. I feel like that may weigh down the show because it feels a little too simple for this show. This show has women way ahead of their time and Dr. Masters is completely out of place. Ethan just seems far too simple a character for this show.