Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007 • 2 Comments on The Reality of Sex
With The Sopranos over and The L-Word on hiatus, I’m trying to like HBO’s new drama Tell Me You Love Me, but it’s hard to get past the whiny characters and the awkward moments that are too painful to be entertaining. This is a Relationship Show with capital letters and it’s gotten a lot of attention because there is a lot of sex. The sex is not—ironically enough—sexy, and it’s not really meant to be. There is sex in bed and sex on floors and sex in the kitchen and sex at work… there is even (gasp) a startling shot of testicles. They should warn a girl.
I’ve seen four episodes now and I’m annoyed by the all-white, middle-class, heterosexual, paired-off according to age cast. For a show that’s all about being real, you’d think they could be a little more diverse. Also, while the actors are terrific, the characters they play aren’t very likeable. There is a lot of reality in this show, but the reality is mostly painful and sad and angry. This is
the show to watch if you’re contemplating getting married or having children. This is the show for the been-there-done-that crowd.
It’s only the first season, so HBO has time to get it right (and they do know what they’re doing when it comes to long running series). In the meantime, the one character I really like and who will keep me watching is couples therapist Dr. May Foster, played by the fabulous Jane Alexander. She is the common thread that links many of the characters and the one character who seems the most sane, happy and secure (so far). She also has loving, happy sex with her very cute husband Arthur (David Selby).
In a show that is filled with sex, it should come as no surprise that the couples therapist is having sex, right? They’re a happily married, well-adjusted, sexually active couple… oh, who just happens to be in their late sixties. This, more than the nicely framed shot of a young guy’s testicles, is startling. Ground breaking. Incredible, really. I hope HBO smooths out the rough spots in Tell Me You Love Me. I really want to love a show that is brave enough to present the reality that sex—good sex, even—doesn’t end at 40. Jane Alexander may very well be the sexiest woman on television, as far as I’m concerned.