Masters of Sex – Season 1
Mean Girl’s Janis Ian… err… I mean, Lizzy Caplan, and Twilight’s Michael Sheen star on this Showtime tv period drama based on the biography book Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love by Thomas Maier about Virginia Johnson and Dr. William Masters, the controversial pioneers in sexual studies who started a revolution, inside and outside the sheets.
Stimulating, satisfying, and hot, Masters of Sex is able to give an insight on life through a particular filter, tainted with the concerns, hopes, and fears of the typical American society and culture of the 50s. Masters of Sex has an intriguing and spicy narrative, which shows us the dynamic of complex and colorful characters in sexual and non-sexual situations. This means, this is not a show just about sex. This is a show about people.
In the conservative and peaceful city of St. Louis, Dr. Williams Masters (Sheen), respected and well-known OB-GYN at Washington University’s hospital, starts a study regarding physiological responses during sex. Mrs. Johnson (Caplan), an independent twice-divorced mother of two kids, hears about this while working as a secretary in the hospital. Curious and fascinated, she decides to help him, becoming his secretary and assistant of the study.
Throughout the season, we get to see different type of romances, friendships, marriages, parents, siblings, work colleagues and more. But the main focus still remains on Masters and Johnson due to their particularly incendiary chemistry. Let me emphasize the “particular” aspect of the chemistry between these two characters: he’s a cold, meticulous and reserved doctor in a loveless marriage; she’s an open-minded, passionate, fierce divorced woman who knows what she wants.
That is not a match made in heaven, folks. Somehow, it works.
We cannot keep our eyes off them. And much of the show’s strength is found within their exceptionally masterful performances. Michael Sheen’s Bill is not someone who can be easily likeable, but we sympathize with him, despite his errors. Lizzy Caplan’s Virginia fits perfectly as the “ying to his yang”: outgoing, confident, ambitious, and warm-tempered.
Another great asset to this show are the poignant performances of Allison Janney and Beau Bridges. Both actors are able to portray complicated and vulnerable characters which quietly wreck us episode to episode.
Oh, about the sex scenes. Yes, there are plenty of them. But the issue here is treated tastefully and graciously. Not only every sex scene serves to the purpose of the story, but also is able to capture what truly happens within all of us, what makes us burn with desire, what makes us feel awkward, what makes us feel fragile, what makes us feel powerful.
With a second season currently on air, Masters of Sex is a total treat, a masterful example of great writing and great acting. Allow yourself be seduced by this show, explore, play around, get to the real deal, and enjoy.
I promise you won’t have to fake it.