Sage: After nearly three seasons of build-up, Oliver and Felicity finally did it on Arrow this week. And it was…underwhelming.
I mean, I assume that they did it, since they acted like they did the next morning. (Before Felicity drugged Oliver to try to drag him back to Starling City so he wouldn’t become the heir to the demon, like you do.) But you wouldn’t know it from watching the love scene alone. The CW really talked this consummation up, going as far as to describe it as “explicit.” Now, I know we’re on network TV here, but unless all the sex-panicked teachers from my Catholic grade-school were serving as the censors, I don’t have a blessed clue why pants-on neck-kissing deserves that distinction. When I was a kid, I honestly thought that people fell asleep during sex, so many times did I see a show or an edited-for-TV movie cut from tame kissing to waking up in the morning under an L-shaped sheet. That’s what this scene reminded me of.
In the end, it is not about what we saw or didn’t see. Olicity was once a steamy ship – every interaction from about midway through season one on was loaded with tension. But blame the Atom or Oliver’s talent for self-flagellation – they just…deflated a little this year. I’m sticking with Arrow despite its recent missteps, but Jesus, I expected a little more from something that was this long coming. (Or not, as it were.)
Kim: Where is the heat? The urgency? The desperation? The spontaneity? The freaking CONNECTION?
After the episode aired, I sat and pondered why the long-awaited consummation of Oliver and Felicity’s relationship left me cold. Was it because it was so blatantly spoiled by the promos? Because my reaction when Felicity came into the room was merely “Oh it’s sex time”. Was it because of the slightly icky scene with R’as where it was basically like “You need to do this now before he’s lost forever”? I think that had SOMETHING to do with it, but honestly I feel like it was because everything about the scene was like a sanitized version of a teenage fantasy of what sex should be like. The only thing missing was rose petals scattered on the bed. HOW was this explicit? Because she was on top for some of it (god FORBID a lady take pleasure in sex and being in control)? Because she took her bra off and sat in his lap and showed her bare back? For heavens sake, they didn’t show any kissing below the neck. No passionate reactions. I mean come on…at least give me an O-face before calling it explicit.
Don’t get me wrong. There is a place for candles and rose petals and the like, but this wasn’t it. This was about needing to be the closest you can get to someone. About needing that CONNECTION that only sex can bring. And I didn’t get that from this. It felt so blatantly choreographed and like they were going through the motions without actually FEELING them. It was soulless. It didn’t have the deep meaning that it needed to…especially in the aftermath. Really? You’re going to have Felicity say “Well that happened?” As if it was not completely calculated? I don’t care how socially awkward she is, NONE of that rang true. Not if Oliver is the man she loves with every fiber of her being. I don’t buy it. This should have been EVERYTHING…and it wasn’t.
The next morning, I was thrilled to hear that Sage and several of my other lady friends felt the same way about it. So we set out to find other scenes from network shows that HAD the element of heat and that pushed the envelope when it comes to sex on TV. For clarification, we stuck to shows that air “The Big Five” (ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox, The CW/WB/UPN) because they are held to different broadcast standards that your cable and premium cable shows. In no particular order, here they are.
1) “It’s not too late” – Oliver and Laurel, Arrow
See? Arrow CAN do passion. We’re by NO means Laurel and Ollie shippers here, but if this scene doesn’t leave you fanning yourself, something may be wrong with you. There are parallels to the Olicity love scene here (picking the women up is surely Ollie’s signature move) but this scene has a desperation that is lacking in the Olicity one. It’s in the way Laurel lunges toward him and wraps her legs around him. It’s the way they cling to each other and it is in the way it seems like they can’t get close to each other fast enough. It has an element of PASSION and carnal desire that is completely lacking in the Olicity scene.
And this is coming from someone who finds that Katie Cassidy and Stephen Amell have very little chemistry otherwise.
2) Chuck and Sarah’s Morning Make-Out – Chuck
One of the many instances in which a Chuck and Sarah hook-up was foiled, this scene from the season two episode, “Chuck versus the Colonel” is definitely the hottest. They don’t even get all the way down to business, but it’s clear that they would have – if only someone thought well enough ahead to hide his condom stash from Morgan. Anyway, the ol’ “oh no, we have to share a bed!” trope is a classic for a reason. Chuck and Sarah’s journey to finally getting together for good was drawn out somewhat laboriously over the years, but their passion in this scene feels very real and cosmically inevitable.
3) Olivia and Fitz in the electrical closet – Scandal
Anyone who has read one of our Scandal gif-caps knows that we are 100% anti-Olitz. But there is one thing you can’t deny about that relationship and that’s the UNBELIEVABLE heat Kerry Washington and Tony Goldwyn have between them. This scene is not about love. It’s about pure unadulterated LUST and need and the “I must have you RIGHT NOW” kind of sex. And it’s undeniably HOT and sexy, even if Fitz is the worst. Shonda Rhimes is the modern master of the envelope pushing television sex scene. AKA the “how did she get the belt unbuckling and the pushing the panties down and the turning Olivia around so he could take her from behind” scene by ABC’s standards and practices division? There’s a reason her shows are on this list three times.
4) Danny strips for Mindy – The Mindy Project
“Shut up about Diamond Dan, Sage.” I REFUSE.
I refuse, because this scene changed me and network comedy forever and I don’t care if you think I’m exaggerating.
I’ve already written at length (hey-ooo) about Danny’s striptease, and Kim has too. But allow me to briefly remind you that this is one of the far too few instances in mass market entertainment where the male gaze takes the backseat. Diamond Dan was all about Mindy. And us. And everyone who takes pleasure in watching Chris Messina take body rolling to a new level. Also, we all agree that this little display transitioned into some seriously worshipful sex, yes?
5) Kate and Sawyer in the cages – Lost
I find that this scene from Lost is the most similar to the Olicity scene when it comes to circumstance but they couldn’t be more different. Sawyer and Kate are in a life threatening situation. The Others could murder them at any moment. The only thing they can do is find solace in each other. Their kisses have a tenderness but the entire scene takes on an air of desperation as they move towards sex. (clearly I like the desperate sex on TV, what can I say?) It’s about finding comfort in each other and it’s also about feeling ALIVE in that moment and acting on their basest instincts. It’s everything the Arrow scene SHOULD have been.
Also bless Josh Holloway and his liberal use of tongue kisses. WHERE WERE THE TONGUE KISSES AMELL?
6) “Dreaming of You” – Scrubs
This was an 11th hour addition to the list, prompted by the fact that the Hannibal threesome fantasy is not on YouTube and we’ve failed as a society. But I have no regrets, because this first love scene between J.D. and Eliot on Scrubs has the distinction of being the most perfectly soundtracked one here. Bill Lawrence shows are always good for some inspired music pairings, and I was introduced to several artists including The Coral via my fave hospital comedy. (And now I’m brainstorming a Top 10 Scrubs Music Moments list – “Overkill,” anyone?)
This is a long love scene for a comedy, paying off the sexual tension that had been building between these two since the pilot. Ignore Braff’s teenage boy torso if you can and focus on Sarah Chalke’s cute underwear set, the immediate need, and how great this show was when it was great.
7) Peter and Alicia in the bathroom – The Good Wife
This is your reminder that The Good Wife airs on CBS, a network famously associated with old people. And it showcased a scene of a man going down on his wife because he was JUST THAT TURNED ON by how powerful she was in court. I couldn’t believe my eyes and I certainly couldn’t believe that the show got away with it. It got away with him hoisting her onto the bathroom counter, and all sorts of hand business between them, and finally Peter slinking down her body saying “Let me”. *fans self*
My favorite thing about The Good Wife is that it has ALWAYS showcased the power of female pleasure, which shouldn’t be something unusual, but sadly it is.
8) Buffy and Angel’s first time – Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Nothing to raise the hackles of the censors here, unless they’ve got something against slayer/vampire coupling.
What made Buffy and Angel’s first time together so steamy was their status as the most starcrossed of lovers. (See Buffy/Spike for some spectacular hate-sex too.) It all happened off-camera, but the lovin’ was apparently so good that it turned Angel evil. See, CW? You can do this.
9) Meredith and Derek at the Prom – Grey’s Anatomy
Honestly, I can’t talk too much about this right now. THE PAIN IS FAR TOO REAL AND FRESH.
All I can say is that this (TO ME) is the sexiest scene ever to air on Network Television. It’s passionate, it’s intimate, it’s tender, and it’s completely carnal all at the same time. Also it started Shonda’s theme of showing women losing their panties in case we were wondering what was ACTUALLY about to happen. Bonus points for hair pulling and burying his face in her bosom.
10) Connor extracts information the fun way – How To Get Away With Murder
We decided to stick with network sex scenes on this list to prove that Arrow had the room to give us a little more. But if we hadn’t limited ourselves, the very first Justin and Brian scene from Showtime’s Queer as Folk would have been here. Back in 2000, it was the first display of a certain tongue-dependent sex act on premium cable. In 2014, Shonda Rhimes brought that same act to network television. What a time to be alive.
On How to Get Away with Murder, Connor’s loose morals are the gift that keeps on giving. We got familiar with them early on, when our little legal minx takes one (or more) for the team in the show’s pilot. Shonda, meanwhile, deserves all three of her placements on this auspicious list, for diversifying sex on TV (and the people having sex on TV) like she does. Hooray for inclusion and normalization, is my point.
Was the long-awaited Olicity scene all you wanted? What are YOUR favorite network sex scenes? Let us know in the comments!