“Doing it behind the glass” – Masters of Sex Recap – Topeka

source: itsthe60sbaby.tumblr.com

source: itsthe60sbaby.tumblr.com

Masters of Sex Season 4, Episode 8
Posted by Kim

Okay, I have a serious question for the Bill and Virginia shippers. Are you satisfied with how Bill and Virginia ended up back in bed together? If you are, PLEASE, I beg you, tell me why you are because I feel like I’m watching a completely different show and the show I am watching makes me feel gross.

I realize I’m jumping to the end of the episode at the top of this recap but I can’t NOT talk about this. I know Masters of Sex isn’t a show where grand romantic gestures happen and Bill Masters and Virginia Johnson are certainly not the type of couple to have a fairy tale ending. Lest we forget, in actuality, their marriage ended in divorce. (Let me go back to the grand gesture thing for a moment because I surely can’t be the only one who remembers a rain-soaked Bill showing up on Virginia’s doorstep declaring that he can’t be without her, can I?) Because this show is based on real people, we have always known that Bill and Virginia would fall back together eventually. We just didn’t know HOW. I am not sure what I expected in regards to how the first post-Dan, post-Libby, Jesus they are both single now and it’s not illicit sexual encounter between Bill and Virginia to play out but it certainly wasn’t a “roleplaying in a rival clinic” scenario that tiptoed RIGHT up to the line of being a consent issue. Yep. I said it. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

At the end of the last episode, Bill and Gini picked out a few clinics that were stealing their methods that they would investigate separately. Road block/easy plot device alert: Guy discovers that these clinics will only admit married couples, forcing Bill and Gini to either send Art and Nancy to do it or they have to pretend they are a married couple and do it themselves. (Ordinarily, this would be the beginning of my FAVORITE fan fic trope but alas this just caused me to roll my eyes.) Bill, knowing that Dody is there, oh so casually says they should just go to Topeka together and leave Art and Nancy in charge while they are gone. Bill and Gini tell their partners to take care of the Clavermore case (and Gini makes a way too late apology to Nancy regarding spilling the beans about Art’s unhappiness) and it’s off to Topeka they go. As soon as they are out the door, Nancy turns to Art and Guy with a look of triumph on her face. “Put on some music. Let’s dance.” While the cat’s away…

In the car, Gini and Bill banter about their assumed identities (“I’ve always liked the name Earl. Earls are good guys.”) and what their fake sexual crisis should be (“I think you should be frigid.” BILL.) Eventually, they decide to just follow the Clavermore case file because who cares about Doctor/Patient confidentiality when there are phony clinics to catch?

The Topeka clinic is just as I expected it to be: a real pseudo-homey joint run by Harvey and Marcia, who come off as your cool hippie aunt and uncle who teach you about sex when you are too afraid to ask your parents about it. They have Bill and Virginia Earl and Ingrid sit low to the ground on cushiony stools and they all do the intake session around a coffee table. To the surprise of no one, the intake session is a near word-perfect replica of the Masters and Johnson technique. Also to the surprise of no one, the intake session starts to hit a little too close to home as Harvey and Marcia prove they are not exactly the quacks they appeared to be and the lines between Earl and Ingrid and Bill and Virginia begin to blur. Harvey links Earl’s sexual issues with shame, saying “Shame’s a powerful inhibitor not just to sexual health, but to true intimacy.” At first, Earl/Bill scoffs at ever having felt shame in the marriage before but Marcia pushes, asking if he’s ever felt shame in being unable to please Ingrid, if he’s ever come too fast or had trouble getting hard. WELP. Suddenly season 2’s struggle with impotence comes roaring back and things get VERY awkward because the shame and anger Bill felt back then was very real.

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Gini/Ingrid breaks into say that their sex life has always been satisfying and that they’ve always been open with each other, which surprises Harvey and Marcia, especially when they rattle off various kinks that they’ve suggested couples try. “How lucky you are to have found each other,” they marvel. Me, I’m like “LOOK HOW PREDICTABLE THEIR OWN INTAKE METHOD IS WORKING ON THEM.” I mean, let’s be real, Bill and Virginia were due for couples counseling about 5 years ago. But I’m annoyed because it’s them but it’s NOT them at the same time. This is not Bill and Virginia asking for help and because it’s not, it feels so cheap to me. Then Harvey and Marcia drop the hammer, saying that a sexual connection of this kind often springs out of something like an affair. BLAMMO. At least Bill and Virginia know their method works? “Maybe on some subconscious level, you’ve decided that you’re undeserving of pleasure, of a satisfactory resolution, of a happily ever after. Literally undeserving of finishing what you started.” OH REALLY IS THIS WHERE WE ARE GOING? That Bill’s been afraid of being happy with Virginia because he’s punishing himself? Gross. It’s gross because it’s such an over simplification of the relationship. It’s gross because it completely negates the work Bill has done as a person this season and HONESTLY it takes any of the onus off Virginia and her choices WHICH IS WRONG. WHY ARE THEY DOING THIS.

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Back at the clinic, Nancy’s true colors are finally showing. After doing the intake, Nancy gives Mr. Clavermore a tour or the clinic, answering his very specific questions about the space.¬† It’s clear that he’s interested in more than fixing his sex life and Nancy is picking up EXACTLY what he’s laying down. Clavermore says that if they are doing this kind of business in St. Louis, then IMAGINE what they could do in a city like New York. Nancy’s eyes LITERALLY gleam as she tells him that Bill and Virginia are investigating clinics stealing their methods. “I just I keep saying to Art, “Shouldn’t it be us opening one?” After all, we’ve been properly trained and endorsed by Masters and Johnson themselves.” Yep. Nancy is a snake and Art looks like he wants to vomit. They make dinner plans with the Clavermores where Nancy continues to sell the idea of her and Art opening a clinic in New York, much to Art’s consternation. “You have to admit that we have been treated terribly at this clinic. Our talents have been overlooked and undermined by a lounge singer with a degree in typing.” I mean…she’s not lying. Bill has made best efforts to make Art and Nancy feel welcome but Gini has been fighting and undermining Nancy from the get go. It’s no surprise that Art wants to stay…he hasn’t had the same experience as her at the clinic. He’s been included and taken seriously. Nancy has EVERY RIGHT to be unhappy professionally, so why are the writers making the undercurrent of this whole thing be reflective of Art and Nancy being at odds over their sexual relationship? Because you can’t tell me that Art’s “We’re not liars or thieves. I’m not anyway” comment didn’t have any sort of pointed meaning. It VERY much did.

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“I’ve Gotta Crow” – Live Blogging Peter Pan Live!

Posted by Kim

I grew up wearing out my VHS tape of the Mary Martin¬†Peter Pan, ¬†so obviously when NBC announced that the successor to last year’s¬†Sound of Music¬†Live! would be¬†Peter Pan, I was both intrigued and terrified. ¬†While the Celebrity Casting is not quite as rage-inducing as last year'(In fact, I am more than okay with the casting, slight Network Nepotism aside), I can’t resist the opportunity to live-blog NBC’s latest venture into presenting a live “theatrical” production. ¬† There are MANY¬†moving parts in¬†Peter Pan. ¬†There are kids. ¬†There are live animals (as Nana is being played by an actual dog, as opposed to the traditional method of having a person in a dog suit). ¬†There are people flying on wires. ¬†There’s Christopher Walken tap-dancing. ¬†And it’s all LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIVE!

Will NBC strike gold a second time?  Join me here at 8/7C to find out!

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Tony Week Spotlight – The Top 20 Performances, Part One

Posted by Kim

Welcome back to our Tony Week coverage!¬† We’re fully unleashing our not-so-hidden musical theatre geekdom all week.¬† Yesterday we celebrated our Host with the Most, Hugh Jackman and today we begin a two-part series on our favorite Tony Broadcast performances.

Sure there are awards given but everyone REALLY watches the Tony Awards for the performances.¬† The performances are giant commercials for the shows themselves and sometimes a perfectly done number can boost ticket sales even if the show doesn’t take home any hardware.¬† Whenever I go to a show, I watch for what I think would be “The Tony Number”.¬† Some shows trot out the major choreography numbers (the better to fill the gigantic stage with) while some just take their star performer and plop them center stage and tell them to SING THEIR ASSES OFF.¬† Both approaches are effective, as you’ll see on this list.

One note though: Obviously this list is subjective.¬† I’m not trying to name the greatest MUSICALS of all time, I’m looking strictly at their performances.¬† Sometimes affection for a particular show will bump it higher in the ratings.¬† It’s my website and I do what I want.¬† Also, thanks to technology and video quality, the oldest video on this top 20 is from 1982.¬† So yes, I KNOW that Ben Vereen and the company of Pippin are fucking brilliant.¬† You just won’t see them on here.

20) “I Believe” – The Book of Mormon

To date “I Believe” and “Hello” are the only songs I have heard from The Book of Mormon as I refuse to listen to it until I see the show, as I FIRMLY believe the songs are best viewed in complete context.¬† Help me, I’m poor.¬† Let it be known that both Sage and I are in the market for sugar daddies who will take us to see all the things.

Nonetheless, I chose “I Believe” simply for the way Tony Nominee Andrew Rannells just stood there and sang the SHIT out of one of the few songs Book of Mormon could away with doing on the telecast.¬† The pressure for Rannells to deliver must have been immense, as the show was the obvious front-runner for Best Musical.¬† But he delivered in spades.

19) “Live in Living Color/Don’t Break the Rules” – Catch Me If You Can

At first it was a toss-up between this performance and Norbert Leo Butz’s other major Tony Award performance, “Great Big Stuff” from Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (which he won his first Tony for).¬† But as I rewatched “Don’t Break the Rules” this one obviously won out for the DANCING.¬† Good God, I’m exhausted just watching it.¬† Jerry Mitchell’s choreography is highly stylized and plays to Norbert’s strengths as both a dancer and actor (also notice how his body doesn’t seem to move at all above the elbows).¬† Norbert’s Carl Hanratty was an uptight and by-the-book character who is still BURSTING with the desire to win and everything about the choreography plays to that.¬† I may have had mixed feelings about CMIYC in general but this number stopped the show every night and damn near stopped the Tony broadcast.

18) “Sit Down You’re Rockin’ The Boat” – Guys and Dolls

The 1992 revival of Guys and Dolls was damn near perfect, from the perfect casting of Nathan Lane and Faith Prince as Nathan Detroit and Miss Adelaide to the eye-popping sets and colorful costumes.¬† “Sit Down You’re Rocking The Boat” is the ultimate 11 o’clock number and Walter Bobbie (future Tony Award winner for directing Chicago) performs it with utter joy.¬† I dare you to not bust out with jazz hands along with them.

17) “Let It Go” – The Full Monty

Poor The Full Monty.  This delightful  (and vastly superior in my opinion) show was completely shut out of the Tony Awards by a little behemoth called The Producers.  But what they lacked in Actual Awards they made up for in butts (heeeeeeeeeey Patrick Wilson) that ACTUALLY made it onto the broadcast.  The true winners?  US.

16) “There Once Was A Man/Hernando’s Hideaway” – The Pajama Game

One of my greatest New York regrets is never seeing this production.¬† Women were basically throwing their bras at Harry Connick Jr. every night (or so I heard) and it’s easy to see why.¬† He’s electric, his chemistry with perpetual Tony Bridesmaid Kelli O’Hara is palpable, and once he gets behind the piano…forget it.¬† Even the ensemble members look like they are ready to rip their clothes off because of him.

Come back to Broadway anytime, Harry.¬† I know it may not pay as well as American Idol does but it’s infinitely more deserving of your talents.¬† May I suggest a new revival of Guys and Dolls as Sky Masterson?

Also A+ choreography by Tony Winner Kathleen Marshall, who picked up her second award for this production.

15) “Prologue” – Ragtime

I have spoken before about the brilliance of the Ragtime prologue.¬† It’s an absolutely thrilling 9 minutes and 45 seconds (yes, I consulted the cast recording) of theatre that perfectly sets the stage for the sweeping musical ahead.¬† No other song would have represented Ragtime as well as the prologue did and they did a great job of cutting it down to fit in the time slot constraints for the Tony Broadcast.¬† As you’ll see through out this post, there are few things I love more than a massive group of people just standing and singing their faces off.

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