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'Masters of Sex' Continues to Be the Rare Show Where Nudity Actually Is Essential to the Plot

By Dustin Rowles | TV Reviews | November 25, 2013 | Comments ()


Vaginal Rear Entry Male Superior — The personal relationship between Virginia and Bill continues to experience its rough patches, mostly because Bill continues to be a giant, unfeeling asshole. The thematic through-line in the episode was evaluations, and if Bill and Virginia were giving each other marks for their sexual performance, they’d grade each other well. However, Bill would fail in social interaction, pleasantness, and problem-solving abilities.

This week, after Bill’s mother sensed that Bill had developed an attraction to Virginia (because SHE HAS EYES), she basically told him to knock it off, think about his wife, and stop acting like his terrible father. Bill, naturally, was defensive, but he got the message

In order to relieve that guilt, he turned right around and offered Virginia money for her participation in the sex study, which was absolutely the wrong thing to do, since — in Virginia’s mind, at least — it was “our” sex study, for which there was no reason for her to be paid. But Bill wanted to create some detachment and reduce their sexual activity to a transaction in order to relieve himself of the remorse he feels for cheating on his wife, both emotionally and for science. Ginny, however, didn’t react well. She didn’t want to be thought of as a participant in a sex study; rather she wants to be known as a partner in their joint research.

Anal Rear Entry, Female Superior — That must have been how Bill felt after Libby finally apprised him of her pregnancy. Not only is his wife again trying to successfully navigate a pregnancy that he clearly didn’t want, but Bill must have wondered how, although he didn’t question it for long before Libby threw this in his face: “The purpose of sex isn’t an orgasm, Bill. It’s life. It’s love,”

I’m not so sure Bill agrees. Meanwhile, Libby probably shouldn’t be smoking while she’s pregnant, or had 1956 not yet received that memo?

Neck Strain, Vasocongestion, The Start of a Very Promising Stomach Spasm — Sex is many different things for many different people. For Libby, it is life and love. For Ginny, it’s for science. For Bill, it’s to get his rocks off. For Jane: It’s an intense, pleasurable emotional experience. While Jane is happy to reduce her physiological reactions to statistics and offer them to science, she’s not ready to give to the wider world her video-taped emotional response to sexual pleasure. She thus backs out of the videotaped portion of the study, though Virginia is all-to- happy to fill her spot.

Heart Broken, Female Inferior — Ethan Haas, meanwhile, broke poor Vivian’s heart. She thought she had some control over the relationship, enough at least to compel Ethan into converting from Judaism to Catholicism, since he didn’t care either way. However, he had a change of heart, and then used his decision to honor his Jewish faith as a convenient excuse to break off his engagement with Vivian. Vivian was heartbroken.

Female Masturbation, Reclined, Male Watching — Despite his attempt to detach himself from Ginny, Bill obviously wasn’t able to let go of his prurient obsession with her, and the creepy quotient was magnified exponentially when, at the end of the episode, Bill retired to his study to watch the film of Virginia masturbating. Just wait until Libby finds that film reel, Bill. How are you going to explain that one? Huh? That for science to, buddy?

Meanwhile, while Bill was watching Ginny play out her magnificent Herbal Essence commercial, Ginny was weeping in her car over the way Bill had mistreated her once again. That was just the moment when Ethan arrived, ready to console her. That poor guy (that poor, abusive guy) just doesn’t know how to quit her.

Elsewhere, Mr. Skin and Lizzy Caplan fans had a very, very good week.

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