Showtime’s best drama Masters of Sex returned for a second season Sunday in top form (and fresh off Emmy nominations for Lizzy Caplan, Beau Bridges, and Allison Janney). Yet despite the titilating premise of the series, covering the real-life story of pioneer sex researchers William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Caplan) with artisitc license taken here and there, not to mention the plethora of sexual studies, Masters of Sex still is often overlooked. Moving the show to the summer is a wise move on Showtime’s part — this TV season is full of reality shows and dramas that tend toward bleakness and existential despair. Sundance’s Rectify, at least, lets its characters smile and have a laugh from time to time, unlike what we’ve seen so far in HBO’s The Leftovers. But Masters presents a far less soul-crushing blend of drama and humor, giving its characters and its viewers breathing room. Even better, the series is thoughtful with its characters and the period of the late 1950s it explores. Everyone is a product of the time, not a stereotype. Racism and sexism isn’t presented bluntly to shock audiences, or slyly in a “Weren’t things crazy back then” manner. It is all presented honestly, and that’s something even the great Mad Men struggled with in early seasons.
I’ll be covering Season Two on the new Podcasters of Sex podcast with my lovely cohost Mallory Andrews, Submissions Editor at cléo, a journal of film of feminism. We hope you’ll join us as we cover this complex, insightful, and rewarding series, starting with the second season premiere, “Parallax,” which picked up about three weeks from where the Season One finale ended. We talk about Dr. DePaul (no first names here because respect), Jane, Lester, Ethan, the Scullys, the new character played by a creepy Danny Huston, and of course, the Masters family and Virginia. A lot happened, and our hearts broke several times.
Here are the show timestamps, for those interested:
0:00 - Intro
1:30 - Season 1 Recap
13:50 - “Parallax”
18:30 - The Scullys
30:30 - Creepy Danny Huston and a New Job
36:30 - The Baby!
40:00 - Back to Ohio
45:00 - The Affair
55:00 - Outro
And we’d love to hear from you! Feel free to email us at [email protected], follow us on Twitter, like us on Facebook, or leave comments on our website www.podcastersofsex.com. And once we’re in iTunes, mosy on over, subscribe, and leave us a rating and/or review.
“Parallax” was excellent and has us hopeful for an strong season season. Join us as we explore it.
Sarah Carlson is Television Editor for Pajiba. She lives in San Antonio. You can find her on Twitter.