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Entries in Masters of Sex (16)

Sunday
Sep112016

Masters of Sex Catch-up: Our Story So Far

Season 4 of Masters of Sex premieres on September 11 at 10pm Eastern on Showtime. I’ve been blogging this show for all of its run.

Masters of Sex is based on the true story of the breakthrough sex research of Doctor William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) (“Masters & Johnson”), while intermingling fact and fiction. Some characters are entirely fictional, parts of the chronology are tweaked, but major historical moments are generally respected.

Where we left off: Here’s the quick summation of the Season 3 finale—read below for a detailed series summary. Bill Masters, realizing his love for Virginia Johnson, confesses his affair to his wife, who already knew. Too late; he’s chased Virginia and her new fiancé to the airport, but they take off for Mexico and presumably elopement. Barton Scully is in love with a hot gay doctor. Helen and Betty are expecting thanks to Austin. Libby dumped the next door neighbor hottie, who moved out immediately.

Okay, what? If you want to know more, read on:

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Aug182015

The Team on TV: Masters of Sex S3

Last week we kicked off a new weekly series in which we assemble a few rotating members of Team Experience to discuss various TV shows. Here's Dan, David, Deborah, and Manuel on discuss Masters of Sex - Editor
 

Dan: Hello everybody, welcome to our roundtable discussion on Masters Of Sex. I want to begin with a general topic: How do you all respond to time jumps in TV shows? Masters of Sex does this a lot, with several months often taking place offscreen either in between episodes or even during a single episode (S2's "Asterion" comes to mind). The second season ended in 1961, and this season began in 1966, skipping anything dealing with finding a publisher and marketing the study as a book. Did that throw you? Did you miss anything that would have been covered in the years we didn't get to see?

I was taken aback when it turned out Isabelle Fuhrman was Virginia's daughter Tessa, because last we saw Virginia had given up custody of her kids and Tessa was still a little girl. Now she's all grown and sneaking alcohol and drunkenly attempting to kiss Bill.... what happened to our sweet girl?

Deborah: Hi Dan and all!  I'm a Mad Men fanatic, so I don't mind time jumps in theory. But Masters of Sex has been clunky with it. A big time jump at the halfway point of a season (Asterion) is awkward. At the time, I wrote "Halfway through Season 2, Masters of Sex decides 'to hell with this.'" It was strange. Jumping forward between seasons is a more elegant way and it makes sense. Here's what doesn't make sense: The show clearly wanted to get to the publication of the book, because all the years of research for the book were bound to become repetitive. That being the case, now that they've brought us to the book, why put so much attention on Virginia's kids and Bill's marriage?

More...

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Wednesday
Jun242015

Team Experience: Collective Emmy Ballot, Drama 

Part 1 of 2... DRAMA!
Part 2 -- Comedy 

Eleven members of our team* turned in full Emmy ballots. I've compiled the results for you here. This is a very limited pool versus the thousands from the Television Academy who will vote on the actual Emmys but I thought it might be interesting for readers who are invested in this 'new golden age' of television. 

REMINDER: THESE ARE NOT PREDICTIONS

What follows is what we communally hope for when the nominations are announced. Voting on the nominations for the real Emmys ends this Friday, June 26th. The nominations will be announced on July 16th (what takes them so long to tally it?) and the ceremony happens on September 20th. It's a ridiculously wide spread of time -- nearly double the Oscar voting spread.

OUTSTANDING DRAMA SERIES

  • The Americans (FX)
  • Empire (FOX)
  • Game of Thrones (HBO)
  • The Leftovers (HBO)
  • Mad Men (AMC)
  • Masters of Sex (SHO)
  • Orange is the New Black (NETFLIX)

Twenty-two different series received at least one vote but there were no votes at all for two Emmy regulars in this category (Downton Abbey & House of Cards). No series made every ballot though Mad Men and Masters of Sex were out front together in that regard. I forgot to hold a tiebreaker vote between The Leftovers and The Fall for the final slot so I made the choice myself, and erred on the side of way more ambition though The Fall was arguably more consistent. The nearest misses were The Affair and Agent Carter. The Agent Carter contingency surprised me even though I adore the show but then we're friendlier to non-prestige genre shows here (The Flash, Orphan Black and Daredevil also received votes). We shouldn't bring up the painful years of snubs for Battlestar Galactica and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, two of the finest shows TV ever produced. Neither of which could get arrested by Emmy voters in major categories. (sigh)

Acting Categories after the jump...

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Thursday
Jun182015

Ann Dowd: Quick Notes on Six Roles

The Film Experience is proud to turn today over to the great actress Ann Dowd. Enjoy... 

The cast of "Garden State"

- by Ann Dowd

Nathaniel tells me these are his favorite characters from my filmography and since I've taken over The Film Experience for the day, here are quick notes on each.

"Olivia" in Garden State (2004)
Loved. Zach Braff really had it together- wrote, directed, starred in. He was very clear about what he wanted which is always a pleasure.

"Cookie Kelly" in Freaks and Geeks (2000)
Hysterical. Writers, actors, everybody was talented and young and funny. I love that role - she was delicious and twisted.



 

"Sister Maureen 'Mo' Brody" in Nothing Sacred (1997)
Sister Maureen was a wonderful role, so well written, a lovely cast. I have two aunts who are Catholic Ursuline sisters so I know something about that world – how educated they are, how generous and caring and complicated they are. The way the role was conceived by Bill Cain reflected the truth about that world and it was a pleasure to work on it. 

"Sandra" in Compliance (2012)
Another beautifully written role. I have tremendous empathy for that character, not having a guidance system of her own. How derailed her life became. Great director Craig Zobel.


"Estabrooks Masters" in Masters of Sex (2013)
Oh my gosh, what I remember most about the first season is just the feeling of hitting that ground running. Michelle Ashford's writing is great. A really terrific cast - Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan, Caitlin FitzGerald. The stories were very strong and I love the character of Estabrooks. She's clear and unfaltering and also able to admit her mistakes, apologize and then move forward. Loved her.

 

"Patti" in The Leftovers (2014)
We already spoke at length about this role but there was a lot of camarederie on set with Amy, Liv, and Justin. The atmosphere was so surreal -- keep in mind that sometimes we were shooting in the middle of the night in the cul-de-sac somewhere 45 minutes out of the city -- no sense of time or space. On one of the first days of shooting the first A.D. Vebe Borge didn't speak in solidary with the Guilty Remnant. How's that for commitment?

Wednesday
Jun172015

FYC: Michael Sheen for Best Actor, Drama

Team Experience continues to share their picks for this year's Emmy nominations. Here's David on Michael Sheen.

If Lizzy Caplan's Virginia Johnson is the heart of Masters of Sex, Michael Sheen's Bill Masters is its head - its proud, dedicated, fearful psychosis, driving the narrative into a quagmire of sexual and social confusion. Virginia's emotion flows easily from her, but Bill's is buried beneath acres of childhood trauma built into cracked defences. He is akin to the other current TV icon of past American masculinity, Don Draper – and one episode even leaves him in the dark glow of a deserted office in a shot that could have come straight from Mad Men.

Sheen’s brilliance in the part is in how he retains the audience’s sympathy and investment despite his frequently frustrating episodes of stubbornness, anger, hypocrisy and cruelty. As Bill repeatedly contends, he "never meant to hurt anyone" - a clichéd excuse that is beautifully grounded in the reality of Sheen’s performance. Ironically, Bill is only really able to pull off an emotional façade in his most vulnerable moments, whether spitting cruel barbs back at his brother Frank or trying to shut out Virginia’s inquisitive gaze as she delves into his childhood (in the masterful third episode, ‘Fight’, set almost entirely in their hotel room).

Sheen and Lizzy Caplan in 'Fight'

Tasked with portraying such an intricate mind, it would have been easy for Sheen to make him inscrutable, shutting the audience out as spectators of Bill’s great intellect. Instead, Sheen delineates almost endless contradictions and conflicts while humanising a man who insistently refuses emotionality. As Bill discovers that his first patient needs to be himself, and as he opens up to Virginia, Sheen is careful not to abandon the inherent resistance of Bill’s nature to both of these developments, crafting a compelling and detailed story of a man more fascinating than his work. The defining moment of Sheen’s second season might be when Virginia orders him to strip before her – rarely do we see any man so controlled and exposed, but especially this one. 

Previously:
The Americans | Jane the Virgin | Cara Seymour, The Knick | Lisa Kudrow, The Comeback | Jon Hamm, Mad Men | Ruth Wilson, The Affair | Matt Czuchry, The Good Wife | Gwendolyn Christie, Game of Thrones | Lauren Weedman, Looking 

Wednesday
Aug202014

5 Days 'til Emmys: Bunk Mates and Sex for Science

It's my blog and I'll play favorites if I want to. Though I'm rooting hardest for Mad Men on Emmy night (mostly because I think it needs all the goodwill it can get at this point) my actual two favorite shows of the 13/14 television season were Orange is the New Black and Masters of Sex, both competing in various categories, though not enough of them in the latter case, for their stellar debut seasons. So for this round of group question festivities, posed to friends of TFE and contributors, I have two questions regarding my two favorites.

Answer them yourself in the comments.

1. Which Orange is the New Black character would you most want to bunk with if you were so unfortunate as to land in that prison?

Matthew Rettenmund: Sophia Burset would be a great bunkmate. She could do my hair so it wouldn't look bald on top.

Jose Solis: Not a character, but Jodie Foster directed the best episode and I'd love to be *anywhere* with her.

 Mark Blankenship: Clearly, I need to bunk up with Poussey. I speak a little German, I enjoy books, and I'm very interested in building up a tolerance for homemade alcohol.

     more answers & sex studies after the jump

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