In Praise of Masters of Sex

Masters of SexI’m back to writing the dissertation again after a few days of denial. And in addition to Motown hits on repeat, I’ve enjoyed having some good TV breaks. I’m catching up with Masters of Sex, the second season of which reappeared on More4 last week I’m told, although bewilderingly with very little fanfare. (Ok, I don’t watch much live TV so maybe they advertised its socks off – but that’s not the impression I get). They really made a big advertising push ahead of the first season, but I get the impression that the show didn’t do as well as expected, despite the obvious appeal to the sort of people who would have enjoyed The Hour or Mad Men.

The title is provocative but it’s actually a very interesting show about one of the groundbreaking studies into human sexual behaviour, set in the late 1950s/early 1960s I think (I’m not a Mad Men aficionado so I don’t watch for the period details so obsessively). It’s a fascinating study of attitudes and human behaviour, but it’s also got some great writing and characters, especially (and yes, I’m a sucker for a strong female) Virginia Johnson, Dr Master’s research assistant – an independent, modern woman who is always wrestling with what she wants and what she ought to do, straining against the limits placed on women at that time, and who is so hungry to learn more and be recognised as a colleague by her male colleagues. Dr Masters is a bit of a complicated man, and his relationship with his wife, mother and Johnson are illuminating.

It’s a surprisingly moving, but also very intelligent and fascinating show. I’m not the only one asking why more people aren’t watching it? (thanks Guardian)

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