The year is 1957 and there’s a revolution in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Washington University. A revolution of the clam. Dr. William H. Masters (Michael Sheen), the titular Masters of Sex, is conducting scientific research into human sexual behaviour, the first significant attempt to do so (read all about it on Horizon). It begins with hiding in a wardrobe watching hookers banging johns but he’s got bigger plans – P.O.V. glass dildos, ECGs and groundbreaking work into the refractory period after the male orgasm are on his agenda. But standing in his way is crusty old dean Barton Scully (Beau Bridges), Hospital Provost – he don’t want none of that Backslap Studies in his department. If Masters wants to make his mark in the field he’ll need an oppo, an assistant, a muse – someone to fight his corner when things get rough. Enter Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) – which by coincidence, is exactly what most men want to do.
If Masters wants to make his mark in the field he’ll need an oppo, an assistant, a muse. Enter Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) – which by coincidence, is exactly what most men want to do.
That’s right, the new girl in Obs & Gynae is quite the head turner and among the first head she turns is that of Doctor Ethan Haas (Nicholas D’Agosto). The handsome young resident quickly secures a date with the fox and when he gets first night fellatio his mind is as blown as his johnson.¹ Virginia stresses that she sees this very much as fuckbuddy relationship but the pussy has messed with his head and now he’s making no sense at all. Before you know where you are he’s smacking dames like his name was Chris Brown. It’s very unedifying.
The pussy has messed with his head and now he’s making no sense at all. Before you know where you are he’s smacking dames like his name was Chris Brown.
He should join the program Doctor Masters is running where he could get sex on the regular, get crazy paid and further the interests of science. The Doc appoints Virginia as his assistant and they start hooking up attractive strangers who fuck like incredible self-conscious rabbits under their objective gaze. Early fucks are a success but Masters has some misgivings which he shares with Virginia. There’s an issue with transference – he believes she was flirting with one of the patients and who knows how that could skew results? Might it not be better if she and the Doc performed the research on each other? I mean if they’re fucking the living shit out of each other it would certainly neutralise the possibility of transference, right?
I mean if they’re fucking the living shit out of each other it would certainly neutralise the possibility of transference, right?
He makes a compelling case. She’ll take the weekend to think it over. Fingers crossed, Doctor Sex. I’d ask what Mrs Masters (Caitlin Fitzgerald) would make of it but I have a feeling he’ll be keeping this one on the DL.
Masters of Sex seems alright if just a little bit pleased with itself. One of the problems with pioneers is that they’re very annoying and the wind of change often brings the sterile pollen of nause. Still, it’s an interesting story few know that much about, Sheen is cool and Jizzy Craplan is always welcome in these parts. As fifties/sixties period dramas go may it aim for Mad Men, flirt with The Playboy Club then end up as Magic City.
The verdict: Just take Todd’s She Blinded Me with Science ringtone as read for anything in this field.
Marks out of 10: 7
¹ This is a bullshit anachronism as everyone knows Barry White invented blowjobs in 1965.