The reviews are in for Human Sexual Response and they are glowing, much to the delight and arousal of the book’s authors, Masters and Johnson. Well, almost. A crying baby and Virginia’s post-baby body anxiety further augment this season’s framing of Virginia and Bill’s relationship as a ghost marriage.
That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, after ten years of research (or two seasons and two episodes for us), the American public is devouring the Masters and Johnson book with mixed results. As the press is calling the book genius, Bill is staving off threats of damnation and dropping unintentional arousal jokes, all while trying to make his book part of the university curriculum. Virginia, on the other hand, must deal with more Tessa drama, this time at school. Oh and Tessa? She’s using her mother’s book as her own gateway to sexual research. For the first time this season, Tessa’s storyline feels necessary. The shift of female power, and how a girl suddenly becomes something she’s not, as seen through her adolescent world, works as a parallel to her mother’s own struggles.
Also taking an interest in the book are some big players, including a hand-massager manufacturer, a suit sporting Hugh Hefner, and perfumier Daniel Logan (Josh Charles). The cut-between scenes for these three meetings were a highlight of the episode, particularly the wink of the Playboy Bunny Club, complete with bunnies. I’m a fan of anything that gives Annaleigh Ashford more screen time.
Thank goodness Masters rejected Hef, because as a big Sports Night fan (and even bigger Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead fan), I am delighted by Charles as a schmoozy millionaire. More of him and Virginia, please. Next week’s preview implies we’ll get just that, which might up the tension even more between her and Bill. At the beginning of the episode we learn that Bill hasn’t touched Virginia in the year, a.k.a. while she’s had “part of George” in her. Bill’s double standard–at least detached, at most impotent–regarding Virginia and any other man is a sly bit of subtext I wonder if the show will ever address head-on. Logan might be just the catalyst to bring up that double standard. Or at least the fangirl in me hopes so.
On the homefront, snaps for Libby for her killer, “the Chinese menus are on the top of the fridge and they deliver until ten,” line. Granted, her handing out The Feminine Mystique is a bit obvious, but watching her grapple with her neighbor Joy’s (Susan May Pratt) decision to leave her husband does give her own “should I stay or should I go” confusion more depth. Bill’s scene with the football cards and Joy’s husband drags a bit too long, however. The point could have been made with less time dedicated to awkward male disconnecting.
Some lingering questions: When exactly did Lester end up with Jane? (I may have totally missed this, but last I recall he was going to make things work with psychologically damaged Betsy.) When do we get some Allison Janney? It’s interesting and all to see Barton with his new meal cooking beard, but Margaret is always the spark in that storyline.
Until next week . . .
Image via Showtime