Masters Of Sex Recap: Brave Sexy Sad New World
Let’s kick off this week’s Masters of Sex recap with Freud talking about the clitoris and frigid women. Jesus, do we have to? We do because it is Freud’s daughter that has come to give a lecture and take questions, except we are then whisked off to the Adventures of Pouty Erectile Dysfunction Dr. Langham, who is lurking in the secretary pool all wistful/creepy-like, hoping to see Jane. Jane’s not there because she’s off with Virginia listening to Anna Freud. Virginia, being awesome, is just stone cold asking questions of Freud offspring about female orgasms. Lady doctor Dr. DePaul is at the lecture too, and looks as though she will kill Virginia with her mind for having the gall to show up and speak up.
Virginia is busy confounding and angering Freudenchild about daddy Freud’s statement that when ladies masturbate it is an “immature” orgasm and whether there’s ever been any scientific data to back up that charming theory. Anna Freud sniffs at her and looks down her nose in that way that Austrians can, and informs Virginia, with maximum snoot, that she simply can’t imagine how one could get that data.
Virginia is delightfully fixated on the lecture and the inscrutability of the mature/immature female orgasm nonsense. Masters explains the whole theory – clitoral orgasms = immature and sorry ladies, you’re frigid unless you can get off from a nice husband-fucking – and Virginia is astonished that people actually believe this. WE ARE ASTONISHED TOO BECAUSE IT IS DUMB.
Virginia and Bill are walking out together as they discuss this, and he’s treating her remarkably like a colleague, explaining Freud without being a patronizing dick, and listening to her suggestions that hey maybe it is the man that can’t please his lady, hmmmmm?? without mocking her. We just feel like this is a setup for him to behave badly in 3, 2, 1…He’s going on vacation but he does not want to go on vacation because he is not the sort of man that goes on vacation, but Virginia gently reminds him that his wife needs some time away what with the whole miscarriage and all.
Gah. We were hoping to not circle back around to University Provost and His Sad Closeted Life as maybe the only function of that was to allow Masters to be a horrible human being and blackmail him into allowing the study to continue. But here we are in a parked car with the 1950s rent boy and Scully is asking vintage rent boy if he’s ever told anyone about their relationship. He denies it and it is time for a sad closeted car handjob. Jesus, this show is depressing for the ladies and the gays.
Aaaannnnddd…time for Masters to behave…if not quite poorly, then mostly like a robot. He really doesn’t get why Libby can’t bear to look at other women who have new babies and how she feels like everyone is talking about her. Guess what? It’s the 1950s. They probably ARE talking about her and Bill you should know this since you see ladies with ladyparts trouble all day every day. Jesus, man. He does take a moment to let her know that they’re still a family, even without a baby. It’s a nice thought, and it is wonderful he thinks that, but you know Libby doesn’t.
Scully is sneaking in the house after his late night car tryst. He rolls in with a smooth lie about how he was forced into drinks with a new Dean at the school and finds his wife Allison Janney in bed being a very modern lady reading “Peyton Place.”
He teases her about the book, so she reads him a saucy passage about breast-rubbing that couldn’t sound more uptight 1950s if it tried. They are gentle and funny to each other, until Scully leaves and goes down to his own room, and it is clear from the scene that he always sleeps in a different room. Cut to Mrs. Scully looking sad and broken-hearted and us feeling that way too.
Jane finds herself in an elevator with Dr. LimpDick Langham and oh she does not want to be there because she does not want to fix the problem with his dick. No, really. She asks him if he’s read Freud and suggests he might benefit from psychoanalysis. Jane, you are our new favorite. The problem, she un-gently informs him, is in his head, not his pants. Damn, but the truth hurts.
Dr. DePaul stops down for a visit with Masters but Masters is off in sunny Florida. DePaul and Virginia end up chatting, but only after DePaul gets over her scowly surprise that Virginia is up on all the latest ob/gyn lingo like “pap smear.” Back in the dark ages aka the 1950s, that procedure wasn’t mandatory even though it has that handy effect of catching cancer relatively early. DePaul is disgusted with the fact that it isn’t mandatory at this hospital as it is in New York. Virginia lets her know that she knows how to get things done at the hospital and DePaul has a wish list a mile long. Friends? Probably not.
Vacation! All we ever wanted! Man, 1950s vacations look fancy and fantastic.
Masters looks like a man going to his death rather than someone who is getting six days off in Florida.
Koffee Klatsch! Mrs. Scully is playing scrabble with other faculty wives, all of whom look dressed up fabulous. One of the women has volunteered for Masters’ study and is explaining to the half-titillated/half-scandalized crew of ladies that she is not sexing her husband, she is sexing “Number M 514117” and he is getting the job DONE, son. The other ladies titter approvingly, but Mrs. Scully just looks sad because this show is ripping your heart out piece by piece.
We’re back at vacationland with Masters and wife, and they’ve been put in a lovely anniversary suite in that comes with complimentary paper-thin walls where they can hear children jumping and playing. SEE WHAT WE MEAN ABOUT THIS SHOW?? Oh, except it is not children, it is very vigorous sexing from some sexy septuagenarians. Masters actually starts timing them through the walls until Libby suggests that maybe it would be nice if they have sex, so he gives it completely less than his all and tries to look over Libby’s shoulder at the clock as he kisses her desultorily. Way to go, champ.
Jane is still reading Freud, which she’s taken to toting around the hospital and assaulting Virginia with random passages while Virginia dines. Segue into Jane explaining that she can come just from boob-touching, which is kinda all that, but she worries, thanks to her excessive Freuding, that she’s having one o’them immature orgasms. Virginia thoughtfully informs her that is bunk. Virginia also thoughtfully has just decided to keep on keepin’ on, science-wise, in Masters’ absence and gets Jane hooked up to the glass dildo sex machine. For science, she’s going to get herself off first with the giant dildo, and then, after a suitable refractory period, of course, by touching her immature clitoris. FOR SCIENCE YOU GUYS.
When they get the readouts, every everything is exactly the same except for that part about how the good old-fashioned solo clitoris-touching is stronger.
Jane exclaims “My clitoris beat my vagina!” and did we remind you she is our favorite?
As much as Jane is our new favorite, Dr. DePaul is our old object of loathing. When a lithesome young lady comes asking around about the study, DePaul informs her that Johnson is not a doctor and is only a secretary and is small, brunette, and ambitious. Oh, and she’s not a doctor. No, she says that twice, because she is double terrible. Virginia would be your friend and would help you and be nice to you, Lady Doctor, but you’re too busy stepping on all the other ladies to make sure you stay up top.
Virginia has rung up Masters while he’s on vacation to chat about clitoral versus vaginal orgasms, like you do. They do some hot talking about how mebbe Freud was just wrong and the vaginal orgasm is just a clitoral orgasm too, what with everything being all co-located down there. It’s going to be a whole study, you guys!! Masters and Johnson practically jump up and down with glee across the telephone lines. Libby walks in on the end of Bill’s joy and tells him that things aren’t working. Dude, things really aren’t working, because you are obsessed with work and you are ignoring your wife. She sends him packing and home on a plane, which we’d applaud except that it is just rewarding his terrible behavior by sending him off to do exactly what he wants to do.
Dr. LimpDick has gone into full-on-old-school-couch-laying psychoanalysis.
Couldn’t happen to a less likable guy.
Mrs. Scully is at the hospital and pops in (yes, she really says that) to…oh, to Virginia, not to Masters. Everyone, including us, seems surprised by this.
Back home, Bill walks in the door, tosses back a drink, calls Virginia, tells her Libby is staying in Florida, and schedules a round of sexytime-watching all before Virginia can even get a word in edgewise about the visit from Mrs. S. Meanwhile, back in Miami, Libby is getting day drunk with the sexy olds who have been together since ever and she’s made up having two children AND killed off Bill in an imaginary plane crash. And one of the sexy olds is Barry Bostwick. Go Libby. Except Libby goes and goes, and on about daiquiri number three, she can’t keep track of the names she’s made up for her pretend children.
Getting ready for sexxxy studytime with the ladies going not one, but TWO rounds of orgasming to see if Virginia’s theory that an orgasm is an orgasm is an orgasm, even sans dude, holds true. Oh, and Mrs. Scully wants in the study. Yes, Bill, the wife of the closeted gay man you blackmail into allowing you to continue your sex study would like to come masturbate for you, for science. The interview with Masters and Johnson is equal parts sad and awkward, especially when she explains that she and the provost have sex once a year or less and she does not appear to actually know if she’s ever had an orgasm. She hasn’t, and that knocks her out of this study. She leaves foolish and flustered and tearful and barely makes it to the elevator before bursting into tears. Now the show is actually burrowing into our tearducts and just living there. Joking aside, the show continues to do a great job at being really gentle and deft with feelings at the most unexpected times and is an all-time pro hall of famer about tugging at your heartstrings without being sappy.
Barry Bostwick has stopped by to see if Libby wants to keep drinking and oh by the way maybe have sex with him while his wife listens in from the other room. She tells him if he doesn’t stop, she’ll call her husband. Barry Bostwick points out that her husband is supposed to be dead. Libby does some world-class huffing to explain he misunderstood and he wanders off, bottle in hand.
That moment of comitragic relief was lovely, but too brief, as we’re now at dinner with the whole Scully fam, and it looks as lonesome as the high plains.
Vivian tries to get her folks to go out to a movie or just go out at all, but the provost stays at home and Mrs. Scully goes to see “Peyton Place” by her lonesome. It is as sad as you think it is, and it is as awkward as can be when she runs into Dr. LimpDick as she leaves. Oh, please let them have an affair, please. For her sake. Show, you owe us this. He can be humanized, she can be, if not happy, slightly less sad. Yesssss! They kiss and have sex in the same car the provost received his sad handjob in at the start of the show, and there’s a symmetry to the moment that is both sad and sweet. Also, too, cars in the 1950s were WIDE as these people are just stone cold laying down and doing it, and Allison Janney is like six feet tall.
Dr. DePaul has swung by Bill’s office to be incredibly un-self-aware and complain about how medicine is dominated by men and she is mistaken for a secretary and somehow that is a good reason to trash Virginia. DePaul is taking over Bill’s role as history’s greatest monster quite handily because goddammit Virginia should never ever wever be able to be respected because DePaul had to work to be respected, or something like that. It’s catty and awful and we could kiss Bill Masters on the lips when he points out that she should have this conversation directly with Virginia. She tells him she’s thinking with his dick and clomps off.
This leads Bill to tell Virginia that she can’t be his secretary anymore, and our blood starts boiling. Come ON, man! Except SIKE he’s making her a research assistant because her role goes beyond secretary and they will get a new secretary to share. Smart move, Bill. You saved yourself from us chewing our way through the computer to murder you. And now we’re going to gleefully list all the ways people can come, one of which involves q-tips. Yay sex! Bill says he’d need to see proof that a woman could come just from having her breasts touched, a la Jane, so Virginia strips off her shirt, hops up on the table, attaches some electrodes, puts Bill’s hand on her breasts and the scene, and this week’s episode, ends, because besides being a heartbreaker, this show is a tease.