This week's issue of Variety is devoted to SEXSEXSEXSEX but not just any kind of sex. It's about that fake sex that famous people pretend they're having while you're sitting on your couch, watching them. Yes, it's all about sex on television and how much of that there is.
The Variety issue has four articles on the topic; one on the "Brave Nude World" we're living in where sexuality has apparently become increasingly more acceptable on television; one about the future of the softcore channel Cinemax; one on the limited number of studies about the effects all this sexy TV stuff is having on society; and one opinion piece by Peter Bart about sex in movies and television that includes the sentence, "Ironically, there is less explicit content in Don Jon, in which Joseph Gordon-Levitt plays a young guy with a porn hang-up, than there is in most romantic comedies."
This issue pays the most attention to the shows on basic and premium cable channels. Mentions are made the violence shown on network shows like NBC's Hannibal, but there's greater focus on the sex on Showtime shows like Homeland, the cancelled Nip/Tuck on FX, and HBO, HBO, HBO: Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and Tell Me You Love Me all get their moments. The real winners, however, are Girls and Masters of Sex, which were mentioned four and six times, respectively, throughout the issue.
There's definitely more sex on television than there used to be, especially if "used to be" takes into consideration the days when actors playing married couples pretended sleeping in separate beds was the norm. That being said, the Variety issue is limited with regards to specifics but a little high on prudish sentiment. Isn't there something to be said for sex on television being something we should worry about less than in the movies, given that it's far less embarrassing or inappropriate to be watching this stuff in the privacy of your own home than on a big screen with a hundred strangers? Or is the concern more about the long-term ramifications on psyches of all ages and the availability of this content young eyes? None of the Variety pieces are quite clear what increased displays of sex on television means for society right now – or that it's really that different from what's developing across mediums of all kinds.
Most notably, the issue barely skims the surface with regards to sexy examples worth discussing: Variety leaves out shows like Hung, Weeds, Big Love and, most notably, True Blood, sometimes known by its less-popular name Vampire Porn for the Whole Family. So let's take up where they left off. What is the sexiest show ever, throughout history and time? And did you like it? ;)