This new HBO series has received a tremendous amount of press due to the numerous instances of sexually explicit scenes in each episode. Just as HBO pushed the envelope with televised graphic violence in The Sopranos, this series takes a leap forward (or is it backward?) with graphic intimacy.
The first episode introduces us to the main characters: three couples, each in a crisis in their relationship, who seek help with the same therapist. The therapist’s husband will also play a continuing role in this drama, as will other minor characters.
As we meet the couples we learn very quickly what their issues are. Katie and Dave are married, in their forties and the parents of two young children. They struggle with a lack of intimacy. Carolyn and Palek, a married couple in their thirties, have spent the past year trying to conceive. Jamie and Hugo are in their twenties and recently engaged. Jamie mistrusts Hugo’s commitment to monogamy. We learn that even the therapist, May, and her husband, Arthur, have had their share of trouble, most lately with Arthur’s decision to retire, while May continues working.
The characters lack depth, and the dialog is sparse and ordinary. I’ll keep watching in the hopes that the characters will develop and become three-dimensional and sympathetic and interesting.
For anyone who might be squeamish about viewing graphic sex on TV, I’d recommend watching this first episode by yourself. I’m glad I did!