Monday, October 15, 2007

Tell Me You Love Me Seven Times

Well, I've now seen seven episodes of Tell Me You Love Me on HBO, and thought I'd report back to you, your dedicated correspondent, about how I think the series is progressing.

First, the sex continues to be explicit and good. Episode 7, still fresh in my mind, had some especially good scenes with Jamie and Hugo, and Carolyn and Palek (separately, that is).

And what about the four ongoing relationship stories? Let's take them in chronological order, starting with the youngest.

Jamie (Michelle Borth) and Hugo (Luke Farrell Kirby): are no longer a couple, even though they were together last night, and who knows what might happen next. Turns out that Jamie, who in the first episode was obsessing about Hugo's wandering eyes, has a history herself. This is one of the signatures of the series: With each couple, we start out thinking that just one of the partners is causing the problem. But we soon learn that both are responsible, in their own ways. Jamie has now slept with two other guys since Hugo left her, and may (though I doubt it) be falling in love with Nick (Ian Somerhalder - Lost's Boone! - he never met Penny on Lost, but it's good to see both of them on Tell Me You Love Me, anyway).

Carolyn (Sonya Walger - Lost's Penny) and Palek (Adam Scott): have for the most part been trying to have a baby (or, at least, Carolyn's been trying), and there are some good surprises in this story that I won't tell you about in case you haven't yet seen
them. I don't see much hope for this couple, mainly because Palek is, I don't know, such a pretty-boy cold fish.

David (Tim DeKay) and Katie (Ally Walker): As I mentioned in my review last month, I find this relationship the most far-fetched: a couple sleeping together in the same bed, but haven't had sex in a year. I mean ... sooner or later, they're close together, half asleep, something should lead to something more ... but, ok, leaving that aside and suspending my disbelief ... Theirs is indeed a complex story, and more than it seemed at first. Katie is contributing to the problem. She confided last night that, when she and David were having sex, she sometimes faked her orgasms... And maybe more than sometimes. I predict that by the end of this season, we'll see this couple making love again, but it will be interesting to see how they get there.

Dr. May Foster (Jane Alexander) and Arthur (David Selby): are clearly a fourth couple, which is a nice touch, since Dr. Foster is also the couples' therapist treating each of the other three couples. We see May and David having some pretty passionate sex - though not as explicit as the first two couples - and I give Tell Me You Love Me credit for going into that largely uncharted territory of hot sex in your seventies. (Hey, it's always good to see a rosy future.) Their problem as a couple is probably the most mundane - a lifelong love of May's, played by Ronnie Cox, comes back into her life when his wife dies. But the story is well rendered.

All said, then, Tell Me You Love Me is keeping the promise it made in the first episode: a portrayal of sex and relationships in diverse walks of life in the 21st century, with not much left covered. The acting is really excellent throughout, and if some of the stories seem a bit strained, the passion of the players more than makes up for it.

5-minute podcast of this review

See also Tell Me You Love Me on HBO and Tell Me You Love Me on Tell Me You Love Me: Episode 8

The Plot to Save Socrates

"challenging fun" - Entertainment Weekly

"a Da Vinci-esque thriller" - New York Daily News

"Sierra Waters is sexy as hell" - curled up with a good book
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