Wednesday, July 07, 2021

TV: Some stories aren't really worth telling

Once upon a time, we called for women's stories to be told. These days, we think the call should have been more specific. In fact, watching SEX/LIFE, we're left with the obvious reality that not all women have stories to tell.


If there's a story to tell in NETFLIX's latest TV series offering, it's that some people's lives are so good they really need to stop whining.

Billie Connelly (played by Sarah Shahi and her forever pointed nipples) has it all but is too damn stupid to grasp that. She has the kids she always wanted, a dream husband who is the envy of the world (Cooper Connelly played by Mike Vogel), a dream house, a wonderful best friend (Sasha Snow played by Margaret Odette). And it's just, honestly, never enough.

She lives the song "Never Enough" from Olivia Newton-John's TOTALLY HOT album (written by John Farrar, Pat Carroll, Alan Tarney and Trevor Spencer):


What more can he do but give her his heart
Wrapped up in a love so sincere
Lookin' around at all that they have
It seems clear
That it's never enough, never never enough
Why is all that we have simply never enough?
No it's never enough, never never enough
It's so sad
Is anything ever enough?
She ran out of time for people who loved her
Their love couldn't get her nowhere

Nowhere. That pretty much describes SEX/LIFE in one word.

Adam Demos is nowhere personified. He shows up as an ex-boyfriend Brad from before she got married and he shows up looking ten years younger (he's only actually five years younger) and determined to tame Billie's profusely erect nipples.

There's so much wrong with this show that it's difficult to know where to start. Let's move away from its premise to note one thing that's clear from episode one -- Billie loves her some boys.


Not men.

We're presented with a montage of past lovers and her engaging in sex with them. It's a parade of Ziegfeld Boys with no feather boas or anything else touching their well-waxed chests. Did no man in NYC have a single chest hair? Or did Billie just keep a bottle of Nair in her purse for any chance encounters?

If only to help you differentiate the multitude of men on display, a stray chest hair or two -- or even a scar -- might have helped.

While we're talking bodies, Mike Vogel deserves credit for letting his knob bounce around. It's not as prominent as all of Sarah Shahi's body but it is there if you squint and look close and it's much more than Adam Demos offers.

We'll note that Mike and Sarah have chemistry on screen while there is no spark between Sarah and Adam (who, in real life, are actually a couple).

There's no spark of life in the series either and that really disappointed us. Like those involved in the show, we're Carly Simon fans. But what she captured in her cinematic song "The Wives Are In Connecticut" is not on display in the series that uses the song title for its first episode.

Billie is not a smart woman. That's a point we'll get back to but when Demos shows up as the ex-boyfriend, Billie becomes even more stupid. She writes about him and about their past sex life. She writes about it on her laptop. She writes about it on her laptop that she leaves open.

When Coop reads it, he sees his wife in a different light and they have satisfying sex -- smething Billie's been whining about in voice overs from the moment the first episode starts.

Billie then conspires with Sasha to turn the diary into a sex manual for Coop without his knowledge and all it does is harm their marriage and their understanding of one another.

Does she want sex? Does she want romance? Does she want to go back to work?

Billie wants it all -- she's Dyan Cannon in MASTER OF THE GAME! But, unlike Dyan, she won't be straightforward about anything.

Instead of creating a mythical diary that's actually a manual for Cooper, why didn't she just talk to him?

We have no sympathy for her.

She's whining in a voice over that he hasn't gone down on her in eight months.

Why's she telling us?

We're not going to go down on her.

Maybe if she told her husband, he might.

She wants to have sex with him and then gets upset because, while they're doing it, his attention is elsewhere. Are we supposed to be surprised? And how in the hell can she be? She comes into the bedroom with him watching sports on TV. She never turns off the TV. Did she really think leaving a game on the TV right in front of the bed wasn't going to be a distraction?

She has no common sense and wants to forever play helpless and be a victim. We don't see her as a victim, we see her as someone who needs to learn to voice her needs and someone who needs to stop trying to earn pity.

For starters, people would be thrilled to have her life. And most people who had her life would have the guts and ownership to tell their partner, "I need you to go down on me." Even the most reserved who might be embarrassed to say that (hard to believe possible in this day and age) would still be able to say, "Honey, turn off the TV."

She can't do anything and that's the only consistent quality to her character: She's always been a dumb bitch.

In a flashback to years ago, we see how she met Brad. She and Sasha went to a night club to dance and listen to a band. Billie's ready to go but finds Sasha in front of the stage going down on a band member. Rather than leave, she watches for a bit while engaging Sasha in conversation -- Sasha mainly keeps up her end via hand signals. Billie heads out, apparently planning to walk home. On the sidewalk outside the club, a man accosts her and you fear she's about to be attacked but then Brad shows up, tells the man to go away, gives him money to get something to eat and introduces himself to Billie.

Meet desperate? Has that replaced meet cute?

Billie has never met him before but immediately gets into his car and lets him take her to his home. Again, dumb bitch.

Minutes ago, you could have been raped by a stranger and now you're going home with another stranger -- one who doesn't answer your most basic questions before you get into his car?

"B-b-but, Ava and C.I., he saved her from possible rape!"

Uh-huh, however, we believe the proper etiquette in that situation is a "thank you," not putting out.

Certainly, not putting yourself and your safety as risk.

It's hard to believe that so many women were involved in writing, directing and producing this series since it's so divorced from women's reality. Most women do not respond to potential rape by, seconds later, going off with a stranger.

And most women won't respond to Billie's supposed plight. Most will see her as pretty much already having it all. Kids, a husband who adores for her, bills that are paid, etc. She really lacks for nothing. "Bad sex life." Okay, and we'd agree. But Billie's supposedly a feminist. Yet instead of being a grown woman and voicing her needs to her husband, she comes up with a hair brained scheme that you couldn't even imagine Lucy Ricardo attempting to pull off.

Vary little in SEX/LIFE rings true or reads real. Mike Vogel and Margaret Odette deserve credit for making their poorly written characters come to life and this would have been a better show -- even with the bad scripts and premise -- had they starred opposite one another as Coop and Billie.






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