Nudity, prudity, and double standards on cable television

posted at 12:01 pm on March 11, 2014 by Ed Morrissey

Yesterday, I mentioned the obligatory and gratuitous nudity featured in True Detective, one of the most interesting and original premium-channel series. The mention prompted a couple of challenges from readers to discuss that aspect of film entertainment at more length, which prompted my column at The Week today. I may well be a prude, but the issue — especially in this segment of the industry — isn’t really about whether nudity should be used at all in art, a fight that was settled in the Renaissance and later after the abolition of the Hays Office in Hollywood. It’s about what is being sold, and how.

In the beginning, premium-channel original series were about as subtle as a jackhammer about how they differentiated themselves from free-broadcast competition:

As anyone who has watched original series on premium channels knows, the only constants are bare breasts and slapping pelvises. Ever since 1982′s A New Day in Eden, the market has defined itself by its willingness to bare all. The fact that this definition holds to this day speaks to an anachronistic view of cable television and its audience, and to a stunted point of view from the people who produce it.

In the beginning, this nudity made at least some market sense. Series like A New Day in Eden had to differentiate themselves from their broadcast competition. Most of them couldn’t compete on quality — A New Day in Eden was a bad soap opera even for soap operas — so the only way to keep viewer attention was by putting skin literally into the game.

The selling point for pay-TV was that it was unedited and uncensored. Back before the universal access of HBO and Showtime, Los Angeles had ON-TV, a scrambled over-the-air service that advertised itself with a woman disrobing (with a strategic freeze-frame to make the ads airable). The sale was sex, sex, sex rather than high-quality original entertainment.

That changed over the next decade or so, when premium channels started putting money and effort into their original programming. The quality and prestige improved … but the sales pitch never did:

Defenders of the practice claim it shows authenticity and artistic honesty, but the examples seen by audiences seem like anything but honesty. In Showtime’s The Tudors, which ran for four seasons, we barely got past the opening credits of the first episode before the ridiculously young Jonathan Rhys-Meyers (playing a middle-aged King Henry) and a female bit player began discarding royal clothing. The series wound up making Tudor England look like a nudist colony.

HBO’s Game of Thrones is arguably even more licentious. One of its directors, Neil Marshall, talked in June 2012 about the pressure executives placed on him to amp up the nudity and sexuality. One executive producer, whom Marshall declined to name, told Marshall, “I represent the perv side of the audience, and I’m saying I want full nudity in this scene.” Clearly the motivation here isn’t honesty.

In fact, it’s particularly dishonest.  In most of these shows, it’s the girls undressing for the camera – and girls of a particular body type (with Girls being an exception). The men aren’t doing that, as True Detective creator Nic Pizzolatto noted off-handedly while defending the series’ nudity to BuzzFeed’s Kate Aurthur:

The staging was more or less there in the scripts, and then Cary and I worked together on the execution. But there is a clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity. Now, you’re not going to get our two lead movie stars to go full-frontal, but we at least got Matthew’s butt in there. There’s not a great deal of nudity in the series at all, though, compared to other shows on pay-cable. I’d be happy with none. Seems to me if people want to see naked people doing it, there’s this thing called “the internet.”

Woody Harrelson and Matthew McConaughey are credited as executive producers, which means that they could have settled for “none,” too — or offered up as much nudity as they expected from their female co-stars. Like most series — Girls and perhaps Game of Thrones being exceptions — the nudity comes almost entirely from women who don’t have significant roles on the male-centric series in which they appear. The Tudors was especially egregious in this regard, shuffling in dozens of bit players to get naked with Jonathan Rhys-Meyers.

If women are overrepresented among the underdressed, they’re underrepresented in practically every other aspect of filmmaking:

The latest study on women in front of the camera finds that female characters are still significantly under-represented on the big screen. …

Female actors accounted for 30% of all speaking parts in the survey, which has examined some 7,000 screen characters across 300 pics since 2002. Only about 13% of 2013′s top 100 pics featured an equal number of female and male characters.

“Overall, we have seen little movement in the numbers of female protagonists and females as speaking characters over the last decade,” Lauzen said.  “Moreover, female characters are less likely than males to have identifiable goals or to be portrayed as leaders of any kind.”

In other words, women tend to get hired to service “mandates,” perhaps especially so in premium-channel programming. Most of it is just as gratuitous as Pizzolatto indicates, or as Game of Thrones director Neil Marshall indicated in June 2012 about the pressure he faced from producers to service the “perv side of the audience.” Naked female bodies don’t drive narratives in most cases,  but serve as sales pitches for products that shouldn’t need them in the first place.

As good as these series have become, they need to come to terms with their exploitation of women, especially those who don’t have much power in Hollywood. That may make me a prude, but the problem is too acute to ignore.

Update: I laughed when one commenter accused me of “basically being a lib,” because I had that thought myself when I wrote the column. However, I’m not advocating for government regulation as a solution (and I would oppose it, especially on narrowcast pay-for services). I’m offering criticism as a way to impact the market, its demand, and provide feedback to provoke some original thought in Hollywood.


Related Posts:

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

Comment pages: 1 2 3

budfox on March 11, 2014 at 12:56 PM

All of this license on TV can only lead to one thing. Before you know it all of our young people in this country will start DANCING!!

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Of the many, many people in my acquaintance who watch Game of Thrones, not one of them watches it BECAUSE of the nudity. Everyone falls strictly in the “don’t care” or “watch in spite of” camps. I watch in spite of the nudity because it’s gratuitous and pointless and as a woman, nude women do nothing at all for me. I think this idea that nudity increases viewership is absolute bull. Survey the people you know who watch the show and even the young guys are going to say “don’t care,” because unlimited porn is free online and you can see all the naked women you want doing all manner of things whenever you want. If you trouble to get HBO and tune in at a specific time, you’re not doing it for the nudity.

Zoomie on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I think that Ed is exploiting this young lady to generate more comments for his blog.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM

It’s working.
See – proof that sex sells.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM

I remember in Stargate SG-1 there was token toplessness in the pilot. Basically it was done to say “Look, we’re on Showtime! We can do this!”

When it was re-edited and ‘improved’ (ala the CG altered version of Classic Trek) it was removed as an ‘old shame’.

Sometimes the sex/nudity is needed for the plot (Basic Instinct is the big example) other times, it’s for ratings.

And Wonder Woman has always had an adult subtext… but then again look at her creator(s).

The_Livewire on March 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM

Zoomie on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I like the show. I like the show more because of the nudity :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Regarding Mr. Schad, he was banned in yesterday’s TEMS thread and there was a long chat on yesterday’s QOTD about it.

22044 on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

LOL! I guess I’m surprised that ON-TV was in more markets, but I’m not sure why. I just assumed it was a SoCal thing.

Ed Morrissey on March 11, 2014 at 12:39 PM

We had several such things in Chicago, including ONTV, Spectrum and Sportsvision, because Chicago’s corrupt pols couldn’t figure out how to wet their beaks from cable until 1985.

Kensington on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

One of the characters has his skin gradually flayed off and his fingers and other parts amputated, including his penis, bit by bit, for no other plot point than to show that his captor is a sadist.

It is not gratuitous in relationship to the actual story from the books. It becomes more important later on.

spinach.chin on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

Zoomie on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I guess I need to start watching it….

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:03 PM

Boardwalk Empires had serious female nudity and at least one explicit full frontal male nude scene.

I didn’t think the nudity in True Detective was gratuitous.

Blake on March 11, 2014 at 1:04 PM

Zoomie on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

I like the show. I like the show more because of nudity :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM

Zoomie on March 11, 2014 at 12:59 PM

Ok, haven’t seen you here before, so gotta ask what’s the source for your name?
That word has historically been associated with graduates of a particular military school – of which I am one.
Are you?

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:05 PM

FYI,

WRT Game of Thrones. I’m pretty ticked that HBO added gratuitous sex scenes into the story. The books themselves have plenty of them but they aren’t every other chapter.

The books are of course better than the show and I encourage everyone to read them.

(Yes I know that the author is a huge, mega lib but really, who the hell cares)

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

I’m sure most know this, but I will point out that nudity in GoT is perfectly understandable since the story is basically either people having sex, or people killing each other. That probably encompasses 90% of the books as it is.

RblDiver on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Naked women are not obscene.

Feminism is obscene.

chuckh on March 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM

.
I’m sure not gonna disagree with you on “feminism”, but nudity or the state of being naked (as we understand it today) being “obscene” is ‘in in the eye of the individual beholder’. If you don’t perceive it as “obscene”, then I can accept that you don’t

(Theology time) But it is NOT the way Adam and Eve were, before their “down-fall” in Eden. They were ‘covered’ in a much better way, with an infinitely superior ‘covering’, than anything “physical”.

They looked MUCH better … than the most shapely, well-sculpted females we could ever see since then, naked or otherwise.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Now I know I have to start watching this show…..

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

The reality is that ratings will increase for female T&A, while you really aren’t going to see ratings increase for male nudity.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 12:22 PM

Ironic since everything else seems to be all-ghey all the time.

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:07 PM

I want some Gratuitous prudity.

forest on March 11, 2014 at 1:07 PM

ToddPA on March 11,2014 at 12:34 PM

Crap….Say it isn’t so

SweetSensationalist on March 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

When shows with nudity come on, I switch them off. Simple as that. Porn in whatever form cheapens human sexuality as God intended it, turns people into sexual objects (exploiting them, particularly the women), and focuses the mind on impure things. No, thanks. Does that make me perfect? Of course not; I am a fallen man, and do have sinful thoughts. No need to tempt myself further, however.

I may well be a prude, but the issue — especially in this segment of the industry — isn’t really about whether nudity should be used at all in art, a fight that was settled in the Renaissance and later after the abolition of the Hays Office in Hollywood.

Settled for the art community, maybe, but art depicting clothed people can (and is) just as beautiful. I’ll stick with that. Maybe I’m the prude, but if so, I’m OK with that.

Othniel on March 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

can be*

Othniel on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

However, it’s not out of bounds in a more modern setting. After all, most women can be trained to handle AR 15′s or even heavier firearms.

And a bullet fired accurately from a weapon at your enemy doesn’t care what the size disparity is between you and them… As Sam Colt famously said:

“Be not afraid of any man, No matter what his size; When danger threatens, call on me And I will equalize.”

ConstantineXI on March 11, 2014 at 12:29 PM

That’s fine if the protagonist woman is going to always be in shoot-outs as opposed to hand-to-hand combat, but the reality is that most action movies revolve around fisticuffs. And despite what feminists want you to believe, the best trained 110 lb woman is unlikely to be able to take out an athletic, in shape 180 lb man.

The most recent attempt at a female action star was Gina Carano in Haywire. One and done. And the movie was released in January. Nuff said!

22044 on March 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

that was a good movie and fairly believable because she actually is a fighter. But, you can only push that concept so far. If you have a well-trained woman fighter going up against untrained men – then yes, you can have her beating them and I’ll suspend my disbelief, even if it is unlikely. But, put her up against an equally trained man that has 100 lbs on her and pretend they are equally matched – and you lose me and most men, I think (there’s a reason there are weight classes in boxing and wrestling – and that is men competing against each other. Add in the significantly less muscle mass as % of body weight that women have, and the weight/height difference, and a well trained 110 lb woman is not beating an average sized, decently athletic male in a fight).

Matrix works because there was an element of magic to it – when Trinity was in the matrix she had “magical” abilities the men in the matrix did not have.

I’m not saying it can never be done – a woman action hero in a movie – I’m saying it can’t be done a lot.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

As for Ed being “liberal”, that’s not the right term when it comes to media.

Libs have no problem with free-for-all entertainment content because so many are connected to the arts field, it’s actually an employment issue.

Think of it as Labor and a Democrat candidate. Because the support is based in fear of the unknown, they will always cut their nose off in spite of their face.

So if you’re accusing Ed of being a feminist, that would make sense. Feminist back established media because they have clout with them. To go against them, leaves them without a “voice”.

Libs take the opposite stance of Ed’s and wave the exploitation charge off while yelling “prudes”, “bible-thumpers”, moral somethingoranother, and at least one charge of reverse sexism or white priveliege just to stunt-crash the conversation.

budfox on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

I think that Ed is exploiting this young lady to generate more comments for his blog.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 12:52 PM

.
It’s working.

See – proof that sex sells.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:00 PM

.
. . . : )

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Ironic since everything else seems to be all-ghey all the time.

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:07 PM

Despite what they try to claim, gay men only represent about 2% -4% of males.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

The most recent attempt at a female action star was Gina Carano in Haywire. One and done. And the movie was released in January. Nuff said!

22044 on March 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM

She was also in F&F6 and I believe will be in Expendables 3 (all female).

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

chuckh on March 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM
listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

Well I personally think nudity is far more natural and enjoyable to watch than scene after scene of people getting shot, stabbed, slashed, hacked, blown up, run over by cars, etc etc etc….
I think some of our major societal problems come from the view that natural nudity and sex are “obscene” but bloody gory violence and murder apparently are not.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Salt with the (supposedly) female half of Branjolie was pathetic since she seemed especially emaciated but was still beating all the much larger males.

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

ToddPA on March 11,2014 at 12:34 PM

.
Crap….Say it isn’t so

SweetSensationalist on March 11, 2014 at 1:08 PM

.
IT ISN’T SO . . . . . but I just lied, ’cause asked me to … : (

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:12 PM

In one episode of GOT there were couples having sex while secretly watching other couples having sex. That was weird.

Blake on March 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Despite what they try to claim, gay men only represent about 2% -4% of males.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

But LGB makes up at least 30% of the entertainment field, depending on definition of the field.

budfox on March 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Despite what they try to claim, gay men only represent about 2% -4% of males.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

Actually, happy and joyous men are a much larger percent of society. Men that prefer to stick their wonky where it don’t belong are 2-4%.

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

Yes! Let’s turn this into a ghey thread and hit 1000+ comments!11!1!!!11!!

Nutstuyu on March 11, 2014 at 1:14 PM

chuckh on March 11, 2014 at 12:45 PM
.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

.
Well I personally think nudity is far more natural and enjoyable to watch than scene after scene of people getting shot, stabbed, slashed, hacked, blown up, run over by cars, etc etc etc….
I think some of our major societal problems come from the view that natural nudity and sex are “obscene” but bloody gory violence and murder apparently are not.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:11 PM

.
I prefer movies that are neither, but then I’m a “prude” … ya’ know.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Violence, especially of the really graphic sort, is even worse than nudity.

MTF on March 11, 2014 at 1:16 PM

Regarding Mr. Schad, he was banned in yesterday’s TEMS thread and there was a long chat on yesterday’s QOTD about it.

22044 on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

I vote he gets a 2nd chance.
If I get a vote.

verbaluce on March 11, 2014 at 1:17 PM

I’m not saying it can never be done – a woman action hero in a movie – I’m saying it can’t be done a lot.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:09 PM

Just remember, Monkeytoe, they always have high heels on too for their fights… and can’t seem to wear other clothing appropriate for physical combat. My whole family scoffs when there is a 110 lb girls kicking those big guys’ butts. It doesn’t work, simple physics.

Effay5 on March 11, 2014 at 1:18 PM

It is not gratuitous in relationship to the actual story from the books. It becomes more important later on.

spinach.chin on March 11, 2014 at 1:02 PM

It is gratuitous in that the plot could have been moved forward with a much lower level of violence. I’ve read all the books. The point I’m trying to make is that the violence is at least as prurient as the nudity. I don’t have a problem with either, but I find it odd that some people are aghast (not necessarily Ed, who doesn’t seem aghast, but is simply commentating, ’cause, y’know, that’s the job description) at the boobies, but a row of heads on spikes, decapitating a man in front of daughter, putting dagger through a man’s eye and plenty of graphically violent scenes are simply shrugged at.

As for Ramsey and Reek, the real reason Martin does it is to satisfy the audience who wants to see some payback for Theon’s betrayal of the Starks. If he wrote a story where what goes around never came around, it would put people off.

trubble on March 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM

In fact, it’s particularly dishonest. In most of these shows, it’s the girls undressing for the camera – and girls of a particular body type (with Girls being an exception).

Maybe that explains what Black Sails is trying to do “level the playing field” with all the male frontal. Yeeesh

PJ Emeritus on March 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM

If women are overrepresented among the underdressed, they’re underrepresented in practically every other aspect of filmmaking:

Puh-leez…

Truffaut said something very close to “The history of cinema is boys taking pictures of girls,” and that is the way it always will be. With the exception of Katherine Bigelow (and some would argue the fairer Coppolla), women don’t make good movies. They don’t need Hollywood access – an iPhone is powerful enough to shoot a film if a man or woman chooses. As shocking as this is, women don’t need special access to every single endeavor at which their talent alone won’t carry them. Hollywood is an old boys club, and I hope it stays that way.

King B on March 11, 2014 at 1:19 PM

I’m sure most know this, but I will point out that nudity in GoT is perfectly understandable since the story is basically either people having sex, or people killing each other. That probably encompasses 90% of the books as it is.

RblDiver on March 11, 2014 at 1:06 PM

This is probably why we have not gotten into this show.
Nothing worse than a good sex scene ruined by someone having their head chopped off right afterward.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

In one episode of GOT there were couples having sex while secretly watching other couples having sex. That was weird.

Blake on March 11, 2014 at 1:13 PM

.
This is NOT a criticism of you, Blake.
.
It’s my take on anyone, watching anyone else having sex.
.
SEX is Not a “spectator sport.”
.
There’s a couple different ways to take that. Let the reader figure out which one I was implying.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Nothing worse than a good sex scene ruined by someone having their head chopped off right afterward.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Just an average night in Chicago.

Bishop on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

Nothing worse than a good sex scene ruined by someone having their head chopped off right afterward.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

O.o

Effay5 on March 11, 2014 at 1:23 PM

Remember coming back from commercials in Star Trek and there was the captain putting his boots on and tucking in his shirt while the hot alien babe slipped away? Not so subtle.

Congrats ED on the big holiday in Minn! Looks like you have protection for female honor coming through the back door.

BL@KBIRD on March 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

SEX is Not a “spectator sport.”
listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

The success of the porn industry would suggest otherwise….

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

It’s interesting how different markets ask for different things. Back a while, there was a very creative and delightfully bent science fiction series called “The Lexx.” A joint production of German and Canadian groups. The European market kept wanting more sex and less violence, whereas the American market wanted the opposite. The original first season was aired on Showtime, so it had nudity, the following 4 seasons were on SciFi network, so there went the nudity and sex, at least it was toned down.

Really though, which is a healthier concept? More sex, or more violence?

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

BTW, ON-TV sounds like the inspiration for the small cable TV station in David Cronenberg’s masterful “Videodrome.” It survived by offering hard core violence and soft core sex…and we see where that ended up!

Long live the New Flesh!

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

More plot and character development would be my choice.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

Really though, which is a healthier concept? More sex, or more violence?

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I suppose the compromise would be more violent sex.

BL@KBIRD on March 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

Despite what they try to claim, gay men only represent about 2% -4% of males.

Monkeytoe on March 11, 2014 at 1:10 PM

There’s a lawyer joke hidden in that statement….I just know it.

HonestLib on March 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

SEX is Not a “spectator sport.”

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

.
The success of the porn industry would suggest otherwise….

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:24 PM

.
“The success of the porn industry” shows how “base”, depraved, and undisciplined the world has become.

That’s the ‘take’ from the eye of this beholder.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

In fact, it’s particularly dishonest. In most of these shows, it’s the girls undressing for the camera – and girls of a particular body type (with Girls being an exception). The men aren’t doing that

Hollywood’s homophobia makes gay men second class viewers! The bigotry has to stop!

thuja on March 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

Really though, which is a healthier concept? More sex, or more violence?

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

.
None of the above.

The choices are infinitely more numerous than those two.
.

More plot and character development would be my choice.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:27 PM

.
Holy crap . . . . . I agree with that.

Now I have to rethink my whole position.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM

Do men or women really like to see nude men?

albill on March 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:34 PM

:-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM

Hollywood’s homophobia makes gay men second class viewers! The bigotry has to stop!

thuja on March 11, 2014 at 1:32 PM

.
I can’t discern “genuine” from “sarcasm” in that.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

When shows begin to fail they always revert to sex two thirds through the show. 20 or 40 minutes in depending on length. Its a formula that works for awhile.

CW20 on March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

Ed –
I respect that you both allow a spirited conversation here as well as draw the line when bits get beyond the pale.
I don’t question that reasoning informed the banning of Shad.
But as someone who was often on the receiving end of Shad’s biting remarks, I’m confident he never intends to draw blood.
I would think he’d sincerely regret crossing that line – intended or unintended.
What’s done is done – but if by chance there’s an appeal, here’s a character reference from one of Schad’s ‘harlots on the dole’.

verbaluce on March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

While we’re on the topic, did anyone else watch the Spartacus series on Showtime? Gratuitous sex and violence from start to finish. I thought it was pretty good :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

I agree with Ed Morisseys premise, about women in entertainment, however there is one show out there that enthusiastically proves to be the exception :

“Lost Girl” on Canadian televisions Showcase. (It also appears on SyFi.)

It has not only 1 or 2 strong female characters, but 5, played by actresses Anna Silk, Ksenia Solo, Zoe Palmer, Rachel Skarsten and Emmanuelle Vaugier.

In addition, the show is created by Michelle Lovretta, produced by (among others) Vanessa Piazza, Emily Andras and Wendy Green.

This show is not for prudes, being one of the most progressive shows protraying sexuality. However, the show is somewhat subversive in that it is really about the conservative values of friendship, family and loyalty.

There is no full nudity, but plenty of sex, violence, wit, humor, great fashion and music. Produced for a fraction of the cost of an American show, it has a worldwide faenatic following and is visually like nothing else out there.

I have conservative friends that love the show, others that won’t watch. I have liberal friends that love the show, others that won’t watch.The show is a paradox that highlights what a show can be when women are in charge.

MichaelGabriel on March 11, 2014 at 1:38 PM

Something I must ponder when the next male stripper movie comes out any day now.

I’ll listen to concerns about excess female nudity when those who decry it show equal vehemence to the continuing episodes of Dad Is A Dope on every sit-com.

I know Ed does.

hadsil on March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Really though, which is a healthier concept? More sex, or more violence?

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 1:25 PM

I would say society would be healthier overall if there was less violence.
I’d rather watch the sex any time instead of the graphic violence.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

While we’re on the topic, did anyone else watch the Spartacus series on Showtime? Gratuitous sex and violence from start to finish. I thought it was pretty good :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:37 PM

We tried, but too much bloody violence.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:45 PM

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

What kind of warriors do they produce over there at that school in C Springs?

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Have you read the books on which Game Of Thrones is based?!? Trust me when I say it ain’t a kiddie series. It’s one reason I haven’t watched the series beyond the pilot – it’s one thing to read some of the stuff, it’s something else entirely to watch it.

Lynda Carter as “Wonder Woman”. Strength AND curves.

LashRambo on March 11, 2014 at 12:40 PM

Oh, yeah! And smart, too.

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

What kind of warriors do they produce over there at that school in C Springs?

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The kind who push buttons to kill people from a distance….
;)

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Porn in whatever form cheapens human sexuality as God intended it,

You do realize that whatever you may believe about what God intended, the concepts we have about “prudeness” all come from Dark ages clergy trying to establish societal stability in the wake of the collapse of the Roman empire… right? They of course indicated that this behavior is as God intended – but there were far more secular reasons for the establishment of prude and chase behavior.

They established chastity and the modern day interpretation of a monogamous relationship in order to keep aristocrats from fostering a slew of illegitimate children who would naturally fight for their inherited property – in addition to trying and stem the tide of riding sexually transmitted diseases (which of course, weren’t recognized as such).

I’m as spiritual as the next far right Christian, and if you want to self-censor yourself based on your faith, thats fine by me. I just felt like letting you know what that faith is based on.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

“Grandma, what did you do when you were my age?”

“Hooker. Want me to bust em out now?”

“No thanks.”

WhatSlushfund on March 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

Why I’m sick and tired of seeing naked women on HBO

Worst
Headline
Ever

MNHawk on March 11, 2014 at 1:55 PM

i haven’t read the comments, so maybe this is a rehash, but it is simple reality combined with capitalism, both things conservatives claim to embrace. sometime, i imagine this is in conflict with social moral agendas, usually through a religious prism.

reality: men like sex, think about it often if not all the time, and enjoy seeing the naked female form. more so, the more restrictive.

(see famous sports/pop culture columnist bill simmons’ many articles gleefully acknowledging and attesting to the fact)

capitalism: i guarantee viewership and profits go up with the right kind of nudity/substance balance.

it is not hard to understand, and it is only hard to accept if you are a small minded and insecure feminist who wishes everything that was real was false, or maybe if your religion tells you so.

truecon on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

What kind of warriors do they produce over there at that school in C Springs?

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

The kind who push buttons to kill people from a distance….
;)

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

THey’re killing people with something other than far left indoctrination at The Colorado College now?

King B on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

I’m as spiritual as the next far right Christian, and if you want to self-censor yourself based on your faith, thats fine by me. I just felt like letting you know what that faith is based on.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:51 PM

I’d say chastity is pretty well defined by Christ as “looking upon another woman to lust after her” and equating that to committing adultery in your heart.

The enforcement for political reasons as you explain above, I can’t say I know enough about Dark Age clergy practices. But the true origin of the doctrine of chastity came from Christ. Knowing that, I think Othniel‘s original point is quite apt, and applies accurately in today’s circumstances.

Effay5 on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Have you read the books on which Game Of Thrones is based?!? Trust me when I say it ain’t a kiddie series. It’s one reason I haven’t watched the series beyond the pilot – it’s one thing to read some of the stuff, it’s something else entirely to watch it.

To be fair its a LOT less in the book. Its also a lot more natural and less superfluous than it is in the TV show.

HBO had to put more T&A in it for some reason. The show (as are the books) would be great even without the sex scenes.

The reason why A Song of Ice and Fire is a great story is because it takes a Fantastical world, a setting that is completely made up, and fills it full of characters that are so human that each one of them appeals to one aspect of your psyche. There’s not a single character in the books I outright don’t like *as a character*. The humanity of the characters, their motivations in life are come part and parcel with the sex in the books. Its part of what makes you escape to Westeros as a reader.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Something I must ponder when the next male stripper movie comes out any day now.

I’ll listen to concerns about excess female nudity when those who decry it show equal vehemence to the continuing episodes of Dad Is A Dope on every sit-com.

I know Ed does.

hadsil on March 11, 2014 at 1:42 PM

Good reminder.

22044 on March 11, 2014 at 1:58 PM

Nothing worse than a good sex scene ruined by someone having their head chopped off right afterward.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:21 PM

Just an average night in Chicago.

Bishop on March 11, 2014 at 1:22 PM

LMAO!

ToddPA on March 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM

The selling point for pay-TV was that it was unedited and uncensored.

Actually, it was that it had no commercials. LOL on that one, now.

But there is a clear mandate in pay-cable for a certain level of nudity.

That’s totally ridiculous. It’s possible that HBO demanded nudity – and the mention of anal sex along with the repulsive scene in the final episode of the fat folks getting it on – but there is no general “mandate” that all shows and series on cable must have nudity.

The nudity in True Detective was totally gratuitous and had nothing to do with anything in the story, at all … well, except for the five second scene of the best breasts to grace TV. Then again, there was a whole lot in True Detective that was gratuitous and had nothing to do with advancing the story or serving any great interest. That throwaway episode with Marty’s daughter having been caught in a car humping two guys … for what reason? That was just poor writing to put that in. It was silly. Yeah … I know the people who are really into reading tons into that series will tell me that it was necessary to show the disintegrating effect Marty had on those around him, or whatever, but there are literally thousands of possible scenes to use in order to get that across and that little dialogue about the threesome was pretty much the worst and dumbest way one could do it.

As to women being nude more often on screen. Good. That’s how Nature made things. It’s the same way with lesbian scenes versus homosexual male scenes. One is not offensive in the least (in fact much of the normal public is greatly interested in seeing it) while the other is utterly repulsive. That is just how things are. Men and women are different and their roles in most aspects of life are different. People who don’t like this can argue with evolution and the whole method of asymmetrical sexual reproduction.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 11, 2014 at 1:59 PM

I’d say chastity is pretty well defined by Christ as “looking upon another woman to lust after her” and equating that to committing adultery in your heart.

Effay5 on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Sure.

And as the local stenographer for Jesus at the time indicated, the scriptures are entirely historically accurate.

The clergy wrote the scripture which captured the lessons and teachings of Jesus Christ.

They are words of men to capture the lessons of God’s son on earth.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

What kind of warriors do they produce over there at that school in C Springs?

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

.
The kind who push buttons to kill people from a distance….
;)

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

.
I almost said “rim-shot”, but second-guessed it.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Well, Ed (I have not read the comments so I hope I’m not being redundant here) you will be happy to know that “Black Sails” on STARZ has naked women and men. ;-) First time I can recall seeing full frontal male nudity in any original series programming.

Personally, I find most of the nudity, etc. gratuitous. But, as a straight female I can’t say that I watch GoT for the naked women and I don’t watch Black Sails for the naked men and women either.

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe on March 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

There’s not a single character in the books I outright don’t like *as a character*. The humanity of the characters, their motivations in life are come part and parcel with the sex in the books. Its part of what makes you escape to Westeros as a reader.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

And Joffrey’s redeeming qualities are…

overall, I agree with you. It’s well written and the characters aren’t 2 dimensional, but I think Joffrey’s just there to move the other pieces around the game board.

trubble on March 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

That’s the ‘take’ from the eye of this beholder.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 1:30 PM

And just how much have you beholden to be able to have that take? Hmmmmmm? ;)

The kind who push buttons to kill people from a distance….
;)

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 1:46 PM

Except for Unarmed Combat, where we learned to kill up-close and personal-like. I’m a much more well-rounded warrior because of learning both. ;)

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

They established chastity and the modern day interpretation of a monogamous relationship in order to keep aristocrats from fostering a slew of illegitimate children who would naturally fight for their inherited property – in addition to trying and stem the tide of riding sexually transmitted diseases (which of course, weren’t recognized as such).

I don’t think your story is backwards. I would argue that they believed a mishmash of Jewish and Stoic sexual morals and taboos, and sold them to the aristocrats using the issue of illegitimacy as part of the sales pitch.

thuja on March 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

Well, Ed (I have not read the comments so I hope I’m not being redundant here) you will be happy to know that “Black Sails” on STARZ has naked women and men. ;-) First time I can recall seeing full frontal male nudity in any original series programming.

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe on March 11, 2014 at 2:02 PM

That’s a STARZ thing. They did the same with the Sparatacus series. It was a great series but STARZ seemed to insist that men being run around naked all over the place and male homosexuality was played up as much as they could. It was very off-putting and a shame, since the rest of the series was awesome and the women were pretty hot. I stopped watching because it was too ridiculous with the guys running around kissing each other.

I wonder how long it’s going to take these channels to realize that gay male sex interests no one but gay males, turns off pretty much everyone else, and that ain’t no audience.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

THey’re killing people with something other than far left indoctrination at The Colorado College now?

King B on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

Gawd no – nothin’ but pot smokin’ skateboarders there.

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

one big exception to this was HBO’s late 1990′s show, OZ. It was set in a men’s prison, and almost every male actor went nude at some point, especially full frontal. There is no female nudity. Stands as the one big exception to the rule. Not sure who their audience was for that.

Techster64 on March 11, 2014 at 2:11 PM

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Ugh, there are several characters that I found to have no redeeming qualities. At least not enough redeeming qualities to not want them planted six feet under – in multiple locations.

(And, it has been over a year since I set down the second book, and I haven’t yet picked up the third. I’ll get back to it at some point.)

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Except for Unarmed Combat, where we learned to kill up-close and personal-like. I’m a much more well-rounded warrior because of learning both. ;)

GWB on March 11, 2014 at 2:05 PM

When you had that class – were they still teaching the “West Point method” for disarming someone aiming a gun at your face?

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Showtime’s Spartacus was a prime example of how you can overshoot and have too much sex and violence. A certain amount of it is important if you want realism, this was ancient Rome after all, and they were anything but prudes, and it was about gladiators. But the parts of the show that dealt with the Romans and their backstabbing and convoluted politics and plots was much more interesting than the focus on the slaves, which was more like what you see in the bad part of town on a Saturday night…mindless sex and fights, people acting like uneducated barbarians.

One amusing thing I read about Spartacus was the prostheses for the male actors…to guarantee a certain, well, heroic size, and also because there weren’t a lot of Jewish gladiators if you get my drift.

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 1:57 PM

Absolutely. He does a great job of creating a world that you just get immersed in. And as you noted, most of the characters do evolve in response to their experiences. I also love the way the action shifts from one place with its characters to a whole other continent and back. I keep looking forward to when the worlds collide some day :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

They are words of men to capture the lessons of God’s son on earth.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

.
It’s okay. You’re allowed to be ‘cynical’.

[II Peter 1:16-21]

16 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 18 And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.

19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: 20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

.
Cynicism abounds, and won’t stop until Jesus returns ‘in body’.

But it will stop, then.

listens2glenn on March 11, 2014 at 2:14 PM

Do men or women really like to see nude men?
albill on March 11, 2014 at 1:36 PM

My wife does….

dentarthurdent on March 11, 2014 at 2:15 PM

King B on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

FYI, there really is an institution known as Colorado College in that town. They had a decent hockey team when I lived there.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM

One amusing thing I read about Spartacus was the prostheses for the male actors…to guarantee a certain, well, heroic size, and also because there weren’t a lot of Jewish gladiators if you get my drift.

Severian on March 11, 2014 at 2:13 PM

lol. I did not know that.

El_Terrible on March 11, 2014 at 2:17 PM

The clergy wrote the scripture which captured the lessons and teachings of Jesus Christ.

They are words of men to capture the lessons of God’s son on earth.

Defenestratus on March 11, 2014 at 2:00 PM

I think I see what you mean here. Our scriptural accounts are only as good as the error-prone men that wrote, re-wrote, or translated the scriptures. I think the actions and words attributed to Christ in the Gospels are the scriptures we can really take as written. All the others should be read through a lens understanding that imperfect men wrote them. Those we should look at and say “How does this bring us closer to Christ?”

Anyway, enough churchy posts from me.

The reasons you wrote about the characters in Game of Thrones almost got me watching, but I really see no point to promote the debasement of women and our minds with the sex part.

Effay5 on March 11, 2014 at 2:18 PM

King B on March 11, 2014 at 1:56 PM

FYI, there really is an institution known as Colorado College in that town. They had a decent hockey team when I lived there.

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:16 PM

LOL I know – I went there :)

King B on March 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

I read last year that Emilia Clarke (Game of Thrones) is not doing anymore nudie scenes :*(

El_Terrible on March 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

Anybody notice how men’s bottoms are in PG13 movies but you will never see a female behind in a PG13 film? What’s with that double standard?

KMav on March 11, 2014 at 2:20 PM

King B on March 11, 2014 at 2:19 PM

LMAO! But I lived near there and that makes me the expert :-)

MJBrutus on March 11, 2014 at 2:21 PM

I wonder how long it’s going to take these channels to realize that gay male sex interests no one but gay males, turns off pretty much everyone else, and that ain’t no audience.

ThePrimordialOrderedPair on March 11, 2014 at 2:06 PM

So far no guy/guy action on Black Sails. That said, I stopped watching Spartacus because I got tired of endless rounds of spraying blood, teeth and brains. It was a little too graphic for my tastes. The guy/guy and girl/girl stuff didn’t do much for me either. ;-)

ClownsToTheLeftOfMe on March 11, 2014 at 2:26 PM

Comment pages: 1 2 3