By Alexa Day
I’ve been venting about TV quite a bit lately.
Scandal — aside from that one bold move — is frustrating me. My favorite nighttime soap, The Haves and the Have Nots, is out of reach on my abbreviated cable plan. Sleepy Hollow is in the rearview mirror. The Walking Dead won’t be back for weeks.
Thank the TV deities for Satisfaction.
I remember watching the first episode of Satisfaction, which has just ended its second season. In a nutshell, it’s the story of a man, Neil Truman, who discovers his wife, Grace, has been having frequent sex with a male escort, Simon.
Neil responds by becoming an escort himself.
Now, to be fair, Neil didn’t go right to ho’ing for answers. He tried meditation, too. And it’s not like he consciously chose That Life. He just ended up with Simon’s phone during a raised-voice conversation they had. Kind of the way Rose ended up with the diamond in Titanic. Neil just takes his time returning the phone.
Hey, Rose didn’t exactly rush to give that diamond back, either.
I’m giving you a really small nutshell, mind you. There’s more to the story than just Neil.
During the dissolution of their marriage, Grace begins a powerful period of sexual exploration. Adriana, Simon’s employer, enjoys a level of feminine power rarely seen on TV, which makes her brief moments of vulnerability more striking. And Simon’s got his own problems.
While I’m waiting to hear about Satisfaction’s third season — because it is criminal that Marriage Boot Camp Reality Stars has a future if Satisfaction does not — I’d like to share with you all just a few of the reasons I’m in love with Satisfaction.
1. It makes me think. Satisfaction consistently raises more questions than it answers. And I love having questions. Do we have to discuss nude photo sessions with our spouses? Is it acceptable to receive diamond necklaces from escorts who are now friends? Is it even possible to be friends with an escort? Would any of us consider hiring an escort, becoming an escort, starting an escort business with a spouse? No one comes away with clean hands. Everyone makes mistakes. And in Through Psychedelics, Neil and Grace face one hell of a consequence for their behavior. But there is always something to think about, and that’s the sexiest bonus of all.
2. But let’s not discount the sex. I really think the hottest sex on basic cable is right here on Satisfaction. Grace and Neil make up on a grand scale in Through Struggle, and of course, it’s a joy to watch Simon work. Who doesn’t love a man who loves his job? Adriana’s description of BDSM, in just a few moments of the episode Through Bondage, sets right almost everything made so very wrong by That Book with the Tie. At one point, while skinny dipping with Grace (had to be there), Adriana tells her that women are the Lewis and Clark of their own bodies, with a mandate to explore and survey the territory. Sexual exploration — the frontiers and boundaries and the decisions to break through to the other side — forms the molten core around which Satisfaction revolves.
3. Simon. The worn out cliche of Hooker with a Heart is made gloriously new again with Simon Waverly. Played by Blair Redford, Simon is definitely a man who enjoys his job and gives a damn about how well he does it. But Simon brings a charming curiosity about love, marriage, and relationships to his work as well. After a conjugal visit with a client, he wonders how his client’s marriage (to another convict in a distant prison) works around him. Is he just a stand-in for a husband who is merely physically absent? Is he content with that? Simon enters the series with a clear vision of who he is and what he wants, but as time progresses, his life becomes increasingly complicated, and he has to adapt, evolve, and keep exploring. He’s a delight to watch — and not just because of that well honed body.
4. The scenes. Adriana delights in lavish parties; her 1950s-themed bash at Neil’s office in Through Negotiation is a feast for the senses. Fancy period dress and lots of space to watch or be watched … it’s the sort of party I eulogized before the holiday break. Adriana also introduces us to the masturbation bar, a try-before-you-buy shop where Grace chooses a high-end vibrator — her first sex toy. (It’s a Lelo. I can attest to its many virtues.) All the parties and locations are enough to make a person wonder if such things can be real in this world or what we might do to make them real.
Where should you start? Well, if you can, you should start from the beginning and binge on all 20 episodes. If you must pick and choose, however, be sure you catch the pilot and the second-season episodes Through Bondage, Through Struggle, and Through Negotiation. Things only get hotter and deeper in season 2, and the promise of a third season has me all giggly.
And if you want to stay satisfied? Follow Lady Smut.