Tag Archives: American television

You Had Me At “Hi”: Scandal Goes Through the Looking Glass, People

18 Apr

But is it all a dream?

By Alexa Day

“For of all sad words of tongue and pen

The saddest are these: ‘It might have been!’”

— John Greenleaf Whittier

Two immensely powerful words: what if.

They lead to a world that doesn’t exist, an imagined world where we have the chance to fix mistakes or indulge in every imprudent temptation we avoided in real life. “What if” creates a world full of adventures and devoid of regrets.

It can be a place to turn around, to get back on course.

Scandal needed to spend a little time in the World of What If.

By the time I stopped watching, Scandal had lost its way. It had drifted from tempestuous romance and outrageous plot twists into espionage and family dysfunction. Along the way, it shed lots of viewers. Not long ago, the series hit all-time low ratings.

But last week, for its 100th episode, Scandal spent an hour in the World of What If. Trapped between Fitz and Jake in a far less sexy way than I’d become used to, Olivia wonders how different her life would be if she hadn’t agreed to rig the presidential election for Fitz so long ago. It’s a tempting fantasy, even for one who’s had to decide between two men like Fitz and Jake, and she indulges in the daydream thoroughly.

At first it seems that things would be easier in a world where Defiance never happened. Without the presidency to support it, Fitz’s marriage to Mellie doesn’t survive. Without the presidency to impede it, Fitz is free to marry Olivia. Just a few minutes in, and the what if episode gives us estranged Scandal fans something we’ve wanted for a long time. We get a very stylish wedding, complete with a classic soul soundtrack. We’ve gone back in time to a place before B613, before the weekly Shonda-logue. We’ve returned to a Scandal with familiar faces gone too soon, long stares heavy with naked longing, and that greeting.

“Hi.”

This gratification is wonderful while it lasts.

Everything seems fine at first. It’s better than fine. It’s like all the things that chased me away from Scandal have simply been wished away. But while an alternate universe might change a person’s surroundings, it does little to change one’s character. Olivia still doesn’t know how to be happy in a relationship, and without the presidency, Fitz has enough time to worry about his place in her life. It’s not long before they’re fighting over something again, but this is not the familiar back and forth that drove me away from the series. This time, Fitz wants a divorce.

This still felt like good news to me, and not like before, in the prime universe, when I just wanted the two of them to stop talking to each other if they couldn’t be together. I was hopeful, at least partially because I didn’t want to let go of the daydream. Maybe, in this alternate world, they’d find their way back to each other, even if they only managed to stay put for the rest of the hour.

Alternate universe Easter eggs made the time pass quickly. Without black ops, Huck and Quinn are as close to normal people as their natures permit. Huck is more disheveled than his prime universe self, but he’s close enough to Olivia to walk her down the aisle. He’s a superfan of a Bachelor-esque dating show featuring his one-time prime universe sweetheart, Quinn. For her part, Quinn’s a believer in true love, happily ever after, and going down on Fitz behind closed doors. She’s in it for the attention, not unlike her counterpart.

Cyrus catches Mellie at a vulnerable moment, on the outside of the wedding, trying to peek in. Cyrus is still in the closet and trying to stay there, so when his pep talk with the heartbroken Mellie leads to a kiss, the opportunistic Cyrus makes sure that kiss leads to marriage … and later, to her very own presidential campaign. Cyrus has always wanted the Oval Office for himself. Running the country through Mellie would work just fine for him.

It’s crazy, soaptastic fun, loaded with twists and backed with a well-curated soundtrack. But no one stays in the alternate universe forever, and finally we travel back to Olivia and Fitz and their future, together or apart.

Fitz and Olivia actually manage a compromise, an agreement that has a chance of making them both happy. It probably shouldn’t be a huge surprise, right? There’s no sense in traveling to an alternate universe to make the same mistakes for the same reasons. But why are these two people coming together now? They still have the same hangups. I still don’t think either of them knows how to be in a relationship.

But Olivia and Fitz have a much easier time in the mirror world because no one is president. And as Olivia returns to reality, I think she realizes that her reality is about to merge with that daydream as Fitz’s term in the White House ends.

What does it all mean, now that the dream is over? Are we returning to the Scandal of old? Will I be on the edge of my seat, waiting for “hi”?

I don’t know. Right now, I only know that I watched an entire episode of Scandal, and I’m thinking about watching the next one. That hasn’t happened in way too long.

Are you watching Scandal? Big fan of the alternate universe plotline? I’ll meet you in the comments.

And follow Lady Smut. What if has never been so much fun!

Heading to Atlanta for the RT Booklovers Convention? So are we.

Crowns! Fetish Toys! Booooks! All can be won at the Ladysmut.com reader event — Never Have You Ever, Ever, Ever, at the RT Booklovers Convention.  Goodybags to first 100 people in line! Be rewarded for your naughty or sweet past on Wednesday, May 3 at 1:30 p.m. Link: https://www.rtconvention.com/event/never-have-you-ever-ever-ever

The Dead Deliver: Is This the Season of Richonne?

16 Feb
Just a walk through the prison in the quieter days of the zombie apocalypse. Aren't they cute?

Just a walk through the prison in the quieter days of the zombie apocalypse. Aren’t they cute?

By Alexa Day

I am delighted to say that The Walking Dead is back, and I’m relieved (but not surprised) to say that its return on Sunday was amazing. It delivered everything I’ve come to expect from The Walking Dead over the years — such a welcome change from all the shows that have begun to disappoint me. But there’s a specific reason hope springs eternal during the zombie apocalypse.

This is your one and only warning. This entire post is basically wall to wall TWD spoilers. If you haven’t seen the season six mid-season premiere, “No Way Out,” you probably don’t want to read any more of this.

All the spoilers follow this music video.

Still here? Good.

The season six mid-season finale, “Start to Finish,” found my favorite couple-to-be, Rick and Michonne, trying to deal with the tremendous herd of zombies that overran Alexandria. I actually felt bad for Rick at this point. He has, either through action or inaction, jacked up just about every safe place this group has ever temporarily called home, but the invasion of Alexandria really wasn’t his fault. He did everything he could to protect the place that gave him the first shave and hot shower he’d enjoyed in months. Things just didn’t work out for him this time around, poor thing.

Anyway, at the very end of that episode, Rick led Michonne, Carl, and a handful of others dressed in zombie camo into the midst of the herd. Jessie and her family are part of the human chain, and just as they start their long slow walk through the giant wall of zombies, Jessie’s son, Sam, starts up with, “Mom? Mom? Mom?”

I’m not a parent, but I’ve been a kid, and I can tell you that my mother did not need the zombie apocalypse to, shall we say, gently encourage me to ZIP IT after three iterations of “Mom?”

But Jessie just lets him roll. “Mom? Mom?”

I have complained about Jessie before, at the opening of season six. I could not understand what made Jessie a viable love interest for Rick when the two of them have walked a very different path through the apocalypse, when she could not reach the very deep, very dark places inside Rick, and when it was painfully clear that they could not parent each other’s children. Indeed, I dared to dream that Something Might Happen to Jessie and Sam, and maybe her older son, Ron, too, while we’re at it.

Sam isn’t strong enough to be among the herd. Rather than retreating to safety with Father Gabriel and Judith, Sam insists on staying with his mother. More importantly, Jessie indulges Sam in his fragility. She’s done it before. She won’t do for Sam what Rick has done for Carl; she won’t force him to face the new realities of the apocalypse. As a result, Sam buckles amid the multitude of zombies, and when he blows his cover, he loses his life. Jessie, powerless to prevent his death, and equally powerless to save herself once he is lost, also loses her life.

Once he’s lost his entire family, Jessie’s older son, Ron, chooses this exact moment to take a shot at Carl. Ron has long had an ax to grind with Carl, and he has a poor sense of timing. Stationed protectively behind them, Michonne dispatches Ron, but not before his gunshot claims Carl’s eye.

One family has faced off against the other, and Jessie’s family has paid the ultimate price. The stronger family has prevailed.

Jessie was gone.

I’m ashamed to say that I was delighted.

I’m not that ashamed, but still. Even as Rick and Michonne rushed Carl to Alexandria’s hospital, I sighed and thought, “Now *there’s* a family.”

As the doctor examines his son, Rick finally breaks. He drifts out into the darkness to face the herd alone with an axe and a handgun. Michonne is torn — she wants to stay with Carl, but she can’t let Rick face the herd alone. Once the doctor stabilizes Carl, she tells Michonne to go after Rick, and then my heroine does something that choked me up a little.

She kisses Carl on the forehead before rushing out the door.

The apocalypse has cost Michonne a son, but this new reality has brought her another.

Everything that’s happened in Alexandria has worked to bring Rick and Michonne closer together. Michonne has been Rick’s strong right hand, providing valuable advice, daring to argue with the Ricktator, and shutting Rick down when he starts to go off the rails. She’s always been good with Carl, knowing how to protect him, when to give him space to grow up, and when he needed to be a kid. Carl and Michonne have been family for a long time.

Now, as the sun rises over a very different Alexandria, Rick makes a promise to his son. Rick has seen a world worth saving, a future worth claiming, and a place worth calling home. He pledges to make those things real for Carl.

I know Rick can’t do all that by himself.

Jessie was a barrier to the relationship between Rick and Michonne. In “No Way Out,” the barrier was abruptly removed. I’m sure the story has plenty of obstacles in store for Team Richonne, but Sunday night showed us that Rick and Michonne are ready to take all comers.

I can’t wait. Every romance fan knows how persistent real love is.

Follow Lady Smut. We’ve got your back.

Alexa Day writes erotica and erotic romance with heroines who are anything but innocent and fictional worlds where strong, smart women discover excitement, adventure, and exceptional sex. A former bartender, one-time newspaper reporter, and recovering attorney, she likes her stories with just a touch of the inappropriate, and her literary mission is to stimulate the intellect and libido of her readers.

Satisfaction … Through Satisfaction

5 Jan
Simon is all about That Life.

Simon’s got plenty of room on the passenger side. And the back seat.

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.

Who says pimpin' ain't easy? Not Adriana.

Who says pimpin’ ain’t easy? Not Adriana.

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.

Don’t Adjust Your Color: A Brief and Incomplete Look at TV’s Interracial Kisses

16 Feb

By Alexa Day

In the United States, February is Black History Month. (The U.S. government is apparently okay with calling it African-American History Month, too.) I took a little detour in anticipation of Valentine’s Day last week, and my homage to May Day earlier this month was more about Alexa Day history. But today, I’m looking at one of my favorite parts of black history: the interracial kiss.

You don’t have to be a geek to know that the credit for television’s first interracial kiss usually falls to Star Trek. It’s not a bad story, really. In the social turbulence of 1968, Captain Kirk and Lieutenant Uhura share an embrace before an audience of aliens who have compelled them to kiss each other. The story in real life is that the network folks worried that the kiss wouldn’t play so well in the South, so they tried to film an alternate scene, but when William Shatner ruined all the takes by crossing his eyes, they had to use the kiss.

It’s a nice story, and it sure looks good, right?

Is *the* kiss just *a* kiss?

Is *the* kiss just *a* kiss?

But this is not television’s first interracial kiss. The fact that so many people think it is … well, that’s a marvel of television marketing.

In 1967, Sammy Davis, Jr. kissed Nancy Sinatra on television, the year before Kirk and Uhura kiss on Star Trek. Sammy and Nancy were in a musical number on Nancy’s show. I dare you to watch it without wanting to get your boogie on, but don’t blink or you will miss that kiss.

I’m not counting this as television’s first interracial kiss, either. Let’s be honest. Sammy gives Nancy the sort of kiss a man should give a friend’s daughter. No doubt most of us have received similar little pecks from our parents’ friends. Most of us are not coming away from that experience saying, “He kissed me.” (And if you are, you probably wrote Penthouse about that. Admit it.)

So much of the trouble with identifying television’s first interracial kiss comes from our definition of the word “interracial.” I have a blind spot of my own here; I usually think of interracial in black and white terms. Literally. If we define the term more fairly and inclusively, we need to look at Lucy and Ricky Ricardo. No one’s going to dispute that Lucy and Ricky kissed long before Sammy and Nancy or Kirk and Uhura. Indeed, Lucy’s pregnancy caused quite a censorship stir in the 1950s.

You know what all that smooching leads to? Having to find another way to say "pregnant."

You know what all that smooching leads to? Having to find another way to say “pregnant.”

But if we regard Lucy and Ricky (and at Lucy and Desi) as more of an interethnic couple than an interracial one, we can point to Lisa Lu and Michael Landon in Bonanza. In Day of the Dragon, Lu’s character, Su Ling, gives Little Joe a sweet goodbye kiss. (Instead of a photo, how about a whole post from Brian Camp’s Film and Anime Blog?) That was in 1961, post Lucy and Ricky, but before Nancy and Sammy and before Kirk and Uhura. Lisa Lu was, as I understand it, one of several Asian actresses who shared a kiss with a costar across color lines before 1968.

Still, the question remains: Did Star Trek give us television’s first passionate, black on white interracial kiss?

The answer is still no. In 1964, British television beat the U.S. to it with Emergency – Ward 10. Dr. Louise Mahler

No coercion here on Emergency - Ward 10!

No coercion here on Emergency – Ward 10!

and Dr. Giles Farmer acted on their longstanding feelings four years before Kirk and Uhura had to be forced into each other’s arms. I don’t know anything about Emergency – Ward 10 – I sure hope one of our Lady Smut friends and family does! I’ve got lots of questions, starting with why it’s so hard to find a picture of the Mahler/Farmer kiss.

Today, television features so much interracial smooching that I often get up in arms when the characters aren’t kissing across color lines (hello, Sleepy Hollow folks, looking at you). I cheered for lots of my era’s scripted kisses. What can I say? This is my chosen subgenre, after all, and I’ve got to enjoy this while I can. One day very soon, this won’t even be a thing anymore. We’re already at a place where scripted television and its commercials have moved on to interracial families and parenting issues.

I still think it’s important, though, to remember where all this started. We can take the interracial kiss, couple, relationship and marriage for granted today because others made it a big deal when they had the chance.

This is a really good time to follow Lady Smut. Kisses are just the beginning around here.

Sexy Saturday Round-Up

7 Dec
Photo by Dollen

Photo by Dollen

By Liz Everly and the Lady Smut Bloggers.

Hello Sexy! Well after a week off from Sexy Saturday round-up, we are going for it this week! Have fun with our Internet wanderings.

From Liz Everly:

Wonderful blog for your reading pleasure Meg’s Musings.

Keeping it classy with which state has men with the biggest penis size.

Just for fun: British expressions that baffle Americans.

C. Margery Kempe suggests:

Why is American television so sucky and sexist? The executives are morons.

Want a little SF with your romance?

How we teach kids to think of women as liars.

Annoyed by all the fawning coverage of certain white het male novelists? Indulge in some Franzenfreude.

From Elizabeth:

Missing the HBO Series Real Sex? Good news! A new, Real-Sex inspired show debuts on HBO next month.

Praise and backlash: why it’s brutally tough for men to fess up to same-sex experiences.

Did you see any of these disasters? Time magazine’s top 10 worst films of 2013.

You’ve known it all along but now it’s been proven: sex is great exercise!

Here they are: this year’s winners of the 21st Literary Review’s Bad Sex in Fiction award. Frankly, I thought the second and third place winners were even worse than the one who grabbed the top prize.

From Madeline:

Huffington post reports on a new study about sex & regret.

Define “booty call”.

Crazy bad plagerizing author Elizabeth Nelson gets called to the matt for a photo ripped from hair ad and a stolen blurb.

One handed writers considers whether we miss sexy people more than others.

What real grrrrl power looks like after 40. 

Stay Hungry,

Liz

P.S. don’t forget to subscribe to Lady Smut. C’mon. You know you want to…

%d bloggers like this: