On September 29th, Masters of Sex made its debut on Showtime and it was seen by 1 million viewers. The show tells the true story of Dr. William Masters and Virginia “Gini” Johnson. William (played by Michael Sheen) is a brilliant obstetrician and fertility specialist who wants to study sex scientifically. In spite of his intelligence, he’s socially inept. He has a wife who adores him and with who he has bad sex from time to time. On the other hand, Gini (played by Lizzy Caplan) is sassy woman who is light-years ahead of her times. There’s practically nothing she wouldn’t do in bed. She has mind-blowing sex with men she doesn’t love. William hires her to work with him in a sex study. The two of them plan to observe individuals pleasuring themselves and couples engaging in intercourse. In such an unorthodox way, they would make groundbreaking discoveries such as the fact the women are capable of multiple orgasms. They would also establish the Human sexual response cycle.
Beautiful actress Caitlin Fitzgerald also stars. She plays Libby, William’s sweet and submissive wife, the archetype of a woman in the 50’s. She goes as far as to call her husband “daddy” all the time, displaying the typical submission of wives of that era. It might be difficult for modern women to fully comprehend her and the other female characters. One tends to relate more with Gini. But it’s very interesting to see such an accurate portrayal of how life was like for women back then.
Another main character is Dr. Austin Langham, a womanizer played by Teddy Sears. Nicholas D’Agosto stars as Dr. Ethan Hass. Ethan is a young doctor, William’s protégé, who has a brief but intense sexual relationship with Gini. He gets obsessed with Gini and is brokenhearted when he finds out that Gini was only interested in sex and doesn’t love him.
The story was taken from real life. Michelle Ashford indeed developed the plot basing on Thomas Maier’s biography Masters of Sex: The Life and Times of William Masters and Virginia Johnson, the Couple Who Taught America How to Love. In real life, William divorced Libby and married Gini in 1971. Ultimately, William and Gini got divorced in 1992. He died due to Parkinson’s disease in 2001. She passed away last July at the age of 88.
Since the premiere, Masters of Sex received a lot of praise from the critics. Most people agree that the show is seductive and shows impeccable period décor, great acting and a skillful direction. Basing on 32 reviews, Metacritic gave the series 85 points out of 100, while Rotten Tomatoes gave it a 89% approval rating, basing on 42 reviews. “I enjoy the acting of Caplan and Sheen and the side storylines are interesting..in that they help viewers understand Masters’ and Johnson’s back story”, said a fan who identified himself as emo_ville2002.
To the fans’ delight, it was announced on October 22nd that the show was renewed for a second season that will air next year.