For a very long time now, I have been a fan of Michael Sheen.
Yes, this goofy guy right here:
For those new to the world of Michael Sheen, you might recognize him as Aro in the Twilight Saga. You know, this guy:
Other people know him as Lucian from Underworld. But, personally, he first caught my eye as an actor when he played Tony Blair. Actually, he’s played him several times. But I remember seeing him as Mr. Blair in The Queen (2006) and The Special Relationship (2010).
I couldn’t really say as to why I started honing in on him. Not back then. And I still can’t really say now. It’s just one of those things: where an actor is so memorable that he is imprinted on your mind.
And it’s a requirement to watch everything he’s in.
I always talk about Johnny Depp or Tom Hiddleston in this way. But rarely do I talk about Michael Sheen. Even though he’s included in that mental category.
I’ve been watching Masters of Sex since it premiered last year. Even if I miss episodes, I make an effort to watch everything I’ve missed. I will admit my draw to the television show was because I knew Michael Sheen was playing the lead. I knew nothing about Lizzy Caplan, Dr. William Masters, or Virginia Johnson. I only knew that I wanted to watch this series on Showtime because Michael Sheen was in it.
So I sat down to watch it, one evening, on September 29, 2013. I anxiously awaited to see Michael Sheen… and also what this show was about. (Bonus: it takes place in the 1950s, which equals more interest with me.)
Turns out Masters of Sex is about these two people who are interested in how the human body responds… while having sex. Dr. Masters has always been interested, and Virginia Johnson needed a job as a secretary. The series goes on to delve deeper into their characters: Virginia being a single mom, and Dr. Masters being a reluctant husband and soon to be father. It also deals with the social stigma of the time: specifically that sex is not studied, because it’s not talked about in society. It’s completely ignored. And doctors don’t know what to do when someone has issues with sexual reproduction. They just cut and snip and send them out the door.
But not Dr. Masters (and, by extension Virginia Johnson). They understand human bodies. They understand sex. They have an interest in it. And they want the world to not be afraid of the subject.
Anyways, long introduction.
I was watching the most recent episode, entitled “Fight”… and I finished it literally fifteen minutes ago. (Yes, you read that time stamp right: it’s 3:15 in the morning). And… wow. My mind was blown. The amount of depth that the writers put into Bill and Virginia, the cinematography, and, most importantly, the acting between Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan.
I am a little fuzzy, but around half of the episode (if not more) takes place in the hotel room that Bill and Virginia are sharing. The elements that happened before (and after) this scene affected the couple as they met again, for another “study”. Bill was uncharacteristically aggressive, and Virginia, being the ever nurturing soul, was trying to help him… but not put up with his bullshit, at the same time. You could tell these two cared for one another. But from the circumstances of life outside of the hotel room, they couldn’t admit it out right. (For one, Bill is married. Yeah.)
But Virginia got the closest. She described a lover she had in the past. A boyfriend. Who had been a captain in an army. The “man” had claimed he was engaged, but supposedly the fiance ran off. Of course that’s not the case and he abandons Virginia to go back to said fiance.
“What does that mean for us?” Bill asks.
(It has been previously established that Bill and Virginia are posing as a married couple.)
Virginia: (And this is a paraphrase) “Oh… I’d only marry a man who I love and desire.”
And Bill in this episode is dealing about the memory of his father. Who abused him. This was established waaaay back in the show. But we have more depth into Bill’s back story now. Bill confides in Virginia that his father broke his nose once, and left him at a boarding school when he was only 14. And Bill never returned home.
This is also a powerful step in their relationship because Bill doesn’t even confide in his own wife. He keeps everything bottled up inside. And yet, he feels so connected to Virginia that he opens up to her. And she listens. Unlike anyone else in his life. (Also Virginia stated in this episode that Bill basically respects her and listens to her. Take notes boys!)
But the way these scenes come across is simply amazing. The tension between Bill and Virginia is absolutely palpable. The tension between their private life and the world around them… you can feel it. It’s just… wow.
I really suggest you guys watch this TV show. It is nothing short of amazing. And, yes, it has A LOT of sexual content. So not for kids. But it’s worth your time.