Tag Archives: Caitlin Fitzgerald

Behind the Insta-Scenes: Photos from the Set

25 Mar

Season and series finales (*SOB*), new season prep, mocked up album artwork and promotional tours are all part of this week’s busy “Behind the Insta-Scenes.”

 

Kroll Show ended its third and final season last night; there are photos from Nick Kroll, Jenny Slate and Chelsea Peretti in this week’s edition and I’m going to miss Farley, PubLIZity, Too Much Tuna, Ruth Diamond Phillips and many other wonderful beautiful fuck ups from this show. One part of the above collection of Kroll cast and crew that has me getting emotional is Jenny Slate’s ‘First Lady of Kroll Show’ sash.

 

Jenny Slate posted this glorious photo of an important moment in the history of Kroll Show. Excellent red lipstick points also awarded.

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ME AND MY GOON lololhahaaa

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Look like dis! Farely, I heart you.

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Final day of Ep10

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And now a season finale which is now the series finale and I’m super sad about today’s Looking news. Yes, they’re going to get a special to wrap it up so that’s something, but not the something I was hoping for despite the teeeerible viewing figures. Here is Patrick’s big Felicity moment.

 

The big Mad Men goodbye has only just begun and I am so not ready for it. What I am more than ready for is all the sartorial offerings from January Jones and the rest of the cast. So here for this monochromatic look and for Jones’ Instagram game.

 

Actual crying at this mocked up album art for Marnie & Desi in total She & Him fashion despite how much he protests against this comparison. The music on Girls and especially the tracks from the closing credits has been A+ this season and thankfully did not include this duo (Marnie by herself and particularly in this finale is strangely bearable).

 

Earlier this evening I wrote about how thrilled I am about The X-Files returning and David Duchovny shares a flash from the past to say the same. Hopefully there will be some updated versions of these kinds of shots when they return to the set.

 

In other TV news it was announced today that Masters of Sex will be back for season 3 Sunday, July 12 and costume designer extraordinaire Ane Crabtree shows a sneak peek into her design/inspiration process with Libby Masters herself, Caitlin Fitzgerald.

 

The big Game of Thrones season 5 promo push continues with Maisie Williams taking over the Entertainment Weekly Instagram account before her appearance on Jimmy Kimmel Live! 

 

Bonus Maisie Williams from the official GoT account posing with both Arya and Sansa Funko Pop figures. If only the pair would be reunited on screen soon.

 

Netflix launched down under in New Zealand and Australia this week with some of the stars of their original programming on hand to celebrate including Orange is the New Black’s Uzo Aduba and Yael Stone here with Netflix Daredevil newbies Charlie Cox and Deborah Ann Woll.

 

Masters of Sex 2.11 “One for the Money, Two for the Show” Review: “Stake Your Claim”

22 Sep

So much on Masters of Sex takes place behind closed doors as the nature of the study dictates this course of action; the one time Bill did try to present his work it was met with such a negative reaction that he lost his high powered position that set him on this journey of finding a more permanent home for their work. The first half of season two dealt with the conflicts and difficulty of finding a new environment to work in and eventually it became clear the only option would be to start something of their own. By presenting the work on television means putting themselves out there in a much broader scope and if they are rejected from this avenue it will have a devastating impact on whatever reputation Bill has left. I only mention Bill because he is the one who is finding the whole TV aspect to be incredibly challenging, although Virginia is dealing with separate personal issues that show a crack in her normally perfect facade.

Bill repeats the assertion throughout that he isn’t a salesman, but this is far from the case as he has been selling himself and the study from day one. The difference here is that he is normally so single minded and stubborn that he doesn’t let any self-doubt come into the equation. This feeling of impotence comes with his actual medical problem and how he has no control over what he can and cannot say on television. The Bill Masters bravado has been punched out of him by his brother and now he’s just a guy sweating profusely on TV; he is the Nixon to Virginia’s John F. Kennedy twinkle.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Bill and Virginia on TVThe switching of the ties makes a big difference and while Bill only refers to the practical reasons behind his tie choice – it stays out of the way during exams – stating that it isn’t a fashion decision, it is part of his uniform and he loses part of his armor with this swap. It seems like such a small thing and even though the CBS dudes think a long tie looks less academic, by taking away the bow tie they are removing the one fun aspect of Bill’s look. Have you seen how many different patterns he wears with these ties? Bill doesn’t come across as a polka dot kind of guy, but there they are on his choice of neck wear. The long tie is alien to him and he doesn’t even think the one Libby finds at home is his; it’s not a good start to feeling confident when you are informed that your look is wrong and then end up in a tie that’s not even yours.

Bill emphasizes how awkward it makes him by quoting Henry David Thoreau “Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes” and Lester not only mentions how disappointed he is that Bill is compromising his position, but he also notes how weird the tie looks. There are multiple references to sweat starting with Nixon and ending with Bill’s drenched shirt lying on the floor; not only did he want to rip the tie off, but his shirt too.

Shep Tally keeps talking about the importance of appearance and presentation on television with the infamous sweaty Nixon debate getting referenced; on radio Nixon appealed to more voters, on television Kennedy’s smile had just as much impact as the talking points. Virginia has a spark and natural stage presence, after all she was a performer before this became her career. Virginia looks the part from her sleek simple outfit with an incredible deer broach – Virginia’s accessory choices give me similar glee filled reactions as The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart – and there’s nothing about her style or manner of speaking that needs correcting. When Libby points out they are wearing the same color this is of no importance as they are shooting in black and white. It also ends up being of no importance because they never get around to shooting Libby, or even wondering where she is and so it is not surprising that she views herself as being invisible.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Bill and VirginaOn camera Virginia is the natural one with all the magnetism and charm, however when Bill loosens up and relaxes he also possesses a spark of sorts. He talks in hushed tones and yet his explanation of why this is an important line of study is captivating and it’s like the body equivalent of how fear is what leads you to the dark side; censorship perpetuates shame which leads to ignorance and ignorance prevents change. Shep was originally drawn to Virginia and Bill as a result of their natural back and forth. When Bill becomes more comfortable in front of the camera it becomes clear just how in sync they are as they finish each other’s sentences and Bill even laughs off a word stumble. See Bill, you do smile. Libby watches all of this and her expression grows increasingly sad and I wonder if she is figuring out just how close they are or if she is just acknowledging they have a bond that she has never possessed with her husband.

Masters of Sex 2.11 Libby and GeorgeLater on Libby and Virginia’s ex George are mistaken for husband and wife in the same way Virginia and Bill are often misconstrued as being a couple and the only similarity here is that Libby and George are sitting in a waiting room waiting for the couple who are married to their work. Libby refers to herself as “The woman behind the man behind the woman behind the man” noting just how insignificant she is to this whole process and subsequent fanfare. It doesn’t matter that she is “a looker” with Virginia ahead of her in ‘this race.’

This is what the Libby storyline has been building to all season and while they touched upon this aspect of the ignored wife at home in season 1 Libby was preoccupied with her desire to have children to create a family. Now she has those children and nothing has changed; there is still something missing. Libby’s story has been incredibly messy this season and at times it has been hard to feel any kind of sympathy with her. Tying her to an exploration of race issues in the late 50s/early 60s has at times made her come across as both racist and a race tourist (or a “silly fly-by-night do-gooder”). I was worried that Robert would become a prop in Libby’s journey to ‘find herself’ and she even admits that she wants Robert to kiss her to try and figure out who she is. Libby explains how she never got to be a dumb kid – maybe just dumb – and her nickname when she was younger was “The Little Grownup” and I expect this is because she had to grow up so quickly after her mother died and her father abandoned her. Libby goes on talking about how she has never made waves and how deep down she has maybe been ignorant and prejudice (everything with Coral suggests yes) and Caitlin Fitzgerald nails the little girl lost sadness when she says “So quiet that you forgot the sound of your own voice.”

Masters of Sex 2.11 LibbyWith Robert his feelings of disdain towards Libby was actually a relief as she no longer felt invisible and she has found a fight that she believes in and now understands. Using Libby as an entry point to explore race this season hasn’t always worked and part of this has been because it’s been just as much as it about Libby and her experiences as it is about the civil rights movement; we have been viewing it pretty much through her prism. Having Libby admit to her shortcomings, fears and attraction to Robert while stating that she wants to do something reckless shows that Libby isn’t considering the big picture and she’s spent so long alone that she doesn’t want to contemplate just how dangerous this is (or this element of danger adds to the attraction). If a police officer reacts this aggressively just with them sitting in a car, imagine how bad things could get if they get caught. Libby wants Robert to kiss her, but he doesn’t want to make the first move so she goes ahead and kisses him first. This leads to kitchen floor sex and it’s unlike any of the sex scenes we have seen between Libby and Bill; there is passion, longing and desire. I wonder if this is the first time Libby has had an orgasm.

Going back to Bill and despite his triumph of maintaining an erection at the end of the last episode his problem still persists despite trying again. This adds to his fear of presenting results in front of a camera as he feels like an unattractive fraud. The episode ends with Virginia telling Bill that she finds him attractive and cradling him on the floor. It’s a motherly act rather than a sexual one and to get all self-help Bill has to learn to accept that he is a flawed but brilliant person, not one or the other. Plus he really needs to get out of his own head space. It is rare to see Bill in this vulnerable state and without the same self-assured confidence that has got him to where he is now. He looks out of his comfort zone in pretty much every scene he is in this week and he is out of his depth as Virginia and Shep stand tall discussing what they will be undertaking.

Masters of Sex 2.11 BillOne person who gives a really good pep talk is Shep and considering he is in PR this is not surprising. He manages to appeal to Bill’s ego by reinforcing the notion about coming first and adds some comfort by suggesting the goal you have can be just as important as achieving it; just because they haven’t cured anyone yet, the hope and promise of doing this is part of the initial pitch. Shep tells him he needs to “Stake his claim” and by doing both this and “reaching for it” then he will be able to connect with people in their homes. Does Bill want to be a Kennedy or a Nixon? So on one hand there is Shep telling Bill that it is okay to make a compromise with his work so he can reach people and then there is Lester who is disappointed that Bill is sacrificing his integrity. What “One for the Money, Two for the Show” doesn’t do is tell you which version is the right one, instead it shows the various ways these characters are being challenged as they reach for the moon whether it is Libby wanting to be noticed, Bill feeling attractive or Virginia realizing that she has been so focused on work that she knew nothing about the type of woman George’s new wife is.

Virginia’s ex George wants to take the kids to Europe for 6 weeks while he is on tour and this concerns Virginia deeply. George has remarried and his new wife Audrey has become a big presence in Tessa and Henry’s life without Virginia even noticing. Audrey helped Tessa pick out her project subject and is very much part of their life, plus she’s not a flake like George; there is now stability in her ex-husband’s house and he won’t forget to feed them until late. This all takes Virginia by surprise as she’s been so busy at work. Thankfully there isn’t any ‘you’re a bad mother’ judgement, just an acknowledgement that this trip could actually be a really positive thing for Tessa and Henry. What it does mean is that Virginia will be spending the holidays (both Thanksgiving and Christmas) alone and I wonder if she will receive an invite to the Masters’ house?

Elsewhere the Austin/Flo sexual harassment continues and even though they work in the same building this story feels very much out on its own island. Flo is upset that Clark Gable is dying as he’s her dream dude and Gone with the Wind is her dream fantasy; she wants to be ravished against her will (this worryingly comes across as a rape fantasy and I’m not sure they are quite hitting the mark in this gender role swap as it is still coming across as slightly comedic in tone). By questioning Austin’s manhood she gets her unwilling participant and he’s continued to sleep with her since the last episode. Instead Austin is the one who reluctantly takes part in this role play and Flo ends up being the Clark Gable. Despite wanting to change roles it doesn’t end up that way and they are still stuck with who they have always been.

So how much can we adjust and evolve? This goes much further than just sex and the work as Bill and Virginia have entered a co-dependence of sorts that didn’t exist at the start of this season despite the grand rom-com like rain gesture at the end of last year. With only one episode left it is unclear just where these characters will end up, but it is clear that far too much has happened overall to return to where they were, not just for Virginia and Bill, but for Libby as well. It’s been a bumpy season that has attempted to cover a wide range of storylines and this ambition is commendable; however Masters of Sex is at its best when examining the deeply personal and intimate nature of relationships. Bill and Virginia are at the heart of this and with each episode they are nearing a real definition of what they really mean to one another as they dance around the notion of love. Is this a declaration we can expect to see in the finale?

 

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

18 Jul

It’s the TCA (Television Critics’ Association) 2014 summer press tour and this means a whole host of red carpet events with stars from current and forthcoming shows. So this edition of “Out of the Box” is an all TCA affair featuring NBC, ABC and Showtime.

Lizzy Caplan TCAKicking off with Masters of Sex (which returned this week) and Lizzy Caplan looks amazing in a stunning Roksanda Spring 2014 ensemble. The flash of hot-pink is further accentuated by the electric-blue satin Brian Atwood pumps and Caplan continues to raise her red carpet game.

Caitlin FitzgeraldHoundstooth is on the same list as polka dots and yellow for me – the “instant adoration” list if you will – and so Caitlin Fitzgerald in a Michael Kors creation using this pattern is making me drool all over my keyboard. Not so sure about the shoes and a pop of lip color (electric pink to avoid the usual red) would give this extra points.

Betsy BrandtBetsy Brandt is one of several new faces on Masters of Sex this season (her character debuts this Sunday) and she knows how to stand out on the red carpet in a bold electric blue frock. This is a great color on her and I’m looking forward to seeing her in ’50s attire.

Casey WilsonOne of the few new sitcoms that didn’t make me eye roll through the preview is Marry Me and a lot of that has to do with Casey Wilson and Ken Marino. The black belting and neckline help break up what could be a super busy pattern (which I adore) and this is an ideal TCA dress as it’s cool without trying too hard/not enough.

Karen GillanKaren Gillan is going to be starring on a show called Selfie and while I kinda hate the name I’m hoping it goes the way of Trophy Wife (not the canceled part *sob*) in that it defies the awfulness of its title. Gillan is totally endearing so the show has that (and John Cho who is also wonderful) and I’m sad that she won’t be rocking her amazing pixie cut or Scottish accent – so far this is all about what I wish Selfie was doing. Anyway, this skirt/blouse combo is pure Gillan slightly off the wall styling and the exaggerated boxy sleeves might be too much for some, but they really work on her.

Viola DavisShonda Rhimes is dominating Thursday night on ABC with a triple block when How to Get Away with Murder debuts in the fall alongside Scandal and Grey’s Anatomy and I am thrilled Viola Davis leading this project. Davis is rocking a Helmut Lang leather bodice dress (complete with pockets) and the flash of snake print on the sleeves adds an extra pop (so I can ignore whatever those shoes are).

Katie FindlayBecause I am still in mourning about The Carrie Diaries cancellation (pretty much my favorite charming shows are all dunzo) I was glad to see the cast getting work from Bennett popping up on The Leftovers to Katie Findlay (Maggie in TCD) in the aforementioned How to Get Away with Murder. This isn’t the most exciting outfit, but it’s very cute and a safe TCA choice.

Masters of Sex 2.01 “Parallax” Review: Going off Book

14 Jul

The big rain soaked grand gesture that ended season 1 of Masters of Sex is revisited in the form of flashback from both Bill and Virginia’s perspective throughout this premiere – the different points of view give the episode its title – and it is even followed by an equally rom-com like “What do we do now?” This question is incredibly loaded and neither Bill nor Virginia is very good at saying what they really mean; there is no scientific instrument than can speak for the (metaphorical) heart. Everything has been displaced and in this excellent first outing back we see pretty much every character clinging to the past while being deluded about the present. As with last year these reviews will be looking at Masters of Sex through the prism of costume design and how this plays a part in the overall narrative, as well as exploring other broader themes this show is addressing. Masters of Sex 2.01 no eye contactStarting at the end of the episode, which in a sense is the beginning of this seasons time line as Bill and Virginia discuss the finer points of Freud’s “there are no accidents” philosophy – this is one occasion where they agree with Freud after debunking his female orgasm theory – and end up in their standard stalemate relationship position. Bill and Virginia work incredibly well together and are both rather intuitive when it comes to the work, not so much with saying how they really feel as one of them is always erecting walls to protect their heart. Bill was the one to lay it all out this time and then pulled the classic “oh you misunderstood what was saying” after Virginia use word “affair” and how amazing he is for getting that she choose work over love. They can barely look at each other in this scene and they’re wearing their standard armor; Virginia’s high neckline/dark palette is her serious person wear and Bill’s immaculate suit and bow tie reflects his stiff exterior. Masters of Sex 2.01 Bill and Virginia suspendersTheir versions of armor do get stripped away in the bedroom and this is the first time they have been intimate outside of a controlled environment and it is jarring seeing them engaging like this outside of blue robes and medical instruments. The quick cuts as they go from doorstep to bedroom and finally a longer sequence of them naked enhances how impulsive this moment is and they are both laid out bare both physically and emotionally. Bill’s inquisitive side comes into play as he checks Virginia’s pulse and the first mention of no medical equipment is uttered; it’s impossible for this pair to separate the study from intimacy. This is the barrier they have used in the past to justify what they are doing as science. Now comes the psychological side of sex and Virginia ponders how they will measure this kind of data. Ah the study and its ability to provide an excuse for ignoring what is really going on while confronting these feelings in equal measures; Virginia even refers to it as “like nuclear rain falling on us all.” That is some stark imagery. Masters of Sex 2.01 kimonoVirginia barely wears any color in this episode and the ones she does are relatively muted aside from the celadon scarf that gets commented on at the hotel (“you can call it green”) and this incredible floral kimono. Again this is a much different look to the blue robes worn during Virginia’s previous sexual encounters with Bill and while they have of course been intimate with each other prior to this, the different setting and personal details like this kimono show how this relationship enters a new phase only to be back where they started by the end of the premiere. The different versions of the phone call, one in which we see Bill with a post-sex hopeful glow as Virginia turns down Ethan and the other as we hear Ethan’s side and see Virginia choosing work over love (even if she was never really in love with Ethan) earn an “it’s complicated” relationship status update. Masters of Sex 2.01 AustinIf this episode had a sponsor it would be denial and the result of what denial can do is helpfully demonstrated by Dr. Austin Langham as he hides from his scorned wife in Dr. Lillian DePaul’s office – he interrupts Lillian and Virginia having their own conversation about denial – as she roams the halls with her kids in tow yelling about her unfaithful husband. I have to admit that I totally bought into Austin’s sincere sounding declaration that he was a changed man and was no longer the cheating hound dog he was last season. Instead he has actually been sleeping with his sister-in-law and his fear of the study being like a mummy’s curse wasn’t his downfall, his inability to keep it in his pants did that just fine. Virginia getting to hold yet another baby reluctantly combined with Lillian’s admonishing of Austin made this the comic relief this episode craved. It also raised the question of whether Virginia should have ratted out where Austin was as a sign of solidarity even though Austin is the one who is her friend, not his wife and this situation is even more problematic as Virginia is also currently sleeping with the husband of a friend (no I am never buying the “it’s for science” defense which is why the Bill/Libby/Virginia love triangle is so fascinating). In one other moment of hilarity Lizzy Caplan did get to show off her fantastic comic timing as she attempts to use the script given to her to sell the diet pills, improv is definitely more Virginia’s speed. Masters of Sex 2.01 Libby and VirginiaWhile I’m on the subject of the Libby/Virginia friendship it is a good time to point out the stunning outfit Libby wears while on her trip to the hospital – inspired by Dior’s New Look – and there’s a couple of things that stand out to me here. First there’s light and dark; Virginia is in her standard dark tones and it’s not surprising considering the reaction from hospital employees that Virginia is doing all she can to not stand out. Libby is facing similar stares when out at functions and I’m not sure if she is aware of these disapproving looks or is she is using standard WASP protocol and pretending everything is fine, I suspect the latter. The color of this dress matches her son’s attire and it instantly made me think of how the Virgin Mary is often depicted wearing light blue and white. Masters of Sex 2.01 baby johnnyThis is reflected later when Bill scoffs that their baby isn’t Jesus despite being a ‘miracle,’ no to Bill he is like a crying monster to be drowned out by records and thoughts of Virginia. If only he could see the above shot to make things even more jumbled in Bill’s mind. Masters of Sex 2.01 horror povPure horror movie POV as Bill contemplates entering dear, sweet Johnny’s room before opting for the record player. Libby later calls Bill a “baby magician” before realizing that his mother is the one with the baby skills beyond the hospital. Bill’s baby fear stems from his own troubled family history and he banishes his mother back to Ohio after spitting at her how he is sleeping with Virginia and that he has become both his father and her. Bill really needs therapy as these issues are not going away and it is unfortunate that Libby has to deal with both their crying child and her repressive husband. Masters of Sex 2.01 LibbyLibby asks for advice from Virginia with how to deal with Bill’s work situation and Virginia’s words of wisdom focus on Libby “most of all I would take care of myself, it’s all you can do” as Bill is not great when being pushed in a certain direction. Libby does some of the former, but really more of the latter and this calls for more stunning vintage garments including this blue alpaca coat. Masters of Sex 2.01 poisedLibby is all poise at this event showing off what is under the above alpaca coat – a spectacular necklace and pale blue dress -as she tries to make things work, all while Bill is polishing off multiple martinis and snarking about her attempts to talk to Greathouse. Bill has his own chance meeting that helps him secure a new job and outlet for the study (more on that below). Masters of Sex 2.01 Libby floralTying Virginia and Libby together through floral print is not something I would have necessarily expected; Libby wears hers to maintain her social standing and to help Bill’s career through the only way she knows how and Virginia’s comes as personal and professional intersect in a new location. Libby and Virginia are of course linked through Bill and as their friendship developed prior to any Bill/Virginia sexy times it makes everything even more complicated. Libby is a sympathetic figure – which a lot of other shows with a difficult/brilliant man storyline have struggled with – and at the same time she isn’t painted as a weak 1950s housewife. There is real steely determination here and I worried when Masters of Sex first started that Libby would end up as nothing more than a pretty face with a nagging disposition so that you would will Bill and Virginia to be together. Instead we have a character who has strength and isn’t afraid to go against her husband’s wishes if she thinks it will help her family. That Bill has two women like this in his life who want to go to bat for him, despite his prickly and difficult nature is pretty astounding.

We know that when Bill lets his guard down there is a very caring side as he shows when he accompanies Barton to his electroshock therapy. When Barton pukes on him he barely blinks “it’s just a suit.” Bill can’t hide his disgust at this barbaric course of treatment and he uses science to try and convince Barton that he shouldn’t continue down this path.

Masters of Sex 2.01 Scully womenI’ve talked about how the theme of this episode is denial and Barton has this is droves as he tries to convince himself and Margaret that he can be ‘cured.’ Margaret sees through his sexual advances as soon as he wants to do it from behind pleading with him “there’s only a shred of me left that feels like a woman.” Margaret and Barton break my heart on every level in this episode – and have all but guaranteed repeat Emmy nominations for this time next year – as they both struggle with the reality of Barton’s sexuality. He so desperately wants to feel another way that his last resort is suicide and he is saved by his wife and daughter who have just returned from a shopping spree. Mother and daughter discuss the color of Vivian’s new top – she’s moving away from the pinks of last season as she has grown up and is talking about moving away – when they hear what they think is a thud from the basement window. Instead it is Barton’s hanging attempt and thankfully they reach him in time to save his life. Where the Scullys go from here is unclear, but they aren’t letting even those nearest to them in as Margaret makes excuses to Bill; a long distance phone call is the 50s version of a video call I guess. Masters of Sex 2.01 LillianWhat dish of denial is Lillian cooking up with her medicine cabinet story? Am I wrong in inferring that alcohol might be behind this shiner? One thing that I love about Masters of Sex is that it doesn’t have just one great lady friendship, there are currently three – though Jane will be departing soon sadly – and each brings out a different richness. Lillian and Virginia call each other out on their BS, Lillian disapproves of the diet pills Virginia is hawking and Virginia quickly flips the tables when Lillian blames her black eye on an object and not a person. Lillian has trouble getting her words out which might add to my booze theory or it could be down to her illness which I fear will take this incredible character away from us. It’s all about being careful and not reckless, a position that sends Virginia down Bill Masters memory lane for the final time in “Parallax” (this title also sounds like a diet pill to be honest) as their guarded nature could be seen as being careful, but it is probably going to be far more detrimental in the long run. Lillian as ever is buttoned up and muted in her costuming. Masters of Sex 2.01 Jane yellowYellow bag, coat, dress and jewelry is what I wanted from Jane’s brief appearance this season (Heléne Yorke is switching with Annaleigh Ashford as the actress with Broadway commitments this year) and I’m really going to miss this character’s ability to be honest without being hurtful. Jane wants Virginia to move to California as she thinks Virginia is deluding herself with the study and Bill. It’s colorful versus muted tones once again (Virginia’s collar is making me think of vicars and how she is trying to reject the sexual image people associate with her after the presentation) and Virginia also uses this opportunity to convince her friend that maybe she isn’t making the right choice either. Jane is following her dream and in a way Virginia is doing the same by putting her faith in Bill and their work. Masters of Sex 2.01 BettyBetty is back! Welcome to another installment of denial as she still hasn’t told her husband that a) she is gay and b) she can’t have kids. Masters knows about both of these things and is pissed that he has been drawn into this mess again, but hey he also gets to restart the study and get a new job out of this association so let’s play nice Bill. Betty is also not thrilled to see Bill and the Pretzel King is oblivious to all of this. Oh, Greg Grunberg (and another Felicity alum getting discussed on both his former and current show). Betty wears red, which was a staple color during her brief, but memorable stint last season and her relationship with Bill is one of the many conflicts I am looking forward to them exploring this year. An excellent first episode back propelling the story forward while characters try to adjust to big changes while denying that anything is different despite the obvious shifts and upheavals. Incredible work from Ane Crabtree and her costume design team as they add another layer to the text through what the characters wear and how they wear it.

Out of the Box: Look of the Week

14 Feb

As promised it’s a New York Fashion Week special with a look at some of the famous faces who attended the runway shows this week and for all our other NYFW coverage head here.

Solange at MillyWe tend to only focus on faces from TV with this feature, however it would be remiss of me if I didn’t include Solange at the Milly by Michelle Smith runway show as this is hands down my favorite outfit from the front row this week. Combining bubblegum pink with two such bold colors could have been a step too far and yet Solange pulls it off and looks incredible. This coat is my everything and will help combat the current chilly New York climate.

Tina Fey spotted smiling while leaving the Lincoln Center during NYFW in New York CitySpeaking of weather preparedness here is Tina Fey leaving the Carolina Herrera show on Monday switching out strappy heels for Hunter wellies and they still look pretty fantastic with this outfit. I’m on the fence with the Tootsie like glasses, but everything else is fantastic.

Diane Kruger Hugo BossOut of the Box regular Diane Kruger’s outfit manages to be weather appropriate and super stylish as she heads to the Hugo Boss show. There’s no cute, but freezing strappy shoe BS here and it’s no surprise that I am very much in love with the sweater she is wearing.

Zosia Mamet Rebecca MinkoffThe coat over the shoulders thing is very fashion week and Girls’ Zosia Mamet also demonstrates this at Rebecca Minkoff in stunning orange. Coats and sweaters are my jam.

Taylor Schilling and Caitlin FitzgeraldLooking very different from their Masters of Sex and Orange is the New Black characters is Caitlin Fitzgerald and Taylor Schilling hangout together at the Thakoon show. I’m normally not all that into jumpsuits, but pairing it with these booties has got me on board the whole jumpsuit of it all and Fitzgerald is giving off an effortlessly chic vibe. I’m pro tights and I love the color combination of Schilling’s bold print dress with the rainbow infused sparkly coat. So much shimmer.

Rose ByrnePolka dots! Rose Byrne wearing a dress at Michael Kors that I would very much like in my closet and it’s a classic look. I’m going to ignore the clumpy heels as this is a perfect outfit without them.

AnnaSophia RobbMore polka dots! And this time it’s shoes with AnnaSophia Robb wearing the cutest heels with a Diane von Furstenberg wrap dress at the DVF show (of course). Robb is always a delight at both NYFW and on the red carpet; while we don’t know if she will return as 1980s Carrie Bradshaw, in the present day she is just as fashion forward.

Best of the 2014 Golden Globes Red Carpet

13 Jan

So the Golden Globes are over and Tina Fey summed it up best with this closing comment “This was the beautiful mess we hoped it would be.” Random winners and drunken speeches aside we’re going to take a look at our favorite red carpet looks from the TV ladies – and one movie star we can’t leave out. Here are TV Ate My Wardrobe’s top 10 picks for best gowns. There’s a special Tina Fey and Amy Poehler style post coming shortly.

Julianna MarguliesJulianna Margulies didn’t win for The Good Wife, but she looks incredible in this black Andrew Gn gown with a gold shoulder and hem print. The voluminous skirt and cinched in waist is dramatic without going full princess.

Elisabeth Moss Golden Globes

So happy Elisabeth Moss won for Top of the Lake and she did so in this stunning oxblood and black beaded J. Mendel dress. While there were mumblings that her hair is too messy for this event, the tousled chic works for me thanks to the shorter length. Bonus points for a bold lip color choice. Moss became my mani cam hero when she did what many have probably wanted to do and flipped it off.

Tatiana Maslany Golden GlobesLooking completely different from the many roles we see her in on Orphan Black, Tatiana Maslany’s award show debut is a style win in this beautifully beaded gown from Jenny Packham that exudes old Hollywood glamour.

Caitlin Fitzgerald Golden Globes

Masters of Sex’s Caitlin Fitzgerald balked at the usual nude/red/black trend with a high necked beautiful baby blue gown from Emilia Wickstead. This is how you emulate the decade your show is set in without looking like you’ve raided the costume department as it has 1950s sensibilities with a modern twist. I’m in love with the coral and baby blue strappy pumps also from Emilia Wickstead.

Lizzy Caplan Golden GlobesSpace played an important thematic role on Masters of Sex and there’s something retro-futuristic about Lizzy Caplan’s Emilio Pucci frock. The silver side column and neckline detail is super sexy as is switching up her usually straight hair for wavy locks.

Lupita Nyong'oLupita Nyong’o was one of the most anticipated red carpet arrivals, especially as what she was wearing leaked early and she didn’t disappoint. I’m a sucker for a cape at the best of times (six seasons and a movie) and this red Ralph Lauren number is spectacular. Shame she didn’t win for her performance in 12 Years a Slave.

Michelle Dockery Golden GlobesYesterday we heralded Michelle Dockery as the best dressed at the pre-Golden Globes celebrations and she didn’t use up all her good style points before the big event. Metallic nudes were a big trend with several Oscar de la Renta gowns reveling in this sparkly style. While I might have added a few accessories there is beauty in simplicity and this is another hit for the Downton Abbey star.

Zosia MametThis white Reem Acra gown with black floral detail is a big departure for Girls’ Zosia Mamet as she tends to favor the LBD (as we saw earlier this week) and the new bob is super cute. All she needs is red lipstick and this would be perfect.

Julia Louis-Dreyfus Like Paul Rudd, Julia Louis-Dreyfus has made some kind of deal/has a painting in her attic and she looks incredible in this orange Narciso Rodriguez halter neck dress. She also provided some of the funniest moments from the night, most notably puffing on E cigarette as part of the opening monologue.

Olivia WildeRed carpet gowns and maternity wear don’t tend to cross paths; Olivia Wilde’s sparkly Gucci Première emerald gown is giving me Wizard of Oz feels and it’s wonderfully unexpected.

Who was your best dressed?

Masters of Sex 1.12 “Manhigh” Costume Review: Reaching for the Stars

16 Dec

The first season of Masters of Sex uses space exploration as mirror to the pioneering research occurring in exam room 5; Bill and Virginia want to know everything about the act that can create life, whereas the notion of space travel is looking at life beyond Earth. Both include scary prospects and the potential to reveal things that could change the way we live, but only one of these is on prime time while the grand unveiling of the other is met with horror and aversion.

Ane Crabtree’s costume design for the whole of the first season has been tremendous and adds another layer to the storytelling as well as influencing my own sweater purchases. Each character has their own signature style and this reflects not only their attitudes towards sex, but also shows there is a lot more to this era than being buttoned up.

Masters of Sex 1.12 BillThe look of Bill Masters has been consistent throughout and there have only been a few occasions where he hasn’t been in his standard bow tie, suspenders and jacket attire. This is Bill’s uniform and it gives the impression of tradition, but the small polka dot detail on his bow tie hints at something slightly less repressed. Over the season we have seen Bill loosen up in private; his public demeanor is still pretty much the uptight dude that we met in the pilot. In the final scene Bill doesn’t cover Virginia’s eyes as he did last time he choked up and he openly admits that he needs her; I don’t think Bill has ever admitted that he needs someone other than himself. Bill is making that all important grand gesture.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Incredulous BillA slightly different bow tie/shirt combo (polka dots and check) and he’s pulling his best incredulous face. Bill throws himself under the bus to protect Barton’s job and says “Fuck them” in the process. The one thing he remains blind to is Libby, despite her attempts to be part of the project he is so passionate about.

Masters of Sex 1.12 dinner no showThe Masters home has never looked more lonely and cramped all at once as not a single person turns up to the post lecture dinner party celebration. Libby asks Bill who the woman in the video is and tells him other people think it is Virginia. Bill denies this without ever saying that it isn’t Virginia, he simply leads Libby’s questioning to get her to come to that conclusion.

Masters of sex 1.12 Virginia and JaneIn an ugly exchange one of the male doctors (the same doctor who raised his Martini glass to the notion that size doesn’t matter) tells Virginia that it was more of her than he needed to see in the presentation.  Both Jane and Virginia are appalled at this accusation and it doesn’t matter that we know it was Virginia, what matters is that as soon as it turned to female sexuality the attitude changed from frat house to nunnery. Jane is in the bold yellow we have come to associate her with and despite the reception to the study, she isn’t going to change who she is nor fade into the background in muted tones. Virginia has favored dark colors throughout the season, but color has all but disappeared since the time she started sleeping with Bill (except in his fantasy version of her last week).

Masters of Sex 1.12 Virginia close upThis close up comes after the presentation has been shut down during the provocative Virginia film. Virginia marches to the elevator and as with The Good WifeMasters of Sex has used this space for moments of escape (as with Margaret Scully in “Brave New World“), to show the disconnect between Bill and Virginia last week and as a place where Lillian attempted to get more money for her study. Here it looks like Virginia has been punched in the stomach or as if she’s going to throw up.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Virginia collarHere’s another shot from the same scene as I want to highlight the collar detail and the bold white lapels of this dress as they cross over each other on the back. Pretty much all of Virginia’s work clothes are smart and chic; embellished collars are incredibly popular during this time period and Virginia always appears to be one step ahead of the other ladies who work at the hospital. Virginia’s time working as a singer in a variety of music halls definitely impacts her costuming choices.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Lester and JaneI’ve already mentioned the yellow of Jane’s post presentation outfit and even though she isn’t going to lose her golden glow because of the reaction to the study she’s still embarrassed by how much of her has been aired in public, particularly as everyone is calling it dirty. Jane has been instrumental throughout the study and she thinks that her vaginal walls have brought down the whole kingdom. Lester does a good job of reassuring this isn’t the case and she should also remember her words to Bill earlier “It was just the insecure men who didn’t want to hear about how women are you know, sexually superior.” This statement really gets the heart and hypocrisy of the matter and it looks likes the Chancellor et al are similar to the MPAA.

Masters of Sex 1.12 LesterThe Lester/Jane relationship is very sweet and Lester’s earthy tones compliment the sunny disposition of Jane’s predominantly yellow wardrobe. Lester’s concern for how much masturbation is too much leads to one of the funniest lines of the season with Bill telling him “I can spot a statistically average masturbator from a mile away.” That’s a special skill to put on your resume now you’re out of a job Bill.

Masters of Sex 1.12 AustinAustin propositions Jane as they discuss how the study started with them. Austin comes across as confident (even though we know he has had performance issues in the past) and he’s suave whereas Lester is awkward. Costume wise they are incredibly different with Lester’s sweater vests and glasses and Austin’s well tailored expensive suits. Lester is the one who ends up getting a smooch and he’s definitely more relationship material as I can see Austin coasting from woman to woman without ever being truly satisfied.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Libby and JaneThe Libby/Jane working partnership continues as they sort out handouts, Martinis and canapés. Libby is dressed predominantly in baby blue this week and this is yet another beautiful maternity dress. As I have previously mentioned, Libby’s character progression from housewife to now has been exciting to watch as she has become so much more than the lazy option of the nagging housewife.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Libby baby blueIn an even lighter baby blue ensemble Libby is boxing up supplies for the Urban League and this points again to Libby as non-prejudicial. Libby goes into labor in this scene, as they can’t get hold of Bill and the baby is coming fast there’s no option but to take Libby to a different and predominantly African American hospital. This the second time this season in which Libby has gone to a different hospital accompanied by an African American and the main thing this is suggesting is that Libby is not a racist; the pilot episode touched on racial prejudice in Bill’s hospital and I wonder if season 2 is going to deal more with Civil Rights beyond this surface level next year. The giant white lapels on this woman’s dress mirror Virginia’s, showing that it’s a popular style, just not necessarily one that Virginia’s co-workers share.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Libby babyLibby is perfectly content after giving birth to a baby boy (as the blue blanket suggests) and she turns down the offer to call Bill right away; the conception was a solo effort (with the aid of Ethan) and the birth mirrors Bill’s absent role so far. The writers have altered the timeline of the Masters’ children for dramatic purposes and as we go forward the relationship between Bill and Libby is going to shift; will Libby fight for their marriage or is this child enough for her?

Masters of Sex 1.12 Lillian lunchWhat is enough for Lillian with her research? She attempts a different strategy to try and get more funding; this time there’s no awkward flirty banter and instead Lillian goes in hard. The result is still the same and she comes away empty handed. Lillian’s clothes are still rigid and functional and most women don’t want to be seen by a female OB/GYN despite Lillian’s attempts to keep her gender out of her performance as a doctor.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Dr DePaulOn two separate occasions we see Lillian taking off her lab coat – the first is prior to the lunch where she gets no funding and the second comes as Virginia suggests a different approach. Virginia thinks that Lillian needs to look beyond Pap smears; she needs to aim big to get the money she requires. At first Virginia suggests breast cancer, followed by the contraceptive pill. Virginia does her homework (it’s how she knew about the Pap smear when she first met Lillian) and the contraceptive pill is going to revolutionize medicine for women. Spoiler alert it doesn’t go on the market until 1960 and yet I can see this linking into Lillian’s work next season. This is if Lillian is still around and I really hope she is as Julianne Nicholson has brought something special to this season.

Masters of Sex 1.12 MargaretAllison Janney is another Masters of Sex MVP and in the season finale she confronts Barton regarding his sexuality and later visits the doctor who is going to ‘cure’ him. There are similarities between Margaret Scully and Libby Masters in their marital situations –  Bill isn’t gay, but he doesn’t love his wife in a sexual way – and this is reflected in their costuming as Margaret also wears baby blue this week. This is yet another beautiful and ornate broach in the Margaret Scully collection, rivaling The Good Wife’s Diane Lockhart.

Masters of Sex 1.12 closetBarton essentially steps out of his closet when Margaret confronts him about his sexual preference by using a headline in the paper as a segue. It’s a frank and honest chat; this surprised me considering how long Barton has been keeping it a secret (around 40 years) and it’s pretty calm and collected at first. Margaret explodes due to how long Barton has known he has feelings for men and she accuses him of stealing time from her. It’s an incredibly complex and heartbreaking scenario, even more so when Margaret hears what options are available to stop Barton feeling this way towards men.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Barton and MagaretThe shot above comes from the moment where Margaret tells Barton to not have electro shock therapy as the risks far outweigh what it might do. The memories that she mentions are not grand life altering ones, but small moments that add to their 30 years together and she doesn’t want to lose that. Barton tells her he won’t go through with it and this is yet another lie. It’s a stunning composition as Margaret is in the light of the bedside lamp and Baton is in darkness as they embrace on the bed they haven’t shared for years.

Masters of Sex 1.12 Bill prepThis is another moment that uses a bold light to enhance the framing of a character; this time from a natural source as Bill prepares to go out and make his presentation. In this moment he is still in darkness and he’s about to unleash his work on the world.

Masters of Sex 1.12 EthanEthan spends most of the episode away in California where he is having a job interview. It’s all going well between Virginia and Ethan and he even proposes to her in this scene while he is staring at the ocean in sun kissed California. This is in contrast to the rain soaked St. Louis, Missouri and the declaration that Bill makes in person. Ethan has definitely changed from the jerk we met in the pilot and he is great with Virginia’s kids and yet he can’t offer the stars in the same way Bill can.

Masters of Sex 1.12 the studyLike the heroes of Project Manhigh who have reached new heights, so have Bill and Virginia and they have done so together. The envelope full of money was Bill’s ill judged reaction to his guilt induced by Libby’s pregnancy and in this final scene of season 1, Bill emotionally undresses and lays out the truth. It’s not the work Bill can’t live without, it’s Virginia. So that’s not one but two propositions for Virginia as we end season 1 and while it’s easy to guess which way she will lean, the episode overall is a very satisfactory resolution to an excellent first season.

Masters of Sex 1.11 “Phallic Victories” Costume Review: Are You Good Enough?

9 Dec

Virginia Johnson pulls many people into her orbit; some describe her as being like “Technicolor” and with others there is a rapport through a conflicting personality type. Bill Masters and Lillian DePaul are part of the latter group and Virginia enhances their work by focusing on personal aspects beyond just science. It’s perhaps fitting then, that the episode closes with Virginia singing you “Don’t Know Me” (and yes that is Lizzy Caplan singing) as we still have barely scratched the surface with who Virginia really is, while closed off characters have revealed their innermost secrets and fears. We know what other people think of her and yet the inner life of Virginia Johnson is still a mystery.

Masters of Sex 1.11 Masters' version of VirginiaBill has his own fantasy version of Virginia in this episode, as he no longer has the real one to talk to after she quit last week and Bill is not the kind of person who will make the first move towards a reconciliation. Instead he has these imaginary chats where ‘Virginia’ points out the missteps that he is taking with this new presentation idea. She also reminds him that she was more than just a secretary; this is his projection of guilt. The lighting is dimmer in these moments and in the scene above her posture is emphasizing her chest and there’s a sultry, but disdainful quality to this look.

Masters of Sex 1.11 VirginiaIn reality this is how Virginia looks in the same attire, in Lillian’s office instead and it’s a lot less pouty and perky. There’s a relaxed quality to the Johnson/DePaul relationship even if Lillian is just as prickly as Bill ever was; it helps that there is no sexual tension.

Masters of Sex 1.11 fantasy VirginiaBill’s version of Virginia works on several levels; she acts as the voice of reason and she imparts a much needed confidence boost. ‘Virginia’ challenges his new presentation idea as he’s going to make a bold statement that he can’t back up with sufficient evidence and it’s a big claim; he’s going to state that size doesn’t matter. Bill’s reasoning is that he needs to keep people in the room so they hear the actual discoveries they have made and he’s afraid that if the work isn’t a success then he will have lost everything. ‘Virginia’ tells him that he is a “bigger man” than all of this and the real fear isn’t to do with size, “the fear is are you good enough?” Bill doesn’t think he is a bigger man and this loops back to his earlier comment to Libby that there is always something to prove.

Fantasy Virginia wears a variety of outfits including the grey that matches what the actual Virginia is wearing, the blue bathrobe of their most intimate moments and the green that Virginia wore a lot at the start of the season and then stopped doing so once they started sleeping together. The green sweater in the scene above was last worn in episode 3 “Standard Deviation,” the first episode Virginia wore a lab coat in. This was also the first time Virginia met Lillian and Lillian essentially gave her the brush off.

Masters of Sex 1.11 Bill and VirginiaThe only shared scene between the real Virginia and Bill happens in the last sequence of the episode as Virginia is singing “You Don’t Know Me” and the pair share an elevator ride as if they are strangers. Both make sly glances at the other while waiting in a big crowd, but other than that there is nothing.

Masters of Sex 1.11 together but separateBill is isolated in all aspects of his life and this is no more apparent than at home. The shot prior to this one made it seem like Libby and Bill are in the same bed together as Libby asks questions about the mystery 23 times couple, a couple who we know to be Bill and Virginia. As with Margaret and Barton’s secret all the clues are there for Libby to work out who this really is and yet she seems blissfully unaware at this point as she poses the question of whether this couple fell in love. Bill’s only response is that this is outside the area of inquiry. We don’t do emotions here, even though we do really. Bill and Libby are worlds apart despite their close-ish proximity and Libby is trying to do everything in her power to make herself a valued part of Bill’s life.

Masters of Sex 1.11 LibbyThis includes an offer of help at work and she can be his new “Virginia.” There is so much awkwardness in this episode between Libby and Bill as Libby tries everything to reach out to him. Libby tells him that he takes care of me followed by the super cringe line of “you feel good inside me.” Yep, that happens and I really feel for her. As with Margaret there’s only so much she can do for her husband as he’s thinking about someone else. The whole pregnancy is still not sitting well between them and they trade passive aggressive statements back and forth.

Libby’s character trajectory has been impressive; at first it seemed like she was going to be a simpering housewife who called her husband ‘Daddy’ and instead she has become so much more than that. Ultimately is it a fool’s errand that she keeps attempting to crack Bill? Possibly, but at least she isn’t passive. This episode also produced yet another female friendship to warm my heart with Jane and Libby hitting it off instantly.

Masters of Sex 1.11 secretary LibbyThe maternity wear is beautiful once again and while the peach attire is new, the outfit above is a repeat costume. Libby is luminescent in these scenes and it might be a kiss ass comment from the new wannabe Ethan, but she does have a smile in her voice. If I was Tyra I would call this ‘smalking.’

Masters of Sex 1.11 Libby at workMore maternity wear and as with a lot of the late 50s/early 60s women’s clothes a detailed collar is everything. Libby’s choice of office wear is less colorful than what we usually see her in (the peach was intended for a lunch date, not work) as if she is trying to tone down her look and not stand out.

Masters of Sex 1.11 Jane in yellowJane or VirJane as she is now known whenever Bill yells for her (and it’s a lot) is still rocking her ever present sunny shade of yellow.

Masters of Sex 1.11 Jane at workAnd more yellow. Jane’s disposition is still upbeat despite Bill’s constant yelling and put downs because she doesn’t have every single one of his medical filing terms remembered. Jane is still seeking out Virginia’s advice in secret and while she’s not Virginia, Bill has lucked out getting Jane as his secretary and she has also been so vital to his study. Bill wants to show some of the film they shot, a factor that Jane isn’t all that comfortable with and she refers to as the “mine shaft footage.” The other film has of course been destroyed so there is no way Bill could use that.

Masters of Sex 1.11 JaneThis is the first episode in which Libby and Jane have shared a scene and I hope we will get to see this friendship blossom; both Caitlin Fitzgerald and Helén Yorke have been standouts this season so I’m glad to see them together. The pair go through the files to find viable candidates and it’s here they unknowingly stumble upon the Bill and Virginia’s data – it’s lucky that no names are included, but personal details like how many children they have and marital status could hint at who it was if they dug deep enough. Jane’s not all about yellow, her other color is blue and she tends to wear something with a darker hue when the stakes are higher and Bill’s presentation is incredibly important. It’s a dress with little to distract except for the collar detail and Jane’s costuming tends to have a feminine flourish even when it’s a slightly more reserved outfit.

Masters of Sex 1.11 Lillian“Well, having a dick doesn’t hurt.” Lillian utters this declaration after a disastrous 17-hour trip and a conference that is over by the time she arrives with Virginia. Lillian rails against the system and the Bill Masters of the world and believes she would be in a much better position if she had the right anatomy. Virginia argues that Bill only has the “rainmaker prerogative” not because he is a man, but because he is excellent at his job and has learned how to work the system. I mean it’s hard to argue that his gender hasn’t opened doors for him, and yet what I think Virginia is trying to tell Lillian is she has to work the angles and not look at the things that are holding her research back. Lillian has softened her appearance for the conference with her hair down, but her suit is still the stiff grey and it’s important on occasions like this to be comfortable in personal presentation.

Masters of Sex 1.11 sororitySo while they can’t schmooze out on the golf course there is an entirely different set of influential ears they can bend. Virginia knows how to work a room, she’s been in plenty of different social situations and her time on stage gives her confidence and presence. Virginia is essentially Lillian’s hype man, she does the intro and knows which buttons to press in terms of ego stroking and lets Lillian do the science part. This is Virginia’s “size doesn’t matter” speech, but instead of using false data she uses life experience. White gloves, pretty dresses and pearls give off an air of ‘ladies who lunch’ and yet their influence gives Lillian six advocates in six states, probably more than her presentation would have garnered. Especially if she opened with her gags.

Masters of Sex 1.11 something of your ownUnlike the instant friendships between any of the Libby/Jane/Virginia combinations, the road to Virginia and Lillian has almost been as long as their 17-hour trip. It’s now hit a point where Lillian shares her deepest, darkest secret – she has cancer. Julianne Nicholson is devastating in her performance as she tells Virginia in a rather matter of fact way about her cancer history and the end that is closer than it should be at this age. Virginia at first mistakes Lillian’s wonder at the doctor’s wives as sadness that she hasn’t her own family; it’s quite the opposite as she ponders what could be achieved if all of those women pursued careers instead. Lillian is desperate for someone to continue her work and while this work is just hers, she needs someone who can take the reins from her when she falls. Lillian has been going at it alone and now she has a partner of sorts, Virginia has already been part of a team but her name will no longer be on that work. I wonder if this is sly nod to the title of this show which thanks to the pun only references one half of the partnership, but it is Virginia who is on everyone’s mind.

Masters of Sex 1.11 EthanThis includes the metaphorical dick measuring contest between Virginia’s current beau Ethan and her former husband George, who shows up just when it’s only Ethan looking after the kids. Like Libby, Ethan is a character that I dismissed in the first episode and his violent actions and jealous streak made him incredibly unappealing and he felt like another version of Joan’s husband Greg in Mad Men. I’m still wary of him and even though Virginia is making a go of it this time, I’m worried that if/when it goes sour he will lash out again. Ethan does handle himself with George though, he plays the doctor card and yes he does shave. We measure ourselves in a variety of ways and this competitive banter between George and Ethan is just another version of that. It’s not just the ladies that get fancy neck details and Ethan’s casual wear features a rather bold red, white and blue collar.

Masters of Sex 1.11 singingAll George has is this past version of Virginia that he can brag about knowing and yet he has no access to her, yes he has memories but how much can memories get you? He brags about her singing and how she never does it anymore, as the last sequence proves this isn’t the case. It’s just a singing booth at the fair, but to Ethan and her kids it’s the world. This is a different version of Virginia and once again it does feel like we don’t know her. Lizzy Caplan is excellent in this role but it still feels like we are getting Virginia through the eyes of everyone else. Virginia is essentially the Masters of Sex hype man, she gets us in the tent and we get to learn about the inner lives of everyone else. What happens when we get to see who Virginia really is?

Masters of Sex: Fantasy, Reality and Confronting the Past

21 Oct

Confronting the past and looking to the future are big themes in Masters of Sex’s puntastic named episode “Thank You For Coming” as we learn more about the past relationships that have shaped both Masters and Johnson. In terms of color and costuming red and pink are repeated throughout this episode offering up different interpretations of sex and love.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia lipstickVirginia spends the episode as the object of desire of three very different men; her ex-husband George, Ethan and Bill Masters himself. Two of these men have experienced the passion with Virginia that one of her signature colors represents, while the other has only his scientific data as an attempt to understand this side of his assistant. Red is one of the colors that Virginia wears with frequency and for her it’s all about passion and strong emotions.

Masters of Sex 1.04 grey dressAnother repeated style point for Virginia is that both her dresses and blouses tend to have bow details around the collar. While the Peter Pan collar is probably a more indicative style from this period, Virginia’s bows show that she is more fashion forward and less traditional than someone like Libby Masters.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Masters and JohnsonVirginia tends to navigate towards darker color and she dresses head to toe in black for the Masters’ dinner party. This might come across as a somber choice for a lighthearted setting. Instead it reflects Virginia’s music club past where dark colors are the norm and not seen as mourning attire.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia in blackHere’s another look at Virginia’s dinner party costuming including the pillbox hat and it is one black veil and some sparkles away from Janet Snakehole territory. There is not much else to say about Virginia’s costume in the photo above, but it is an excellent example of the epic bitch face that she utilizes more than once this week as she has to deal with unwanted advances from both Ethan and her ex-husband George. It’s not surprising that Virginia has perfected this expression with all the shit she has to put up with in her personal life.

Masters of Sex 1.04 red collarVirginia isn’t the only one in black at the dinner party and Masters’ mother Essie adds some flare with a red bow and collar detail with matching red earrings. Conflict arises at this dinner party when Virginia asks for a story about Bill as a child and what his mother perceives to be a cute story is just another painful reminder to Bill that his father was abusive to him. Part of his own concerns about becoming a father is linked to the fear he will repeat the same mistakes.

Masters of Sex 1.04 red and pinkThis is where the color red comes into play once again as Bill’s mother is no longer wearing the black clothes she has favored since his father died four years prior. It is a sign of her independence and she is finally no longer feeling the effects of the strict control of her husband. It is clearly still having a huge impact on Bill and it goes a long way to explain why he is so rigid. It also contrasts with the nurturing pink tones of Libby beautiful maternity clothes in the same scene and Libby represents all that is pure to Bill. This in itself is incredibly problematic and there is no way that Libby can be the perfect wife and mother that Bill expects her to be. At this point the facade is there even if he is developing strong feelings for Libby’s opposite; Virginia. Bill is putting all the women in his life into boxes but he should realize that you can’t reduce a person to a simple list of attributes. There is much that can’t be measured by science and study.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Libby Peter Pan CollarHere is Libby in a Peter Pan collar maternity dress reflecting Libby’s traditional role as wife, host and mother-to-be. While Libby might not be the most interesting character on this show, Caitlin Fitzgerald injects a warmth and charm particularly with her scenes with Virginia and I wonder whether their friendship will withstand Masters’ growing feelings for Virginia.

Masters of Sex 1.04 LibbyThis is the first time that Libby has worn anything dark so far on Masters of Sex and the embellished white collar gives it a touch of femininity and keeps it in line with her other costuming despite the color. Libby is a woman of means and her accessories reflect this; the pearl necklace in the photo above and the fur shawl that we see her wear earlier in the episode. It’s not surprising that Bill’s mother misinterprets her husband’s actions and she is so reductive when it comes to her thoughts on men; she thinks that men run away from regret and disappointment but Bill proves this theory wrong as he attempts to confront his feelings about his father (thanks to a well timed patient), whereas Essie is the one who is running away from her past.

Masters of Sex 1.03 Bill Blue SweaterIt’s a rare sight to see Bill Masters in day wear that doesn’t involve a bow tie or scrubs, so it is a treat to see him in this blue sweater sans bow tie at home. Despite the relaxed nature of his collar, Bill is anything but as he questions why Libby is trying to set up Virginia with Ethan. Bill gets very defensive and he suggests they would be terrible together – something that we as the audience know to be true – it comes across as more than this as he has feelings for Virginia. One thing that did pleasantly surprise me was how Masters’ mother reacted to Virginia’s two divorces; instead of seeing it as a negative she is receptive to Virginia’s family set up.

Masters of Sex 1.04 VivianTalking of Ethan, he is still having a hard time coming to terms with Virginia’s rejection and despite sleeping his way through the hospital staff he still can’t get over her especially as he has put her up on a Technicolor pedestal – Virginia’s daughter Tessa knows what the what is as she instantly takes a dislike to Ethan. Enter Vivian and if Ethan is going to sleep with anyone the daughter of the Provost is probably the last person he should be doing it with. Luckily for him he is saved by a phone call from the hospital (not so lucky for the woman who is labor and has a drunken doctor) and things don’t go too far. Vivian is wearing both pink and red in the seduction scene representing both her innocence and sexuality.

Masters of Sex 1.04 checks and stripesVivian looks incredibly young the next day in her candy striper uniform as Ethan is incredibly sorry for his actions the night before. It turns into a sweet and sad scene and Ethan is clearly a mess. The story that Vivian tells of Ethan’s kindness at her Sweet 16 contrast with what we have seen of him so far and I wonder if we will see more of this good person that she describes. Ethan doesn’t even remember this interaction when he first meets her earlier in the episode and he’s worried that she is another forgotten woman that he has slept with. It is entirely possible that he is just as self-centered as he first appeared but this episode shows more character growth for Ethan than the previous three episodes combined. I also really like the contrasting pattern with Vivian’s stripes and Ethan’s check shirt.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia lab coatCircling back to Virginia (and her well practiced disdain face) I posed the question last week about Virginia and the lab coat – whether she would carry on wearing it when the study moved from the brothel back to the hospital and I am glad to see that she is. This puts her on the same level as Bill during their out of hours study even if he is the only one of the pair that has an MD.

Masters of Sex 1.04 Virginia redMore red for Virginia as she looks on at her ex-husband George with another silent expression of WTF as George turns up as a volunteer for the study. Virginia has already expressed how she is barely keeping everything together and it is the wistful notion that Virginia is magical that backs up Mama Masters’ assertion that men are running towards pleasure; these men don’t see Virginia’s personal struggle just the ecstasy that they might feel when they are in her presence.

For more Masters of Sex coverage head here.

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