Monday, September 17, 2007

Curb Your Enthusiasm

What a disappointment! After raving yesterday about the HBO show, "Tell Me You Love Me," we switched on to the second episode last night to find a different show altogether. What had seemed like a group of real human beings facing real issues in their life now seemed like a bunch of narcissitic whiners unable to see beyond the end of their noses. Where character needed to be deepened and explored, they skated across the same surfaces endlessly, feeling piteously sorry for themselves and blithely unconcerned with others, even--especially--those they purported to love. The sex, which again had seemed so real and integral to the story line, seemed now almost perfunctory--though with a couple of notable exceptions.

What happened? Did I miss all the psychobabble cliches the first time around. Was I watching what I wanted to watch, rather than what was there? Or was there truly a disastrous dip in quality between the first episode and the second? I have no answers to these questions. Do I plan to watch again, in the hope that the first impression--and the first episode--was to be trusted more than the second? I suppose so...

I did pause to think about that last question from yesterday's entry: what does all this have to do with the Buddha? For those who have not made the commitment to a monastic life, the injunction is clear: avoid all sexual that could be harmful to oneself or others. Given that basic rule, it then becomes a tricky matter of interpretation. What's harmful? The answer, of course, needs a great deal of unsparing introspection and honest evaluation of the consequences of one's actions.

I'll say one thing for the show. It ended on an interesting, difficult, and real note. On the insufficiently explicit but transparent invitation from her marriage counselor to rediscover her own sexuality independent of her husband (read here between the lines: masturbate,) the wife of the sexless couple ends up making a valiant struggle with the attempt to comply with the suggestion--and finding it impossible to do. There was a kind of agonized surrender there to despair and hopelessness that did ring true.


thailandchani said...

I'm not entirely surprised. Most shows that are created for US culture are going to have those values and that approach.

Your topic of right sex is an interesting one. It will require a lot of thought. :)

You might be interested in my post this morning.



carly said...

P: A trend right now is humour found in discomfort. Hopefully it's waning, because I've never liked it.

robin andrea said...

I have found that a lot of TV series start out well, but quickly spiral down into cliche and psychobabble. In response to your previous post, operas have a beginning, middle, and end --TV series don't start out with an end in sight. They struggle to have a coherent storyline, continuity, and meaning. It sounds like this show is an interesting vehicle for explorations of sexual issues, but the way Hollywood deals with this stuff, it will probably leave a lot to be desired.

PeterAtLarge said...

Chani, thanks for the heads-up. A beautiful entry this morning (see my "comment." Carly, I agree. Being disagreeable is not really very funny--never liked that show. The title just seemed appropriate to my cooling response to the other one. Andrea, a sad perception, but a true one, right on target. Thanks to al. (Carly, what do you make of "yaododl", this morning's word verification.)

thailandchani said...

Didn't see any comment from you.. but I'm glad you liked it. It's good to get some other Buddhist input on the whole idea. :)



carly said...

P: yaododl? Sounds like a yahoo who likes to yodel. oohdalayhee-hooo!

I think the word yahoo was given popularity by Jonathan Swift, because it's a name in Gulliver's Travels. Wonder if he invented it?

I've been taothinknig. Here's some taothink:

If anything is not connected to the cosmos, it has no spirit. If it has no spirit it is just meaningless fun and games and means little or nothing to me, as long as it is harmless. Almost nothing attached to man is completely harmless, however, and affect something, somewhere adversely. Therefore, only that which has spirit - that which is in accord with the cosmos, remains blameless. Only that which has spirit do I honor. By rote, therefore, it is effortless to remain unattached to anything which carries blame. If one is certain it does not carry blame, he may attach to it in good faith and good fortune will go with him.

TaraDharma said...

well, that was dissapointing. I hadn't watch the first episode but had seen clips from the show and thought it looked interesting. Mmmm...perhaps too interesting. They had to dumb it down.

I think if we are honest and introspective, we know when our sexual intentions are wrong...those who cross the line do so consciously and decide to feast on their immediate desire rather than take a considered approach. We 'blame' it on the hormones, the passion, etc. etc. Sex is such an intimate expression, and 'used' so carelessly sometimes. Too bad....