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.