When you hear about HBO’s new show ‘Tell Me You Love’ me it might be a bit disconcerting. To be honest, the premise sounds like a scripted version of ‘Real Sex.’ I only say that because there is sex in the new show. Lots and lots of graphic and “real” sex. It’s a quality that critics have picked up on and are unafraid to ask the actors and creators about. Series creator and executive producer Cynthia Mort appears to be befuddled by the amount of attention the sex is getting. Odd, this is America where 2 seconds of boobage on national television causes a riotous outcry. No one should be surprised that supreme levels of sex would turn heads.
‘Tell Me You Love Me’ tells the personal and sexual lives of four couples. There’s no ‘Sex in the City’ single swinging good times going on. It’s a show about people who are in love and have a relationship. Beyond the sexual content there is something exciting about a show approaching the role of the boudoir in everyday life. The show about couples in their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 60s has been dubbed “That HBO Porn Show” by the media. It surprises me that sex is still a majorly controversial subject. Mort seems to be just as surprised as I am.
During the recent TV Press Tour when asked if she was being disingenuous about critical reaction to the sex scenes in her show Mort replied, ”I’m rarely disingenuous…The sex always was there in service of intimacy and in service of love. So that people are pulling it out – I understand, but I am somewhat surprised.” Critics went on to ask hard hitting things like whether the sex was real. Actress Michelle Borth responded, ”We are not porn stars. We’re actors.” Which is a pretty hilarious statement.
Besides the sex questions, what is there to know about ‘Tell Me You Love Me?’ Not all that much, because there continues to be an odd abhorrent reaction to sex in this country. The best we got from the press tour is a question to actor Tim DeKay about his character’s obvious love for his wife, even though he doesn’t want to have sex with her. There you go, a question that addresses the sex issue and still digs deeper into who the character may be. You’d almost think that someone out there wanted to know what emotional and story qualities HBO’s new series may have, rather than being interested in the level of penetration.
Sure, I’m interested to know whether the actors are actually having sex. But only in a “inquiring (perverted) minds want to know” sort of way. The reality is it doesn’t matter. Whether the actors are engaging in dirty sex is irrelevant to the story being told, which is the same either way. To be fair I was not on hand to witness the mood of the panelists as they answered, and maybe their cavalier attitude as they danced away from the questions was out of line. Still, it seems to me that there are more important things to a story than whether the actions on screen are truly real. Jackie Chan did all of his own stunts, and Sylvester Stallone did not. John Rambo was a badass mofo all the same.
‘Tell Me You Love Me’ premieres on HBO this fall. The cast includes Sonya Walger (Penny Widmore in ‘Lost’), Ally Walker (NBC’s ‘Profiler’), and two-time Emmy winner Jane Alexander.