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February 09 2009

"The Dolls will Resolve Your Bi-Curious Feelings". Joss on the sexuality that Dollhouse will be dealing with. Also, Save Hiatus on the "Dollcouch" and the NYT wants readers' questions for Joss.

"On this show, people's personalities are being completely overwritten. When someone hires an active, what they're basically doing is hiring somebody for an experience that absolutely nobody in the world will ever know about including the person that you went through it with...If you don't think that at least a third of the people who hire Actives are not bi-curious, you're naive."

I definitely think it's a very interesting idea and one that I had imagined would definitely be part of an active's role. I think as Joss has been given more creative control over his shows we have seen him being able to look at sexuality in a more indepth way.

Dollhouse would offer a very interesting platform to explore ideas concerning sexual morality such as: sex as a commodity; consent (especially if actives sign up willingly but with the knowledge that they will be essentially "prostituted" and their memory wiped- do the same rules apply if you consent to something that you will have no memory of?); the relationship between love and sex; and sexual diversity (it stands to reason that the actives may be programmed to have sex with both genders- this would be very interesting to see how Joss explores bisexuality).

I think Joss had definitely begun to explore the idea of prostitution with Inara in Firefly, and it's a shame that he didn't get a chance to explore it further, so it would be interesting to see him tackle similiar themes in Dollhouse. I just hope that it won't be a succession of exploitative sexy faux-lesbianism with Eliza and hot young chicks, and that it will apply to the male characters as much as the female.
It's a show created by Joss. Exploring bisexuality is not much of a shocker.
It's also pretty meaningless if the Dolls have signed on with the understanding that this may be part of the roles they play. Which raises the question: if you know that you could be sent to kill someone and later have that memory wiped so that it was just a moment due to programming, would you sign up? Do the Dolls know what they are signing on for? If they do not, I am not suer what meaning any of this will have, since they can never know what they did after they did it.
Makes me wish Tahmoh was a Doll.
I love that photo so much I want to take it behind the school and get it pregnant.
"... If you don't think that at least a third of the people who hire Actives are not bi-curious, you're naive."

That would be one too many negatives i'm thinking. Unless he actually means to say 2/3 (or less) would be ;).

And bi-curiosity is probably on the tamer side of what people would hire dolls for IMO - given that anything short of (permanent ?) physical injury goes, i'd expect far darker "curiosities" being indulged.
Yeah, it's not all that hard to find a same-sex partner (depending on where you live). I bet it's a lot harder to find someone who'll let you poop on them.
Yikes, I wasn't thinking that until you suggested it Saje. But maybe there're some "no-physically-harming-the-dolls" agreements that clients have to sign before checking one out ? And maybe the dolls will have a cell phone or some sort of panick button device in their pockets in case of trouble ? (not easy to get to if they're restrained and their pants are on the other side of the room though).

This is still network, not premium cable, so I wonder just how dark or risque they'll get.
From what I understand, Kris, that's what the handlers are for.
I'd have thought that for any relatively "normal" sexual kink (stretching normal to its coprophagic limits), there'd be cheaper and easier alternatives than hiring a supersecret agency that mindwipes its actives with futuristic technology.

I was going to say that the only people I could imagine wanting to go this route would be the very famous (hellooo Eliot Spitzer), but even that doesn't work--sure, the doll gets mind-wiped, but you still have to spell out exactly what you want the doll to be into to the Dollhouse staff--and they don't get mindwiped.

I suppose the one real selling point that the Dollhouse has is not just that you get a partner who will "let" you do X or Y, but a partner who has been programmed to really want to do X or Y. And yeah, I suppose that could be a pretty big attraction for certain people. Again, though, if you're rich enough to afford the Dollhouse's services, you're probably rich enough to be surrounded by very attractive people who are entirely happy to pretend that they're into whatever floats your boat.
I was reading all the comments before me and alot that was said is true, but l am the type of person, who takes a higher moral ground when confronted on issues like this but l have to concede to a point esp if the characters have no will of their own to choose. l think Joss's exploration in this subject is exemplary and raises the question Could something like removal of ones memories happen in our society?
The more I think about it, the less a straight "I'm hiring one of your dolls for a night of bouncy-bouncy" seems like a plausible plot line. The thing that the Dolls seem to offer--to me--that you can't otherwise get is actually an emotional or romantic bond, not a strictly sexual one. That is, you can hire someone to genuinely fall madly in love with you. Of course, you also have to be aware that they will then be mind-wiped.... Still, I see more potential in a kind of "I want one perfect encounter with a mysterious stranger who falls madly in love with me and then disappears after a week of bliss" story than a "I want someone who wants me to poop on them" story.

You know, one of the interesting things about the whole sex side of the Dollhouse is to speculate on how that played into Fox's unhappiness with how the premise was working out. I think one of the things they probably hadn't thought through was precisely the fact that the opereratives would be programmed to genuinely enjoy whatever the clients asked of them. People enjoying sex (especially non-vanilla sex) has always seemed to me to be the biggest taboo on American network TV. Shows can always go a lot further in sex scenes where there is either implicit or explicit violence or coercion than where both partners are portrayed as actually having a good time. I'll bet Fox bit on the premise thinking "hey, cool, sexy young things being turned into prostitutes!" but had deep second thoughts when they began to see stories in which you don't get to see the sexy young thing weeping a silent tear for her lost innocence or raising her hand to her face and saying "Aieeee, no, put the colander away!"

And all that said, I still think that more conventionally "Mission Impossible"-ish scenarios are the most plausible--break-ins, assassinations etc., where it's crucial, for whatever Macguffinish reason, that the operative be mind-wiped after the event.
I see more potential in a kind of "I want one perfect encounter with a mysterious stranger who falls madly in love with me and then disappears after a week of bliss" story than a "I want someone who wants me to poop on them" story.

LOL. I agree.
snot monster from outer space:"I suppose the one real selling point that the Dollhouse has is not just that you get a partner who will "let" you do X or Y, but a partner who has been programmed to really want to do X or Y. And yeah, I suppose that could be a pretty big attraction for certain people. Again, though, if you're rich enough to afford the Dollhouse's services, you're probably rich enough to be surrounded by very attractive people who are entirely happy to pretend that they're into whatever floats your boat."

Yeah, I think it would be precisely the lack of pretense - and for more than just some people - that would be the huge draw.

The "Oh, Mister-Client-Who-Just-Paid-Me-To-Say-So, you are rocking my world" ooooh-ahhhh faking it of most prostitution seems (to me) exactly what makes it boring...

Obviously, this is my personal reaction - others may find prostitution exciting for that very same reason, and enjoy not having to worry about their purchased partner's pleasure. ; >

I may be wrong - it's happened - but since I get the particular thrill of a scenario in which the Doll of whichever gender is completely into you, and is having the time of their life having sex with you, I think maybe lots of others might be able to relate.

In these scenarios, the mindwiping afterwards isn't an important aspect of a client's enjoyment - it would just be a necessary aspect of operations in order to allow the Dolls to "move on" and continue to function with other clients.

In fact, I see potential for episodes in which a client gets completely hung-up on a Doll who has been this source of unconditional love and ultimate sex, and stalks a Doll or threatens smooth Dollhouse operation with their sexual and/or romantic obsession.

These seem interesting notions to explore - would you enjoy sex with a partner who is programmed to react to you like you're the best ever if 1) you paid for them and 2) you knew they were programmed? How would this differ from traditional prostitution? What does this say about human sexuality? What are the ethics involved? And most importantly, can I get a Doll that looks like Nikolaj Coster-Waldau or Jason Isaacs?

(I'm sorry, I was supposed to be being bi-curious. Okay, can I get a Doll that looks like Greta Garbo?)

(catherine, are we going to be saying, "I'll be in my refrigerator" now instead of "I'll be in my bunk" ? 'Cause that would make a nice change, and we'd owe it all to you... and Saje, I think.)
"I'll be in my refrigerator"

Yes, give all the credit to those two. (Poor snot.) ;)

In these scenarios, the mindwiping afterwards isn't an important aspect of a client's enjoyment - it would just be a necessary aspect of operations in order to allow the Dolls to "move on" and continue to function with other clients.

I can see this being a real problem. Echo finds the "perfect guy" for her, goes on other missions later on and then remembers that there is someone she loved and can't be with? Or that the ? That's traumatizing enough with repressed memories... what would it be like if those memories just popped into you mind on a completely normal day?

Or the stalking scenario. If the client becomes attached/addicted/whatever with the Active, and makes attempts to "relight" the fire, how would the Dollhouse take care of that?

With Firefly we got to see Inara's true emotions regarding some of her clients; that she wasn't in love with them, that it was an act. I'm am anxious to see how the world reacts to "prostitutes" that do love.
Or the stalking scenario. If the client becomes attached/addicted/whatever with the Active, and makes attempts to "relight" the fire, how would the Dollhouse take care of that?

That raises an interesting question about the "science" of the Dollhouse. When an Active comes back from a mission and is "wiped," are the memories they stored during the mission stored somewhere? I mean, say I sleep with an Active and decide that instead of creepily stalking her I just want to hire her again: if I pay to have her re-imprinted just the way I liked her last time, will she also remember the great time we had?

Stored memories opens up some pretty interesting story possibilities, don't you think (especially as Echo begins to fight to regain her sense of self--one can imagine her trying to regain her memories from storage...).

(By the way, if someone actually knows the answer to this question, make sure you tag it with invisibility tags before you write it. I don't actually want to know until I discover it in on the screen.)
Yeah, I think it would be precisely the lack of pretense - and for more than just some people - that would be the huge draw.

The "Oh, Mister-Client-Who-Just-Paid-Me-To-Say-So, you are rocking my world" ooooh-ahhhh faking it of most prostitution seems (to me) exactly what makes it boring...


Yeah, though the difference between "so well paid that you act the part really, really well" and "so well programmed that you do exactly as you're programmed to do" may not be distinguishable to the naked eye. I mean...if I'm the Dollhouse customer, how do I know that the organization isn't spinning me a line? How do I know that the Active is "really" in love with me and isn't just a really good (and incredibly well paid) actress? If, in the end, I can't know that (when, presumably, I only have the Active for, at most, a few days), what exactly am I paying for?
I'm thinking of some angles related to this;

1-Stolen froma Magnum PI episode, a wealthy client who likes to do real-life role-playing hiring Dolls as characters.

2-Stolen form How to Murder Your Wife a writer (comic strip artist in that case) who needed to draw from photgraphs, so he and his assistants staged the scenes in the strips.

[ edited by DaddyCatALSO on 2009-02-10 02:31 ]
I don't actually want to know until I discover it in on the screen.

Then why ask? ;) I know, we're on Whedonesque, but the temptation to give in to the invisi-text is too much at times.

But I like you point and will run with it, snot. Is there a limit to how often an Active can be rented by a particular client? I would think there would need to be a limit, or you would get into the type of trouble of "owning" that Inara had at the ball that one time.

Okay, maybe that wasn't a "run"... or a jog... maybe more of a slow walk or a yawn.
2-Stolen form How to Murder Your Wife a wrieter (comic stripa rtist int hatc ase) who needed to draw from photgraphs, so he and his assitants staged the scenes in the strips.

The one I've been thinking about like that is TV or movie studio hiring Actives as actors--lots of potential for fun in-joke stuff. More plausible, I guess, would be hiring the Actives to stage some fake controversial moment in a reality show with flagging ratings (competitor gets killed by audience member on American Idol...or some such). Of course, there'd be a bit of a problem having one of the Actives recorded on film and broadcast before millions...
Then why ask? ;) I know, we're on Whedonesque, but the temptation to give in to the invisi-text is too much at times.

I think I was asking in the sense of eliciting speculation (like DaddyCatAlso's above). There's a difference between "hey, do you think Luke will kill Darth Vader in this film?" and "hey, have you heard any spoilers about whether Luke kills Darth Vader in this film?" The first leads to fun speculation about what story choices the writers would make and why, the second leads to knowing the end of the film before you see it.
I think I was asking in the sense of eliciting speculation


In that case I won't answer, even in inviso-text :)
In that case I won't answer, even in inviso-text :)

I'm missing a joke, aren't I?
zeitgeist has seen (at least!) one episode, so maybe he wouldn't be speculating? Or I am also missing the joke, which is always plausible.

snot monster you made me look up coprophagia. It'll be a while before I visit my fridge.
No, no one's missing a joke. I've seen at least one episode :) And, disturbingly, I did not have to look up coprophagia, partially because I know a song that uses the word coprophagy.

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2009-02-09 23:44 ]
I remember once reading a sex-advice column in an alt-weekly somewhere which was earnestly exhorting coprophagics to microwave the, um, object of their desire before chowing down so as to kill any bugs that might be in it. Somehow that struck me as an implausible suggestion.

I know a song that uses the word coprophagy

What rhymes with coprophagy?
Well, in this case the lines in question are:

I am an antidote to New Age philosophy,
Ipecac to this mythic coprophogy


Mythic in this case referring to the mythic stage of development as referred to in the works of Ken Wilber. The song is "Easter" by Stuart Davis.
If you are programmed to love, is it really love?
"If you are programmed to love, is it really love?"

Wouldn't this be one of the fundamental questions asked in "Dollhouse?" I for one am looking forward to the expectedly complex answers to this question and others. I'd say the answer is no, but...for the time that Echo really, really believes she loves someone, doesn't she love them? Or? These juicy speculative questions remind me of the kinds of issues that "Buffy" and "Angel" took on so well. For example, the issue of what Spike and his chip presented for those meditating on questions of what it means to do good acts and what role free will plays. (What is "free will?" Spike's chip could stand in for implicitly coercive social conditioning that we all arguably undergo. At any rate, the chip was provoking of debate.)

Echo's programming and the Dollhouse's M.O. and raison d'etre are so very metaphory for exploring how we who live in the "real world" engage with and perceive others. How much of our perceptions and feelings are "programmed" for us by our parents, our peers, even advertising manipulations? If you strip this programming away, how much will or would be left over? How changeable are we? How blank slatey and malleable are we? How much of our memories are manipulated, consciously or unconsciously, by our families and friends and by our newspapers and social networks with their narratives and meta-narratives through which we view the world?

Who was it - Ken Tucker at ew.com? - who said that Dollhouse lacks an organizing metaphor that can be applied to our real-life experience? I couldn't disagree more.

Btw, I'm studiously avoiding discussion of coprophagy. :)

[ edited by phlebotinin on 2009-02-10 01:44 ]
How much of our perceptions and feelings are "programmed" for us by our parents, our peers, even advertising manipulations?

Or by evolution (i.e. our genes) ? Love for instance, is as real as a punch in the face when you feel it but it's still "just" a set of chemical responses "designed" to encourage reproduction, a "program" if you like.

(another interesting question IMO is, if some heinous act doesn't actually have any consequences, is it still heinous ? I.e. if you could do something horrible to someone but in 2 hours they wouldn't even know it had happened, is it still horrible ? Or maybe just for those two hours ? Cuts straight to the moral chase so to speak - absolute or not ?)

Shows can always go a lot further in sex scenes where there is either implicit or explicit violence or coercion than where both partners are portrayed as actually having a good time.

Is that really true ? Cos it is so entirely the opposite in the UK. Sexual violence might be enough by itself to prevent a film being certified at all (if the director/whoever has final cut refuses to take it out) depending on context ('Irreversible' for instance which I haven't seen but which centres around a brutal rape was passed untouched partly because the scene is apparently so horrifically real and so clearly not designed to titillate).

I did not have to look up coprophagia, partially because I know a song that uses the word coprophagy.

Me neither, partially because i've been to Amsterdam ;-).

(on one trip I remember chasing a friend around a "DVD shop" waving a particular cover that she was, for some reason, averse to. Let's just say if you were in any doubt what coprophagia was beforehand, looking at the front of this DVD would provide ... clarity ;)
Is that really true ? Cos it is so entirely the opposite in the UK. Sexual violence might be enough by itself to prevent a film being certified at all (if the director/whoever has final cut refuses to take it out) depending on context ('Irreversible' for instance which I haven't seen but which centres around a brutal rape was passed untouched partly because the scene is apparently so horrifically real and so clearly not designed to titillate).

Your example doesn't seem to quite suggest that things are entirely the opposite in the UK (though I think they certainly are very different). You're saying that because the sex scene is upsetting and brutal it gets "passed untouched" in "Irreversible." There's a sense that there is something socially important in the portrayal of ugly and unhappy sex, whereas the portrayal of happy sex is seen as "gratuitous titillation."
No, you misunderstand snot monster - if it wasn't for the fact that a) you don't see any of the actress (Monica Belucci in this case) i.e. no nudity so not for titillation and b) the context of the film is quite serious then it likely wouldn't pass at all (without cuts) i.e. it'd be uncertified full stop.

(here's what the BBFC has to say on it:
The BBFC has a strict policy on rape and sexual violence. With portrayals of sexual violence (which might e.g. eroticise or endorse sexual assault) the Board may require cuts at any classification level. This is more likely with DVD or video than film because DVD and video scenes can be replayed repeatedly.

Any association of sex with non-consensual restraint, pain or humiliation may be cut.


Normal sex is fine, it just gets a 15, 18 or more rarely R18 certificate as appropriate and bob's your uncle (e.g. '9 Songs' - which features genuine, unsimulated sex - was also passed uncut). The idea that it's somehow meant to be more acceptable when there's coercion is, frankly, mildly offensive to me. Sometimes I don't understand my over-the-pond cousins ;).

(having said that, we have a huge hang-up about, of all things, head-butts - sometimes I don't understand my non-over-the-pond cousins either ;)
People enjoying sex (especially non-vanilla sex) has always seemed to me to be the biggest taboo on American network TV. Shows can always go a lot further in sex scenes where there is either implicit or explicit violence or coercion than where both partners are portrayed as actually having a good time.

If true, that's really shocking, but what makes you think so? I guess I don't watch huge amounts of TV (relatively speaking ;)) and so maybe my not seeing that is unsurprising, but I feel like the vast majority of sex on TV and in movies is meant to be really hot or romantic or whatever... anyway, positive. It seems much rarer to see anything involving sexual violence or coercion. And I would sort of assume that censors would be more sensitive about that too. Just my impression and a guess... does anybody know more about this?
If you want a good intro to the looniness of the US ratings system, watch This Film is Not Yet Rated. When filmmakers are looking for stuff to cut to try to get a film down from NC17 (the rating-of-death) to R, it's always the sex, never the violence that they cut.

"Deliverance" contained a scene of anal rape (admittedly without showing very much)--but there's no way that scene could have been included had it been about consensual anal sex between men. Piling violence on top of the sex in the US seems to "reclassify" the scene in the minds of the raters from being "about sex" to being "about violence"--and that gets it a pass; I suspect because it satisfies a moralistic urge to punish people for their sexuality.

[ edited by snot monster from outer space on 2009-02-10 21:57 ]
No, you misunderstand snot monster - if it wasn't for the fact that a) you don't see any of the actress (Monica Belucci in this case) i.e. no nudity so not for titillation and b) the context of the film is quite serious then it likely wouldn't pass at all (without cuts) i.e. it'd be uncertified full stop

Ah, I get what you mean. Not that--from what I've read--I'm entirely sure of the socially redeeming value of the scene in question. Sounded like one truly nasty film.
I've been trying to think of some good examples that really crystallize what I mean. Part of my problem is that I don't watch a lot of network TV these days (Dollhouse will be an exception!), so my references are a bit out of date. I was googling around to see if there were any objective studies that would confirm or disconfirm my impressions, but nothing leapt out at me. I did find a few TV critics making the same point (in re Law and Order: SVU and the fact that it can go alot further than a show in which the sexual partner's weren't "Victims":
But don’t you dare show a woman’s nipple (unless it has been mutilated and belongs to a corpse) or two people naked (unless they’re covered in blood and, preferably, dead), or having sex (unless you’re rescuing a victim from being molested or raped) because then you’ve crossed a line.
)
More telling, perhaps, might be this quote from Darren Star, the creator of the original "Beverly Hills 90210" about the reaction to the episode in which Brenda lost her virginity:
The affiliates were scandalized — not because they had sex, but because Brenda was happy about it, and it didn’t have any dire consequences.

Ha, good old 90210. Look no further than Buffy for sex with dire consequences, though...

I don't doubt that violence is more acceptable than sex on TV. I just wonder if sexual violence is more acceptable than plain-old-sex on TV. Kinky sex and gay sex (especially between men) is definitely not something you see much of. I don't know what the network rules are on what you can and can't show - I guess that would be illuminating. You don't see much explicit sex on network TV at all, but the sex that gets hinted at or alluded to or that you see snippets of tends to be of the happy fun (if fairly vanilla) variety, it seems to me. (Law and Order: SVU may be a particular case, since the show kind of centers around violent sexual crime.)

But much I know. Clearly we need to watch a lot more TV to get to the bottom of this. Or maybe not.
I just wonder if sexual violence is more acceptable than plain-old-sex on TV

Well, not that you'll see the rape scene from "Irreversible" on US network TV anytime soon, no--although I'm pretty sure that that would cause network execs fewer qualms than a scene of explicit but completely consensual sex. But in my experience you will generally linger longer on a sex scene on network TV (and be given more graphic images) if there's something "off" about the scene--if the woman (in particular) has some reason to be unhappy about the situation.

Of course, it's just my subjective impression. It might be that those scenes register more strongly and linger longer in the memory. But I know I've often thought "you know, there's no way they'd show that hand there if this was a scene of consensual sex." To prove or disprove the point I guess you'd have to log every incident of "coercive" and "consensual" sex on TV and map exactly what body parts get shown and for how long. Surely someone has done that study already, though?

Not that this is proof of anything at all, by the way (although it may at least give you an idea of how broadly I'm thinking of 'violence' here), but the one example that keeps popping up in my mind is the single nude scene from Fame the movie. You may or may not remember it involves Irene Cara removing her top while she cries bitter tears of humiliation (she's been conned into giving a 'screen test' to some guy who wants her for porn films or maybe just for his private collection--I don't recall). I can't prove it, of course, but I'll bet that exactly the same amount of nudity would have pushed that film over the R limit if it had been in the context of, say, an entirely happy and consensual scene of lovemaking.
I've actually never seen Fame - the movie or whatever other incarnations it had. Does that make me a freak?

I'm sure there is data out there to be had on this question, but I'm much too lazy to go and find it ;). Anyway, disturbing food for thought.
Freak ! Quick "normal" people, point and/or throw things !

;-)

I can't prove it, of course, but I'll bet that exactly the same amount of nudity would have pushed that film over the R limit if it had been in the context of, say, an entirely happy and consensual scene of lovemaking.

'Fame' was an R wasn't it ? As you imply yourself, that's not a great example since it doesn't actually feature sex, just nudity (seems reasonable to assume they'd be harder on depictions of the act itself, whatever the context).

I wonder if that's maybe a different (if related) idea though snot monster and pertains to what you say above about "Irreversible" i.e. what you might call "issue" sex is more acceptable (the world over i'd speculate) than "fun" sex or sex just for the sake of titillation because a more serious context is seen as a justification (and "issue" sex often features some non-consensual component). If the aforementioned '9 Songs' was a straight porno for instance (i.e. designed largely/solely to titillate) then i'm pretty sure the unsimulated sex would've earned it an 'R18' (R18 films can only be sold in sex shops and shown in specially licenced cinemas) but since it's Michael Winterbottom and since it's seen to be a serious relationship drama it was left uncut as a straight '18'.

(but yeah, I totally agree that you guys prefer media violence to sex - or, bizarrely to me, swearing for that matter. A show like 'Bones' for instance, which is on at 8pm in the US I think, would be vanishingly unlikely to appear on broadcast TV pre-watershed - i.e. before 9pm - in the UK. In fact, even though it shows on Sky 1, an encrypted satellite/cable channel, it still airs at 9pm)
you guys

Hey...I just live here! Ain't no eagle on my passport.

what you might call "issue" sex is more acceptable (the world over i'd speculate) than "fun" sex or sex just for the sake of titillation because a more serious context is seen as a justification

Yeah--exactly. What troubles me is that "showing an important part of the physical bond between two characters" is rarely considered "justification" while "showing how terribly terribly vulnerable the sexy woman is to being raped by the evil stranger lurking in the alley even if this is in fact statistically incredibly unlikely" gets a free pass over and over again.

'Fame' was an R wasn't it ? As you imply yourself, that's not a great example since it doesn't actually feature sex, just nudity (seems reasonable to assume they'd be harder on depictions of the act itself, whatever the context).

Yes it was an R. By "pushed that film over the R limit" I meant into the "beyond the R category"--which, in those days, would have meant "X" rating, and no distribution. As to whether the scene "doesn't actually feature sex"--that rather depends what you mean. The scene is heavily sexualized, with the videographer (into whose position the audience is placed) clearly getting off both on what he is seeing and the power he has over this young and beautiful girl. When I say that the same amount of nudity wouldn't have been allowed in a scene of happy and consensual sex I don't just mean that they wouldn't have shown two bodies actually in flagrante delicto (sp?) with her breasts exposed. I mean that they wouldn't have shown her, say, getting undressed preparatory to making love and put the audience in the position of the lover delighting in his beloved's beauty; although there would be just as much of a story reason to ask the audience to participate in the lover's delight in her (freely granted) nakedness as there is to ask the audience to participate in the creepy porno guy's leering pleasure in her (coerced) nakedness.
you guys

[indignant defensive font ] Both of my passports are eagle-less, and I'm not a guy! [/indignant defensive font]
'Guys' is unisexual.

And if you both insist on living there and not clearly stating your nationality at the top of every single thread then what do you expect to happen ? Hell slap it into you and I hope you've both learned from this ... well, I don't think debacle is too strong a word. For shame I say, for shame.

Yes it was an R. By "pushed that film over the R limit" I meant into the "beyond the R category"--which, in those days, would have meant "X" rating, and no distribution.

Ah, OK. Well, it's difficult for me to speculate about how it worked 28 years ago in another country but looking at more recent films, 'American Pie' for instance is an R (rather than an NC-17 which seems the closest to the old 'X') and has "happy" sex (and more nudity/sexual allusions than 'Fame' IIRC though it's been a while since i've seen either). Nearer the time, that friend to pubescent boys everywhere "Porky's" was also an R and featured consensual sex and (female) bottom half nudity.

Yeah--exactly. What troubles me is that "showing an important part of the physical bond between two characters" is rarely considered "justification" while...

Or almost exactly anyway ;). I mean more generally than sexual violence in that if it's deemed "serious" for any reason then it gets a pass.

Course, I don't watch a huge amount of US network TV and I don't watch any of e.g. the Law and Order shows so you may well be 100% right snot monster. It's not something i've really noticed in films or what US TV I do watch though (as I say though, I have noticed less sex and fewer sexual allusions in general in US shows).

(FWIW BTW, the rape scene in 'Deliverance' was cut in cinemas over here though I don't know how much)
It's not something i've really noticed in films or what US TV I do watch though (as I say though, I have noticed less sex and fewer sexual allusions in general in US shows

But then again, that may be because of these kinds of scenes getting cut by UK censors...

ETA: I think we've played this discussion out to the end of the string absent someone actually finding a good study. My Google-fu only gets me studies on people's attitudes towards sex and violence on TV, but that doesn't help.

[ edited by snot monster from outer space on 2009-02-11 21:50 ]
Umm, *looks sheepish*, err, let's just say most of the US TV I watch hasn't been seen by UK censors. Ahem ;).

May well be true for the films though, it's only TV I acquire ... otherwise.

(and yep, an actual study would be nice. That said, almost everything we discuss on here is heavily anecdotal. And the plural of anecdote is not data as they say ;)

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