In Which Bill and Virginia’s Imaginary Children Hate Them Even More Than I Do

Things that happen in season three of Masters of Sex:

  • There’s a disclaimer during the credits that says that Bill and Virginia’s children are fictional characters, which made me curious to find out if that was actually the case. And wikipedia confirms that, yes, although they did have children in real life, the children in the show have different names, ages, and numbers and none of the details in their lives match up to reality.
    • It’s not like I watch Masters of Sex and think it’s real, but I now feel weird about the fact that they’re fictionalizing the lives of actual people – like, if everything else in the story is fake, why not just take the idea of pioneering sex researchers who fall in love and make up completely fictional characters to take their place?
  • Everyone anachronistically bullies Barton Scully to be out as a gay man, with seemingly no awareness that that could wreck his whole life.
    • My wikipedia searches also told me that part of the reason Masters and Johnson eventually broke up in real life was because Masters got excited about de-gayification research.
      • Run, Barton, run!
  • There’s a go-nowhere plot where Sarah Silverman comes back and she and Betty try to have a baby together through artificial insemination, but then another tertiary character has to be the sperm donor and it sets up a wacky situation, which then disappears completely in favour of a story line where Betty tells Barton to come out.
  • The opening scenes in the first episode briefly make it look like this is going to be an exciting moment for free love where Bill and Virginia have somehow merged their two families and are living in some kind of happy, polyamourous arrangement with Bill’s wife, Libby. It made me think “Ooo, maybe this will be interesting!” But, don’t get excited – it turns out the situation’s really the same as last season and the season before.
    • The show briefly returns to its interest in polyamoury when Barton’s awesome ex-wife Allison Janney turns out to be in a poly relationship that isn’t going well, but that’s also a go-nowhere plot that just leads back to telling Barton to come out.
  • Virginia’s fictional daughter hates her guts for valid reasons.
    • But then there’s also a plot line about how Virginia’s daughter’s boyfriend pressures her to go all the way because her mom wrote a book about sex and that makes her a whore.
      • Like, his entire argument is, “It’s in your mom’s book.” Just in case we didn’t see the connection.
  • Virginia’s baby disappears whenever it’s convenient for the plot, like all her other children.
  • Bill’s fictional son hates his guts for valid reasons. Mostly because Bill ignores him all the time and then becomes best friends with the kid who bullies him at school. I’m not making that up. It’s pretty funny.
  • We jump forward in time at the start of the season and Libby’s black boyfriend, Robert, is suddenly gone along with all of her interest in the civil rights movement, because I guess that bit of character growth was mostly about getting a guy to like her.
    • In the first episode, there’s a scene where Libby sees someone get hit by a car and, even though that guy’s okay, she freaks out and starts screaming and crying. One would think that maybe she’s remembering that turning point in her character development last season where she saw a black man get run down by white supremacists and had to confront the fact that she didn’t want to testify to what happened even though she was the only white person who saw it. But, no, it turns out that Robert also got hit by a car off screen and now he’s dead.
      • There is, however, a nice, insightful scene where Libby’s new boyfriend, the football guy, sees her mourning at Robert’s grave and tells her he’s sorry for what happened and that he realizes it must be even harder to live with because no one knew that she lost someone when Robert died because their love was a secret.
  • There’s also a nice, insightful scene where Virginia looks back on her life choices and uses a lovely metaphor to explain how she kept making the best available choice from the options she had, but never had a plan for where she wanted to end up.
  • There’s also this awesome, hilarious, painful scene were Bill finally tells Libby that he’s been having an affair and she’s like, “LOL, you moron, I’ve known that for years, and I gave up all the men I ever loved to keep our family together, so do your fucking part and stop trying to leave me for your mistress.”
    • As much as it surprised me after all the ugliness last year, I was kind of on Team Libby by the end.
  • I was also on Team Everybody Just Break Up With Bill, because he’s gone from being somewhat sympathetic in his horribleness to just being horrible, full stop.
    • At the very end of the season, Virginia gets on a plane with her new boyfriend, the perfume guy, and Bill chases her to the airport and then realizes that he should give up and we’re supposed to feel sad for him or disappointed but JESUS, BILL, YOU SHOULD GIVE UP. ALL YOU DO IS WRECK HER LIFE AND SHE ASKED YOU TO LEAVE HER ALONE.
      • But I know they get married at the end of this, ‘cause: history.
  • The fashion changes on the show got me thinking about what it must have been like to be alive and an adult during this massive cultural upheaval where things went from being very repressed to being… quite a bit less repressed. It must have been an interesting experience. Probably more interesting than watching Masters of Sex.

In conclusion

I can’t decide if I liked this more or less because it wasn’t ridiculous and terrible.

Image: Masters of Sex; Showtime | November 6, 2015