Masters of Sex: Season 1, Episode 1

Pilot (29 Sep. 2013)

TV Episode  -   -  Drama
8.2
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Dr. William Masters, a successful doctor of obstetrics and gynecology, begins his controversial study of human sexuality. Dr. Masters recruits Virginia Johnson to be his secretary, but she quickly advances to be a valuable associate.

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Title: Pilot (29 Sep 2013)

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Josephine May
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Miss Horchow
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Ernie Turk
Johanna Day ...
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Mary Jo McConnell ...
Desk Nurse
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Linda Marie Larson ...
Lois Tupps
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Storyline

Celebrated obstetrician and gynecologist William Masters, happily married but unlike to get his wife pregnant, decides to scientifically research sexual orgasms, and 'hiring' a prostitute won't suffice. Besides his official research assistant, brilliant graduate and slick, handsome womanizer Ethan Haas, he needs a female secretarial assistant and decides to recruit informally. The university refuses to contribute to such a 'lecherous' project. Written by KGF Vissers

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29 September 2013 (USA)  »

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Goofs

Beau Bridges' character advises Dr. Masters to 'take up macramé'. While macramé had a brief popularity in Victorian England, it was virtually unknown in the USA until the hippies took it up in the late 1960s. See more »

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Love Letters in the Sand
Music by J. Fred Coots and lyrics by Nick Kenny and Charles Kenny
Performed by Pat Boone
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Masters of Sex - Pilot
28 December 2014 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) directed this pilot episode for the adults-only Showtime series about the birth of the advanced study of human sexuality (how to achieve orgasm, the methodology of the beginnings and eventual conclusion of sexual activity, what it takes for two people (or one person by her/himself) to "do the deed") thanks to a brilliant obstetrician/gynecologist/surgeon, Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and his single mother-of-two assistant, Virginia (Lizzy Caplan, in a daring performance that includes nudity which allows us to see her magnificent body). Masters is rather clinical and cold, every bit the scientist while Virginia (although also very sincere in her desire to see the science in sex taken seriously) embraces the free spirited nature of great sex. Virginia has been carrying on a sexual relationship with Masters' young surgical assistant, Dr. Ethan Haas (Nicholas D'Agosto), and sees their coupling as a friends-with-benefits situation while he loves her deeply. Eventually Haas is angry and frustrated by her inability to love him beyond the sex while she sees their union as strictly physical…this results in a bad exchange where Haas slaps her and she returns the favor. Masters' sperm count is no good although his devoted wife, Libby (Caitlin Fitzgerald), believes she is barren and a failure to their marriage in bringing a child into their lives. Libby and Virginia strike up a friendship and bond which could be fractured when Masters tells his assistant that they need to begin a sexual affair (it's science not passion) so that there is no "interference" in the study between "test subjects" (he believes Virginia may have caused a subject (a doctor with a history of bedding nurses) to become aroused). So the episode ends with Virginia "having to consider over the weekend" whether she would be willing to accept Masters' "proposal" involving entering a "scientific sexual union" in order to keep either of them from arousing future patients! The show is very explicit in dialogue and sexual presentation (softcore even, as we see when Caplan and D'Agosto are in sexual embrace, and the final sexual encounter studied would fit right into something you could see on Cinemax late at night), with the creation of a dildo device used to help Masters gain support from his boss (played by Beau Bridges, realistically portraying his character as someone dismayed and discouraged by a study that might render his finest doc a pervert).

While the pilot features nudity and is all about sex, the plot doesn't dole this out just for the sake of gaining an audience that would use it as masturbation material (although seeing Caplan nude did arouse me aplenty), but the point is to take us to a period where discussion of the subject and confrontation of details regarding human sexuality was considered immoral and wrong. Approaching a show about this will require viewers who are interested in the back story of when human sexuality was hush-hush and the study of it was not exactly embraced by a scientific community. Masters' determination in seeing the study credited and addressed certainly gains significance when he threatens to quit his job, while Virginia is so nonjudgmental and carefree regarding her sexual way of life which explains why she is the perfect partner to him. Seeing Masters so scientific in everything he does perhaps doesn't ingratiate himself to the viewer but his mission is an interesting one. Virginia will be our emotional center…we'll need to turn to her in order to feel anything for the project she is so passionate about.


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