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Showtime (ended 2016)



WARNING: SPOILERS FOR EPISODE 1X11 "PHALLIC VICTORIES"

I have very mixed/negative feelings on the subject. When they got together originally in "Pilot" I thought they were pretty cute and their relationship was a good way for the series to introduce us to how sexually open/adventurous Virginia is. Their relationship takes a turn for the worse when Virginia explains that she doesn't want to pursue a relationship more serious than the one they currently have, and Ethan hits her and she tells him she no longer wishes to see him.

Throughout "Race to Space" we see Ethan, upset over his break-up with Virginia, sleeping with several girls from the nursing staff and trying to recreate the experience he had with her. One girl is too prude and one girl is too "slutty". It's like Goldlie-Locks and he's looking for the girl who's just right (Virginia) while treating all the other girls he's sleeping with like trash. After this episode I didn't have any respect at all for Ethan.

In "Thank You For Coming" Libby throws a dinner party trying to coyly set up Virginia and Ethan, since she isn't aware of their past relationship. Ethan, knowing Virginia doesn't want anything to do with him, still gets drunk and tries to make her let him drive her and her children home. This was also the start of the unfortunate Vivian story....

In "Catherine", Virginia has to take her children to work with her and Henry runs away, Ethan finds him and brings him back to Virginia. He even offers to help be a good male role model in Henry's life and maybe throw the ball around with him from time to time. Seems nice enough, but I still didn't trust he wasn't just trying to get into her pants.
He then consoles her in "Involuntary" after Masters horribly insults her by giving her money for participating in the study, making her feel worthless. The Masters/Johnson drama is a whole 'nother story and not what we are talking about her because...
...we get to "Fallout" and Virginia and Ethan are sleeping together again?!?! What? Are we going to pretend he didn't just 1. Break up with a girl he was engaged to for like a week (actually I don't really know how time is going on this show since Libby is already VERY pregnant after like 3 episodes) and 2. Abuse and then stalk her? Did we all forget about this?

All is well in denial land because in "Phallic Victories" they are having sleepovers and then she even leaves Ethan with her children while she's away at a conference. Ethan then tells Virginia's ex-hubby/father of her children that they're going to get married and she's going to MOVE AWAY WITH HIM to wherever he gets a job. He hasn't mentioned these plans to Virginia who, by the way, has a job she really enjoys. UGH.


So are we supposed to like Ethan now? Just forget about the mega asshole creep he was for the first 5 episodes of this show? It's one thing that they got back together, it's another that they completely pretended like all the bad stuff never happened. Their whole relationship makes me feel icky. What do you guys think? Are you more team Masters/Johnson (yeah I know they're going to end up together, but whatever)? Did you think Vivian was also crazy?

ALSO, EVERYONE THAT'S READING THIS NEEDS TO GO WATCH PARTY DOWN. RIGHT NOW.

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I like Masters of Sex but I don't think it should be taken too seriously most of the time. There is a lot of implausability in the storylines but we watch it cause of the feisty female lead, the comedy, the sex and the will they won't they love triangle with Bill, his wife and Virginia.
Of course Ethan is awful. I too was surprised that a woman like her would give him the time of day after he hit her but I suppose it was a completely different time then, any horny port in a storm and as I already mentioned the plots are often nonsensical.... (for example Mrs Scully bumping into womanising, randy, married doctor and having her first orgasm shortly after saying she had never had satisfactory sex...rather too serendipitous....I was happy for her though ;)
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What he did to Rose McIver's lovely Vivian was terrible. Poor Tinkerbell. He proposed to that sweet girl and then just pulled the rug out from under her. Should the viewer think that was just Ethan growing up? He's playing a rich entitled douchebag. Are we suppose to just forgive all the immature things he's been doing to the females in this program because he is starting to act the man now? Waiting for him to return to the a-hole we have gotten wiffs of this season as soon as he realizes Virginia won't be able to quit Bill. Just stear clear of your champion Libby. Am I the only one loving Caitlin Fitzgerald's Libby the best of all the female characters? She needs someone that isn't William Masters, just not this nimrod.
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Well the show is about sex, and there is a lot of confusion over whether it is simply biological or something more complex. I could see what Ethan thought was life changing was something akin to recreation for Virginia. What followed was an almost self destructive identity crisis. He had complete disregard for women and treated them as carelessly as he felt Virginia had been with him. Childish yes, but the show demonstrates how much of our ego, identity and lives are connected with our sex and sexual proclivities.

I felt he had redeemed himself in my eyes when he explained to someone that his experience with Virginia was like the Wizard of Oz, gone from Black and White to Colour and his certainties about who he was and the path he followed was completely shattered and now he felt condemned to return to black and white. When his future fiance described seeing him and his asking her for a dance at the ball and that she thought he was so handsome in black and white and Ethan (actors reaction) head come up slowly from staring down at the table I'll admit I teared up a little.

Ethan's life has been a passive one, he is a doctor because of his parents, Virginia was far more experienced than him and he has always tried to live up to the expectations of others and only now is mildly rebellious, although we can see there is a connection of sorts between Masters and Virginia that Ethan does not have. He seems to seek a reflection of himself in others and has more living to do before he can become as confident and self aware as Masters. In some ways his journey reminded me of the movie Dangerous Liaisons and themes of love and manipulation.
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The character Ethan Haas in Masters of Sex is very similar to the character Dr. Fitch Cooper on Nurse Jackie. In the early seasons of Nurse Jackie, Coop was a self-absorbed, womanizing d-bag. I didn't care for him much. But over time little glimpses of the real Coop started to shine through and now, not only is he a great doctor, he is also a good person. Now he has become this way because Jackie keeps kicking him in the ass and holding him accountable. Can Ethan go through the same type of metamorphosis? I think we have already seen glimpses that it's possible; although the "Virginia and I are getting married and moving out of state" was a sign of immaturity.

Now, there is no question that Virginia Johnson is an intelligent woman, but is she smart? I think the jury is still out on that. Like you state in your review, she keeps going back to her old ways and her ex-husband ain't exactly father of the year. Her dalliance with Bill Masters was not exactly well thought out and she still seems to be torn between her old self and what she wants to be.

So, to answer your question, I see the Virginia/Ethan as transitional. Until, both parties figure out what they want, I do not see it succeeding.
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I don't watch Nurse Jackie so I can definatly say that this is the case, but it sounds more like Cooper got character development over a season or a couple of seasons, with Ethan it seems like they can't decide what they actually want to do with the character since he changes from episode to episode. He absolutely fits Virginia's trend of men that are bad for her, we know they won't last long because she will no doubt end up with Masters. Next week is the season finale, and while I'm very sad to see the show go, I'm interested to see what they're going to do with all the drama that's been brewing the past couple of weeks.
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To me, one of the most interesting plot developments was the revelation that Dr. DePaul (Julianne Nicholson) is terminally ill with cancer. What happens to Virginia when Dr. DePaul passes away?

Also, I hope that a good portion of Sunday's season finale focuses on the presentation Bill Masters has to make to his peers. It seemed to me that without Virginia's guidance, he was a bit lost. Jane's a sweetie, but she's not the sharpest tool in the shed. I can see drama unfolding at both a professional and personal level for Masters. he has a lot on the line.

I have enjoyed the show's first season very much, especially Lizzy Caplan. Oh, and I will download and watch Party Down. I checked it out on IMDb and it looks very interesting.
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I think Bill and Virginia will reconcile in this weeks episode. I don't like the idea that he's going up there to present the research as solely his own work when Virginia helped him so much. I'm hoping he'll have a change of heart and realize the way he was treating her wasn't right. Jane is one of my favorite characters. She's so cute and is trying really hard, which is nice considering Masters can't even remember her name and calls her "VIRGI-JANE!".
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i actually like ethan and his whole growing up/have no clue who i am or what i want/little smarmy asshole character. also think he is a pretty good match for virginia -especially if she dominates the hell out of him and EXPLAINS some stuff to him :)
not even being ironic. i like their relationship. says a lot about how both characters are moving from their own respective extreme versions of damaged towards something else -ginny getting ready to consider a real relationship (eventually this will be a marriage to masters) and ethan getting ready to face up to how pathetic he is and how he really needs to go for what he wants (and figure out what that is exactly before going for it)

i also like how the show made the relationship low key and real in current time within show

in the end. we all know this isn't going to last. eathan is good looking. i can't be bothered to get bothered by anything in this relationship
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I honestly don't think Virginia is going to accept Ethan's proposal. Her husband's right, she's comfortable with their relationship as it is now. So the writer's seem to be either preparing for another Ethan blow up or show his character has matured. Maybe he'll accept he doesn't need to conform to the men need to be married in order to be successful trope.
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I hated Ethan in the first few episodes as well. He thought that he owned Virginia just because she slept with him and then threw a tantrum when she broke up with him. He doesn't treat other girls much better (as we've all suffered through the Vivian storyline) and doesn't seem to understand the concept of accountability.

Lately I've had more hope for him but I still don't like him and Virginia together. I could see myself liking him if he got over Virginia and stopped treating the women in his romantic life so terribly.
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I have very confused feelings about it myself.
Yes he was a total and complete creep those 3 episodes. It made my skin crawl to watch his scenes after he hit her. He made it seem like he'd just had a small easily forgivable lapse of judgement.
Then the writers went down the whole character redemption arc (well not exactly a redemption arc, more like a let's-show-you-his-whole-character-guys-he's-not-a-bad-guy arc) with him and I couldn't help but look at him more sympathetically. I know what they're doing, and I know how the show is trying to manipulate our feelings towards a character that was unnecessarily and cruelly violent to our protagonist, but what can I say? It's working. The actor is very good at it, and seems to understand the role, and it's not like the show has told us he's a saint. It still reminds us regularly that he, like pretty much every other character has a pretty nasty side. I don't think Virgina is good with him, but she's not good with any of her love interests on this show tbh. His character, at this point doesn't seem any more dodgy than that over-sexed surgeon, Virginia's ex-husband, or hell, Masters himself.
(This show is very well written.)
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If Virginia is strong enough to refuse Bill Master's over and over and know herself well enough to not only want to participate in the study, but know herself well enough sexually to know what she wants (and doesn't want) out of life, then I can't see this woman as being so insecure as to take him back after he hit her. One, I don't see her all of a sudden wanting something from him more than sex, but I also couldn't see her as backing down from or forgiving a guy who has hit her. If she is strong enough to be a twice divorcee single parent in the freaking 50's, she's not just going to take a guy back because she is hurt and lonely.
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We know they are not going to stay together since Virginia will marry Masters in real life but I always liked them together and you are right : first season of party down is just great!
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A. i have seen Party Down!

B. i never thought Ethan's character would be a regular. i thought in the first episode he did what he was there to do: to have sex with Virginia so we can know her.

C. however, now that he stuck around, i think his characterization is solid. he's an immature (socially and sexually) man, who thinks is in a meaningful, deep relationship because what he felt during his sex with her was something he has never felt before. so it's natural for him to think that everything else related to Virginia is also special and extraordinary for his life. they way he is so sure of himself (or should i say Virginia) accepting his proposal and going away is just typical male emo of the era! as you can see in Vivian's case; even single, young girls were keen on marriage back then, and it's perfectly understandable that he thinks a widow with two kids would want to marry "a doctor" as soon as he pops the question.

D. Virginia's characterization however lacks a little bit for me. she seemed too mature to me to play Ethan around like this. i never thought she would ever forgive him for his behavior at the party (it wasn't just a slap! it was a slap after she refused to have sex with him -which from where i was standing could have been very well rape). but maybe that's her survival skill..."rules are different for men and women" as she says... but she should know better that Ethan is a dramatic baby who will just once again go over his head to claim her his.

E. don't worry! it will blow up in Ethan's face soon! the season's almost over!
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well put
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I think it is a credit to the actor who plays Ethan that he subtly wears his immaturity on his sleeve, he shows you how he is merely acting as a mature individual in spite of being an educated doctor.

He doesn't hold back and can make the audience feel squeamish as a guy who despite being sincere is trying just too gosh darn hard to gain the affection of Virginia and her children and force his wholesome fantasy on a a far more complicated real world.
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absolutely right!

the acting is all around fantastic....i hope at least Sheen gets his golden globe; his last moments in the episode (Catherine) just totally got me!
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Their whole relationship makes me feel icky.


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