Masters of Sex: "Monkey Business"

TV Reviews Masters Of Sex
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<i>Masters of Sex</i>: "Monkey Business"

“Hard to miss the metaphor, isn’t it?”

That’s Jane’s friend Keith, who is impotent, stating the obvious on this week’s Masters of Sex after his car won’t start in the parking lot and Bill rescues him with jumper cables. It’s a hamfisted scene that, unfortunately, sets the tone for the rest of “Monkey Business,” and calling attention to it doesn’t help things. You can almost hear the writers patting themselves on the back for that one. Get it?? The joke is funny because, like his car, his penis doesn’t work, and Bill has to fix it.

Of course, Bill is sympathetic to Keith because he too struggled with impotency and was “saved” by Virginia. So when he finds out Keith is single, he’s willing to make an exception to his own “couples-only” rule—the same one he refuses to bend to artificially inseminate a single woman (more on that later)—provided Keith can find a surrogate girlfriend to do the sensual touching exercises with him that will lead to his cure. Lucky for Keith, Jane is more than willing to volunteer; she tells her husband Lester it’s because she believes in the work so much, but she seems just a little too eager to hop into bed with her theater bud. Lester can’t say no, however, when she brings up his own impotence (which was caused by her dumping him for a Hollywood director years ago). It seems like “Hey, remember when I hurt you so badly you couldn’t get an erection for years? That’s why you need to let me have sex with my friend” wouldn’t exactly be a strong argument, but Lester’s a giant pushover, so now he probably stands to lose his wife to this Keith character because he, like Bill, can’t say no to “the male struggle.”

The female struggle is another story. We watch this week as Betty and Helen weigh their options when it comes to having a baby; this is the ‘60s, so of course a lesbian couple is not allowed to adopt or be artificially inseminated, and on paper, this is an important storyline—a reminder of why Bill and Virginia’s work is so important—but its execution feels goofy and illogical. They sneak into the office at 2 a.m. to steal donor sperm, which Betty will inseminate Helen with, using a catheter. Is Bill just not gonna notice the missing sperm? Does Helen really trust her girlfriend, who is a receptionist with no medical training, to poke around her cervix and somehow know how to successfully inseminate her? Her one hang-up is that they don’t have enough information about the sperm donors to choose whose is best, so Betty decides they should pay a visit to Austin (who is now a resident orthopedist at a strip club, because that is apparently something that exists) and ask him to be their donor. It seems like nothing more than a misguided attempt by the writers to get Austin back on the show and give him something to do. Why would Betty, who has been out to Bill for pretty much the entire time she’s known him, beat around the bush and ask him indirectly about inseminating a “single” woman rather than ask him point-blank if he’d help her have a baby with her girlfriend? Is Bill really so coldhearted that he’d say no to someone he’s known and worked with for over a decade at this point?

It’s possible, I guess. He did make Virginia let a gorilla touch her boob this week.

Everything about Virginia and Bill’s attempt to help Gil, a gorilla in captivity at the zoo, with his impotence this week was ridiculous. For one, the fact that they were even called in to help seems insane—yes, they’re famous sex researchers, but they’re not vets or animal behaviorists. Why would they be of any use here? Bill seems to get this at first, but Virginia is determined to try, and when Dan Logan swoops in and offers to take the whole staff to a movie premiere, Bill sees an opportunity to cockblock him and keep Virginia to himself, so he heads over to the zoo with her. After they learn from Gil’s creepy former keeper that what Gil needs is words of encouragement, Virginia coos stuff like “Go to her, Gil. You’re a king,” while Bill watches from a distance. When Gil wants to cop a feel, he eggs Virginia on, almost taunting her as she admits that it was “hubris” to think that she could cure a gorilla, as he reminds her no one is more dedicated to the work than she is. So then she actually unbuttons her shirt and lets a gorilla feel her breasts before he goes off to mate with the female in his cage.

Bill’s mean streak continues during their interview with Newsweek, as he mentions their biggest success came with “an ape” before pausing and saying “Al ‘The Ape’ Neely, of course.” It’s a cruel reminder to Virginia that she just let a gorilla get to second base with her, and it only succeeds in pushing her further into the arms of Dan Logan, who greets her in a gorilla suit later on. “You wear your ape on the outside,” she sighs.

Hard to miss the metaphor.

Stray Observations:
—Libby and Paul are clearly no more than one or two episodes away from sleeping together, right? He admitted he’s attracted to her, so my money’s on next week.
—Tessa’s revelation to Dan that her mom is sleeping with Bill was kind of big, but wait’ll she finds out Dan’s actually the one currently boning Virginia.
— “Stonehenge is less of a mystery than those two.”
—Did Dan seriously go out and buy a gorilla suit just so he could make a joke at Virginia’s expense?
— “I know how precious illusions can be.”
— “I can always tell when someone is interested in me.” VIRGINIA, STOP TALKING TO A GORILLA LIKE THIS, IT’S SUPER UNCOMFORTABLE.