This very funny College Humor video is a welcome takedown of HBO’s disparate treatment of male and female nudity–and a rebuke to the idea that women who are sexually attracted to men are somehow less than interested in those men’s actual bodies:
David Nevins, the president of Showtime, has said that the licenses available to pay cable networks are “sex, violence, and bad behavior.” But Showtime and HBO have tended to interpret the “sex” license to mostly mean that they can show nude bodies, or sex that’s moderately more explicit than what’s available on their basic cable competitors, but that still largely adheres to the conventions of sex scene staging in use in film and television more broadly. The positions are conventional, the angles are similar, the rationale for the scenes is the same: mostly to let you know that a given pair of people is having or has had sex so the show can explore the consequences, whether it’s a pregnancy, emotional entanglement, or the fallout from sexual miscommunication. Sex itself doesn’t actually appear that interesting to most prestige television shows. And there’s still a sense that more explicit–and more realistic–sex scenes constitute pornography in a way that might cause prestige TV to get stripped of its “art” designation. But that should be a challenge, not a closed door.