Spoilers for the premiere of "Tell Me You Love Me" coming up just as soon as I (euphemism deleted)...
This is going to be a tricky show for blogging purposes. As I've mentioned, I watched all 10 episodes in about a week and a half nearly three months ago, and the only one I actually took notes on at the time was this first one. Much as I liked it -- or, at least, much as I was interested enough to keep going -- it's not a show I especially want to go back and watch again just to remember which fight took place in which episode. (That's as opposed to, say, season four of "The Wire," where I initially watched all the episodes under similar circumstances, but only enjoyed the episodes more on second and third viewing.)
So outside of the premiere, episode four (which features an amazing therapy scene that I can practically recite from memory, it was so good) and the finale, I don't think I'm going to do weekly reviews. I'll set up an open thread every Sunday night, and maybe weigh in in the comments, depending on how many people respond.
And now that it's finally aired, I'm curious to see the reaction of the general public -- both to the "How in the world aren't the actors having sex?" scenes like the young couple Jamie and Hugo going at it after their big fight, and to the show's claustrophobic portrayal of the minutiae of three couples in trouble.
From the start to the end, the couple I was most interested in was Dave and Katie (Tim DeKay and Ally Walker), the one pairing not having any sex at all. The story of Jamie and Hugo never much interested me, and Caroline and Palek (the couple with fertility issues) become toxic so quickly that, good as the performances were by Sonya Walger and Adam Scott, I needed to take a few breaks from them in mid-viewing.
But Dave and Katie's problem -- they're clearly very much in love with each other, but the physical spark has just vanished -- really fascinated me, as did the performances by DeKay and Walker. I really loved that sequence where they did the tag-team bedtime reading for the kids, then stripped and got into bed as impersonally as if they were factory co-workers taking off their coveralls and punching the clock.
And whether or not you find the sex scenes in the other storylines illustrative or not to those couples, I think the effect they have on viewing the Dave and Katie storyline is really important, because it's exactly what they aren't doing, ever.
I want to write more right now, but I'm afraid much of it would be colored by what I know is coming, plus I'm still wrestling with my own reasons for wanting to quickly watch the damn thing all the way through. Time after time, my wife would ask what I had done that day at work, and I would give her an update on "Tell Me You Love Me" (she watched the pilot and another early episode and didn't care for it at all), and she would say, "Why are you still watching that?" And even though I'm a guy who gets paid to clearly articulate his opinions about television, I'm not still not 100 percent sure of the answer.
I think Cynthia Mort, the creator, writes very good dialogue and has an eye for the minutiae of relationships, the moments so small and/or annoying that most relationship shows either can't or won't get into. As I said, I liked a lot of the performances, particularly DeKay and Walker. And there was definitely a feeling of, "Well, I've watched them all fight this long; might as well see how it turned out." But this is ordinarily the kind of show -- humorless, angry and too focused on the problems of upper middle white heteros -- I don't respond strongly to, yet I was obsessed with it for a while there. Sure, part of me was intrigued by the sex scenes -- not because they're arousing in any way (they're the opposite of that) -- and kept going just to see how much they could get away with, but I stuck around long past the point where all the balls, boobs and BJs had all become just one giant blur.
I'm curious if this is another show like "The Wire." Not that it's in the class of one of the greatest dramas in TV history, just that "The Wire" tends to play better in chunks (especially at the start of a season) than it does watching an hour at a time week to week, and my experience of viewing "Tell Me You Love Me" won't be the same as the average viewer's.
So, what did everybody else think?