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Mainstream - Tell Me You Love Me - HBO

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Tell Me You Love Me
The Complete First Season
Michelle Borth, Jane Alexander, Luke Kirby
HBO 2007
4 DVDs 10 Episodes
Warner Home Video 2008

HBO 's Tell Me You Love Me is an excellent 10 episode drama about men women relationships. This is an adult-oriented show not only because of the nudity and erotic movie style sex (episode 1 features a cum shot, a first on American TV) but also because of the fairly original for TV idea that these characters are real people with realistic issues and not some overblown Hollywood version of reality and melodramatic problems. This is Sex In the City without the over the top artificial characters and melodrama

Tell Me You Love Me follows 4 couples. Soon to be married Mason and Jamie face trust issues when she cannot trust her husband to be not to look at another woman in the next sixty or so years. Fertility becomes a source of insecurity and baby making becomes a process more than a joy for Palek and Carolyn. Dave and Katie have not had sex in about a year and this is eating at Katie and something Dave doesn't want to touch with a ten foot pole. There is also the backdrop story of May the sex therapist and her husband Arthur. It is clear these couples are meant to represent the stages in a relationship but there is nothing artificial or didactic about the construct.

There are many realistic moments in this show. A good example is in episode 6 when Katie does a little bit of research on MILFs on the net because her best girlfriend made a joke about it and she felt out of touch. It is also a great bit of subtle acting. Willing suspension of disbelief is never a problem here. The writers and actors have come up with absolutely realistic characters and relationship conflicts. If you do not recognize someone you know in this show it's only because you only know 1 other person. It even reflects reality in that not all the relationships end happily ever after.

This is a fascinating, easy to watch, very adult oriented show. Granted, Tell Me You Love Me could have been an episode and a half shorter by collapsing shows in the middle of the series where some situations and characters do not advance much, but each show does have its surprises and moves other characters forward.

One thing I found particularly odd in this HBO series is how every character and every room have a kaki and earth tones. These also have to be the most barren houses ever shown on TV decoration wise.

Some episodes include cast or producer commentary. When it comes to self aggrandizing comments you can hardly do better than the episode 1 commentary track with show creator Cynthia Mort. Even Streisand is modest in comparison. Others are the usual banal stuff. If I were Michelle Borth (Jamie) however, I would be deeply insulted by having another member of the cast refer to me as "a good little actress" on the episode 3 comment track.

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