Monday, July 12, 2010

From consternation to fornication

There is nothing a TV addict loves more than finding a new gem of a series, a new drug, so to speak. I had just such an experience over the weekend. My boyfriend and I felt we were in a TV slump. Lots of free time, not so many good TV shows to fill it. We had both heard that Mad Men was a great series but hadn't yet seen an episode. So, we decided to rent the first season and see what all the hoopla was about.

We knew, five minutes into the first episode, that this was the shit. We were partaking of the "totally addictive TV" nectar, and it went down smooth. We've seen about seven episodes of the first season so far, and Mad Men does not disappoint. Apart from the riveting drama, it's a sleek recreation of the early sixties, and all the social mores that go with it, like the chain smoking (pregnant ladies included), drunk driving, perfectly manicured red fingernails and matching lips, male machismo running rampant, and housewives bathed in a deep seated malaise.

It's beautiful to watch and also shocking. For those of us who weren't alive back then, it's a sobering history lesson, a reminder of how the ideals of post-war America quietly eroded the dreams of a whole generation, stuck in narrow definitions of sex, race, religion, politics and culture. 

And it's damn good TV. 

As was this documentary we saw last week, American Swingers, about a heterosexual swingers sex club in New York City, Plato's Retreat, open in the late seventies and early eighties, and about its colorful owner, Larry Levenson. 

Whoah! This place was outta control! I'm talkin' all out orgies. There was a space in the club called the "mattress room". It was covered with, you guessed it, mattresses! and could hold a large group of couples, all writhing in ecstasy as one big f*cking machine. Or, if you were a little more on the shy side, there were smaller rooms for 2-3 couples, and many other amenities such as a swimming pool, steam baths and a dance floor. 

Larry Levenson went to jail for a while for tax evasion, then came back to the biz but the club was eventually shut down in the mid-eighties over concerns about AIDS. Larry morphed into a washed up, broke, overweight taxi driver who died at age 62 of a heart attack. Go figure. 

Yummy, yummy, yummy in my TV tummy.

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