Sex, TV, and Game of Thrones
You may have noticed by now that the only thing I love more than hardcore pornography is television. TV is my teacher, my mother, and my secret lover.
What’s happening on TV these days?
Well, Season 2 of Girls ended this past Sunday and Game of Thrones season 3 is set to debut in two weeks. Whereas most networks are phoning their programming in, HBO continues its twenty year-long stranglehold on viewers by giving them poignant characters, complex plots, captivating writing, and of course sex.
It’s no secret that one of the reasons original HBO series are so successful is because they are don’t face the same pressure for controversial subject matter as the regular networks. For you see, HBO is a subscription service, which means they do not have conventional advertising. Regular networks will receive pressure from advertisers to tone down sexual, violent, profane, and controversial subject matter. And since HBO doesn’t receive this pressure, they’re able to show you sex that might have been superfluous to the story, but held your attention nonetheless.
Whenever someone talks about Game of Thrones, they always mention the sex scenes. It’s sparked many debates about sexism on television and some people wonder why it’s even necessary. Well, I’d like to remind all of you that it is necessary.
First of all the sex is in the source material. If you’re going to do adapt a hugely popular series of fantasy novels, you better do it right. Otherwise, the fans will have you run out of town.
And frankly, the sex in the show is not erotic. Personally, I find it extremely sad and depressing, which enhances the atmosphere of the world they’ve created. For example, characters are often seen having sex doggystyle, which is a fun position but is definitely low in intimacy. The sex in Game of Thrones is not intimate because intimacy is not apart of that world. Sex in Game of Thrones is an expression of power. And power is really what the whole thing is about.
Plus, sex work is far and away the leading industry in Game of Thrones, which should convey to the viewer how dismal the times are in this fictional world.
More importantly than the atmospheric effects and the expression of power in the show, the best use of sex in Game of Thrones is during exposition. Exposition is providing information in a story. If the information isn’t delivered in a natural, interesting way it can feel heavy handed or just poorly written. Sex is used to keep an audience’s attention during these scenes of exposition not only in Game of Thrones but several other HBO shows.
Just look at Wired‘s sexposition infographic:
Sexposition is not a new thing. Long before that guy on Game of Thrones gave a long monologue while two girls went at it in the background, you had Al Swearengen delivering a crazy monologue on Deadwood while getting a blowjob the whole time.
Sex is not superfluous on television. As you can see, it’s now being used to make otherwise flat scenes of exposition more interesting. And you know what? It’s great. If sexposition catches on, dull moments on our favorite TV shows will disappear, meaning that TV will just be phenomenal.
Some critics have wondered if viewers will start to recognize sexposition when they see it. The truth is no one but comedian John Mulaney noticed that in every single Law and Order investigation that the interview portion always features someone moving or completing because that movement was just enough to keep the scene interesting. Any form of sex is infinitely more interesting than watching a bartender wide down his bar one hundred times, so I’m going to guess that viewers will not get tired of sexposition. I mean, it’s sex. How can it not hold your attention?
We’re entering the platinum age of television and it’s nice to know that sex has a place in it. As they say, breasts are still the best special effects.