Reviews Comments: Just how much sex do they need to show in one episode?

Just how much sex do they need to show in one episode?
I'm sick of this from HBO. We have porn for when we want to see sex. Some of the sexual scenes in here seemed necessary but plenty of it seemed gratuitous or at the very least it seemed as though the story was steered about to serve the purpose of making sex scenes relevant. Do you have a story or not? Then tell it already. Quit trying to score a cheap thrill.


All of the sex scenes, apart from Tyrion in the whore house during the pilot, are straight from the book and pretty much all of it is either plot relevent or further highlighting the character's motivations/development.
comment #7461 Claymore 29th Apr 11
I have to second that. HBO is not being gratuitous. They are being true to the book. In fact, they actually cut out a sex scene between Ned and Cat (presumably because the audience can't handle middle-aged non-beautiful people in the act)in the first episode. Having read the first four books, I can tell you that the pacing is rather slow-in both the novel and so far in the first two episodes. It's going to pick up fast (at least if they stay true to the book) and the sex will diminish somewhat. Right now, it's being used to add depth to the characters. Danaerys for example is nothing but a sexual bargaining chip right now so, yes she's going to be naked and having sex a lot for the first few episodes. For me, I'm not going to complain much about 'nekked Emilia Clarke. :-)
comment #7462 Philbert 29th Apr 11
I'm not saying its not fun to look at, but when you take it away, you don't have a lot left. It feels like the scenes could have been done other ways but they did it this way because it was titillating. Ok so its the author that did it, so I guess my accusation falls to the author. Not a lot happens during most sex scenes that actually moves a plot forward. Its wank for the sake of fanservice. You could handle all this with bits of dialog and knowing looks and save time to move the plot forward.
comment #7465 gibberingtroper 29th Apr 11
Haven't seen the show, but most of the sex scenes in the books are meant to be gross. So if they refused to show "middle-aged non-beautiful people in the act", they're doing it wrong!
comment #7466 silver2195 29th Apr 11
They do have a Squick quality to them. Incest mostly. And they're shot kind of raw, not at all graceful like Cinemax or softer porn. Just people getting it on with no romance in it. That much did come through and was effective.
comment #7468 gibberingtroper 29th Apr 11
Without spoiling anything, the sexual dynamic between Daenerys and Khal Drogo is one of the biggest driving forces in that subplot. To not show that develop on screen is a huge disservice to her character. Look back at the end of Episode 2, where she refuses to be taken from behind like a dog, and convinces him to let her take control of the sex. He consents, finds out he enjoys this, and their bond grows. It's an important character moment for both that will have a payoff down the road.
comment #7485 Benne 30th Apr 11
"To not show that develop on screen is a huge disservice to her character"

There must be a way to develop their sexual relationship without showing gratuitous flopping boobies and man butt.
comment #7879 tublecane 2nd Jun 11
I think some of the sex scenes are used to disguise exposition, but it's really hard to watch when you're trying to watch the show in your living room and people are walking in and out. The lesbian sex scene with the hookers in King's Landing, for example. That clearly was not in the book, but Petyr has to explain his motivations somehow so he explains it to two hookers (for some reason). Also the Loras and King Renly shaving scene is the same way; it disguises exposition.
comment #7946 LaCapitana 5th Jun 11
The book deals heavily with sex and seeks to deconstruct the use of it in literature, often dealing with rape and incest. I don't have HBO so I can't comment on how it is portrayed, but its inclusion is necessary when looking at the source material. Its probably the main reason it could only be shown on HBO.
comment #7981 Spockalypse 7th Jun 11
"The lesbian sex scene with the hookers in King's Landing, for example. That clearly was not in the book, but Petyr has to explain his motivations somehow so he explains it to two hookers (for some reason)."

OK, that sounds really stupid on at least three different levels. For one thing, in the books, Petyr isn't a POV character, and never explains his motivations for anything to anyone except Sansa (and I think he lies to Sansa a fair amount).
comment #7984 silver2195 7th Jun 11
@Silver: I know, but that's how it happens in the series. I'm not saying I agree with the sex, I'm just saying that it's how they try get their exposition across.
comment #7993 LaCapitana 7th Jun 11
The only sex scene so far that seemed remotely like it was meant to be titillating was the lesbian hooker one. All the others are kinda...gross. I dunno if HBO is putting them in there because they can and it makes them seem edgy, but I really don't think they're putting them in there for pure titillation. Otherwise shouldn't it be sexier?

I don't mind it, the only time I mind is when I'm trying to listen to the exposition, being a person who hasn't read the books, and I'm kinda distracted by the naked people doing it in the foreground.
comment #8002 amazinglyenough 8th Jun 11
"The book deals heavily with sex and seeks to deconstruct the use of it in literature...its inclusion is necessary when looking at the source material"

No matter how little "deconstruction" interests me, and how far away from true aesthetic achievement is rendering what could be sublime and beautiful gross and unappealing, I might shrug it off with a "fine." But in this case I must insist on the difference between literature and television. Gross and unappealing sex on the page is not the same on screen. However it was done in the source material, it is squicky on HBO.

There are myriad ways to handle sex without showing it in detail, and either: a) they do it simply because they can, b) they're self-conscious envelope pushers, or c) they're lazy. None is a decent excuse.
comment #8014 tublecane 8th Jun 11
What's wrong with a little Fanservice? It doesn't add anything, true, but it certainly doesn't take anything away.
comment #8079 MrSiegal 13th Jun 11
"What's wrong with a little Fanservice?"

What's wrong, in this case, is that it's kinda gross, and as such no one's being serviced.
comment #8095 tublecane 15th Jun 11
I haven't seen a single episode of the series, but I still feel compelled to reply to the above two posts:

@Mr Siegal: Fanservice can take a lot away. It can offend the viewers, not as in 'Gah I see nudity now I feel offended', but rather 'Do the people who make this show think they need to shove nudity in my face to keep me watching?'. It can feel gratuitous and disjointing. It can take up screentime and production money that would have been better spend elsewhere. It cause non-viewers to think fans only view it for the fanservice, giving them an unfair label. I'm not saying any of this is the case with Game Of Thrones, I'm just replying to your statement.

@tublecane: Yes, because showing anything that is not directly appealing to view automatically makes a work bad. I'm a pretty big fan of Carnivale, which is another HBO series. It contained plenty of kind of gross nudity, and it was great; It set the mood. Most of it was quite plot relevant. And most importantly, it was pretty fucking refreshing to watch a series where all the characters looked and acted more or less like real people.
comment #8117 ArtisticPlatypus 16th Jun 11
"Yes, because showing anything that is not directly appealing to view automatically makes a work bad"

Please take a modicum of time to understand the points of others before leaping into criticism. The conversation was about Fanservice, which is always and forever about direct appeal. My point was that since Game of Thrones sex is generally icky, it does not constitute Fanservice, and as such it lacks justification on those grounds.

I have all other points for why the sex was bad apart from it being gross and untitilating, as in my above post.
comment #8364 tublecane 30th Jun 11
This is a huge YMMV issue on both sides. Some people probably do find it gross and unnecessary, despite what's in the books. For others (with less...conventional tastes), it's fanservice.

I'd say they need to put in the sex if they want to be true to the novels.
comment #12194 ronasokily 6th Jan 12
I will admit that the Producers went too far (IMHO) with the by now notorious "Lesbian Hooker" scene during Littlefinger's speech in the brothel. That scene is not in the book and is way over the top (again, IMHO). In fact, the entire character of Roz is a bit of an insult since she appears more often than several minor characters that were in the book such as Donal Noye who is completely excised or Jayne Poole who has one scene in the first episode and never has any dialogue. But what are you going to do? Nobody is perfect. Not even HBO.
comment #12199 Philbert 7th Jan 12
"Yes, because showing anything that is not directly appealing to view automatically makes a work bad"

That is a self-serving interpretation of my point. It's not as if I say we should only ever see the good and the beautiful and every frame should be like looking at a Raphael painting. Take a look at the title of the review: "Just how much sex do they need to show in one episode?" I can sit through and even enjoy gross things (but if I enjoy them are they really gross?), but at least during the first season it was all the time. If they wanted to play out the Mongol/Dragonlady storyline with the images they did, it wouldn't be good in itself, but I could live with it. When it's just another squicky mess on top of dozens of squicky scenes, that's a problem.

By the way, since when do we have to justify that ugly and gross things are, if not bad, not an end in themselves and best left to a minimum? Some people may have accepted urinals and dung-smeared portraits in art shows, but I haven't. Squicky is squicky and beauty is not.
comment #14629 tublecane 5th Jun 12
"most importantly, it was pretty fucking refreshing to watch a series where all the characters looked and acted more or less like real people"

This is the weakest of all weak excuses. Why is it that so often supposedly realistic tv and movies are explicit if not gratuitous especially as regards violence and sex? Why can't they show how real their characters are by showing them poop and sleep? Because sex and violence are fun to watch, or at least are supposed to be. It's not about being more real, it's about being more graphic in areas that particularly excite the audience.

By the way, I don't think Game of Thrones is particularly gratuitous. It is moreso than Mad Men, for instance, which makes you earn the wacky and shocking scenes, as they come few and far between. But the sex is icky, so as I said it's not so much fanservice. And the violence comes with a cost, at least compared to similar action oriented series and movies. I was surprised by how well they explained the stakes and make you feel the horns of dilemma the characters are on. Normally I'd be waiting around to see how the direwolves rip people apart or how wildfire will be used to thwart the seige. Rather, I found myself genuinely worried for young Rob and anxious to see if inexperienced Tyrion could pull it off.
comment #14630 tublecane 5th Jun 12
"Most of it was quite plot relevant."

Most of what they said was plot relevant. But the sex itself, how it related to what they were saying, how it led into what followed, and how it dealt with the relationship between characters, was hardly ever relevant to anything. Mostly they had to get across certain information and the characters had to be doing something, so they had them have sex. In the particular cases where the sex itself was actually meaningful, it either in my opinion could have been handled less squickily, as with Dragonlady and her man, or it was just squicky enough without being overwheliming, as with the Kingslayer and the Queen regent, which has to be gross because they're twins but wasn't relatively graphic and wasn't dwelt on for very long).

Do you think maybe the reason they pulled back on sexposition—as it's been dubbed—in season two is that it was unnecessary and unsuccessful, hm?
comment #14631 tublecane 5th Jun 12
"So if they refused to show 'middle-aged non-beautiful people in the act', they're doing it wrong!"

Actually, most of the people involved, as I remember, were attractive. Which is not to say attractive people having sex is itself attractive. It can be quite otherwise.
comment #14640 tublecane 5th Jun 12
And let's not forget that all the gratuitous sex scenes are incredibly misogynistic, on both a fictional and meta level? Like, I can understand that such a misogynistic culture would have misogynistic sex... but also consider that we almost never see male frontal nudity, but ALWAYS see female frontal nudity... it's not just gratuitous and annoying, and squicky, it's morally wrong. It's objectifying to their female cast and insulting to the viewers' intelligence and human decency. You can have sex scenes, you can even bullshit their being there with 'sexposition', but you can fucking do it tastefully. Discretion shots, fade to blacks, simply making out, or even just not writing in as many. I don't know, take your pick. Sex isn't necessary for this. There are way classier options if you need to imply sexual relations between characters. It's all fanservice for straight white guys. They don't want to see dicks, they want to see boobs. They want lesbian porn, but god forbid male homosexuals expressing their sexual interest in each other beyond a discretion shot. If they use that for the gay guys, they can do it for the straight couples. It's hypocritical and obnoxious. Also note that when Jon Snow goes down on Ygritte, it's also a discretion shot. It's like any kind of sex that doesn't show a male violently dominating a woman/lesbian porn isn't considered worthy of being fully and pornographically shown. The one exception being when Daenarys takes control of Drogo, and only kind of. This proves to me that the execs are just throwing in these sex scenes as a marketing tool, for the primary "demographic"- straight white men. HBO is just trying to be 'edgy' by waving around their magic 'you pay for us so we can get away with more crap' wand, and calling it artsy and deep. And what's worse is that everyone buys it.
comment #19260 reuvas 5th May 13
I don't see the sex in this series as fanservice or as something that is supposed to get a rise out of the viewer. It is just a constant reminder that sex happens and can be a major driving force for plot developments, especially in medieval times. Which, when you think about it, means that this show has managed to make sex non-sexual... Mind=blown.

As for why there's more female "full" frontal nudity? There isn't. Showing a naked woman from the front shows only breasts due to the positioning of the genitalia. If naked man-chest was considered sexual then it would be about equal, that is if you forget the whorehouse scenes, because those kinda tip the scales.
comment #19271 McSomeguy 6th May 13
Actually we see Theon fully nude from the front in the first season, during his scene with Ros. So male frontal nudity does happen in the show. But there's only so much the execs will allow, which yeah, is pretty sexist.

I've gotten loads further in the show than I have in the books, but my number one complaint about the sex scenes is that they're very focused on the Male Gaze. Hell, I remember reading Daenerys's and Drogo's honeymoon scene in the book, it was far more gentle and loving (if still questionably consensual) than in the show (where it was pretty much outright rape). The infamous "sexposition" scene where Littlefinger rants about his motives to two whores pleasuring each other was also ridiculous. George RR Martin pretty clearly intended sex to be a fact of life in the books; it wasn't really for fanservice, but actually had something to do with the plot (or at least character development). In the show it's just a heavy-handed attempt at both exposition and Fan Service.
comment #21738 pankitty 27th Oct 13

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