The Night Of S1 - The SSL Review
The Night Of
After hearing some this and that about it, we watched The Night Of a couple weeks back. I liked it. There were parts where I liked it more or less than other parts, but all in all it was a good watch. Plus, there were some really thoughtful points made about the justice system in this show. I'd give it a look - especially if crime drama is your sort of thing.
Sex between a guy and gal was a main plot point in the series, but neither the point in the sex where orgasm might take place nor any insinuations or discussions of that aspect of the sex where a relevant part of the plot, so there was no SSL reviewing to be done there. However, there was a couple SSL Reviewable scenes.
What is an SSL Review?
As always, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation. I look toward realism (for instance - were the physical things happening to that actress while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?) and to what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality.
I will continue adding these reviews to the big ol' list of TV SSL Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSl Reviews HERE).
I will first describe the scenes and then I'll discuss their relevance:
S1 E3 Prison Bangin'
There's a large portion of this show that takes place in prison, and there is one inmate, Freddy played by one of my very faves Michael Kenneth Williams, is a famous boxer and is kinda like the king of the prison. He has a private room. The guards bring him take-out. He basically does what he wants with the permission and/or turned heads of the prison employees.
So, we see him in handcuffs being led somewhere by a female guard, but then we find that this was not some normal ol' prison guard moving a prisoner around, but was in fact a hook-up. We see the guard in a stark room, facing the wall and bracing herself against it with one hand while the other is on (or maybe cuffed to) a pipe above her. Freddy is standing behind fucking her.
It's not a long scene, but the insinuation with her screams and moans was that she came. There was nothing, including his or her hands, anywhere near her clitoral/vulval area at all. So, if she came it was from the penis stimulating the inside of her vagina...which if you look at the scientific literature on female orgasm (and you know I do), you will find is something that has never ever been shown to cause an orgasm.
So, was this a common depiction of female orgasm? Absolutely. A depiction of a woman being banged into orgasm from mere penis-inside-vagina-friction is standard fare in TV, movies, books, and porn.
Was it a physically realistic depiction of female orgasm? No, absolutely not. If the outer clitoris/vulva area was not stimulated, then it's simply an unlikely (if not impossible) way for a woman to come. So, as common as that type of depiction may be, it's still not a good one.
S1 E4 Prostitute Gettin' Real
The lawyer Jack Stone played by John Tuturro, sometimes hires a prostitute named Ciara (played by Racquel Bailey). He also represents her when she gets into legal problems. Anyway, in this scene he's having sex with her missionary. He's on top. She's laying pretty motionless below him. He's pumping on her. None of their hands are near her vulva. There is also no grinding or writhing that might insinuate she's stimulating her vulva against his body. So, my point here is it's real unlikely she's orgasming. However, she does...well, she pretends to. As he's getting closer, she starts saying "That's it. That's it. That's it!" before 'coming. ' Then we see her roll her eye's as he's coming. It's clear that she was faking so he would finish up and think she enjoyed it.
So the prison scene was about as classic as you can get - a woman getting banged and coming with no external clit stimulation. That's pretty much how lady-gasms are portrayed the majority of the time in porn, movies, TV, books, all of it - even though the majority of women have never ever orgasmsed during intercourse and no orgasm from vaginal stimulation has ever been recorded in scientific literature. So, it's just a bunch of bullshit that reinforces the incorrect assumptions about how a woman orgasms. It's keeping that status quo alive.
The prostitute's scene was solid. I like it. I like seeing something that I think we can all agree is a very real part of life - a woman faking orgasm. So, this part gets a good SSL Review from me. However, I want to point out that depicting a prostitute fake an orgasm or not have an orgasm during intercourse is not that uncommon, and I would argue, not super duper progressive. Prostitutes in movies can have orgasm-less sex while standing or get banged in missionary or anything else, and those depictions often physically look no different than depictions of non-prostitute couples where the female is shown orgasming.
Why? Well, here's my 2 cents. Maybe the world knows deep inside that banging a woman's vaginal cavity does not bring her to orgasm, and we can openly acknowledge that if the sex involved is emotionless like we assume prostitute sex to be. However, it's hard to openly admit that when it comes to a romantic couple because doing so might open up the door to another possibility; that the sex nice, loving couples, couples like many of us believe we are, are having is ladygasm-less too...and that's just a little too real maybe.
The other part is that a link between emotion and orgasm for women is deeply embedded in our culture in a way it is not for men. I mean, yeah, arousal is important to orgasm and a good partner is important to arousal, but the kind of strict connection between emotion and ability to orgasm that we attribute to women seems ridiculous when we apply the same standard to men.
So, it makes sense (in a very nonsensical way) to depict a prostitute in a sex act faking orgasm even though depictions of a woman deeply in love with her partner doing the exact same physical sex act might very well be depicted as orgasming enthusiastically.
So, the prison scene is not realistic, but it's also not taking the plight of female orgasm and female sexuality backwards. It's completely status quo, and just reinforces all the same incorrect assumptions about ladygasm that already strongly exist.
The prostitute's scene is realistic and I very much appreciate that. However, I wouldn't say it's pushing the culture much farther forward in our understanding of ladygasm or female sexuality. It fits easily into the misguided but strong cultural feeling that women's orgasm is governed more by their emotional connection than by the actual physical things that are happening to their genitals. So, it's a very middle of the road scene for me.
Overall, I rate The Night Of - season 1 Three Vulvas.