Master of None S2 Ep 6: The SSL Review

I like Master of None. If you read my shit often, you might realize that I like most of the shows I SSL Review. I mean, I don't spend too much time watching things I don't see some value in, but I think Master of None is just a really good show. I'm not saying anything new here. Critics have been loving on it since it came out, but I'm just saying I agree. I think it's just really solid, and there's all kinds of things about it that hit and exceed the mark. It's well worth a watch.

But on to other things. There is one kinda, sorta SSL Reviewable situation. It's actually not technically one, but I think it deserves a review anyway. So, as you may know, an SSL Review is a critique specifically of a depiction or discussion of female orgasm and/or masturbation and/or the clit. I evaluate realism (for instance, were the physical things happening to that women while she orgasmed things that could realistically cause orgasm for a woman?), and I also look at what the depiction/discussion reflect from and add to the larger cultural discussion around lady-gasms and female sexuality. A show could be good with a bad SSL review or vice versa, and I really try to keep an SSL review to the SSL reviewable scenes only, but if I feel like it, I can talk about anything I want to - because it's my blog.

You can see all the SSL TV Reviews HERE (and as always you can find all the movie SSL Reviews HERE).

"New York, I Love You" S2 Ep6
First off, this was a great episode. There is for sure a story line in Master of None, but also, some of the episodes kinda veer off a bit and focus in on a theme or situation that somehow touches the main character's (Dev played by Aziz Ansari) life even if he's not the focus. "New York, I Love You," was an extreme case of that type of episode. It starts with Dev and his friends walking down the street and moves to focus on 3 other New Yorkers as they go about their lives and interact with others. It's a lovely story, and I won't ruin it for you by talking more about it than I need to. 

A Quietly Loud Ask For Cunnilingus 
One of the stories focuses on a deaf woman named Maya. We meet her as a cashier, but then we see her meet a friend for coffee, and as she does so, their conversation moves to the following.
Friend: So, what's the latest on the whole sexual situation?
Maya: Well, I haven't really said anything.
Friend: Well, it's not going to magically change unless you say something. Just be respectful and bring it up when you guys are in private. Maybe when you're going to bed. Hey, try it on me.
Maya: Hey Barry, can we talk about our sex life for a minute?
Friend: Sure what's up? You want to do it way more often and way better? I'm in!
Maya: Wow that was easy. Thanks Barry.
Later we see Maya with Barry in gift shop. They're talking about a party they are going to, and it gets to this:
Maya: Hey, maybe don't drink too much tonight. Maybe we can do something a little fun later.
Barry: I can drink and still do it.
Maya: I know, but we haven't done it in a while, and sometimes you say you can't because you drank too much.
Barry: That happened one time.
Maya: When was the last time we had sex?
Barry thinks about it too long.
Maya: If you have to think of it for that long, that's not good. You haven't gone down on me for two months. That's a problem.
Barry: What do you want me to do?
Maya: I want you to go down on me.
Barry: Right here, right now in the middle of the store?
Maya: Stop joking. I'm serious. I blow you all the time. I need you to step up and lick my vagina.
Barry: Look, I love your vagina. It's a fantastic vagina.
Maya: Then lick my vagina. It's not going to lick itself.
A woman comes up to them and chastises them for talking about this in public, telling them her kids know ASL as they run by signing 'vagina.' They apologize and then go back to talking.

Barry: Look, if we have a problem, you can talk to me about it in a normal way. You don't have to confront me in the middle of a store.
Maya: You know what? Just pay for the gift, and I'll meet you outside. I can't talk to you right now.
Barry: Fine.
Maya end up talking to someone at the front of the store, and then Barry walks up with their purchase. and they begin to talk. again. It ends with this:
Barry: Let's just hold off, go to the party, and we'll talk about this stuff later.
Maya:  How about this. After the party, we go home, and you lick my vagina. Then we can talk.
Barry: (smiles) Jesus, fine, can we go now.
Maya: (smiles) Yeah.
My Thoughts
To begin, ALS for 'lick one's vagina' looks a hell of a lot like actually licking one's junk, which I most richly loved. I particularly likes watching her say 'it's not going to lick itself, ' because well, I could see exactly what she meant.

Secondly, this didn't specifically talk about lady-gasms, lady-bation, or clits, so it's maybe not technically an SSL Reviewable scene, but here's my reasoning for reviewing it. The underlying thing here, I believe, is that this woman wanted a goddamn orgasm from her man. I don't mean to surprise anyone, but that's why we ladies like cunnilingus. It gives us orgasms. In fact it's the way many women have orgasms with a partner. So, to me this scene was really about both the clit and about female orgasm, because if it's done right, what Maya was asking for involves a mouth on a clit and a lady-gasm. That, and the sense that this scene was realistically accounting for actual female orgasm in its story line - in a way that is still quite unusual - made me feel like I had to do an SSL Review.

Let me get more into that last part. So, this whole situation was about a woman asking for what she wanted from her sexual partner. I like the general idea of that story line in media, but it's often done without a thoughtful nod to a realistic female sexual experience. I feel like a lot of times, when there is a storyline about a hetero woman not being satisfied with her sex life, it's because her man doesn't have sex with her as much as she wants or that he too quickly ejaculates after starting intercourse, or that he just can't get or keep an erection. Granted, for a variety of reasons, all those things might be something any particular woman might have a gripe with in her sexual relationship, but I can't help but find it a bit sad and silly that these are the problems our media tends to focus on in stories about ladies and their sex lives.

Let me just go out on a limb here and venture to say that the biggest, deepest gripe among hetero women about our sex lives is not how much we get it or if our man can bang us forever with a hard dick. It is simply that the sex we have isn't often orgasmic for us but is for our male partners. It's frustrating and sad, but the truth is, women are not orgasming as much as men during sexual encounters, especially in hetero relationships.

The other truth is that hetero couples have a lot of damn intercourse, and intercourse is shit for lady-gasms. There is absolutely no physical proof of an orgasm caused by stimulation inside the vagina in all of scientific literature, but yet we hetero people go forward with all this banging, assuming that it will be as orgasmic for women as it is for men and ignoring the fact that it isn't...all the while scratching our heads about all the women with 'sexual dysfunction' and joking/not-joking about women losing interest in sex over time in long-term relationships.

My point is that what women really want (and this wasn't in the Mel Gibson movie) is for sex to feel as hot and desperate and orgasmic as it feels to (I assume) most men. We want to be able to associate orgasm with our partnered sexual experiences from the very beginning of our sex lives and to sensibly expect that the vast majority of our sex encounters will obviously include orgasm...the way men do. Truth is, though, I'd guess we ladies often go about expressing that deep need in back-asswards ways. That's to be expected though because in many ways, culture leaves us as clueless about this as it leaves men. Most of us don't really view the clit/vulva area as being as important to our orgasm as the dick is to male orgasm. We also tend to have countless orgasm-less and shitty sex encounters that dull our expectations and arousal. We're a hot mess of orgasm-less/arousal-less encounters and ignorance of our own sexual anatomy that makes it hard for us to clearly verbalize what we feel and need in this department.

So, when I see a scene like the one in Master of None that starts to dig into that need in a way that seems to kinda 'get it' - at least a little bit, it's exciting...because do you know what might just possibly fulfill that need for us? Eating us the fuck out on the regular; pussy licking with abandon and joy and without us having to ask. We want to come. We want to think about how good it was the next day. We want to feel like our partners want to do the things that actually get us off.

So this whole scenario was about having more sex, but it was also about better sex, and oh-so-rightly, it was about him giving more and her getting the kind of sex that gets women off. This, to me, sets this situation apart from most that I see in media about women's problems with sex. It gets more to the heart of it, and I love it. It feels to me like it's from a woman's perspective, but not just any woman -  a woman that is willing to be bold about the realities of the female sexual experience. Probably this was actually written by men, but that's fine. It was saying the right things,and it's willing to speak about women's sexual problems beyond the surface, general way we normally hear about them. And I hope this type of talk continues to grow.

The Vulva Rating
Let me get one thing out. They do keep calling it a 'vagina' when it's actually a vulva that is the one needing licked, but honestly, vagina is often what people call the outer parts of female genitalia, so although incorrect language around lady-bits and lady-gasms irks me a touch, I can't be too mad about a show using common colloquial language. That's really my only gripe though. This little scenario, overall, was an orgasm equality win. Let me count the ways (3 ways, I guess)...

1 It equated better sex for a woman with cunnilingus - which is awesome because that is stimulation directly to the outer clitoral/vuvla area - which is realistically what can make a woman come. It is also awesome because I feel like so often women are depicted as equating better sex with longer intercourse or more intercourse, and again, maybe that is something a woman might want, but it is not a good, realistic bet for actually getting a female off.

Maya straight up asked for Barry to eat her out more. Then at the end he was all like, 'why don't we just talk about this later,' and she was all like, 'how about you just eat me the hell out tonight!' I love it because as a whole, it didn't downplay or marginalize her request. It is, really, a very simple request. I mean, it's simply asking a partner to do the thing during sex that will allow you to orgasm. It should not be problem or even a discussion, but too often cunnilingus is viewed as merely an extra instead of an important main way that a woman orgasms during a sexual interaction with a man. So, Maya's final foot-down stance - that there's really nothing to negotiate here - was kinda revolutionary. He starts giving her the kinds of chances to enjoy and orgasm from sex that she gives him, or he can fuck off.

3 Simply making the point in a major TV show that she blows him all the time, but he doesn't eat her out much, is important. You don't hear that much, but I guarantee that will resonate with a lot of women. It not only says something true, but it lays bare and inequity that a lot of women know to be true of their own relationships, but think it's just their own problem; like maybe there is something kinda gross about their junk that men wouldn't want to eat it, or that it's just normal that men don't like to do it. Speaking this inequity aloud both acknowledges that this is a larger cultural problem other women experience (not just you) and that it's a ridiculous problem because there's no reason that a dude should not be eating you out if you want it. It reminds me of an article recently about the oral sex gap (I wrote about the article HERE). It points out how women get less than we give and that we also quite deeply feel the lack of enthusiasm that is often there - and it calls all kinds of bullshit on that.

So overall, I give this a solid 5 out of 5 vulva rating. It spoke the truth about the oral sex gap in a fun narrative story, so as to let it slide into the audiences' heads with sweetness that makes it more appetizing, but does not lower the potency. It reminded women all over that vulvas should be ate in equal number to penises being blown, and it normalized the idea that sex, particularly good lady-gasm inducing sex, is more than just intercourse. Bravo.


p.s. you can see part of the scene in a Master of None Tweet HERE

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