Nov 232021
 

“Twenty-Five Acts”, aired October 10, 2012 IMDB

The Law & Order franchise often fictionalizes real-world events. In this case, it alludes to the publication and popularity of the Fifty Shades trilogy, in an episode aired only 6 months after the trilogy was re-released by Vintage. (FSOG was first published May 25, 2011 by Writers Coffee Shop, and the trilogy was re-released by Vintage in April 2012.)

I thought that this episode also referenced the case of Jian Ghomeshi, a Persian-Canadian radio host and interviewer who allegedly strangled his girlfriend and excused it as consensual BDSM. However, in an odd moment of life imitating art, I found that this episode actually aired 2 years before the allegations about Ghomeshi went public in 2014. 

The author of the hot new erotic novel Twenty-Five Acts, Jocelyn Paley, appears on a talk show. The host, Adam Cain, meets her for dinner, and she secretly gives him her panties under the table. They go back to his place. After some sex she initiates, he crosses the line, throws her on the bed and chokes her with a belt.

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Nov 112021
 

Fifty Shades of Black (2016) (IMDB) is a comedy/romance film directed by Michael Tiddes and written by Marlon Wayans and Rick Alvarez. Obviously, it’s a parody of the wildly popular Fifty Shades of Grey franchise. 

Beyond just parodying Fifty Shades, Black derives comedy from juxtaposing sadomasochism, long seen as a “white thing”, with blackness. 

Moon Charania’s essay “The Promise of Whiteness: Fifty Shades of Grey as White Racial Archive” in Intensities: The Journal of Cult Media (Issue 8, January 2016) hypothesizes that the book and film’s story can only work because the two leads are extremely white and heterosexual. It presents a kind of hetero-white utopia in which all the cultural anxieties of the 2000s and 2010s are almost entirely absent. Almost no non-white people means no racial violence and inequality, and almost no queer and no trans people means no challenge to the primacy of heterosexuality. 

The significance of Grey’s emotional torment, Ana’s romantic attachment to Grey, and the familiarity of white heterosexual domestic love render this (attempted) violent domination both palatable and melancholic. [Pg. 84]

To excite and placate the audience, Ana and Christian as lovers and antagonists could only be white. The sudden excitement found in a powerful white man beating an empowered white woman for sexual pleasure establishes an inextricable link between racial formation and sexual subjectification. [Pg. 85]

In Charania’s view, whiteness excuses everything: Christian’s domination and sadism, Ana’s infatuation and naivete. Remove Christian’s whiteness, his wealth and privilege, from the narrative, and he’s just an abuser. Remove Ana’s whiteness, and she’s just a helpless victim. It’s not a love story anymore. 

So what happens if the analogs of Christian Grey and Anastasia Steele, “Christian Black” (Marlon Wayans) and “Hannah Steale” (Kali Hawk), are black?

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Jun 242021
 
Krista Kosonen as Mona

Dogs Don’t Wear Pants (Koirat eivät käytä housuja) (IMDB) is a 2019 Finnish drama, directed by J.-P. Valkeapää and co-written by the director and Juhana Lumme, based on a story by Lumme. 

A depressed widower finds relief in breath control sessions with a pro dominatrix. 

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Jun 062021
 
Alana and Philip

“You should not work to make the audience comfortable with what they are witnessing at all.”

Notes on style, Pg.4

Slave Play by Jeremy O Harris is a 2018 three act stage play. Three modern interracial couples (two straight, one gay) attend a retreat to work out the issues in their relationships via slavery-based roleplay. This reveals and strains various faultlines in their relationships and their psyches.

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Apr 222021
 

Note that production of season 5 of Billions was interrupted because of COVID. 

S05E01

Now that Chuck and Wendy are separated, he’s seeing Mistress Cassie, though we only glimpse her as he leaves her dungeon in the morning. When he turns his phone on, he finds messages from Wendy about his teenage son being sick overnight. 

Julianna Margulies as Catherine Brant in BILLIONS ÒOpportunity ZoneÓ. Photo Credit: Jeff Neumann/SHOWTIME
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Apr 162021
 

S04E01

Chuck speaking with Charles, his father.

Charles: “I would slap your face and tell you to act like a man if I didn’t think it would turn you on.”

Chuck: “Ah, It wouldn’t, Dad. Not from you. That’s not how it works. Good lord.”

Another kinkphobic comment from Charles Rhoades, Sr.

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Apr 062021
 

Season 3 opens with Bobby free on bail, his assets frozen, his trading license revoked, and Axe Capital on hold. Chuck has lost most of his money and alienated his father and his best friend in his scheme to get Bobby arrested, and is in the delicate position of having to ensure that the scheme doesn’t link back to him. Wendy is even more involved in Axe Capital in Bobby’s absence. Chuck and Wendy have reunited, while Bobby and his wife Lara are de facto separated.

L-R: Wendy (Maggie Siff), Chuck (Paul Giamatti) and Troy (Clara Wong)
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Apr 012021
 

Chuck and Wendy are separated at the beginning of season 2 of Billions. Until episode ten, there are not even mentions of Chuck and Wendy’s BDSM practice season 2. Chuck gets into judo, which seems to be a partial substitute. They both have flings, by mutual consent, but only Wendy actually consummates it, with another billionaire like Bobby.

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Mar 252021
 

Billions is a 2016 drama about the conflict between US Attorney Chuck Rhoades Jr. and hedge fund billionaire Bobby “Axe” Axelrod.

Chuck (Paul Giamatti) bound.

The very first thing we see in the pilot episode is Chuck stripped and bound at the mercy of a woman in lingerie. This is his wife Wendy, who is also the in-house therapist of Bobby’s investment firm, setting up the triangle at the heart of the series.

BDSM is not a big enough theme in Billions to do an episode-by-episode review. Thus I will focus on certain episodes in which Chuck and Wendy’s BDSM relationship is a major element.

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