Nov 212020
 

Going Under is a 2004 drama film directed by Eric Werthman and written by Werthman and Jessica Gohlke. IMDB

Peter (Roger Rees), a married therapist, regularly sees a pro dominatrix, Suzanne (Geno Lechner), with the permission of his wife. On a summer when Peter’s wife is out of town and Suzanne has quit the business, they try to form a romantic relationship outside the dungeon. 

Peter (Rees) in session with Suzanne (Lechner)
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Oct 022020
 

POSE is a drama series set in the ballroom culture of New York City, set in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In contrast to the beauty and glamour of the ballroom scene, the performers make their livings through work of varying legality. The second season features a plotline about working as a pro domme. 

Elektra (Dominique Jackson) at the Hellfire Club.
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Sep 022020
 

iZombie, “Spanking the Zombie”, aired May 2, 2017 IMDB

iZombie is a TV series about a world in which an infectious disease gives people a craving for brains, though some can retain their human intelligence and appearance. The protagonist is Olivia “Liv” Moore, a police forensic scientist who investigates murders by literally eating the brains of the victims and inheriting their memories and personalities temporarily.

In this episode, the victim is Roxanne Greer, who worked as a pro dominatrix known as Sweet Lady Pain. This is literally all we know about her. Even though Liv has access to some of her memories and behaviours, all we see is a few visions of her interacting with clients. We learn nothing else about her, not her family, her background, how and why she got into this business, what she thinks of the work or the men she sees, or what she is like when she’s not being a dominatrix.

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Aug 292020
 

“Miss Rebecca Thrall”, aired October 11, 2017 IMDB

The main plot of “Miss Rebecca Thrall” concerns a scheme by Waterday Financial to take out life insurance policies on poor people, and then bribe police officers with loans to kill them, and collect the money. 

The main agent of this operation is Miss Rebecca Thrall (played by Sarah Wynter) who negotiates with both the victims and the killers. She also keeps a man in a full rubber suit and hood bound to a St. Andrew’s cross in her basement. 

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Aug 152020
 

Bones S10E03, “The Purging of the Pundit”, aired October 9, 2014 IMDB

Unlike in the previous Bones episode, “The Girl in the Fridge”, BDSM is closely integrated into both the mystery and Booth’s character arc in “The Purging of the Pundit”. 

Forensic procedurals are all about the puzzle, and in this case the victim’s masochism provides the puzzle. The body of a right-wing media figure, “Hutch” Whitehouse, is found partially consumed by animals. His corpse shows signs of being bound and tortured, including repeatedly struck in the testicles, but it also appears to be consensual.

Fuentes: “It’s like he was enjoying being murdered.”

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Aug 072020
 

Eurotrip is a 2004 teen comedy. 

Eurotrip is a very parochial movie, with the American teens treating Europe as if it is a terrifying land of threatening depravity. The plot itself is premised on heterosexual gay panic: the protagonist doesn’t realize that he has become email pals with a German girl and thinks a man is propositioning him. When he realizes his mistake, he goes on a trip with some friends across Europe to find his love and make amends. 

Much of the comedy is the characters attempting and failing to enjoy European pleasures supposedly forbidden in puritanical America. (Two of the “vices”, cannabis and absinthe, are now mostly legal in the USA.)

Madam Vandersexxx (Lucy Lawless)
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Aug 032020
 

Family Guy, episode S02E14 “Let’s go to the hop”, aired June 6, 2000. IMDB

This is the episode of Family Guy with the infamous “your safeword is banana” scene. 

The town of Quahog goes into a moral panic about teenagers licking psychedelic toads. Lois and Peter discover a toad in the laundry, and their daughter Meg confesses to holding it to curry favor with the popular kids. 

That night in their bedroom, Peter and Lois talk about their fears regarding their kids while putting on fetish wear. Peter says he will talk to the school principal.

Peter’s “plan” is to infiltrate the school as a student, “Lando Griffin.” He solves the toad-licking problem with a musical number, and blunders into becoming the most popular guy in school. Most of the rest of the episode is Peter’s conflict between chasing highschool popularity and looking after Meg. The real underlying problem is the highschool social hierarchy, and the toads are just a symptom. 

Perhaps inadvertently, Family Guy provided one of the most non-judgmental depictions of BDSM in mainstream media. Peter and Lois’ conversation about their kids and drugs is played straight. It’s the kind of thing a married couple with teenagers would talk about while getting ready for a scene. It’s just something they do together for fun. 

You could interpret this scene to say that Peter and Lois are hypocrites for their panic over drugs while they indulge in kink, but that only works if you view kink as a problem. Showing them smoking a joint together would be a more pointed critique, but might not be allowed on television.

Jul 202020
 

Episode S05E01 “Carly Summers”, aired November 1, 2007 IMDB

Nip/Tuck is a drama series focused on a pair of cosmetic surgeons. In the season 5 opener, Doctor Sean McNamara and Doctor Christian Troy have just relocated from Miami to Los Angeles and opened a new practice. 

One of their first clients is Bob Easton, a high-powered studio exec. He wants them to cover up the bite marks on his chest. 

Mistress Dark Pain (Tia Carrer) at work
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Jul 142020
 

The General’s Daughter (IMDB) is a 1999 mystery/thriller. 

US Army Captain Elizabeth Campbell, a psychological warfare expert and the daughter of a famous general, is found staked out nude and dead on a training ground. Two warrant officers from the Criminal Investigation Division investigate and discover a web of sexual abuse and coverups. 

The discovery of Campbell’s body
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Jul 012020
 

Body of Evidence (IMDB) is a 1992 erotic thriller/neo-noir film starring Madonna and Willem Dafoe. It was part of the genre epitomized by Fatal Attraction (1987) and Basic Instinct (1992), but didn’t inspire their level of critical attention.

To quote Sean McGovern at The Film Experience:

Body of Evidence arrived at a particular nexus of Madonna’s career. Riding on the wave of Like A Prayer, pushing boundaries with the Blonde Ambition Tour and the exuberant Truth or Dare, Madonna’s imperial phase began to dip with her boundary-pushing take on sex and erotica; namely, SEX and Erotica. While Madonna would remain unapologetic, Body of Evidence, and the accompanying explicit period in career concluded with one of the most consistent criticisms of Madonna: rigid-perfectionism and managed-spontaneity…

[…]

The most grating problem with Body of Evidence is how reductive derivative it is. Released a mere 8 months after Basic Instinct, it’s shocking to see how much of it feels directly lifted from it and other films of its genre.

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