Satisfaction TV Poster Image

Satisfaction

(i)

 

Prostitution, marital infidelity are at core of drama.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The adults in the show are attempting to keep their marriage together, both for their own sake and for that of their teenage daughter. Viewers may not agree with the means by which they're doing it, but most can agree this is a laudable goal.

Positive role models

Neil and Grace are caring parents and hardworking professionals. They make unusual choices romantically, but the consequences of these choices are explored honestly.

Violence

A man throws a baseball through a television set and drives through town with squealing tires when he's angry. Women have a shoving match at a bar. Two men try to hit each other; one throws another into a puddle.

Sex

Since the show revolves around marital infidelity and prostitution, viewers can expect jokes and references to sex, as well as sexual visuals such as couples kissing and thrusting (no nudity). There also are jokes about body parts -- "Truman, don't just stand there with your dick in your hands" -- and prison rape: "Four years ago you'd be grabbing your ankles in county [prison]." A prostitute explains the way he makes his living and justifies it enthusiastically. A teenager sings a song that references an illicit affair and abortion.

Language

Mild, usually jocular cursing: "You need to start busting ass" and "What the hell is going on?" Sometimes language is used as an insult, as when a testy flight attendant is called a "bitch."
 

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Women drink wine at a book club meeting; characters have cocktails at a club. No one acts drunk. Scenes take place in bars. A character wistfully expresses a wish to take ecstasy while at a club.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Satisfaction is a drama about a married couple who both resort to paid sexual encounters in an effort to get their sexual and emotional needs met while still remaining married. This is mature subject matter in all senses of the word. Not only will kids be confused by mom and dad figures paying for or being paid for sex, they'll be bored by the slow and talky action. There are many sexual images and references to sex, including a man catching his wife having sex with another man (no nudity), kissing, and petting, in bed and elsewhere. There also are jokes and references to body parts and sex. Cursing is infrequent and usually jocular: "You've got to start busting your ass." Scenes take place in bars at which people drink and make references to drugs; characters who have been drinking act silly and make questionable choices.

What's the story?

After 18 years of marriage, though Grace Truman (Stephanie Szostak) is still in love with her investment banker husband Neil (Matt Passmore), she's not feeling a great deal of SATISFACTION. When a handsome man at a club passes her his card, she goes for it and winds up paying a gorgeous escort for clandestine encounters. Unfortunately Neil walks in on one of them; shattered, he confronts Grace's paid pal, and through a series of coincidences winds up impersonating the escort and going on calls himself. Have Neil and Grace somehow stumbled upon the secret to a happy marriage? Or are the extracurricular activities of both creating a ticking time bomb that will destroy their marriage, their lives, and the family that includes teenage daughter Anika (Michelle DeShon)?

Is it any good?

QUALITY

Satisfaction has a big knock against it right from the start, given that the plot echoes that of popular cable series Hung. Why would somebody want to watch a Hung bootstrapped by basic cable rules? Here's why: because Satisfaction is sensitively written and acted, with characters that seem like real people going through conflicts that echo those of many adult viewers. So many long-term couples lose the passion they once had, feel like they've lost sight of the person they used to be, wondered if there were more to life than what they were experiencing. Of course, most couples won't then choose to patronize or become a sex worker, so Satisfaction becomes both wish fulfillment and cautionary tale for the viewer.

Nonetheless, this is very mature drama. It's not for kids, who won't be attracted to scenes of adults slowly working out emotional issues and who likely will be made uncomfortable by scenes of middle-aged folks meeting and mating. Mature teens might be able to appreciate the realistic dialogue and conflicts, but it's really adults, particularly long-married adults, who will be most caught by Grace and Neil's dilemmas and eager to see what happens next in this slow-burning, smart show.

Families can talk about...

  • How realistic is the central conflict of Satisfaction? Do you believe that these are choices realistic couples would make? Do you feel sorry for Grace and Neil? Do you judge them? Relate to them?

  • How would Satisfaction change if the genders of the characters were switched, and Neil was the original one to cheat while Grace began working as a prostitute? Can you think of any stories that have this setup? How do they compare to Satisfaction?

  • Satisfaction deals with a mature subject, yet appears on basic cable. How would Satisfaction be different if nudity, more intense language, and other premium cable staples were allowed?

TV details

Premiere date:July 17, 2014
Cast:Matt Passmore, Stephanie Szostak
Network:USA
Genre:Drama
TV rating:TV-14

This review of Satisfaction was written by

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