Diary of an RA Fan — Part 22 Objects May Appear Larger Than They Are — SPOILERS

See Diary Part 21 here, or to access all entries, hit “The Diary” tab above.

[note: if you are easily offended, don’t read this piece]

Entry — Yet Still Fall, 2008

I finally started watching ‘Between the Sheets’ last night.

A couple of days later:

Part of me wants to finish this show and the other part wants to delete the files.

A little while later:

I really didn’t need to subject myself to that. What in God’s name was I thinking? I’m really naive or stupid. Did I think this was going to be just some analysis of sex with all the suggestive comments I’ve read about it? Man, I am dumb. No, I’m not dumb; I just really like watching Richard Armitage, and that rendered me temporarily stupid.

And the manipulation of Richard Armitage’s parts was literally in my face! One minute I’m looking at this:

and hearing his character, Paul say, “Do you want to go somewhere and talk?” The next thing…WTF?!! Uh, no, no, that’s not what I mean. I know what it is. That’s exactly what it looks like. Richard Armitage should get a f*cking award for that — literally. ROFLOL!!!

Then later he and Alona, his partner, are at it again, and if there can be an award for sexual groaning, Richard should get it. Meg Ryan’s got nothing on him. Oh, the vocal range. Ohmygosh! he’s good at this too! I think I’m traumatized. LOL! Me, who has always loved earthy humor and who has adored SO sexually and otherwise and thoroughly enjoyed making children with him and all the the other times we didn’t make any children, is feeling a little violated. I don’t know whether to laugh or scowl. But I am mad at myself for overruling my gut. My infernal curiosity got the best of me. I just had to watch one more thing with Richard Armitage, and it turned out to be what felt very much like gratuitous sex and definitely too much information. It would be about anyone!

How did I get here from John Thornton?

Later:

Maybe I’m just being a prude. But I haven’t ever been a prude. That’s just not me. Plus, I’ve seen nudity in movies many times, and it didn’t freak me out. No, I was desensitized to nudity long ago, which I’m not sure is good. But it’s hardly surprising since I saw both of my parents naked on several occasions when I was growing up, and I never thought much of it. But then, they didn’t appear to be having sex. LOL! ‘Between the Sheets’ was pretty graphic sex short of seeing genitalia, which is the only thing that keeps it from being porn.

Then there was the plain talking about sex, but that couldn’t have bothered me. ___________ [my sibling] and I grew up in a household where almost nothing was off-limits for discussion. My parents did stop short of talking about their intimate relationship, but that’s it. Talk of sex in general? Ohmygosh, I heard lots of talk about that. I get tickled when people mention their parents giving them “the talk.” The talk?! LOL! I got countless talks, and they were honest with a vengeance. In fact, there was such an honesty to my parents that it bordered on inappropriate at times. I’m sure that I, in turn, didn’t display the kind of decorum most others are accustom to; it’s hard to know when you grow up with such free talk.

I remember the first time I could hear my parents as other people must have heard them. SO came to dinner, and afterward we were sitting around the table talking. Dad and SO were talking and Mom was telling me about some article she’d read. If I’ve heard her begin with, “I was reading an article the other day,” I’ve heard her begin with it a thousand times. Most of the time it’s really interesting since her reading material covers such a variety of topics. This particular evening she launched into a clinical discussion. She’s always made a steady diet of JAMA, NEJM, a few other clinical periodicals, and of course the PDR. I think I was 15 before I realized people didn’t normally possess a PDR, and this was long before they were easily available to the general public. But Mom was always driven to find out about anything that went into our mouths, so she was never without it. That evening she began to hit me with her latest discovery. It was something about f*latio facilitating infections. It took me a few moments to snap to on the word, and then I didn’t move and wasn’t sure where to look. SO and I were pure as the driven snow at this point, so I was mortified by her free way with words and her pursuit of er, knowledge.

Now that I’m reading what I’ve just written, Mom seems buffoonish. I wish I knew how to really capture her and Dad. It’s so frustrating to want to say something, and it just comes out all wrong. SO has begged me to write a book about them. He thinks they’re too fantastic not to be captured on the page. I don’t think I can do it. Just don’t have what it takes.

Thankfully, SO wasn’t listening to Mom that evening, but really, even if he had been, he would have had a great comeback. He’s nothing if not great at comebacks. Still amazes me. Why I want to underestimate him I don’t know. Plus, he’s always admired my parents’ honesty. He would have simply laughed and praised them in his mind for their frankness. Hell, it would have been a relief since his parents were the type that make you wonder how they ever had kids. I guess I was his Gaylord Focker and he was my Pam. No, no, Mom wasn’t Rozalin Focker, she’s always been Auntie Mame and I’m Patrick. Except for my dad, that story could have been mine. To this day when someone asks me what Mom’s like, I ask if they’ve seen Rosalind Russell in Mame.

I don’t know whether to be thankful for her, or…Oh hell, yes, I’m thankful, and whom would I trade her for?

The next day:

Now I’m hacked at the producers of this piece. I hate being manipulated when it’s not fun. I can’t even talk about this to anyone because I would have to explain too much or lie, and I refuse to lie, so I’m not talking. All those other times I felt dumb watching something more than once?! That was so benign. I guess I could say something to SO, and he would listen, but eventually there would be another comical name for Richard Armitage. And I can’t get on the Army board. I’m pretty sure of the reception my reaction would get. It would be dismissed as the reaction of someone who just isn’t intellectual enough to look beyond the sex scenes to the larger context albeit they would do it subtly so as not to put down the provincial rube, and they would be so right. I am provincial and a rube.

But is this just about intellect or a bourgeois mentality? No, I’m a human being who is profoundly moved by sex, and that’s healthy, and it’s not all driven by my intellect or conventional mores although that’s part of it. Isn’t it a wonderful thing to be profoundly moved by sex? I’m sure I would rue the day I wasn’t moved by it or the day I could sit and watch something as graphic as ‘Between the Sheets’ and view it only clinically or merely use it to get off on. Hehehe look at Richard Armitage’s “peaches.” Oh brother. But then, some of the cute remarks about his peaches may be from people who are flabbergasted like me and trying to make sense of it.

I just really don’t want to watch people having sex and don’t need to watch them having sex to get turned on. But I could never say that on a forum because the minute someone says something like that hardly anyone believes them, or that’s how people seem to let on in a group. Everyone must be cool, and especially concerning sex. That’s how people come across, but get them talking in a private room, and it’s usually a different story. Anyway, I’m glad I had a visceral reaction. It was healthy, and I would worry about myself if I hadn’t.

Surely the people who put this show together knew it would have this reaction from some, or maybe they’re so desensitized they don’t know. I wonder. I hate sometimes that I wonder so friggin’ many things. I do not need to spend time thinking about this. What’s funny is that I’ll bet the makers of this show would love to know they riled someone like me. Kay Mellor and company hit the jackpot with my reaction. Of course my curiosity demanded I had to find out about her. Shit. I hate that I do things like that because what difference does it make what I know about Kay Mellor? Useless, useless knowledge, and I’m overflowing with it! And now I’m a little weirded out by the fact her daughter played Georgia, WTF? And her little granddaughter played Fiona. Then her other daughter helped produce it. Just a family affair. Wonder if Richard Armitage is a cousin.

I don’t know what to think of him. I’m feeling a mixture of disappointment and pity. His sexual scenes were much more graphic than any of the others. Why were his parts so in our faces? Yeah, I know the answer. Talk about being objectified. Wonder what it was like being a fly on the wall during that filming. Wait! I was a fly on the wall. LOL!

Not sure I can watch him in anything else or certainly not before I forget what he looks like scr*wing. This may really be the thing that cures me of my fascination. At least I had the common sense to watch it on my computer. If I had been watching that on tv and my kids came into the room, I don’t know what I would have done. That right there tells me I shouldn’t have been watching this show. SO and I have always been so open with them. We talk about everything with them short of our intimate relationship, which is none of their business. But everything else is up for discussion. To sneak around and watch this show?! It sounds like something I’d rather not name.

A few days later:

I’m sure not Richard Armitage’s mother and sure as hell not old enough to be his mother, but I find myself thinking about her and continually trying to rationalize his part in this show. Good grief I am actually thinking about some actor’s mother! I read a few of his supposed comments about the show, and now I can’t help but wonder about her. Supposedly he didn’t know what he was getting into. LOL! Bullshit. I also read that his mother watched it. What?! How would I feel if I saw my son like that? (eyes crossed) Mrs. Armitage, wherever you are, I feel for you.

I need someone to slap me for caring about this.

Present day:

This was a tough entry to edit, and I have so many more thoughts about this show. But I’ve got to stop. More later.

See Diary Part 23 here.

Screencap is mine.

22 Comments

  1. This is really honest, which I very much appreciate, and very interesting to read. Your trademark humor comes through just as much as your disappointment and frustration. I am convinced that you are not alone in your perception of and reaction to this piece. And of course, Mr. Armitage cited his mother as having been somewhat offended by it, so you probably have a lot in common with her as well; no wonder you’d think of her.

    One thing in this piece that’s very much akin to my own reactions to his work is this response in stages in which one’s reactions develop. I’m not going to champion BTS, but I’m grateful you saw it since it generated such thought-provoking introspection and I got to read that, too.

  2. Ahh yes, I sympathise. I’ve not actually seen BtS yet even though I have it (*waves toward the DVD shelf*) but I’ve seen the non-explicit scenes on YouTube and once, when I googled with SafeSearch switched off, came across a blog which offered not just pictures but a short clip. To which my reaction was an “Oh. My. GODS!” with several meanings. Fascination and appreciation mixed with embarrassment and partial disgust, sprinkled with fangirly squees over when he says “lie down” and gives that irresistible wry smile that would easily floor anyone. Yes, the man has some nice peaches and he looks like he knows how to give a girl a good time – but I don’t REALLY actually want to see it, if you know what I mean? That sort of thing just felt too … private. Not like the shagging Lucas got up to with Sarah, because that wasn’t graphic, so didn’t bother me.

    The BtS clips felt too much like prying into his personal affairs – I mean, ffs, we were right in “his” bedroom! I love the body-watching normally, but perhaps because it is just admiring from afar, so to speak, because we can get really close but never actually get TOO close. Porter stripping down in prison? Not a problem, bring it on! (Along with a bucket of ice water.) Lucas changing into a boiler suit? Helloooooooo nurse. Paul gettin’ the freak on – in detail – with his missus? Felt more like trespassing than anything else.

    An interesting mix of emotions watching it, anyway. Don’t know whether to laugh or cry, sort of thing. Just … “woah, that I did NOT need to see!” I wonder what it would have been like if it was another actor; one which I don’t particularly care about. I don’t think it would’ve been the same. Sure, embarrassment would probably still be there (“oh crikey, they’re going at it like rabbits, aren’t they? Ah-ha-ha”) but would it BOTHER me in the way that this does? I don’t think so. Not in the same way.

    Now, I’ve heard the rules for what you can and can’t show on telly on this country, even if it’s made by ITV, so I think it’s safe to assume we don’t actually get to see any actual … bits. Which is a huge relief, because that would really be a step too far. The only reason I would “want” to see, err, his bits would be if I was a) his partner or b) his doctor. (His mum would’ve seen it when he was a child, but oh goodness, if it had been me, I would’ve said “you might want to give this one a miss, mum” or record it on a DVR and give her a censored version!) Anything else is just not cricket.

    Seen from another perspective, maybe it’s because seeing him do something profoundly human (or at least pretend to) makes him too real and I want to keep him as a sort of fantasy. The idea of the Perfect Man, embodied by him. And seeing him simulating sex on camera takes away the mystery, makes the immortal god into a mere mortal, and that’s not in line with the fantasy ideal, so to speak. Or for that matter, it doesn’t leave anything to the imagination, and the imagination is normally a lot sexier than reality. (Unless you’re Connie Chatterley. Her imagination, or rather, her thoughts, tend to be rather depressing. Good book, though.)

    Or maybe I’m just a prude. A prude with a dreadfully dirty mind, but a prude nonetheless. ;)

  3. Love the comments! Frenz your mom sounds awesome! Love Auntie Mame!
    I still haven’t seen BTS uncensored, now I’m even more curious / frightened about what my reaction would be. With all the advance warning it might be a let down, but that would be a good thing. I like your remark Traxy that seeing RA like that would take away the mystery, and make him too real. Fantasy is a good thing! LOL
    Still I want to see it!! :)

  4. I really enjoyed reading your thoughts on this, lady. I haven’t seen BTS, but I have had a vague awareness of fans squeeing, giggling and ogling over it. I agree somewhat with Traxy said about the scene undermining the mystery and fantasy. Wow I just remembered that a friend of mine did some research on viewer responses to simulated sex on TV. I’ll have to ask him what he found!

  5. HAHAHAHAHA! I laughed through this whole post. :)
    You know my thoughts on BTS… which, to sum up, is: “Yikes! My eyes! My eyes!” and I’ve only seen a few uncensored screencaps and clip. I always felt like I was the only RA fan who wasn’t thrilled about that role, but since posting my thoughts on the subject last year, I found out there are many RA fans who feel the same way. Everyone has a different opinion, which is fine. :)

  6. I haven’t seen BtS yet and you are making me really nervous. That said I have watched the non-explicit clips on YT and some explicit clips I found somewhere so I know some of what you are referring to. I will get it some day I am sure but no hurry, I think.

  7. Having, at one point in my life, worked for a psychotherapist/marriage counsellor/sex therapist, I take a much more pragmatic view. Richard’s portrayal of Paul was, as ever, subtle and complex and Paul’s story has little, if anything, to do with gratuitous sex. He’s a decent young man who, nevertheless, because of his marital problems, abrogates all responsibility within his profession. It’s his story that is important; the sex was just the entry point that triggered his eventual exposure. It was a strong part and he played it beautifully and I congratulate him. HIs mother was horrified but, as he pointed out, being his mum, she had seen his bare bottom before! He did advise her to go and make a cup of tea and come back when it was all over. For an essentially shy and quiet man, it was a brave choice of part and his, er, performance was, er, rivetting! And very convincing! He is a beautiful man and his body is perfect, so I had no problem watching it, believe me, but what he was doing with it served merely as a tool to illustrate that this was the root cause of his fatal choice. His story was what I found sad and embarrassing. All the stories within the series are stand-alone – the link being the sex therapist herself and how she, herself, through her own problems, drove Paul away initially and found that she, too, could not cope with the fallout .

    It was very hard-hitting but it was a brave concept and beautifully played by all concerned. It was all about repression, need, difficulty and emotion encountered on a very personal level and how it affects us all, across the generations. The sex itself was actually secondary. Please view it as good literature. It was never intended to be pornographic in any sense.

  8. Welcome, Natalie,

    Thank you for your comment. Very thoughtful, and I’m glad you enjoyed this part. As for my take, hang with me; I’m not done yet. I had so much that I couldn’t put it in one post. Normally I can slash and burn my copy so that it’s not unwieldy, but I just couldn’t do that this time. So I hope you will hang around for part II.

    Take care,
    Frenz

    @ the rest of ya,

    I cannot believe I have another post bigger than this one; however, now this one is out, I can probably cut the next one down. Thanks for bearing with me.

  9. Are you feeling like a disloyal fan yet? LOL

    The idea that anyone needs to feel defensive about not liking all sex scenes equally boggles my mind. Sounds to me like his scenes were akin to soft porn. Perhaps he had his “where is your dignity” moment early on in his career. My question is, would he. like the 40ish Stephen Moyer, do scenes like that now?

    I remember an interview where he said his mother went out to make a cup of tea during those scenes. He teased her with the idea that she had seen his bum before. No. This is more than nudity- this is your son simulating sex. Geez, I don’t even want to *think* about my parents doing it! I am hoping he was just being off hand about this for interviews.

    i haven’t seen the scenes and cringe at the thought. I am infinitely curious, but I think I’ll take a pass on this one thanks to the graphics you proffer. I don’t want to remember him this way. RA seems to slough off stuff in interviews that IMO must have a deeper effect on him. I don’t think we will ever be privy to that. Good.

    Imagine having those scenes haunt your career now? And *on the internet*! Poor poor man.

  10. @Natalie,

    Lovely comment. I just don’t understand why it had to be so graphic to get any point across.

  11. Oopsies… I just realized I posted as SFR above. Forgot to switch my mode. Heh. :) Just so everyone knows, the Natalie who commented with the black & white icon is different from me… Nat at RA Fan Blog.

  12. Thanks to RAOnline – here is RA’s mother’s reaction to BTS http://www.richardarmitageonline.com/articles/SundayMercury20031123.html

    I wrote a post about BTW a while ago and agree with Natalie above. The storyline was moving, the acting was good but it was a confronting work. I guess the nudity was not necessary – I passed it over quickly as I was far more interested in the characters and what was going to happen to them. I agree with the comments above about the ooohing and aaahing from various corners of the RAfandom. I couldn’t be bothered with the boilersuit and JP scene either …. I’m not sure why they have to show bare buttocks at all. (Sorry, I can’t abide the term “peaches” … ugh!). I think it’s nice to leave a bit up to the imagination so I felt the graphic sex scenes unnecessary in BTS (all 3 minutes of them) – I was, however, moved by the story.

    PS: Love your “Mum” stories. I didn’t get the sex talk at all and learned it in science. My mum sounds the complete opposite to yours. (Adore Auntie Mama too ….lol)

  13. PS: Excuse typos above – I meant BTS (not BTW) and Auntie Mame!! (I’ve been carrying out a lit. search for three hours – that’s my excuse :) )

  14. @mulubinba

    G-d bless his mother!

    Thanks for the link! She did use the word “spoken” rather than “seen”. Yet I can’t imagine she would want to see pr others to see her boy faking the deed, no matter how she expressed it!

    From that article it sounds like in RA’s neck of the woods sex is not talked about {?) I guess that does make the subject matter brave. I guess I’m confused because sex is an intimate thing between two people, talked about between the two, and that talk can be explored quite bravely without simulating sex for the world to see.

    I think that focusing on the “bravery” of the talk deflects from and might justify the soft porn aspects. I don’t think his Mum would agree that the latter is so okay.

    The world wants explicit and “brave” talk about sex? Then they also need to hear, ” I’m moritifed that my son did soft core porn”.

  15. Oy vey! I didn’t proofread. Second line second paragraph: Yet, I can’t imagine she would want others to see her boy faking the deed…

  16. @pi, Don’t hold back. tell us how you really feel. LOL!

    You have to remember that these were my journal entries, which I never thought to have anyone read. It wasn’t about defending but about being pissed. Pissed at being manipulated and pissed about possibly being misunderstood.

    @Nat,

    I fixed your entry.

  17. I have pretty mixed reactions to BtS, too. Do I want to see to see the unexpurgated version? Far too old to be shocked (wouldn’t have been SHOCKED in youth, either). But I do, rather, like some mystery, as others have mentioned here. A bare backside is attractive, in the bedroom – outside, it’s a bit, well, ho-hum.

    So, is there any standard reaction to a first-rate actor having bared almost all, between laminating friends’ floors, when struggling to establsih a career? Not. No judgemental reaction here. Just a strong wish for more and more roles that are up to the actor’s talent, rather than his having to rise above not always great scripts….

  18. […] there, but I’m particularly fascinated by her last two diary entries on Between the Sheets (one; two). How do you react when the object of your admiration suddenly appears in the rear altogether? […]

  19. I’ve only just decided to read Frenzy’s diary today (1.33pm on Tuesday, 16 Aug 2011 in eastern Australia) and I absolutely love it! It is just so articulate and funny and thoughtful and says so much of what I feel myself. There’s just something I’d like to say to Americans: when you’re angry and upset, you’re “pissed off”, not “pissed”! As an Australian, I speak and spell more the way the English do, so I have an advantage, I think! If you’re going to adopt any English slang, it is better to use their exact expressions rather than adjust them, if you want to be easily understood in an international forum. “Pissed” actually means “drunk”. OK, English lesson over and done!!. I am just “having a go at you” or “taking the mickey out of you”, so please don’t take me seriously.

    I have been so impressed with all the wonderful comments about the explicit sex scenes that must have been in the uncensored version of “Between the Sheets”. We obviously were shown the edited version on the ABC (like the BBC, not the American ABC) back in 2003 and I’m so glad we were. As much as I like to look at Richard’s wonderful physique, I don’t really want to see his private parts on display for the world to gawk at. But then, I’m 64 and my son is 5 months older than Richard, so maybe I’m a little too old-fashioned or something! I will admit that, even at my advanced age, I have a huge schoolgirl-like crush on Mr Armitage, though! ROFLOL – or whatever it is! Bye for now, Kathryn

  20. Kathryn,

    LOL!! Love the pointers and duly noted. Feel free to show me the error of my ways elsewhere.

    I hope you come back sometime soon, and please know that my longest diary entries are 22 and 23, and I’ve sworn never to go that long again. Promise! :D

  21. RAFrenzy: I had the same reaction to the tube-socks sex scene — TOO MUCH INFORMATION. I looked away in embarrassment. Mr. Armitage, do not, DO NOT, ever reveal what’s inside those Speedos. I’m satisfied to wonder — do not want to know.

  22. […] are a few remarks I made in response to a post on RAFrenzy’s blog a year or so ago, when the topic was about his fame and the fandom that goes with it. Saved them […]


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