So, let's discuss the penis in the room. The fifth episode of #Westworld, "Contrapasso," had a few extra "members" in the cast this week, and it is all anyone is talking about. In danger of overshadowing the show itself, it seems that you either did or didn't notice the four-minute orgy scene that twirled in the background, while our regular cast mused about life.
For those worrying that something may have poked your eye out, there is in fact a measurement for the angle in which a penis can be erect before it is deemed "porn" and not suitable for television. That might explain the rather sad looking penis we saw earlier in the episode at the Westworld workshops.
However, during the full four-minute orgy scene that episode 5 gifted to us, there wasn't a flaccid penis to be seen. Hiding in plain sight were bouncing breasts, a jolly good rogering, and even masturbation — *gasp* such sinful acts. We know that Westworld "cums" from the same network as #HBO, but even that was a biggun' — presumably borrowing from the #GameofThrones porn budget.
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A Long Time Cumming
While some were shocked that this orgy apparently came out of nowhere, it had actually been on the cards for Westworld for some time. In September last year The Hollywood Reporter broke news that the SAG-AFTRA officials were concerned that contracts for the show's extras involved a rather weird clause:
"[The performer] may be required to perform genital-to-genital touching, simulate oral sex with hand-to-genital touching, contort to form a table-like shape while being fully nude, pose on all fours while others who are fully nude ride on your back, [and] ride on someone's back while you are both fully nude."
It caused a stir alright, and the SAG-AFTRA even looked for loopholes so people could nip out if they got cold feet (or any other parts). Apparently you get paid $600 for having your genitals painted (and 1.49 million households seeing your wobbly bits) but is it worth it in the name of art?
While a massive orgy may be a usual Sunday night in for some, reviews ranged from outrage to applause, and some were clearly shocked!
We've Peen Here Before
The outrage at the (now infamous) Westworld orgy comes just a week after The Walking Dead came under fire for its gratuitous head-smashing season opener. However, HBO aren't idiots, and just like the rest of their back catalogue of shows, the network knows that sex sells as much as violence does.
HBO have remained rather quiet on the issue, but one person who hasn't is showrunner Lisa Joy, who was quick to defend critics of the scene:
"In an episode like that, nudity is a part of it. One of the things that was important to me in is that while some of it might be kinky, it was still sensual and pleasant looking, that it wasn’t a really dark place."
Personally, I found it quite tastefully done. We were seeing the orgy through the eyes of naive Dolores: it showed the fragility of the show's main character, but also the journey that she is going on. By the end of the episode Dolores is a pistol whipping badass, who probably wouldn't be adversed to "slipping in" to said orgy.
Secondly, to those complaining that 9pm on a Sunday is not a suitable time to show graphic nudity: it is post-watershed, and Westworld is no show for children. There were a few tweeters saying how it was awkward watching the show with their parents, but so is watching Game of Thrones.
If such nudity is uncalled for, then what about the likes of Lady Chatterley's Lover, orgy scenes from Eyes Wide Shut, and the entire 50 Shades franchise. Look, we are all consenting adults here, so it's up to you to choose what you do and don't have to watch. The orgy scene had already been flanked by Mr. Floppy's earlier appearance in the episode, and for the past few weeks we have had full-frontal female nudity without more than a raised eyebrow. For years shows have been flaunting in front of us, and Game of Thrones isn't exactly light on the D shots either.
Heading over to the normally stiff-upper-lipped UK — there is even a whole gameshow dedicated to full-frontal male and female nudity. It's called Naked Attraction, and it's entire premise is based on selecting a partner purely based on their bits and pieces, which is simply put, is "a cattle market." Compare that with the artistic flair of Westworld and the argument is soon null.
The point is, not that many of us actually noticed, and were (rightfully) focussing on the dialogue. It is in fact a double-edged sword in itself — the fact that the orgy flew under the radar for your standard viewers means that it can't have been that shocking, but also that if it wasn't noticed, was it really needed? Dolores and William shared a passionate kiss which each other, and that was done fully clothed — no need for merkins (furry bikini bottoms) there.
Admittedly you can only string the whole "it is for art" story out for so long, but there was little to be offended about during Westworld, unless you went looking for offense. It certainly added to the dark plight of Dolores and definitely made the town of Pariah one to add/remove from your bucket list.
Check out the promo for next week's episode "The Maze," and don't forget our poll below.