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Neil Gaiman on why he asked American Gods to cut a blowjob scene

Photo: Starz
Photo: Starz

This post discusses plot points from the premiere of American Gods.

Neil Gaiman has allowed American Gods showrunners Bryan Fuller and Michael Green to get creative with his novel as they adapt it for their Starz television show. But Gaiman told The A.V. Club that he picks “his battles” and was adamant about one point in the series premiere: No blowjob between the show’s hero, Shadow Moon (Ricky Whittle), and his best friend’s widow, Audrey (Betty Gilpin). In the finished product, Audrey offers, but Shadow will not accept. The two are in a graveyard mourning their respective spouses, who died in a car crash while engaging in oral sex. Audrey, who has had time to mull the affair, is bitter and wants revenge. She argues that the act will provide closure. Meanwhile, Shadow is in something closer to a state of shock. According to Gaiman, Fuller and Green initially proposed that the fellatio take place, but Gaiman said he threatened to take extreme measures if that happened.

“I’m like, ‘Okay, guys, if you do that, I will go and step in front of a bus, and I will leave a suicide note explaining exactly why this is your fault,’” Gaiman said. “They were like, ‘You really feel that strongly?’ I was like, ‘Yeah, I really do. He would not do that, and it’s wrong, and it throws everything out of kilter.’ And they are like, ‘Yeah, but he’s just out of prison. Wouldn’t he want a blowjob?’ And it’s like, ‘No. Not in that circumstance, not from that person, and he’s heartsick over Laura and this is the wrong time. No, don’t go there.’ And then what’s lovely about that is where they did go with that is so much better.”

In Gaiman’s original text, Audrey and Shadow have an interaction following Laura’s funeral, but it is brief and hostile. What plays out on the show is ultimately more raw. Audrey dissolves into tears, and they end in an embrace with a mutual understanding of each other’s pain.