It’s always nice to see Misfits do a sex episode. It’s one of the few shows that actually attempts to treat sexuality honestly, and as the British equivalent of pay cable, it actually can show and talk about fucking to a greater extent than most. It’s also funny, and if there’s anything that a show needs when dealing with sex, it’s a sense of humor.
This episode also succeeded because it worked with the theme of growing up that the first two series did such a good job with. Rudy is not a good person. He’s an occasionally funny person, sure, but good? No way. But Nathan, Kelly, and Alisha weren’t good people when the show started, and Simon and Curtis were at best deeply immature. They’ve largely improved, but Rudy is a throwback to those early, hedonistic, terrible days. Which he needs to be confronted about.
It happens this episode when he hooks up with girl at the club, who makes him promise that he won’t just love her and leave her. Which he does. But she has a power, and that power is to give him the ugliest, fastest-acting STD known to man, which will, according to Simon seeing the future, result in his cock falling off and getting stepped on in a nightclub. Rudy wants to avoid this, and tries to manipulate the situation so that it doesn’t.
So he chases down the girl under the impression that if he has sex with her again, he’ll fix his penis. This gives Rudy the motivation to continue being bad, to manipulate and to lie and to even propose prostitution to fix it. This behavior even includes exposing himself to a 12-year-old. It’s accidental, to be kind of fair to Rudy, but it’s also predictable given his idiotic, self-destructive behavior. Pulling one’s pants down before one knocks on a door is pretty much inviting the police to show up.
Two things redeem Rudy’s self-destruction/idiocy/jackassery. First, the direct form of redemption. In order to get the woman he wronged to heal his cock, he has to apologize, publicly and honestly. It’s artificial, yes, and it’s according to the laws of television, but it works. This is an artificial show, and Joe Gilgun does sell it. It helps that the woman in question, Leia, rejects his heartfelt attempts to really know her. He is a jerk, after all. No way around it.
As some of you may have noticed, I’m also reviewing Showtime’s House Of Lies. There are similarities between it and Misfits – consistent switches in tone, a core ensemble with a rotating guest list, and the characters aren’t always or even often good people. But Misfits succeeds because, well, when it has wacky adventures? They’re both wacky and adventures! The characters and actors are damn funny, with Rudy consistently making me laugh. That doesn’t happen on House Of Lies. So even when Rudy was unclear about what rape was – and that was certainly an awkward scene – there was still some level of charm that made the awfulness tolerable. That Rudy also got his comeuppance helped, of course, I have to assume (or perhaps hope) that while he argued in the moment, he’s learned that lesson too. At least, a little bit.
But that’s not all that happened in this episode. While Rudy’s STD is one of the most immediate consequences of sex, Curtis is also running into an odder one. His forays into self-pleasure on both sides of the gender divide seem to make him happy, but a few mistakes and suddenly he’s impregnated himself. Kelly’s developing relationship with Seth means that they’re fucking like rabbits, but it also means that both of them are more likely to to get upset by little things, like Seth thinking Kelly’s pregnant, or her being frightened by him offering to take her on holiday. Both of these things make sense thematically within the “sex episode”, but both also lead directly into the overarching season plot – Seth trying to resurrect his dead girlfriend, and getting that power to give to Curtis.
I’ve mentioned being somewhat disappointed in Misfits this season, but this latest episode demonstrated just how effective this show can be. As long as it’s amusing, everything else can work. That’s an important lesson.
- “That is like no STD I’ve ever seen, and trust me, I’ve seen ‘em, seen ‘em all.”
- “I think I’m gonna...I might have a wee before we start.”
- “Your boyfriend helped save my cock.” “I’m so proud.”
- Alisha’s look of pride when Simon talks about ginger crackers easing morning sickness was adorable.