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Tell Me You Love Me - The Complete First Season
Tell Me You Love Me - The Complete First Season
Actors: Michelle Borth, Tim DeKay, Adam Scott, David Selby, Sonya Walger
Genres: Drama, Television
NR     2008     1hr 0min

Sex. Life. This is the story of three couples trying to stay afloat - and one woman's efforts to show them how to do it. HBO's newest adult drama series explores issues of intimacy - through the point of view of a 20-somet...  more »

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Movie Details

Actors: Michelle Borth, Tim DeKay, Adam Scott, David Selby, Sonya Walger
Genres: Drama, Television
Sub-Genres: Drama, Television
Studio: Hbo Home Video
Format: DVD - Color,Widescreen - Closed-captioned
DVD Release Date: 02/12/2008
Release Year: 2008
Run Time: 1hr 0min
Screens: Color,Widescreen
Number of Discs: 4
SwapaDVD Credits: 4
Total Copies: 2
Members Wishing: 0
Edition: Box set
MPAA Rating: NR (Not Rated)
Languages: English

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Movie Reviews

Big and Different
Kevin Killian | San Francisco, CA United States | 11/13/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)

"Much hyped and sensitively written HBO series analyzing the marital and other problems of three couples, plus their therapist's own back story in what most people would consider late, late middle age. You'll be surprised to see the vigor with which Jane Alexander puts into her fervent love scenes with David Selby (yes, from DARK SHADOWS). Alexander has never struck me as being much of a softcore type, but here she looks great and she puts everything she has into it, a risky move for the former head of the NEA which might get her into trouble with her former constituency, but I think the risky work she does here gives her more credibility, and flows neatly into the scenes she has with her clients. In a way it will remind you of Lorraine Bracco treating Tony in THE SOPRANOS and cynical minds will assume that TELL ME YOU LOVE ME is like Dr. Melfi on ecstasy, but give the show a chance, it definitely has its own rhythm, and you won't pick up on it right away if you're used to the rough and tumble rapidfire cutting of most US made hourlongs.

Here the pace is positively molasses, Ingmar Bergman style, long, long scenes of domestic life interspersed with some pretty amazing bedroom scenes (what they call "random play" on Facebook). You won't believe you're watching this on TV. But it's all mixed in with hours and hours of nothing at all, in which it's up to the actors to convince us that there are real people behind those insertions and releases. Some of the actors are better than others, though none is really horrible. At first I wondered, how did they talk these actors into having such realistic sex scenes? Did they recruit them from porn movies? But I recognized some of them from other legitimate work and I guess the answer is, they went for the gusto of it. Dave and Katie are pushing forty, they've stopped making love and just live for their children and homelife, always repaving the patio et cetera. Their little girl has started having her period even though she's ten. Ally Walker plays Katie, the dissatisfied wife who wonders where all the romance went in her marriage, while Sherry Stringfield from ER plays Rita, her no nonsense pal. La Stringfield still acts as though she were the undisputed star of the show (in fact of the entire entertainment world), but she is pared back to the point where you can actually believe it. Tim DeKay is the husband who prefers to bring himself off under the covers rather than face another go round with his wife. It's bleak and miserable.

Adam Scott and Sonya Walger play a somewhat younger couple, Pawlik and Carolyn. They make love by the clock so that Carolyn can fulfill her dream of getting pregnant. But petulant Pawlik doesn't like being made to perform at gunpoint, so he starts balking and expressing his deep dislike of his wife. She's quite a piece of work and the script does little to soften her up. More power to the actress who plays her because this is a tough part to play.

Finally there is Jaime, a young sous chef at a trendy restaurant, torn between two good looking guys, incapable of being faithful to either. It was really this girl who plays her whom I thought initially wasn't as much an actress as an inflatable doll with a helium voice. Poor Jaime can't keep her clothes on for twenty minutes at a time. One of the boys in her life is played by former LOST star Ian Somerhalder, the other by some other dude. One is called Nick, the other Hugo. I can't remember now who is who, but stand back folks because, as it turns out, Michelle Borth as Jaime is the one who really wins your heart by the end of the season's run. I began to see why she was the way she was, and credit Miss Borth for a sensitive unfolding of real depth.

The show is slow, no doubt about it, and goes to some painful places. Will the unabashed focus on sexuality make it an audience winner? Hard to say, but it was well worth trying out! Give it a chance, you might learn something! I did, about Ian Somerhalder..."
Starts great, but then...
G. Scot Shelley | Raleigh, NC | 06/25/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)

"I love HBO shows so when I found this on sale for $19.99 I grabbed it. I wouldn't recommend paying more than about $30 for it - if I'd paid more I would have been very disappointed. I haven't had an experience with a show like this before - by the second episode I thought it was one of the best TV shows I'd ever seen, up there with "Six Feet Under". It was fascinating to see a very realistic view of four different relationships, shown very realistically, even including very real sex scenes. That somehow made the couples even more human. By about the seventh episode I got tired of the characters' slow, meandering everyday lives, and the whining. I started thinking the sex scenes were just interfering with the progress of the story, and I realized, it's difficult to maintain interest in very realistic lives when you're living one yourself every day. I guess I learned I enjoy more drama and excitement in a TV show than I realized."
HBO's latest ground breaker
Tracy Vest | Northern California | 11/26/2007
(4 out of 5 stars)

"Earlier this year, HBO offered yet another ground breaking series - this one revolving around marital strife and therapy. Opting for realism, the stories are interspersed with intensive therapy sessions, some of the most realistic and explicit intimate scenes ever presented on television, and the daily routine of couples in three stages of relationships (four if you count therapist May played by Jane Alexander and her husband of 43 years, played by David Selby).

David and Katie (Tim DeKay and Ally Walker from "Profiler") have been married 12 years and have grown so far apart that they are not longer intimate. Katie wants therapy to repair their distance while David just wants to skate by and pretend everything is okay. Palek and Carolyn (Adam Scott and Sonya Walger) are yuppies who have everything they could ever want except for a baby (though Palek wonders if he even wants that). Jamie and Hugo (Michelle Borth and Luke Ferrell Kirby) are an engaged couple who break up early on due to Jamie's trust issues with Hugo's fidelity. But soon another man enters her life (Ian Somerhalder, the brother from "Lost" who loved his sister a little too much), forcing Jamie to face the truth about her own past.

Extras include reactions to story lines by real life couples (which really don't add much), as well as behind the scenes and the usual making of shorts. It's a heavy series and oftentimes depressing; there is nothing light to the storylines, in fact viewers will wonder if any therapist can save some of these crumbling relationships."
Tell Me That You Loathe Me
Harvey M. Canter | tarzana, ca United States | 09/23/2008
(3 out of 5 stars)


I have to admit that, as a clinician myself, I'll watch most anything that has a mental health angle in it. Typically, they never get the therapy (or the therapist) done right, at least for more than a fleeting moment. This show is no exception. The premise is interesting: several couples is a mid-size metropolis are seeing the same shrink, and we see them both during therapy and in their 'real' lives. The shrink, too, has her own life outside the office, and we (the audience) are a busy fly on many walls as we follow them all around each episode. We hear the outlines of their problems in therapy, and we go deeper when we are with them outside, comparing the two evolving versions & seeing where the truth comes up a little short, and where they are copping out. In one sense, we are used to this device as it was used religiously (and very effectively) in the Sopranos. So we see a bit of the sociopathy of everyday life, to coin a phrase; or, maybe just an honest look at the flaws of human characters.

You can see where this mid-western novella is going to go--it's a small town and their paths are going to cross, eventually, and realize they are all therapy sibs. But, we only got a hint of that by the end of season one. Too bad--I thought there were going to be some pyrotechnics when all those fuses started to catch.....but....oh well! I guess the producers were pretty confident about getting a second go round.

Along the way, we flies are witness to the most raw, naturalistic sex scenes that I have ever seen on TV/cable. That is not to say it is sexy stuff--it is pretty unpolished & non-stylized. You see all the anatomy, somewhat obliquely and in natural low light conditions, but nothing is left to the imagination. The only thing I was wondering was, are those prosthetic phalli or the real thing? And the sex scenes tend to drag on, and there is no pretense here to make the trysts hot, sexy, kinky--they are just pretty run of the mill, daily grind kind of stuff. Some highlights you ask? Well, we get to see the husband in the sexless marriage treat himself to some solo satisfaction--and boy was I sorry I watched that scene! And, for the geriatric set--there is included a pretty raw scene with Jane Alexander and her husband getting it on in a recliner. There was one reviewer who said how great she looked in this scene--well, I would say that with her clothes on she is indeed a classy, elegant grand dame. But, nude and vigorously humping? Please, this was not sexy and not entertaining. Good commercial for Viagara, but that is about it. In fact, whenever there is a sex scene one feels as if it is very private and this is the time to go fix a sandwich or shut off the sprinklers, rather than do so at the commercial. It is a rather interesting artistic achievement, to say the least.

Here is the BIG problem with this show, as I see it: none of the characters are likeable. None. Not one. Their stories are somewhat interesting, but you cannot develop a liking for any of the people. Most of them are professional class, and they are all whiners, wimps, phonies, narcissists, sex-addicts, or anhedonic icebergs. Or some combination of the above. They are SO bland and/or neurotic that you don't want to spend an hour a week with them, not a one of them. Oh, and don't you be looking for any persons of color in this show--unless you count different hair colors as evidence of diversity. It's all Oscar Meyer on Wonder Bread with mayo on a paper plate. A plain, white paper plate.... There is no diversity among the characters, between the character, or within the characters. Imagine 'All in the Family' and every character is an insipid, vacuous version of Archie Bunker. Guys like us we had it made....

Even in the Sopranos, you could develop a liking for those greedy psychopathic killers and their various sycophantic partners--THAT was part of the incredible achievement of that show. To make you forget that these Jersey guys with the SUVs who are wolfing down franks at a bbq are stone-cold killers, and they are just regular folks with mortgages, PTA meetings, mid-life crises, etc. And--you identify just a little with the lure of the larceny and of getting away with it....But here? You wouldn't want to share a cup of joe with any of these people. This to me is the main crisis, as a viewer.

Another main weakness, ironically, is the whole therapy device. I thought Jane Alexander was earnest in the anchoring central role as the therapist, but she was stuck with some of the lamest therapist dialogue yet concocted for a TV show. And, we are dropping in at the moment when her big book is being released, so we are led to believe she is really some kind of expert, but I found her verbal interventions wordy, trite, unrealistic, patronizing, and untherapeutic. But, she was earnest and sincere, for what that is worth: the cases move along more or less disastrously for each of the couples. Nice work! This tendency to romantic decline includes Jane's own marriage, imperiled by the mid-season revelation of a past affair, which threatens to resume when her ex-lover just happens to turn up in this ever-shrinking cesspool of a town.

So, while I stuck it out for the entire season, I was ready to bail about a third of the way through, but my gal and I were committed to seeing it through. Probably the most interesting aspect was that the producers attached about 5-6 minutes onto the end of each episode that featured real life couples who were watching and commenting on the show's progress and how it sort-of mirrored their own struggles. Now, these people WERE very likeable and interesting, more so than the actual cast. That was another problem with the show, as far as I was concerned. And, similarly, the show did spark good discussions between my partner and I. So, in the end, it was a case of life imitating life that was imitating art that bore no resemblance at all to life, at least any life you would want to be living.

Well, I guess maybe see it for yourself and decide, but if you are not into it by the 3rd show, it ain't getting any better!