As I thought about what to write this week, during this time of war in the Middle East, a curious thing landed on my desk: A DVD of the first three episodes of a new TV series called "Sexual Healing."
When it comes to something that may alleviate the fear and sorrow of war, I’d say sex — and by extension, love — rank right up there.
So let’s talk sex, or more specifically, “Sexual Healing,” which debuts this weekend on Showtime and is hosted by sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman.
Berman works with real couples for one week to see if she can unlock whatever sexual shackles bind them. Then cameras follow them in their daily lives for three months.
For instance, one couple hasn’t had sex in years, because the woman claims she simply has no libido.
Another couple is dismayed because their sexual activity has decreased from three times a day (yes) to a mere two or three times a week (I’m guessing they won’t gain the most viewer sympathy).
Oh, and the guy in that couple doesn’t like to kiss, because he thinks mouths are dirty.
A third couple is having difficulties because the husband, having been in the delivery room for the birth of his child, is now incapable of viewing his wife’s body in as sexual a way as he did before.
Sorry, that one gets the least compassion from me. She carries the kid for nine months, gives birth and is then shunned sexually?! Forget therapy — he should simply never get sex again.
I watched the first episode and skimmed through the two others with my officemate, the fabulous FOXcaster Janice Dean.
Given the company, I could use some corny weather metaphor like, “Wow — the temperature really rose in our office!” but the truth is that the show is less titillating than you might imagine, despite being produced by the same guys who did HBO’s voyeuristic “Taxicab Confessions.”
I’m sure many people have issues similar to those featured on this series, or know someone who does — and as a result, emotion and reason are stimulated much more than one’s libido.
That’s not to say that Janice Dean did not provide amusing one-liners during our screening. But, to use a corny metaphor, that’s just a FOXcaster’s way of blowing off steam.
Heche's Sexual Healing?
One of the more interesting announcements from the Television Critics Association meetings in Los Angeles — where TV networks are presenting their fall schedules — is that Anne Heche will star in an ABC series called “Men in Trees,” playing a self-help coach and best-selling author of how-to-find-a-man books.
Clearly this is a case of casting the actor with the most public baggage in the “self-help” area to see how the heck Heche will pull this off.
I’m referring, specifically, to the years she chronicled in her autobiography, “Call Me Crazy.” (Most of us who read it felt compelled to reply, “OK, Anne — you’re crazy.”)
As a quick refresher, Heche confessed to having an alternate personality, whom she called “Celestia,” who spoke her own language and who, according to Heche, was going to be abducted in a spaceship and whisked off to some other planet.
Does anybody recall the Barbara Walters interview in which Walters asked Heche if she would offer a few sample sentences of Celestia’s language?
Heche actually blurted out lines of gobbledy-gook dialogue in Celestia’s “native tongue.” It was celebrity weirdness taken to a whole new level.
Anyway, I find it fascinating how Heche has remade herself, having gotten hired for mainstream jobs and gleefully jumping on the PR bandwagon as she chats with a roomful of reporters at the TCA conference.
Yes, she is a good actress — and I suppose for that reason she deserves to keep working.
But my favorite Heche role is in a film in which she didn’t even appear: “Bowfinger.” It’s Steve Martin’s semi-autographical film about the years he dated Heche. Heather Graham plays a character loosely based on her. Sadly, Celestia is nowhere to be found.
Adding More Color to the Big Apple
Finally, I’d like to call attention to an announcement made by New York’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg this week, involving a fantastic organization called Portraits of Hope, which I’ve written about before in this column.
Portraits of Hope will help sick and underprivileged children paint beautiful murals on nearly 1,200 of New York City’s 1,300 taxicabs. The project, called Garden in Transit, will come to fruition sometime in 2007.
Even children with no use of their arms or legs can participate. Portraits founders Ed and Bernie Massey have come up with fruit-flavored paintbrushes for these children to hold in their mouths.
This is one of many projects the Massey brothers have done with children. To learn more, log on to www.portraitsofhope.com. And check out the cool blimp they painted. I was lucky enough to ride (and even steer) that colorful creation.
The huge New York undertaking will not only benefit the children, but hopefully make those of us who battle it out for available cabs a little happier, and kinder to each other.