‘On TV, we watch so much marginalized sex: prostitutes, rape, or affairs,” says Cynthia Mort, creator of HBO’s Tell Me You Love Me. “Why can’t we see sex between people in a relationship?” TMYLM follows three such couples, with painstaking—and often painful—veracity. Shot entirely on Super 16, the show is spare and quiet, with few niceties like music or makeup. What there is a lot of, however, is sex—likely the most graphic ever seen on television, though it’s often clinically unerotic. As with The Sopranos and, more recently, Big Love, HBO is reflecting the lives of its urban, affluent demographic back at them. Only this time the mirror isn’t warped; it’s realistic, searingly so.
Tell Me You Love Me
HBO; premieres September 9 (9 p.m.).