‘Tell Me You Love Me’: Like Watching Paint Copulate

Courtesy of HBO

We here at TMYLM Recap Central acknowledge that many people find the Zenlike pace of this show, um, challenging. In fact, one popular online coinage from a TMYLM forum has now become a kind of unofficial motto: It’s “like watching paint fuck.”

Obviously, we disagree. Sort of. Kind of. Though we fully understand the criticism, especially after last night’s episode. One inherent problem with the show is that it follows three central story lines (not counting The Ol’ Folks, who last night … moved a bed), and one of those story lines kind of blows. (No pun intended.) Yes, Jamie and your new pseudo-boyfriend, Greasy McSquintsalot, we’re talking about you.

It’s ironic, isn’t it? That on a show about graphic sex, the story line with the hottest, youngest actors is also the most boring? So let’s get that one out of the way first. Last night, Jamie sort of, kind of hooked up with Sir Lubed Locks, Patron Saint of the Well-Oiled Mane. They looked like they were going to have sex, but then he was going to leave, then they started to have sex, then they stopped, then she showed up at his softball game, but he wasn’t into her, except he was, and then we shot ourselves in the head.

As for the DeadSex couple — well, not much movement on this front either. Katie tripped on her way into therapy. Then she discussed tripping with her therapist. Oddly, this was less than compelling. Then the therapist told Dave and Katie to put a lock on their bedroom door. Then they hemmed and hawed. Then Dave put the lock on. Then Katie fell asleep on the couch while they were watching a video. Then Dave masturbated. This sequence may have provoked in the viewer (a) a parallel sense of drowsiness and (b) a desire to likewise slip away and engage in a more stimulating activity.

Later, this sorrowful couple got lost in one of the grimmest lip-locks ever recorded in human history. At times, we wish this show used flashbacks — wouldn’t you love to see the young college-age Dave and Katie going at it like crazed raccoons? Just so we get a sense there was once some chemistry between them?

Meanwhile, Palek and Carolyn came no closer to resolving their central dilemma; namely, why is this guy named “Palek?” What’s the origin of that name? Because we are nerds, we can’t help but be reminded of the Daleks on Doctor Who, the evil robots that went around chanting, “Exterminate, exterminate.” Perhaps we can look forward to Palek wandering their home and robotically chanting, “Inseminate, inseminate.” Given this week’s overreliance on pregnant (or infertile) pauses, stammering spouses, unspoken neuroses, and general stifling silence, we often found ourselves wanting to yell at the screen: “Communicate! Communicate!” —Adam Sternbergh

‘Tell Me You Love Me’: Like Watching Paint Copulate