People have been ragging on HBO’s freshman series for being boring, and originally I thought so, too. I basically just TiVo-ed it and then fast forwarded to all the sex parts (which are quite graphic and pretty steamy.) But I couldn’t help but pick up on the basic plots, which are contained within each of four separate couples; some who are breaking up, some who are coming together, and some who are trying figure out which they should do. The couples are connected by very, very loose threads, or even, sometimes just chance encounters, and for most of the season have had little to do with one another (besides the fact that, save one couple, they all have frequent sex that is given significant screen time, whether or not it applies to their story line.)
Last night I watched the season finale, and there was one scene that just totally astounded me. It was one of those rare moments when two members of the separate couples meet one another. Palek (who has just left his pregnant wife because he does not think he can be both a good father and good husband) and Dave (whose wife seems to be considering leaving him because they have not had sex in over a year) end up meeting over a construction disagreement, Palek being the contractor with a shipment of the wrong I-beams and Dave being the representative for the steel company who shows up to deal with the problem.
The interaction quickly escalates to a screaming match between the two men who are strangers to one another, and we, the audience, knows there is something bigger at work here, something going on in both of their respective lives that fuels the anger issuing forth. To an innocent observer it would look like two hotheads on the street, something to watch with bored amusement on your way to work, but HBO has quietly given us the inside perspective, the key to what unlocks each of their buttons, makes them react the way they do, and it is a moment that is poetic in its direction. The scene lasts just a couple minutes.