Ups and downs of a boutique brothel
Satisfaction 8.30pm, Showcase
‘‘ I’M a sex worker. What part of that don’t you get?’’ This ironic rephrasing of the old feminist slogan about the word ‘‘ no’’ perfectly sums up the new Australian drama Satisfaction, one of several big- budget series starting this week on the new paytelevision channel Showcase. Naturally, if the girls are going to be this wholesome, this beautiful and this good in bed, some of the clients ( words such as ‘‘ john’’ and ‘‘ trick’’ have no place at the up- market brothel 232) are going to want to take them out of the world’s oldest profession and into the real world, where they can show them off, buy them dinner, and fall in love.
The five girls and their manager make quite a cohort.
Though we are briefly introduced to all of them tonight, each episode seems to focus on one particular character, how she deals with being a prostitute, how she interacts with clients and how she integrates the job into the rest of her life.
Although the words at the top fall from the mouth of Tippi ( Bojana Novakovic), tonight’s debut episode focuses mainly on Chloe ( Diana Glenn). Chloe is not the madam, though she has been offered the job, but she is euphemistically described as ‘‘ the longest serving worker’’ at 232. Perhaps to prove that the lives of prostitutes are complex and contradictory, Chloe goes out in search of a regular she has been seeing on the first Tuesday of every month ( clearly not a Jennifer Byrne fan), who stops turning up. His lies unfold before her eyes and he is less than pleased to see her. But Chloe is not just the proverbial hooker with a heart of gold, she has a child, a very sexy lover in her downtime, and a past.
Drugs, so often a staple of prostitution in the real world, play no part here. In tonight’s second episode ( Showcase is showing two episodes, presumably to entice viewers to commit to the rest of the series), randy rock star Johnny Lake ( Martin Dingle- Wall) seductively slips a pill into Mel’s mouth. Madeleine West, who plays Mel, removes it with such alluring sleight of hand that you can’t miss the anti- drug message. In any case, Johnny drives her back into the arms of her elusive lover, who briefly takes her away to California.
Are Australian viewers ready for full- frontal nudity, simulated sex and beautiful, up- market callgirls? In a production as lavish, well written and well acted as this, they just may be.
Alluring: Mel ( Madeleine West) with a client in Satisfaction