In­fi­delity nar­ra­tive leaves no man to blame

Metro Canada (Edmonton) - - Entertainment - jo­hanna sch­neller

the show: ray Dono­van, sea­son 5, episode 3 (crave/tmn); Doc­tor Fos­ter, sea­son 2, episode 3 (net­flix) the mo­ment: the “i can’t help it” sex

Ray’s wife Abby (Paula Mal­com­son), hair sparse from chemo, asks him to play cards with her “and for­get about ev­ery­thing.”

“I can’t,” Ray (Liev Schreiber) replies. He takes his dog for a walk. He runs into Natalie (Lili Simmons), the movie star he’s a fixer for. She in­vites him in. “You seem sad,” she says. “I should go,” he says. Next thing you know, they’re hav­ing sex.

Mean­while, in her kitchen, Dr. Gemma Fos­ter (Su­ranne Jones) presses her­self against her ex­hus­band Si­mon (Ber­tie Carvel). She’s record­ing the se­duc­tion on her phone to ruin his sec­ond mar­riage. He no­tices her phone. He calls her in­sane.

“We’ve started,” she says, “might as well fin­ish.”

Next thing you know, they’re hav­ing sex.

I hap­pened to watch th­ese two scenes in the wake of the Har­vey We­in­stein scan­dal. (On Sun­day, the We­in­stein Com­pany fired its founder/head af­ter a New York Times story al­leged that, for decades, he sex­u­ally ha­rassed ac­tresses and em­ploy­ees.)

Both scenes fea­ture hus­bands who in­sist they love their wives. Yet, given the flim­si­est op­por­tu­nity to stray, both ca­pit­u­late im­me­di­ately.

Sep­a­rately, th­ese scenes, and the dozens like them that we see all the time, are lazy. Col­lec­tively, they’re dan­ger­ous. They cre­ate a cul­ture in which men are not deemed re­spon­si­ble for their ac­tions. A wicked temptress — that is, any woman — hikes up her skirt, and the mag­net in her vagina pulls in her in­no­cent vic­tims. They are pow­er­less to re­sist.

Like We­in­stein’s ex­cuse — “I came of age in the 1970s, the cul­ture was dif­fer­ent then” — it’s pa­thetic.

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