• Adultery Is In at ABC

    by  • May 20, 2013 • Sex, Sexualization • 2 Comments

    After Sex and the City, Desperate Housewives, Girls, Girlfriends, Cashmere Mafia, Hot in Cleveland, Pretty Little Liars, Golden Girls, Designing Women, Sisters… what TV has really been lacking is more shows about four girlfriends, “each on her own path to self-discovery.” So ABC is giving us Mistresses.

    Although the female foursome has been done, and done again, and overdone – always with essentially the same four characters (Was Golden Girls’ Blanche really much different from Sex and the City’s Samantha? Or Designing Women’s Suzanne? Or Hot in Cleveland’s Victoria?), ABC felt the need to bring it back with this unnecessary and entirely gratuitous twist: infidelity, lies, and adultery take center stage.

    According to ABC’s press release, “In the premiere, Savannah (“Savi”) is a successful career woman working toward the next phase in her life – both professionally and personally – bucking for partner at the law firm where she works while also trying to start a family with her husband, Harry. But when their fertility issues begin to take center stage, Savi finds herself attracted to her flirtatious colleague, Dominic.” Friend Karen is a therapist who had an affair with a wealthy, married, terminally ill patient.

    Trailers for the series focus on sex – Savi and her husband pretending to be strangers meeting at a bar to spice up their sex-life (because still getting excited by the person you’re married to is apparently unfathomable to the series’ writers), and her flirtatious co-worker staring at the pink ribbon on the garter strap holding up her stockings during a staff meeting; Karen urging her patient/lover not to leave his wife for her – though she’s perfectly okay with them continuing their adulterous fling; and April learning that her husband was cheating on her at the time of his death and fathered a child with his mistress.

    In our 2008 report “Happily Never After,” the PTC found that on television, references to adultery outnumbered references to sex in marriage 2:1. It is sadly apparent that nothing has changed. Sexual content on television continues to be predominantly extra-marital; the institution of marriage is regularly mocked and denigrated while adulterous relationships are treated sympathetically.



    Ms. Henson is a noted expert on entertainment industry trends and the how the impact of entertainment affects children and the American popular culture at large. She also directs the organization’s Advertiser Accountability Campaign, which encourages companies to sponsor family-friendly entertainment. She previously supervised the research and program content analysis operations of the PT and produced a number of groundbreaking PTC studies that document the levels of graphic sex, violence and profanity on television. Some of those reports include: The Ratings Sham I & II, Dying to Entertain, Faith in a Box, The Sour Family Hour, The Blue Tube, and TV Bloodbath. She began her career with the PTC in 1997 as an entertainment analyst, documenting instances of inappropriate content on television. Ms. Henson has appeared on a variety of television shows including Fox News Channel’s The O’Reilly Factor, Your World with Neil Cavuto, The Big Story, CNN Headline News’ ShowBiz Tonight, CNBC’s On the Money, MSNBC’s Scarborough Country, and CBN’s Newswatch. She is a frequent guest on radio talk shows across the country and has been quoted extensively in news sources such asEntertainment Weekly, Time, Newsweek, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, USA Today, New York Daily News, Boston Globe, Chicago Tribune, San Francisco Chronicle, Variety, Associated Press, Reuters, and Bloomberg. Ms. Henson is a graduate of the University of Virginia where she received a BA in Government. She resides in Falls Church, Va., with her husband and their son.

    2 Responses to Adultery Is In at ABC

    1. Lynette Grubbs
      May 24, 2013 at 7:16 pm

      Please, please, please get this show off the air!!!!

    2. May 24, 2013 at 10:38 am

      I am appalled at the new ABC programming, especially the new show about the Mistresses.

      America has a real problem with deteriorating morality. Rather than being a responsible part of the solution, you are a major contributor to that problem! I feel sorry for you, as the price you will pay ultimately will be commensurate with your “crimes.”

      In the meantime, I have just about completely abandoned ABC, once my favorite network. The benefit to me is that I am spending far less time watching TV. I am reading more, and get my news from the internet, rather than your very biased news. I am also less likely to buy junk I see advertised on TV. So, in a way, thanks for your unacceptable programming.

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