The Brilliance of #Outlander, the lack of Bow-Chick-A-Bow-Wow and Why I Love It Just As It Is

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Immediately after watching Outlander, Episode 212, I tweeted how much I loved it, it was fabulous, and expressed my heartfelt love and admiration in as much as 140 measly characters will allow.  Sort of as a jokey aside, I also said I was sure the kvetchers would probably come up with something to dislike, but truthfully I didn’t think they would.

Imagine my surprise when almost immediately, women began listing their complaints about the episode, the top one being there wasn’t any sex between Jamie and Claire.  I jokingly said something about if they want to see sex, they should rent a costume-drama porno. (Note: I actually saw one of those in a hotel once and it was HOT!  That and ‘Naughty Catholic Schoolgirls’ are the sum total of my porn watching, neither one very pornish now that I think about it.)  Then someone else did a ‘twit-longer’ on the subject and all hell seemed to break loose with someone saying I had ridiculed the long-time fans.  Someone else said they feel bad for the partners of women like me if we equate sex with porn.  Normally when something like this happens, I shake my head and ignore it, however…. this time I don’t feel like it.

So here goes.  Although I’m no expert, I know the difference between sex and porn.  Like Jamie and Claire, I’ve been married for a long time, we just celebrated our 30th anniversary.  Maybe the best kept secret of a happy marriage is the wild, burn down the walls, monkey sex, that nobody talks about.  Well, I just did and for once I’m grateful that my children have zero interest in reading my blog!!!  So although I haven’t gone door-to-door with a clipboard, I’m pretty sure nobody needs to feel bad for the partners of other women who love the show as it is.

Yes, Jamie and Claire love each other and make passionate bow-chicka-bow-wow on a regular basis.  In the books, there’s endless time to read about it, grip the book till it bends, drool and re-read.  But in the TV series, there is only so much time to cram in everything that happens in a cohesive manner.  And if I have a choice between watching Jamie and Claire get down with their bad selves while Barry White croons in the background or watching the story play out, I choose the story every time.  If I get a hankering to see Jamie and Claire get it on, I can always watch ‘The Wedding’, the ‘make-up sex with the knife’, the Paris sex, the whatever sex.  I know they adore each other, were made for each other and do IT whenever possible, but I’d rather see the story because there are only 13 episodes to cram it all in, I’ve been visualizing it in my head for 20 years and I want to see it.

This is my first and only Fandom experience and it seems like there is always kvetching about something so I’ll go back to averting my eyes and keeping my mouth shut, but judging from the response that I get when I tweet out my admiration for the series, there are way more people who love the show than have problems with it.  I, for one, can think of no television program that comes close to capturing the hearts of millions of women of a certain age like Outlander does, so I really wish we could all appreciate what we have.  And no, I’m not an obedient Pollyanna zombie who loves everything, but I do know how to recognize a top notch television show when I see one and Outlander is it.

23 thoughts on “The Brilliance of #Outlander, the lack of Bow-Chick-A-Bow-Wow and Why I Love It Just As It Is

  1. Well said Melissa. As much as us fans love the series, we sure do “kvetch” a lot. I kept thinking…where do people think they could have stuck in a sex scene? And then my crazy imagination took off. (Bent over the kitchen table after the duke lost his head perhaps? “We’ll leave in a second, Mary. First things first..”) My guess is, there will be sex in the finale…and it will pack a bigger punch because we haven’t seen sex every week. Patience, young grasshoppers.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Though I, too, miss some of the bow-chicka-boom-boom, there was so much story in this second book and just not enough minutes in the show. I see the Claire and Jamie characters intimate in the touches, the looks, the smiles and what they are saying and how they are saying those things (Jamie’s prayer over a sleeping Claire!). It’s sad to me and I wonder at the anger that comes up at times. I recall becoming angry at Diana Gabaldon at times for some of the events she put her characters through and its curious how the show can seemingly do the same. Maybe this happens in other fandoms, I have no idea as have never been a part of one before. At any rate, I connected to your latest blog and wanted to let you know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much! Also love bow chicka boom boom, I may steal that for my re-cap. Sounds much more conclusive than bow-wow. My first fandom too and I love-hate it, so much good and bad it can be shocking. Thanks for writing!!

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  3. I thought this post of yours summed up pretty much what I felt about 212 and the whole season in general. A few days ago I had a rather long Twitter exchange with someone who thinks the show is ruined because there are not enough scenes with J&C having sex. While I remained polite the entire time she accused me of shaming and then told me my comment was ridiculous. She said that it was I who first said the word sex not her. But from all her texts it seemed that she couldn’t tell the difference between sex scenes and scenes of intimacy. She seemed very young. But perhaps this Tindr generation doesn’t know that while very much connected there is still a difference between intimacy and simple sex. I don’t know. I’m old. 😕 I’ve been married 27 years to a man I’ve known for almost 35 years. And I know that in a long term relationship things come & go and change and sometimes there’s just no time for the sex. And it certainly isn’t the same as when one is young and newly in love.

    And one final thing…if all Jamie & Claire had was 2 years of great sex, that alone would not have sustained their love over a 20 year absence. I know for sure that back when I was young there were a few guys that while I might have had great sex with them then, I certainly wouldn’t be still yearning for them 20 years later. And finally in Voyager, when they are together again, Jamie tells Claire that simply to have her by his side, to be able to tell her all his heart, that that would be enough for him.

    Sorry if I got so long winded. Thanks for your post.
    Hilarie C

    Liked by 1 person

      • I’m glad you appreciated it. While I don’t write only on Outlander I have to admit I am quite modestly obsessed with both the show and the books and have written about my obsession on my own blog which is called Just Hilarie. This is the second time I’ve been involved with a “fandom”. The first time was when the Lord of the Rings films were being made.(I’ve been a fan since the books first came out in paperback in 1965) But back then there wasn’t the type of social media interaction as there is now. However, I did spend a lot of late nights reading the website threads about the films and the books. My husband thought I was a bit nuts then as does he now with Outlander. Oh well, what’s life without a little craziness.

        If you are interested you can read my take on the show too. There are basically 3 and a half posts about Outlander (one of them mainly just mentions it so that only counts for half)
        The first is Obsession Part 1 (http://justhilarie.jabana.se/?p=1342)
        Then there is Still Obsessed (http://justhilarie.jabana.se/?p=1472)
        The third post is a recent one called Twittering (http://justhilarie.jabana.se/?p=1529) where I talk about the fandom.
        The last post – the half one – is called PTSD and can be found here: http://justhilarie.jabana.se/?p=1490

        I hope you read them. I’d be interested to hear what you think.
        Best,
        Hilarie C

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Please continue to be yourself in your blogs. I love your take on things. I, also, miss the sexy romance but as you stated and others as well there is so much to put into 13 episodes….however, that aside I’m trying to figure out how she is going to get preggers with Bree if we don’t see something soon. LOL

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      • You are right on target, Melissa. The STORY is the heart of the matter. I’m 68 and it is the love story that I so love. this series of books and television adaptation are the best entertainment of my entire 68 years! Your commentaries are also much appreciated!

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  5. Nicely stated. There are a lot of people that can’t separate the books from the TV series and that’s really to their disadvantage (more often than not, it leaves you disappointed when you can’t do that). Enjoy them both for what they are! At times, when reading the book and in the middle of the first season, I felt like they were taking a mallet out to drive the point home that they REALLY REALLY loved each other via sex. They’ve done a good job in the second season of the show to promote a healthy, well-balanced relationship (“Why won’t you talk to me James Frasier???!!!”).

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  6. I agree with this – it actually makes me a little bit queasy that a bunch of grown women are doing so much bitching and criticising that they are not seeing fake TV sex at the expense of telling the story from the books we have all enjoyed for decades in the limited screen time available.?Go back and read the book and use your imagination. And don’t get me started on the gifs put on many Facebook sites taken from previous sex scenes – bit gross and unnecessary.

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  7. Let’s see if I can articulate what I’m thinking… I’ll admit that I’m one of those fans who wouldn’t mind more regular J&C action, but I see why it doesn’t fit the plot or objective of every episode and I don’t think Outlander each week is less of a show without it. Robert above hits on a good point that a big, big deal was made of how J&C connected and communicated in S1 was through sex (that we got to see) and so they set the standard with that. At the same time, I understood their adaptation of Jamie’s recovery from Black Jack took time, created phsysical and emotional distance, etc. and just when he and Claire found their way back to each other in the Blue episode, the shit hit the fan again and they were pulled in separate directions once more. And the close encounters of the sexual kind that we’ve gotten to see/witness this season were just not quite satisfying in a good way (other than the time we got to see Murtagh & Suzette have a little fun): rape of Mary Hawkins, then wee Fergus, and who can forget Claire’s laughable encounter (funny, but not fun) with King Louis.

    The fact that some of us fans are frustrated by J&C’s lack of sex AND intimacy (other than the sleeping poem last week and some little snippets I’ve clung to all season, see below*) means that the writers are doing a good job at portraying the fact that there are more pressing issues for the couple and other characters at the moment/in this stretch of the story, that they’d probably rather be rolling in the hay than trudging through the muck to the next camp or battle every night, that their marriage/relationship is more realistic than maybe we want from a show about escapist adventure fantasy with some historical context. I’ve only read the first three books of the series and remember, when reading DIA, feeling the same sort of frustrations and all this other stuff getting in the way of J&C just being happy and settling down at Lallybroch in peace and quiet, then it happens again in Voyager. I think Tobias Menzies pointed out in an interview that the show wouldn’t be much to watch if they just lived happily ever after. *Starting with the foot rub scene in Paris, the little playful pull-away kiss as Jamie and Fergus were leaving the courtyard, the lovey-dovey-ness over the potato harvest, and especially in the last few episodes with the lingering farewell kisses, I think the show is trying to get that intimacy in there for the story and the fans, I really do.

    And outside of the show itself, there’s lots of social media and headlines/articles that want to market/promote Outlander as sexy characters having lots of sexy sex on/near a tartan/plaid blanket, and that’s just not what’s happening in the story right now. (Just want to say that I follow Outlander primarily through Twitter, see a few pics on Instagram, but am not on Tumblr). What comes to mind is the Entertainment Weekly cover from March 2016 with J&C tangled in the sheets. (Ironically, that was the the last paper issue of EW I received before letting my subscription expire, and mere weeks before I got hooked on Outlander or read any of the books) I’d call that false advertising, but EW is in the business of selling magazines and getting web clicks, not setting up realistic expectations. Meanwhile, I think that Caitriona and Sam have, in every interview about S2 when they’re asked about J&C and the interviewer really wants to know about the sex, said that this season is different than the first, that the honeymoon is over, so they didn’t fuel any expectations of what fans should expect. Media/press is a powerful beast.

    Whew, needed to get that off my brain and I just can’t condense it to Twitter. Love Outlander show and your weekly recaps of the episodes. Thanks for sharing your humor and increasing my enjoyment of all that is Outlander!

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    • Holy moly! I think your response was twice as long as my blog and you did an excellent job in summarizing your feelings. The EW cover was probably a way to capture new viewers and I’d guess it worked. Hopefully, those folks found an excellent series and stayed with it all the way through. SPOILERS TO FOLLOW!!! Some folks think Drums of Autumn is boring but I adore it as my favorite of the series. I love how Jamie literally carves them a new life out of nothing, the scene on the roof of his house fixing the leak is one of my favorites. Their moments of domesticity after all the hell they’ve been through, Jamie shoveling in one bannock after another ring very true to me. I can’t wait!! Thanks for writing.

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  8. Thank you for this post, Melissa. As always I appreciate your thoughtful posts. I agree with you about the lack of sex and/or intimacy criticisms I’ve also seen. Everyone is entitled to his/her opinion. While I’d love to see additional scenes that represent & explore Jamie & Claire’s intimacy as a couple, I also believe it’s a matter of time or the lack thereof. On a random note, I want a meme of a Pollyanna zombie so I can post it when I read another complaint about brain-washed people who actually like the show, support it & don’t participate in tearing it apart. What noise do zombies make? https://youtu.be/nh8GpzdvvYM I thought it was blergh. What do I know?

    Would I enjoy a more in-depth adaptation of Outlander? As a book fan, hell yes, but that would be just for my delight and edification. I feel the same way about Pride and Prejudice. Give me more time with the Bennets & Mr. Darcy any day of the week! Sadly the entertainment business doesn’t produce movies or series to my personal preferences. It’s a business with its own goals to create a product that will meet some of my needs, but not at the expense of what makes a profit. I can read the books if I want what Diana Gabaldon crafted. In that world, she is the master. With the adaptation, I realize another person is at the helm & what I’m seeing is ultimately through that person’s vision.

    What I love most about Outlander the series is being able to have a visual representation of the Outlander universe I recognize from the books. There’s the beauty of Scotland, the sets & production designs, the costumes and the characters. When I read the books, my imagination was free to create these things, but seeing it has taken my breath away. I equate it to going to Universal’s Harry Potter theme park as a Harry Potter fan. To be able to walk around & explore that world is a true gift for fans. Watching Outlander the series allows me to think about things outside of Claire’s point of view & discover new depths to characters that I never realized were there. Yes, I mean Frank. I wasn’t a fan of him in the books & Ron’s version has allowed me to become a Friend of Frank (FoF) adjacent. Still not all the way there, but my appreciation has grown.

    Ron has promised not to screw up his wife’s favourite books. He’s a fan too. He respects Diana as a writer. He is willing to listen to dissenting voices within the writers’ room, from his producing partner, Maril Davis, Starz & Sony and finally his wife. I am grateful Ron is a collaborative showrunner who sees himself first as a writer & continues to “write” the show even in the editing room. His core team understands this & provides him with the material to make the final choices when he edits an episode. Many of us have said it before, but I think it bears repeating. Diana Gabaldon waited until the right man & the right team came along to take her Outlander creation & bring it to life. Thank God she picked wisely.

    I will continue to keep calm, trust Ron and enjoy the show that is Outlander. Thanks for letting me ramble on.

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  9. Well, as DG says: they aren’t royalty, you don’t have to watch them all the time! This is about marriage, and there is more in marriage than sex – it’s an important part, but not everything and certainly not all the time. There is so much in DiA (as there wil be in Voyager and so there’s probably less next year), but we do have to move the plot along.

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  10. I couldn’t care less about the sex on the show. If they never show it graphically again, I’m ok. I DO, however, care about the relationship between Jamie and Claire — the intimacy of their relationship (and I’m not talking about physical intimacy, or certainly not JUST about that – but the intimacy of relationship between two people who know each other, trust each other, ‘live’ with each other whereby Jamie *could* later make the statement that “simply to have her by his side, to be able to tell her all his heart, that that would be enough for him.” And I don’t think season two developed that anywhere near where they could and should have done. They left out significant bridges in their relationship given the catastrophic events they endured. Yes, there’s a lot of story to tell. And yes, I have enjoyed them delving into further looks into side characters, like Dougal and Murtagh. In a world where they weren’t tied to limited episodes to tell the whole story, I’d have loved even more of that. But I didn’t love it overall, because in my view they chose to develop supporting players and side arcs over the primary ones with the limited time they had. I don’t need the book(s). But I want what I loved about the books, and that is overwhelmingly that relationship and what it weathers over time and how it does that. And honestly I think they gave that short shrift completely this season. So forget the sex going forward… but give me back that relationship. For me, the characters individually of Claire and Jamie suffered in the treatment they got this season, and so did that relationship. I’m just hoping they get it back on track for Voyager.

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    • You’ve identified something I’ve been feeling but had not really articulated to myself this season. Reading your comment, I realize that yes, I have been missing the sex, but more than that I’ve been missing more moments of intimate “partnership” between Jamie and Claire. It does seem the action of the story has taken over–as well as the development of less important characters that you mention. A solid insight…and one that makes me feel less prurient than I thought myself to be1 🙂

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