Entertainment

Infidelity narrative leaves no man to blame: Schneller

Both Ray Donovan and Doctor Foster feature husbands who, when given the flimsiest opportunity to stray, capitulate immediately.

Liev Schreiber's title character in Ray Donovan supposedly can't help but cheat on his ailing wife.

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Liev Schreiber's title character in Ray Donovan supposedly can't help but cheat on his ailing wife.

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 ex-husband 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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