SOFTCORE TELEVISION

BEDTIME STORIES episode 1: Strangers

bedtime-stories-1

BEDTIME STORIES was a softcore television series that aired on Cinemax and Showtime back in the year 2000. It lasted one season, consisting of 12 half-hour episodes. The recurring star was Kim Dawson (aka Kim Sill) who played a woman named Belle. Belle’s exact job description is unclear, she lives in a mansion where women come to her to live out their sexual fantasies, which are usually related to some problem the woman has in her personal life. So each episode has Belle working with a new customer. Most of the time Belle is just the observer, but in a few episodes she gets directly involved. And there is usually some kind of twist ending, where Belle helps her customer learn something about herself and see her initial problem differently.

Now, unlike in previous posts where I’ve review TV series, and I’d cover an entire season at once, I thought I’d do something different and review an episode at a time, not necessarily on consecutive days. Admittedly the primary reason for this is it gives me more motivation to update this blog on regular basis, which hopefully you will appreciate. So here we go with this first episode.

STRANGERS, written by April White and Edward Gorsuch, and directed by R.Lord.

Susan Featherly stars as Danielle. She’s married to Jack, who is played by Brad Bartram, but Danielle is sexually frustrated. She says that Jack works a lot, and when he does have time for her their sex has become boring and predictable (this is despite the fact that in a flashback scene to the last time Danielle and Jack had sex, they both seem to be enjoying themselves). Danielle tells Belle that she still loves her husband and doesn’t want to leave him or hurt him, so an actually affair is out of the question, she wants to experience the fantasy of having sex with a stranger one time, in this “safe environment.”

So Belle arranges for Danielle to come back the next night, when Jack is supposed to be out working late. When Danielle arrives at the mansion, Belle greets her wearing a masquerade ball mask, and introduces her to two well-dressed men, David and Jacques, who are also wearing masks. Belle tells Danielle that Danielle doesn’t need a mask, as she can be whomever she wants to be that night. Now, I should point out that here’s where the big twist in this story is. I guess it’s considered a spoiler, but it’s a pretty obvious one as soon as you see it, and that is that Jacques is really Danielle’s husband Jack. The mask doesn’t sufficiently hide his identity, yet Danielle (HIS WIFE) doesn’t recognize him. In addition to the mask, Jack is speaking in a not-convincing-at-all French accent which, amazingly, also has Danielle completely fooled.

Whatever. Just put on your suspension of disbelief and go along with it.

After some light 4-way conversation, Belle starts heavily coming on to David (who is played by Timothy Stempien) and the two of them soon go off together upstairs, leaving Danielle and “Jacques” to talk in main room. Jacques tries coming on to Danielle, but she can’t go through with it and rushes out the door, goes home and goes to sleep. The next morning she finds a picture by her bed, it’s a drawing of herself, and Jacques had said the night before that he was an artist who would like to draw her. Still not making the obvious connection, Danielle freaks out, think Jacques had somehow followed her home and broke in to leave her the drawing. Belle sends Danielle to an upstairs bedroom where Jack is waiting for her, and he reveals that he was part of this all along, and is surprisingly cool with the knowledge that he was wife was planning to have sex with another man. Instead Jack says he’ll do whatever it takes to help spice-up their marriage too. And, with that, the couple reunites and alls well that ends will.

Story-wise, the premise is fine, although the execution has some flaws. Keep in mind, Belle arranges the “party” the day after meeting and talking to Danielle. So this means that in the course of a day, Belle is able to not only come up with this plan to trick Danielle but also to contact Jack, tell him about what his wife wants and somehow convince him to go along with this little scheme of here. There’s about a bajillion ways this could have backfired. But if you can overlook that, I believe you will enjoy it. This series came at the end of the 90’s, which I believe was softcore’s golden era in terms of content, but it’s carries the tradition of that decade in that softcore films and TV series were still taken seriously and played straight. The cast are all good actors who were clearly hired as much for their acting ability as they were for their willingness to get naked on film. Susan Featherly is quite convincing in her role, especially in the opening scenes where she is supposed to be this sexually repressed woman And, bad French accent notwithstanding, Brad Bartram is also very good in his role.

There are three sex scenes in this episode, the aforementioned flashback between Featherly and Bartram, another scene between Kim Dawson and Timoney Stempien, and a final scene with Fetherly and Bartram, all of which are shot quite well, with the actors looking as if they are really into it. This episode starts the series off right. Chacebook rating: 4 STARS

Bedtime Stories: The Complete Cable Series 2000 Unrated

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