SOFTCORE TELEVISION

Passion Cove: The Vibe


Caroline Ambrose

Passion Cove was a softcore TV series that debuted on Cinemax in 2000 and lasted two seasons, 13 episodes each, ending in 2001. Like most of the TV series of the 1990’s “skinemax” era, it was an anthology series, with a different main cast every episode (a few actors would appear twice, playing different characters in each episode), each telling one complete story, with no continuing plots. This had the benefit of allowing the viewers to be able to watch any episode independently and out of order without missing anything important.

Caroline Ambrose was the only recurring actor in the series, Wikipedia states that she appeared “periodically’ but I’m pretty sure she appeared in every single episode, although as I rewatch them for these reviews I’ll correct myself if I’m wrong. Again, as Wiki notes: In each episode, guest stars rent the beach house in a fictional seaside resort Passion Cove, usually for a weekend, and magically find love where they were looking for lust. The beach house has a back yard swimming pool and adjacent beach that provide continuity to the 26 episodes. Caroline played  Samantha, the property’s rental agent but plays no role in the individual stories.

So Samantha was essentially the “host” of the series, her character’s involvement usually consisted of a brief scene in the beginning of each episode in which she’d be on the phone with whoever was renting the house that weekend. But she never got directly involved in the stories or interacted with any of the characters face to face, which is a shame as she is an attractive woman accomplished actress who’d in some softcore films like Allyson Is Watching and Club Wild Side before this, so it would have been nice to see her in an occasional sex scene (or at least a nude scene).

Today I’m reviewing the very first episode of the series. Written by Christopher Byrne and John Quinn and directed by James Wrider, “The Vibe” stars Sandy Wasko, Ken Rush, and Avery Ross as Sadie, Matt and Ron, three friends and college students on vacation. They go to an art school where Matt is a photography student and they’re there to take some pictures for an art project for one of his classes. It’s also Matt’s birthday that weekend, and we learn that his father is wealthy and that’s who rented the house at Passion Cove for Matt and his friends. Sadie and Ron appear to be a couple, and have thier hands all over each other as soon as they get indoors, although whether they’re monogamous is a up for debate based on later events, but I’ll get to that later.

Catalina Larranaga arrives later that night. She plays Katy, Matt’s ex-girlfriend from high school, who moved to New York to become a model. Although they’re still friends they haven’t spoken in a while, but Katy agreed to come to do Matt this favor and be the model for his photoshoot. Sadie and Ron immediately speculate that Matt’s interested in reconciling with her, but Matt insists it’s not true, stating that Katy’s living a wild life without him now, which includes “dating rockstars, male and female.” 

Well, Katy shows up and sparks are immediately flying between her and Matt. The next day during the photoshoot outside (Ron does the lighting while Sadie does Katy’s makeup) Katy shows off her free-spirited side by stripping nude. During a break she take Sadie into a cabana and they have sex (again, it’s not clear if this means Sadie is technically “cheating” on Ron by doing this). By the end of the weekend Katy and Matt have confessed their feelings for each other and reunited, and plan a private short road-trip together before Matt has to go back to school in a week.

There’s also a meaningless little subplot about a “magic rock” which supposedly increases the sexual desire of those around it, but nevermind that.

The cast decent, but the story itself is pretty bland and predictable. There are four sex scenes, two between Sandy Wasko and Avery Ross, the aforementioned lesbian scene between Wasko and Larranaga, and a scene with Larranaga and Ken Rush. The scenes are good but average, with the Wasko/Larranaga scene being my favorite. This episode set the stage for what you can expect on a typical episode of Passion Cove, it shows off the house and its location and it’s shot well. This is the type of show aimed more at couples, rather than just men, which is why it has characters making emotional connections in the end, not just physical. But overall I wouldn’t call this one of the series best episodes. If I was introducing someone to this show for the first time, I wouldn’t start with this episode.

Chacebook rating: THREE STARS

Jason Majercik is selling Passion Cove: Season 1 as an UNRATED 2-DVD  set for $39.99 Email him at quinn_nash@hotmail.com for his softcore inventory list

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