When you create or star in a show titled I Love Dick, I think you expect that the title alone is going to perk up some ears. What might also perk up some ears is the fact that, while the salacious title refers to a man named Dick (OK, it's also a double entendre) this show is going to be very, very sexy. Sure, it isn't a schlocky, purely sexual romp like The Tudors, True Blood, or to some extent Outlander, but rest assured it's sexy as hell. And according to creator Jill Soloway, I Love Dick just might turn you on for all the right reasons.
"I had women come to the screenings we had in LA and three different women totally randomly came up to me afterwards and they were like, 'I’m really turned on right now. This thing made me horny,'" Soloway says, speaking to me about her latest Amazon series (she also created Transparent) during the Sundance Film Festival in Park City. "If we could dependably be getting a show to women where they’re like, 'I don’t know why, but this thing makes me horny' and the results for what that means for their own artistic advancement, their own bombastic sense of self, we don’t have to worry about [how it will do], just know that it can change people."
The series, which premieres in full May 12 on Amazon Prime, follows Kathryn Hahn's character, Chris, who after finding out that her film has been dropped from a European film festival, travels with her husband to his fellowship in the teensy town of Marfa, Texas. There, she encounters her husband's professor and Man About Marfa, Dick (Kevin Bacon, occasionally in a cowboy hat and/or shirtless), and becomes infatuated with him, writing letters to him without sending them (yet). In writing these steamy letters, she more fully taps into her own desires and her own sexuality (and, if Soloway is correct, turns more than just herself on).
But sexy writing has been done on television before, so what's so different about I Love Dick? Well, a whole hell of a lot. Firstly, the show isn't here just to titillate you — it's got a brain too, OK? Second, this a series produced by women, who put female desires and sexuality all out on the table, without the harsh lens of the male gaze and without any slight feeling of exploitation — something Hahn was thrilled to encounter.
"To know that there is a woman or someone [whose] empathy is personal and profound, knowing those eyeballs are the ones looking at you behind the camera makes it much safer than someone who is seeing you as an object," she says.
But for Hahn there was another major reason the series feels so good is that Chris, through her nature and her dialogue, expresses and exposes something so many women feel constantly: That uncertainty about whether or not our sexual desires are normal, or OK.
"You always think you’re the only one in the world that experiences anything, and I remember certainly thinking like I was having to pretend to be normal," says Hahn. "I think [it's like that for] a lot of women, or anyone who is considered an other to, you know, the patriarchy."
We're talking about a series that accomplishes sincere intimacy and a true understanding of female sexuality and still makes time for some textbook steamy moments. Damn right it's going to turn you on.
Check out Bustle's Most Wanted, a list of our editors' 25 favorite things for spring 2017.