Remember when Dr. Ruth and Dr. Sue Johansen made talking about what happens in the bedroom (and sometimes other places … and the stuff we need to know to make it all go well) matter-of-fact, must-see TV?
TLC is bringing sex-talk television back to TV with its new late-night talk show, All About Sex, airing Saturdays at 11pm ET/PT, beginning Jan. 10. Starring actresses Margaret Cho (Drop Dead Diva) and Marissa Jaret Winokur (Hairspray, Melissa & Joey), sex therapist Dr. Tiffanie Davis Henry and Chelsea Lately’s Heather McDonald, each half-hour episode features a loose format that will encompass everything from viewer call-ins to discussions of the latest sex-centric headlines and everything in between (the sheets).
I sat down with the ladies of All About Sex at this week’s Television Critics Association press tour to talk about the show and its steamy subject.
“Dr. Sue was the best because she was like, ‘OK, this is what you do! Ok, you’re going to need lubrication! Because the anus cannot lubricate,’” Cho exclaims of the quartet’s no-nonsense predecessor. “And she was so non-sexual as a being that you really trusted her.”
“This show is great, because we have a very dynamic crew of women who are very sexual in different ways,” Winokur adds. “I think we all represent different sides of femininity and sexuality — and we have a sexy doctor (points at Henry). Whenever I talk about the show, I’m like ‘And we have a real doctor! All women feel like they can give love advice and sex advice, but it’s nice to have someone who has the knowledge to back you up.”
“I think that’s the cool thing as a viewer: You’re at this and you’re finding yourself,” Davis Henry says. “You’re bound to have something in common with each of us. There’s one part of you as a woman that’s represented with Margaret — whether we want to admit it or not (group laughter) — and there’s always a Marissa and there’s always a Heather and there’s always a me that thinks she knows what she’s talking about — until Margaret says something and I’m like, ‘Mmmmm, well maybe we should think about this. So I think that this show is really going to be a great representation of everything that we are as women and everything that we want to be or are trying to be and are too embarrassed to admit that we are.”
The four hosts — none of whom had met before — are proud of the diversity they bring to the All About Sex table. Cho, 46, is openly bisexual and a champion of gay rights and anti-bullying initiatives. McDonald, 44 and a virgin until age 27, is a married mom of three who writes for film and television and performs as a stand-up comic. Davis Henry is an Atlanta-based sex and relationship expert. Winokur, 41, is a married mom of one who admits that the show opened her eyes about how her views on sex have changed.
“I definitely found out during this journey — which I didn’t know going into it — that I was much more of a prude that I thought I was,” she explains. “I’m definitely much more naive than I thought I was. I would definitely think I know everything and I’ve done everything and then I’m like, ‘Oh … no I haven’t. And I don’t really want to talk about it!’ I was so much more adventurous when I was younger and now I just really don’t care.
“But it’s not like that’s my part [on the show],” she continues. “It’s actually who I truly am. I don’t any of us are acting. I think the reason why this group worked so well — because I think other people have tried to do this and it hasn’t worked because of the people they put together — we are truly bouncing off of each other in a non judgmental way … and I didn’t mean to look at Margaret when I said non judgmental way.”
“In curious ways,” McDonald interjects. “Like, I want to hear it all. Like, I don’t want to go to the swingers’ party but I want to hear every detail. I want to know how that works. How it works with your partner. Did someone introduce you to it? Do you have to bring a dish to pass? Does it have to be nut-free? Gluten-free?”
“There’s always Baked Lays,” says Cho. “That’s the one thing you can rely on.”
“BAKED LAYS?” exclaim her costars.
“And there’s always spinach dip in a bread bowl,” Cho muses.” Chili. A lot of chili. Not a lot of vegetarian options, unfortunately.”
See? You learned something already.
Check out a clip from tonight’s premiere:
All About Sex airs Saturdays beginning January 10 at 11pm ET/PT on TLC, following a new season of Sex Sent Me to the E.R. Viewers can join the conversation by Tweeting questions using the hashtag #AllAboutSexTLC.
Photos: Kyle Christy/TLC