The new USA drama Satisfaction poses the question, “What do you do when having it all is not enough?” And for Neil and Grace Truman (Matt Passmore and Stephanie Szostak), a couple who find themselves at a crossroads in their marriage, it’s not such a simple question to answer, even though it turns out the answer is way more provocative than you’d think for a seemingly normal husband and wife who have been married for 18 years and who have a 16-year-old daughter.
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The premiere episode sees Neil acknowledging to us the viewers that “Something’s not right. And I need to start figuring out what is wrong with me.” He feels like he’s in a rut in his life that he can’t get out of. Who am I? What is my place in my family, in my marriage? These are questions he wants to solve.
As he starts going through the motions to get out of that rut, he starts waking up, so to speak, and decides that enough is enough. No longer will he go along with even something as benign as getting a tie from his wife. He doesn’t want to be pushed around at work anymore, so he tells off his boss. The rage continues when he’s on an airplane and delivers quite the rant to everybody on board — of course, it’s filmed and put online for everybody to see.
These are two examples early on of Neil being fed up and wanting to change course, and no longer wanting to be a pushover. It’s time to take charge of my life once more, he says by way of these outbursts and the decisions he makes later on.
As I said, Satisfaction is a provocative and dark show, ones that involves infidelity and escorts. Both Neil and Grace make choices that are immoral. And as a result, they’re keeping secrets from one another. By the way, Grace is following a similar path as her husband in that she’s also trying to find out who she is. She goes through an awakening that is the catalyst for a lot of things that follow.
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I won’t spoil the way that Neil gets involved in the escort business, but it’s a very fascinating look at how one action can cause a whole host of other ethical dilemmas in their lives. As Neil starts down this rabbit hole, it’s an opportunity for him to start trying to answer the questions posed above. Yes, these are areas that deal with morals, ethics, fidelity versus infidelity, etc. Of all the things they could have done, why would Neil and Grace do what they’re doing?
The answer to that question, again, is not simple because they’ve been searching for answers for a while now, it seems, and they both have finally been presented with opportunities that allow them to figure things out. No, it’s not right. But isn’t that what makes for compelling television?
The premiere is very much an episode that sets up the premise. Because of that, it starts off a little slow. It’s not until the latter half that the show starts closing in on what we’ll be presented with each week. The second episode is going to be a more telling indicator of whether or not Satisfaction can indeed satisfy viewers across the entire first season and beyond. I’m not sure just yet if it will (it’s too early to tell), but I appreciate that USA is trying something new, and presenting viewers with a show that raises a lot of questions without clear-cut answers, despite how immoral the choices are.
The series also stars Michelle DeShon as Neil and Grace’s daughter Anika, Katherine LaNasa as Adriana (who’s involved in the escort business) and Blair Redford as a male escort named Simon.
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Satisfaction premieres tonight at 10pm on USA after the premiere of Rush.
(Image courtesy of USA)