Sexy Intelligence And The Outlander Controversy


There’s a fine line between love and lust. Anyone who’s been in a relationship will say as much. Most will also argue that men are way more lustful than women are.

However, there are women who like to see a man with his shirt off, and perhaps with far fewer clothes on than is typically accepted by society. Some shows take advantage of that and have their lead actor naked as much as possible.

Outlander is one of the series that features a lot of male nudity. And one executive says that is the reason for the popularity of the show. That statement angered the author of the books and she fired off a retort on Twitter that let everyone know what she thought.

Showtime Controversy

In the TV business, capturing a young audience is the main goal. Some channels cater to males like CBS and others serve the female audience like ABC. Premium channels like HBO and Showtime need to find shows with broad appeal. HBO’s Game of Thrones had mass appeal and became a global phenomenon. Showtime has a similarly popular show, Outlander.

Both series are based on outlandishly popular series. Outlander follows the story of Claire a nurse-doctor who is also a time traveler. During one of her adventures, she falls in love with Jamie Frasier. An epic romance if ever there was one.

The show is a huge hit for Showtime and at the Television Critics Association, CEO Jeffrey Hirsch made a faux pas. He said the audience only watched the show for the nude scenes with leading man Sam Heughan.

Outlander — you can say that it’s great because women like it because she’s a surgeon who goes back in time, but there’s also another side of that, which is there’s some eye candy for that audience and people like when [Heughan] has his shirt off. You have to be really thoughtful about when you’re looking at a piece of content and whether it’s really going to be female or not. And it’s not easy.

It sounds like Mr. Hirsch is insulting the audience. Or calling them hornballs.

Author Backlash

Diana Gabaldon, the one who wrote the books on which the TV show is based, sounded off about the insults. She said that while women watch the show, they are usually watching with their partner. In her fan mail, she claims that people talk more about the intelligence and the acting more than the lustful aspect. “What they mostly say they like is the intelligence of the story and the complexity and strength of the relationship between Jamie and Claire. They also love the visual beauty of the show and the emotional depth of the acting.” It would make sense the audience was responding more to the romance than anything else. Gabaldon made a suggestion to Hirsch: “If you’re looking for a place to lean in, though, I think maybe ‘intelligence” might be a good place to start.”

She also said, “I can’t say I see a lot of people talking about Jamie with his shirt off, unless it’s mentioning the shock and poignancy of his scars.” It’s a fair point for her to make.

What do you think of the controversy surrounding Outlander?