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The press swirling around Tell Me You Love Me, in advance of its premiere, has focused on one aspect: extremely graphic sex scenes. It has even been rumoured that the actors engaged in actual sex acts before the camera, breaking a long-held taboo. But then, breaking long-held taboos is what HBO is all about! And we even think they're prepared to go further still to get ink for their future series efforts. To wit:
To the layman, skating is something you do on ice. To the crystal meth user, it's the practice of taking a hit of crystal meth every few hours to sustain a high for a longer period. It's something very familiar to the characters that populate Free Skate, a racy new drama from HBO. In Portland, OR -- reportedly the Meth Capital of the U.S.A. (not that the Chamber of Commerce is rushing to put it on the signs at the city limits or anything) -- Lorraine (Lyndsey Marshal) has become reluctant matriarch to a tribe of younger tweakers: Stephen (Douglas Smith), who has an unrequited crush on her; Kevin (Ben Foster), who's living in a squat but still holding down a job as a bank teller; and Sammy (Jermaine Crawford), still baby-faced, not that anyone expects that to last. Lyndsey leads her young charges through all of life's challenges, teaching them how to wash a dish, how to talk to girls...and how to make a stash really last. Unsubstantiated reports from the set claim that HBO pushed the boundaries of the law -- and good taste -- by requiring its cast to use actual meth for the sake of veracity, although HBO has been coy in its public statements about that. Only real meth-heads will be able to tell how far HBO went -- at least, before they sell their TVs to buy more meth.
What gives a city its look, its verve, its excitement? A diverse population base, a vibrant cultural scene...and street art. Planet Krylon dramatizes the stresses and triumphs of a crew of graffiti artists, led by legendary tagger Max (Andre Royo), and featuring several young up-and-comers (including Greyson Fletcher and Felicia Pearson) who make their mark on the New York streets -- literally. Creator David Milch made the controversial decision to shoot in a semi-documentary style, which meant both that the actors had to undergo several months of intensive training under actual street artists (including Banksy), and that they actually tagged public and private property and in some cases were actually arrested for vandalism (on camera), which has put in question the viability of the show's second season -- though that would leave Milch open to pursue his rumoured next project: a docudrama following the lives of several real bulimics recruited from rehab facilities.