The Critic Masturbates

November 25, 2008–7:44 p.m. *

On a lonely evening, one expects more than a phoned-in, derivative exercise of by-the-numbers self-abuse from the once great Ian McDruery. While his stroking technique remains masterful, tired fantasies about Nicole Bardinger from college have lost all their magic, titillation-wise. As a receiver, a sheet of paper towel proved comme il faut. Still, while the kitchen is the classic “exciting” location for newlyweds or new homeowners, it is actually a depressing locale for the bachelor, bringing to mind one’s chores more than erotic possibilities.

November 25, 2008–9:32 p.m. *½

While the living room setting proves more comfortable than the kitchen, especially when it comes to reclining on the couch, and the visual stimulus of Jeanne Tripplehorn warrants a second encounter, the banality of watching Waterworld (Is this really the best thing on?) again weighs heavily against the proceedings. While Mr. McDruery tries ably to compensate with subtlety, the aching member cries out, “Too soon!” Using the TV Guide as a receiver is a nice symbolic protest against the poor fare to be had for entertainment, but if protest reaches no one but the protester, indignation quickly turns to shame. Death to television!

November 26, 2008–8:15 p.m. *

One can praise oneself for having the good taste to enjoy Allison Janney’s many charms, but the fact that television reruns are fueling the evening’s fantasies lends the whole affair a morose feel. One is repeatedly thrown off by discrepancy of this liberal fantasy White House and the nightmare unfolding today. Also, while the Martin Sheen of Badlands or Apocalypse Now might lend some naughty homoeroticism to one’s entertainment, there does not exist a perversity with any affection for the toadlike being spouting benign pronouncements today. The TV Guide now seems an accusation. No more TV this week!

November 26, 2008–10:11 p.m. ****

The cliché regarding good things and waiting has never rung more true! Self-restraint, a classic setting, a good book and the masterful touch of Ian McDruery all came together to create a splendid event. This is why one “goes to the theatre.” Segueing from the sex scene in Foucault’s Pendulum into a Nicole Bardinger fantasy is a masterstroke, as is Mr. McDruery’s master stroke. Simple touches, such as having made the bed and supplying a fresh Kleenex, bring this session to the brink of perfection.

November 26, 2008–10:15 p.m. *

Attempting to relive past glories is almost always a mistake. Making the attempt four minutes after the glory has gloried is certainly never wise. Nonetheless, that is what the ambitious Mr. McDruery attempts this evening. Each element that proved so rewarding just moments before returns with less force, or burdened by sweatiness, and stickiness. The less said about the soiled receiver the better.

November 26, 2008–10:41 p.m. ½*

Slapdash and trite.

November 26, 2008–11:20 p.m. *

The cliché “beating a dead horse” has never seemed more apt. Trying to console his chafed and aching audience and overtaxed imagination, Mr. McDruery has resorted to ointment and used pornography. That this experience is superior to the previous one is a testament to the auteur’s perseverance and constitution. The ointment, however, triggers concerns as to ruining the bedsheets (already a troubling issue) as much as it soothes the exhausted principal performer.

November 27, 2008–11:15 a.m. *½

Thanksgiving can be a lonely holiday when spent alone. It also makes a dismal theme to masturbatory fantasy. While both Indians and turkeys might excite some fetishes, no daydream involving pilgrims can enhance the libido. They just weren’t very sexy people.

November 27, 2008–12:01 p.m. ½*

Nicole Bardinger, where are you now and why won’t you love me? I’m so very lonely!

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