Passion and Roma-a-a-ance.
I don’t remember the rest of the lyrics, but that’s how the theme tune started.
Nor do I remember much of the Passion & Romance series. I remember vague references to it as “Passion” in Radio Times, occasionally with the description “Women’s entertainment”. It was certainly marketed towards women: being shown after 10:00 on UK Living, the sex was all softcore, the stories had strong female characters, and every episode was written and directed by a woman.
Except it wasn’t. While it’s claimed that this episode was both written and directed by Jill Hayworth (who also directed Emmanuelle 2000, although most of that was directed by Rolfe Kanefsky, so who knows?), some of the films in the series were made by men who used female pseudonyms.
Genuine Reverse George Eliot stuff, there. I can’t claim to understand it.
Still, I’m not a woman and I was entertained by this, so there’s that, too.
Appearance: Passion & Romance: Scandal (1997)
Characters: Annette & Some Guy
Passion & Romance episodes always follow the same formula: there’s a story, but it genuinely doesn’t matter because very few of the characters appear to own many clothes. Scandal‘s alleged plotline concerns an American election drawing near, during the run-up to which, Governor Buck-wild… sorry Buckwald (Thad Geer)… begins to lose hope as his family becomes entangled in multiple sex scandals.
None of which matters, because Kira Reed Lorsch (credited as Kira Lee) and Gabriella Hall are in this and they barely appear to be aware of the existence of garments at all, so I think we all know what the broader appeal is here.
So, the scene…
This is the very first scene in the film (if you don’t count the wraparound opening sequence), and it’s a good’un. Since there’s no context yet – it could be anyone, anywhere – the scene relies on sex to draw the audience in, rather than trying to establish a story first. It is, essentially, a collection of interconnected shots of Annette (Kira) and and an unnamed, uncredited character having messy, dirty sex on a random bed while the TV is on.
I say “unnamed, uncredited” because that’s what he is. I don’t have a full copy of this flick and helpful reader S.A. – who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of this stuff – reports that this character doesn’t have a name or is credited. I myself can’t find any indication on IMDb (thus originally taking the character to be Andrew [Wesley O’Brian], who does have a scene with Kira later on). Let’s just assume he doesn’t have a name. His parents forgot, or something.
That’s it, that’s the scene.
End of post.
I don’t have much else to say about it. As early as the very first frame, Annette and Mr. No-Name are going at it. There’s no disrobing and no lead-in, and from what you can see, they may well have started before we come in. Things happen in medias res, and so we are thrown – as a collective audience – into the middle of sex without any prior indication.
Which is probably why I liked this as a horny teenager.
Kira and Mr. ______’s joint performance – and the general idea conveyed by the set (clothes on the floor, bed in a bit of a mess, television still on) – suggests that the sex was urgent, and certainly not planned (always something I like). We start with something close to the missionary position, initially seen side-on, Slenderman thrusting away and Annette underneath. Kira is making a lot of grunty, moany noises and clearly enjoying herself; there’s a connection established between these two characters simply from the way it’s shot.
Between the 00:30 and 00:50 mark there’s a switch in position which appears almost accidental – Annette rolls over, taking No-Face (and the duvet!) with her, ending up riding him. We get some nice shots of Kira at this point – pretty face, nice red hair, obligatory boobs – before they melt into a silly kiss.
The final few seconds are incredibly intense, too. While none of it’s particularly slow, the last bit of the sex is done with Hulk levels of energy as the twosome do some bouncing on the edge of the bed. It’s all very frisky, very fun and very brisk. Sex with a smile and appropriate time management.
My initial memory of this scene was underscored by the fact that it didn’t have any music – the news broadcast on the television replacing it – but, on reviewing it now, there is a soft, unobtrusive musical score here, at a lower volume than the TV. In fact, if you play the whole scene with your eyes closed (WHICH I JUST DID WHAT HAVE I BECOME), you can listen to the anchorman helpfully explaining the plot, which you may have overlooked due to the fact that Kira Reed is on the screen…
…and the voice of director Hayworth as weather girl Wendy Waters. Just so someone can mention they noticed that!
My big problem with the Passion & Romance series, bearing in mind that I last saw these at the age of sixteen and things have happened since then(!), was that the sex scenes – numerous though the may be – always struck me as a little humdrum. The three scenes I can remember liking – really liking – are two from Ocean of Dreams (1997)… and this one.
And now I realise why.
With gratitude to the aforementioned helpful reader for fact-checking character names.