Masters of Sex
Standard Deviation

Episode Report Card
Jacob Clifton: A+ | 39 USERS: A
Roughing It

Bill: And all to gather skewed data, from a house full of sexual invalids..."
Gini: "That's a pretty grotesque way to say it, and anyway it doesn't matter. What matters is, you held up your end and so did Betty. We got boys you wouldn't believe!"

They are gorgeous, they look like Buzz's guys from Rebel Without A Cause, and they are also very sassy, and of course Bill has no idea what he's getting into.

Gini: "You can go ahead and leave your pants on for a second."
Carl: "Oh, did you not want me to masturbate? Boy is my face red."
Gini: "First we'll do the interview..."
Carl: "Like a date?"
Gini: "No... Um, what am I missing here?"
Carl: "The part where I'm a hustler or the part where I am gay?"

Dale: "So that one, the ECG, that draws pictures of my heartbeat?"
Bill: "It draws waveforms from which we draw conclusions about the physiology of masturbation and sex more broadly."
Dale: "How broadly? Actual sex?"
Bill: "That's the plan."
Dale: "Queer sex too?"
Bill: "Wait, are you saying dudes have sex with each other?"
Dale: "Yeah, it's awesome. You want to see?"
Bill: "I really do! I mean, like... for science."


Gini: "Did you seriously just watch Dale and Carl fuck? You are amazing."
Masters: "What is amazing is guys doing it. But anyway, we can't do this study here anymore. It's all homos and hookers and sad stories and people who will die or their tubes are all fucked up, and... I mean, we aren't doing a study on weirdos, we are doing a study for Muggles."

"They're three standard deviations from the norm. You can't deduce a model of normal physiology with outliers and misfits. We're so far from the bell curve we can't even hear it ringing."

Which is, in its way, pretty valid. But the difference between 1958 and now is that you can't look somebody in the eye and tell them they aren't a person. You can try -- Chik-Fil-A can try, the BSA can try -- but in the end it doesn't work. Due in large part to Masters and Johnson and the work they did, which work can't start until they have a sample, and it's true that this sample is, for the time, pretty far out. Technically not three sigma, because that would be 0.27 percent which is drastically underestimating the number of hookers and homos in the world even in 1958, but he's not conceptually wrong. It's just awkward all around.

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Masters of Sex




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