Historically, HBO has been known for two things: titties and (prosthetic) dicks. But over the last seven years, at least three of the prestige network’s shows have also portrayed the sex act of the 21st century: ass-eating.
It all started in a 2001 episode of Sex and the City when Miranda gets rimmed and then nearly reciprocates on her male partner. Then, in 2014, the act was depicted again on Looking, when Patrick (Jonathan Groff) gets his ass eaten by his enthusiastic new lover Richie (Raul Castillo).
However, HBO’s reign as the official ass-eating network really peaked in 2015 with the Season Four premiere of Girls, when Marnie (Allison Williams) gets her ass eaten by her boyfriend Desi (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) as she’s bent over the kitchen sink. At the time, it caused a real stir — it was one of the most explicit rim jobs ever doled out on TV, and among the first instances of a heterosexual couple really, really enjoying it.
Immediately, hundreds of people tweeted about the rim job. We even got a full explanation from Williams on how the scene went down, as well as a comment from her father, news anchor Brian Williams. “For us [the Williams family], watching her is the family occupation, and everybody has to remember it’s acting. No animals were harmed during the filming, and ideally nobody gets hurt,” he joked.
Last summer, HBO kept it up with another ass-eating scene in White Lotus. In it, Armond (Murray Bartlett) enjoys the behind of Dillon, his young, stoney employee (Lukas Gage), during a drug- and alcohol-fueled bender. It was treated with as much bravado as the Girls scene, quickly becoming the subject of enthralled tweets and blogs as well as how-did-this-get-made commentary from Bartlett. Earlier this year, there was also a scene in which Cal Jacobs, played by Eric Dane, rims a mystery man in the second episode of Season Two of Euphoria, but it isn’t much of a major plot point.
Just last month, however, HBO unleashed yet another rimming scene, though it seems to have resulted in far less fanfare. This time, it was between Colin Firth and Toni Collette in The Staircase. Here, in the third episode, Collette, playing Kathleen Peterson, is at the kitchen counter preparing for dinner when Firth, playing Michael Peterson, comes up behind her, pulls her pants down and goes to town.
It’s quite reminiscent of the scene in Girls, at least with the kitchen being the venue. But despite the scene happening between actors arguably far more famous than the rest, very little has been said about it. The few tweets that have circulated are mostly to the effect of, “Why the fuck isn’t everyone talking about Colin Firth eating Toni Collette’s ass?”
Perhaps The Staircase just isn’t as popular as Girls or White Lotus. But I’d venture to say that the main reason we’re not all highlighting this scene is because, well, it’s nothing particularly new. For better or worse, HBO has now become the ass-eating network of record. And so, the oral sex act is now merely a standard part of the usual HBO narrative. The Staircase also features Parker Posey saying the word “rimming,” so we’ve really just about covered all the bases in this regard.
All we need is a scene with a woman rimming a guy, or two women rimming each other, and we’ll be good to go. HBO, I’ve got high hopes for Euphoria Season Three.