There are a lot of things to love about Starz’s new adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s American Gods. It’s stylish. It’s trippy. It’s proof that epic fantasy dramas can and should feature people of color. If we’re being honest, though, the best thing about the show is the sheer amount of quality dicks in it.
As anyone who’s read Gaiman’s original novel can tell you, sex features prominently in a number of key scenes throughout American Gods. Bilquis, the biblical Queen of Sheba, is depicted as a fallen goddess who periodically replenishes her “cunt-magic” by compelling people to worship her as they have sex before she literally sucks their entire bodies into her vagina. In another scene, Bast, an ancient Egyptian feline war goddess, heals the book’s main character Shadow with the restorative powers of her own supernatural lady bits.
Most of Gaiman’s sex scenes read like the sort of stuff that would translate to unremarkably breast-heavy television on par with Game Of Thrones. Imagine my surprise, then, when American Gods decided to put a series of full-on ragers on the small screen.
While scrolling through his dead girlfriend Laura’s (Emily Browning) phone, Shadow (Ricky Whittle) comes across a conversation she was having with best friend Robbie (Dane Cook.) While we already know that Laura and Robbie were having an affair, American Gods goes the extra mile to make this abundantly clear when Shadow scrolls up through the text thread and is shocked to see find a pic of Robbie’s decidedly vascular dick.
When we spoke with American Gods’ executive producers Bryan Fuller and Michael Green last March, they were quick to point out that while that’s not actually Dane Cook’s penis, the process of casting Robbie’s dick was like Madeleine Kahn in History of the World.
“I remember when we had penis photo approval,” Green said. “it was an e-mail and it was like ‘Here are eight penises you have to choose from.’”
Starz, Fuller explained, was adamant about not wanting American Gods to be seen as a “tits and ass show,” but was open to the show’s honest and and direct approach to depicting sex scenes.
“We knew there was going to be sexual content and we knew how we wanted to approach it,” Green added. “We’re going to show nude women, we should show nude men because we’re not trying to do something specifically for one audience or another. We are just depicting sex correctly.”
Compared to other premium cable networks, Starz has always been ahead of the game when it comes to getting penises on screen. Spartacus was an ancient Roman sausage fest, and who didn’t love watching 50 Cent masturbate on Power? But where those dicks felt like titillating Easter eggs tossed in for inconsequential shock value, American Gods’ dicks feel purposeful and integral to the plot.
Take Sunday night’s episode in which Salim (Omid Abtahi), an Iranian immigrant and salesman new to New York City, and an unnamed Jinn (Mousa Kraish) working as a cab driver who picks Salim up as a fare. During their trip uptown, the two men confide in one another that they’re unhappy with their lives, and Salim discovers just what the Jinn actually is.
Salim confesses he’s struggling to find meaningful work in his new home and the Jinn, a being who’s been alive for thousands of years, describes his longing for the old days when people still worshipped and told myths about his kind. At the end of their drive, the Jinn explains that he doesn’t actually grant wishes (anymore), but he offers Salim the next best thing: that dick.
The book describes Salim giving the Jinn a blowjob and tasting his “strange, fiery” semen, but the show? The show gives us a full-on metaphysical fuckfest complete with two fully erect penises and magical, fiery (internal) money shot that’s something like a religious experience.
Speaking to Vulture, Fuller revealed that he actually had to reshoot the sex scene after seeing an earlier version of it and determining that the mechanics of their intercourse just weren’t working on screen.
“I was like, ‘Okay, unless he has a 12-inch, candy-cane cock and can fuck around corners, his dick’s not getting in him,” Fuller said. “So you guys need to go back and figure out where holes are.”
Nearly every single one of American Gods’ sex scenes features a dick or two, in contrast to just 10 penises on television last year across six different shows. All of the dicks we’ve noted here are from just two episodes of this series, last week’s “The Secret of Spoon” and last night’s “Head Full of Snow.”
There are still six more episodes of American Gods to go this season and we’ll report back on any and all future peen-related developments. You know. For art.
God bless America.