Sam Strange Remembers: SHAME

Sam Strange examines Michael Fassbender's soul-shattering addiction to scarves.

(A bit of a programming note: I've been told more people might read these if they knew which day to expect them, so I and my team of sub-Stranges will try to make new Sam Strange entries an every Friday thing.)

It's always an awkward conversation when you explain to a prospective girlfriend that you suffer from sex addiction. They almost never believe you. And the few who do tend to be sluts. That kills it right there because seriously, who wants to date a slut?

But sex addiction is very real. It's a soul crushing illness, made more dire for society's general lack of sensitivity regarding it. I know because (deep breath) I'm a sex addict. And after years of suffering people's judgmental eye-rolling and/or throwing wine in my face, I got really sick being treated like I'd made this disease up just to excuse myself from normal social morals. So I made Shame to illustrate just what it's like to be a sex addict. You can't just tell people. You have to rub their noses in it. My job was to grind people's assumptions to hard and so long that they explode, ejaculating little baby assumptions into their popcorn.

Only certain people can even be sex addicts, which is why it's such a rare disease. There are three requirements, and none of them are easy to come by.

#1: You have to be a man. Girls who suffer from sex addiction are called nymphomaniacs, and that's a completely different thing.

#2: You have to be rich and handsome. Ugly poor people who suffer from sex addiction are called perverts, and that's a completely different thing.

#3: You have to have super seduction powers. Non super seductive people who suffer from sex addiction are called rapists, and that's a completely different thing.

The sex addict in Shame, named Shane (played by Michael Fassbanger), has all these things going for him. Obviously, he's a guy. I make sure everyone knows that by showing his penis. And to prove it's not a fake movie-prop penis attached to a lady, I make sure we all see him pee out of it. I admit, I was willing to use a fake penis and CG urine, but you don't need that stuff when you hire Michael Fassbanger.

Shane is also rich. He works for a successful corporate meme generator. Exactly what his job entails, we never see. But we do see him get a promotion for his brilliant work on Sad Keanu.

And he has super seduction powers. While other guys fall over themselves trying to charm ladies with their wit, this guy simply stares at them until they lose all control over their vaginas. Here's a direct illustration of why the poor and the ugly cannot be sex addicts. Trying this move would only get them arrested. Shane understands that women want the impossible. By silently staring at them, he forces them to fill in the blanks, and inevitably, they invent the impossible man they're willing to sleep with. On top of that, Shane learned from reading Maxim that women like it when you remember what color their eyes are, so he mentally jots that down as soon as possible with each new lady he meets.

But there simply aren't enough ladies, so Shane also has to masturbate a lot. He masturbates in the shower, he masturbates in the bathroom at work, he even masturbates in the bathroom of women he just banged. In his closet he has a gamer-sized collection of pornography, and every webcam girl on the Internet knows him by name (he logs on with the girls and stares at them until they agree to perform for free). In addition to that: Prostitutes. Many, many prostitutes.

It's a difficult life to maintain, but Shane manages. He gets a close call at work when his porn filled computer gets a virus, but his boss assumes it was just an intern, and Shane gets off without blowing his cover.

Things begin to unravel for him, however, when his sister suddenly penetrates his life. Sissy isn't a sex addict, but she masks her low self-esteem with an aggressively extroverted personality that just screams amateur porn star. Shane hates having Sissy around because he has to hide his sexual disfunction from her, which forces him to see just how messed up he is. Meaning that when giving himself an orgasms in the shower, he can't sob with self pity as loudly as he's used to.

But Sissy's smarter than she looks and also stupider than you might think. She already knows he's a sex addict. When Shane finds her in his home, she's completely naked and doesn't bother covering herself. He manages to refuse her anyway. Though he doesn't realize it, being the only woman on the planet who Shane won't screw brings Sissy's self-esteem issues to a full boil.

Sissy's a singer, and despite her flippant, addled demeanor, she gets hired to sing one song at a really fancy club. Shane and his boss go to see her perform. Her song, "New York, New York," is sung so much slower than normal that it makes a tear roll down Shane's eye because he knows the song, and realizes that at this speed it will take more than six minutes to finally conclude.

Once it does, Sissy sits with them. She and his boss start hitting it off, and pretty soon they're having sex at Shane's apartment. The sounds of their love making makes Shane so jealous that he has to run out and fuck something. But his sister's presence ruins his mojo, and the best he can muster is an actual glazed donut.

Instead of battling this with a true heart to heart with sissy, Shane instead tries to pretend he's not a sex addict. He uses his staring trick to get a date with a pretty lady in his office. Despite a rough patch when talk turns to relationships, and a waiter made clumsy by a peripheral whiff of Shane's staring trick, the date goes off well. The next day, Shane gets his new girlfriend to have sex with him. But as a sex addict, it's literally impossible to get it up for a girl you actually like. And moments after she disappointedly leaves, he's banging a transgendered prostitute (you can tell she used to be a man because she still doesn't quite have the hang of clasping her bra).

With his experimentation with going cold turkey finally concluded, Shane returns to the world of sex addiction in an all out bender, during which he seduces another guy's girl and begs his way into an ass-kicking, gets a blowjob from Morgan Spurlock at a seedy underground gay dungeon, and has furious sex with two beautiful women at the same time. On top of all that, he gorges himself on McDonalds and reads all four Twilight novels. Like all addicts eventually do, Shane has finally hit bottom.

But he has just a bit further to go. When he comes home he finds his sister bleeding from a suicide attempt brought on by his own selfish blindness. As he holds her, he realizes he's never really held anyone before. Her life is in his hands, and he actually cares whether or not he lets go. It's Shane's moment of clarity: He's in love with Sissy. After she recovers the two elope to Alabama, and spend the rest of their years mutually healing one another. Their slow dance song is Garth Brooks' "Shameless."

(three stars)

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