Masters of Sex's Nicholas D'Agosto on Ethan's Ominous Start and Big, 'Butt-Centric' Love Scene

Nicholas D'Agosto NakedWhen Nicholas D’Agosto signed up to co-star on Showtime’s sublime Masters of Sex, he checked his inhibitions at the door. Not that the actor, who’s already appeared in two of the show’s racier love scenes, had that many to begin with.

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“Your insecurities can’t get the better of you when you enter a show like this,” says the Omaha native, who plays Dr. Masters’ brash protégé, Ethan Haas. “You know what you’re going to be called upon to do.

“And,” he adds, “I’m not insecure about doing that stuff.”

Thus far, “that stuff” has included baring almost all of his assets for the Oct. 27 episode, in which his character unwittingly takes the virginity of sorta-girlfriend Vivian. “That’s the more butt-centric of the two” love scenes, he recalls, acknowledging that this aspect of his day job “isn’t the most exciting thing to put on” his real-life significant other. “She’s exceptionally cool about it – cooler than maybe I would be if she was an actress, which she’s not, thankfully.

“It’s not something I want to make jokes about,” he continues. “Not that you’re asking me to. But sometimes people want to encourage me to pander to that. And I don’t want to, because it’s personal to a lot of people.”

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D’Agosto has bigger concerns, anyway. For instance, he’s well aware that Ethan — who in the pilot not only called Lizzy Caplan’s plucky Virginia a whore but struck her — is not exactly liked by viewers. “A lot of people view him as unforgivable, but I totally disagree,” he argues. “That was his first real heartbreak. He was shattered and didn’t realize his own rage. And he made a mistake.”

Masters of SexPerhaps the audience will come to understand Ethan better over time — or through his interactions with others. In Sunday’s episode (10/9c), for instance, we learn how his dalliance with Vivian (who, by the way, is his boss’ daughter) has progressed since we last saw them two weeks ago. “Now it becomes about how I feel about her,” D’Agosto teases in character. “What are we doing? How does this relationship compare with the relationship I still dream of having with Virginia?”

The hour also introduces Ethan’s older brother, played by Mob City‘s John Pollono. “He serves to color in some of what drives Ethan. And he’s also sort of a sounding board to him about what Vivian represents.”

Will it be enough to redeem the young doctor? Maybe not. “But the arc of the season,” D’Agosto maintains, “is one where Ethan ends in an entirely different place than where he starts. My hope is you’ll find it hard not to like him at some point.”

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  1. Beth Ann says:

    I love Nicholas! Ethan started out unlikable obviously but he’s changing (so far) for the better.

  2. Spriteshadow says:

    I like the character. He’s a product of his times, and human. Would I date him? No… but he’s not a bad guy, and seems to be growing.

  3. Christina says:

    He’s definitely grown on me since the pilot. There’s a good guy in there somewhere.

    • Alichat says:

      He’s definitely grown as a character. He’s still a bit of an idiot when it comes to women, and his dream of being with Virginia is a fool’s run. But I loved the bit where he helped Virginia when her son ran off.

  4. David says:

    I don’t get Showtime or HBO so I only saw the premiere episode which was on for free. I was truck about how many naked women and no male parts. So curious, are the men having sex showing penises or do they still use the double standard. Im sure we get the occasional butt shot but penises, and god forbid those that are erect when engaged in sex, aren’t shown

    • Shaun says:

      maybe it’s too distracting to actresses during scenes.

    • Britta Unfiltered says:

      No penis on Masters of Sex, but to be fair, they don’t really show much in the way of vagina either. I’m trying to recall if they have shown full frontal female nudity, and I can’t remember if they’ve even shown it at all. Maybe they have, that kind of thing doesn’t exactly stick to my memory. But from what I recall, most of the action we’ve seen is from the waist up. I do wonder if eventually they’ll get around to full frontal male nudity. It seems like the kind of show that would do it. But you’re totally right, there is a double standard that goes on with most cable shows regarding male and female nudity, and it would be an interesting discussion as to why, and the answer would probably just come down to sexism. Game of Thrones seems to be the worst offender, and I’m sure that’s because they know their audience is mostly male. The only shows I can recall in recent memory that have been brave enough to do full frontal male nudity are Boardwalk Empire with Bobby Cannavale (God bless them for doing that), and Deadwood with Nick Offerman. (Yes, Ron effing Swanson did indeed show his penis in Deadwood). I’m sure there are a few others out there that have done it too.

      • Joey says:

        There’s been some on Game of Thrones as well. Granted, nowhere near as much as female nudity, but there has been….I think three instances so far on the show?

      • Tim says:

        You need to look around and realize what has been happening in films and in cable series. There is an abundance of male genitals on display in and yet very little female frontal nudity. The double standard is in showing male genitals but filmmakers who seem afraid to show any female frontal nudity. Enough is enough and it is time for equality. That goodness for “Game of Thrones” and “True Blood.”

  5. ventroaq says:

    If it ain’t frontal, it ain’t nothin’.