USA Network takes a break from its usual lighthearted fare with “Satisfaction,” a provocative drama that explores modern marriage at its midpoint. That isn’t to say it doesn’t have humor, it is just dark humor.
The story is told from the point of view of both husband and wife — investment advisor, Neil Truman (Matt Passmore) and his wife, Grace (Stephanie Szostak), this series answers the question, “What do you do when having it all is not enough?” by delving into their shocking and unconventional choices.
“The series, to sum it up, is about a couple in a mid-life marriage that is starting to question themselves, their unhappiness and their connection with each other. In their struggle to do so, they are going about it all these unconventional ways,” Passmore tells yeahstub.com.
Here is more of what he had to say:
How would you describe your character?
We find Neil at a point in his life where he is feeling imprisoned by all of the pressures of life — his work, the disconnection with his family, his marriage. He is at a point where he is not happy, and he wants to do something about it. He is on a quest to try to find that reconnection with himself and to try and find true happiness. So, he literally smashes all the constructs in his world, gives his boss the finger, and whether subconsciously or not, runs to the first person he wants to tell that he is [free] for the first time in a long time, and obviously, his lie gets flipped upside down.
This is told from both Neil’s and Grace’s point of view. Do you think that is important to the story?
I think it is fundamental because at any point, the audience is never deciding with any one person. What I love about the story — and Sean Jablonski wrote it as a post-modern love story — you’re not watching a marriage disintegrate, you are not watching two people about who you are really thinking, “You’ve got to get away from each other. You’ve got to separate.” You really start to root for them and see that they are at the same point in their life, and that the true happiness that they are searching for, and the identity that they used to have, they used to have in each other. I think it is incredibly important that we see things from both perspectives because that is the relationship. It is never a one-sided story. Both people in a relationship are always complicit and responsible for the interactions and choices that they make along the way through life.
From your observations, is marriage in the U.S. different from Australia? Or is this series relatable to people around the world?
I think the themes are very universal. I think the great thing the show doesn’t do is it doesn’t moralize. It doesn’t say, “He’s right; she’s wrong.” It really shies away from trying to present a show about this is a good marriage, or this is a bad marriage. I love the fact that it says this is a marriage of two people in a post-modern world and just watch what happens. The world that these people live in is, I think, incredibly universal.
One of my favorite scenes was where Neil sat down in front of a Buddhist monk and said, “Hey, it would be great if you could pray all day, but try working 80 hours a week, try sitting in traffic, try taking your kids to baseball games, and come back and cook food, and yada, yada, yada and if you can do all that and be incredibly connected with yourself and have a smile on your face, then wow, man, you are enlightened.”
I think there is something in all of us that would be desperate to have another 20 hours in every week to be able to do work on ourselves, reconnect with our partners and do things with our families, but I think that has become absolutely a theme of the modern age. There is just not enough time.
Funnily enough, it seems that the more things that we have, the greater the American dream, the more we start adding to it. All these things that we put around ourselves that are supposed to simplify our lives seem to be making it far more complicated, and disconnecting ourselves, not just from our significant others, but from ourselves. I think that is where Grace and Neil find themselves. They have forgotten what they bring to the relationship. It is obvious there is still this deep love they have for each other. They have just forgotten it. The struggle will be not just to get back in touch with each other, but themselves.
“Satisfaction” airs Thursday nights at 10 p.m. ET/PT on USA Network.