TV | May 27, 2022 10:59 am

Is This the “Most Baffling Blow Job Scene” in TV History?

HBO's new adaptation of "The Time Traveler's Wife" features a bewildering oral sex scene the likes of which we've never seen

Rose Leslie and Theo James attend Sky's Up Next event at the Theatre Royal Drury Lane on May 17, 2022 in London, England.
Theo James and Rose Leslie star in HBO's "The Time Traveler's Wife"
Dave J Hogan/Getty Images

It’s not summer if a buzzy streaming series doesn’t deliver a discourse-dominating sex scene for us all to gawk at. Last summer, of course, there was the big penis moment from Netflix’s Sex/Life, followed by The White Lotus‘s groundbreaking display of on-screen rimming. This year we already have an early contender for sex scene of the summer thanks to HBO’s new adaptation of The Time Travelers Wife, and it’s… well, it’s a weird one. So weird, in fact, that it’s been described as “disturbing,” “haunting,” and, perhaps most notably, “the most baffling blow job scene” in the history of television.

In the second episode scene, Henry (played by Theo James) tells his love interest, Claire, (Rose Leslie) about the awkward way his father found out about hist time-traveling capabilities — and a flashback scene shows it all. It would seem that, blessed with the potentially world-changing powers of time-travel, a teenage Henry chose to do what I suppose any 16-year-old boy in his position would: go back in time to give himself a blow job. Unfortunately for Henry, (and for the many viewers who have apparently been traumatized by this scene) his father walked in to see two versions of his son in the act.

Naturally, a teenager giving himself a blow job is, to the best of my knowledge, a first for television. And, not unlike the talking penis from Pam & Tommy, it seems it was one for which the world was simply not prepared. As Decider’s Megan O’Keefe — the one who christened the scene “the most baffling” in TV history — put it: “I can’t quite put my finger on why the scene is so disturbing, but it will haunt me for the rest of my goddamn life.”

Perhaps most surprising of all is the fact that this scene wasn’t just dreamed up by TV writers looking to shock viewers in our current age of increasingly daring on-screen sex scenes. Apparently this act of auto-fellatio was actually in the original book, written by Audrey Niffenegger and published in 2003. This means that for nearly 20 years, a fictionalized account of a teenager traveling back in time to give himself a blow job has been a thing that exists in our culture, and no one seemed to notice or care until now. Obviously, this scene did NOT make it into the 2009 film adaption of the novel — which was a rather forgettable affair that honestly could’ve benefitted from some time-warping auto-fellatio — and it would seem many readers of the novel had actually forgotten about it.

“I owned and read ‘The Time Traveler’s Wife’ for many years and the way I courageously blocked out any memory of this scene,” one viewer wrote on Twitter.

Personally, after years of watching chaste, formulaic missionary sex on TV, I think I’m here for on-screen sex scenes getting weirder. And if time-traveling teenagers giving themselves blow jobs is how we’re kicking off this summer of TV, I think it’s safe to say we’re in for a very weird season of television indeed.