Maria Jackson's picture
By Maria Jackson

Satisfaction Set Visit

During the set visit myself and another fourteen other press members were lucky enough to see a tour of the Truman home, witness a scene being filmed (episode 1.05, airing in August!), and interview the stars of the show. We asked about themselves, their characters, and the life of an actor filming in Atlanta. I'd never been on a set of any kind and I learned so much!

The house used to shoot the pilot was recreated in amazing detail. From décor to layout, you could only see it wasn't the real thing when you looked up to see what would be the ceiling, replaced with hot, instantaneous daylight creating lights. I've always been fascinated by interior design and how it can broadcast a character’s a feelings or direction. The muted blues and cold grays of the Truman's bedroom reflected their stagnant relationship just as Anika's bright and colorful room filled with butterflies and angels represents her transition and desire for the freedom of adulthood.

All of the actors are very excited about Satisfaction and were eager to hear our questions. Matt Passmore (Neil Truman), stresses that Satisfaction is a love story and describes the show as “Entertaining, sexy, uncomfortable and raw.” When asked what makes Satisfaction different from the myriad of American Beauty like tales, Passmore replied, “We're not watching a marriage dissolve, but evolve. Grace and Neil are very much in love with each other. Gray area is the world that we live in and so much is happening between the lines.”

The beautiful Katherine La Nasa (Adriana) describes her character, a madame who recruits Neil after a test drive, as a shrewd business woman.  Adriana is a “Joan Collins type of role..that I knew I could play like Kate Moss..an old, cool girl. Adriana is one of those girls who can take one thing and turn it into something else, an opportunist, really.”

As this is Michelle DeShan's first major role (Anika Truman), she was adorably nervous!

“Anika is not aware of what her parents are doing, but she's in it and becoming more aware all of the time.” True to character, Michelle has the closest relationship to TV mom, Stephanie Szostak (Grace Truman), with nightly dinners and motherly advice on how to handle things like press!

When Szostak was asked if Grace is experiencing a mid-life crisis she was quick to rebuff, “Not a midlife crisis, but an awakening...Grace wants to be centered and sustainable. She is in love with her husband and wants to reconnect with Neil.”

Neil and Grace have been married for eighteen years with a beautiful and talented sixteen year old daughter (Anika) and a house in the comfortably upper middle class suburbs. The Trumans couldn't appear to be more perfect. Grace maintains a beautiful home while Neil manages money for the obscenely wealthy, and Anika attends a prestigious private school, but the edges are beginning to blur.

Neil is sleepwalking through his life, bored by his job and feeling trapped by expectations others have of him. Grace is stumbling towards self realization out of the haze an all consuming mommy hangover and finds she feels ignored and undervalued. Anika, nearly an adult, is straining against the limitations of childhood. Like the butterflies that adorn her room, Anika desperately wishes to fly free from her bland cocoon.

Neil tries to expand his horizons by researching Zen and Buddhism, even seeking out a Buddhist monk. However, it seems only a cursory try; a passing phase. When the monk doesn't deliver peace and connection the way Neil demands that he should (after only one session), Neil decides maybe this Eat, Pray, Love thing isn't for him and tries to reconnect with Grace on his own.

Feeling unneeded by Anika and after an unsuccessful job interview in which she is rudely devalued for having been a SAHM instead of pursuing a promising career, Grace is deflated. Feeling unwanted by her husband and bored with her book club group (which, imo, only means you didn't have enough wine), she convinces them to do something different and go dancing. The change electrifies Grace and right on a cue a sexy, young, tenderoni is throwing meaningful glances her way.

Things get interesting when Neil catches Grace with her new fling. Neil confronts him and discovers that this is a pay for play arrangement and not a love affair. After the predictable fight, Neil finds he's in possession of boy toy's cell, and when it rings, Neil decides to answer.

Comparisons to American Beauty and Hung are inevitable. The tale of the man dissatisfied after achieving The American Dream and being bored by everything he's gained while in hot pursuit is a trope almost too common. These patriarchs seek to be freed from expectations, typically in very self serving ways (you never see them finding meaning by giving back to their communities) of exploration.

What makes Satisfaction different from these dissatisfied predecessors is that Neil isn't seeking to disconnect to find himself, but to reconnect with what he loves. Both the Trumans want to hold on to what they have, but are not sure how to progress to the next step. Will Neil's foray into escorting with Adriana uncover something that will bring them closer or introduce new elements that could tear them apart? Only one way to find out.

Satisfaction airs on July 17th, at 9pm EST on the USA Network.