List: Top Five Miami Vice Sex Scenes
Just in case you didn’t know you wanted it… Here’s our list of the Top Five Miami Vice Sex Scenes. Yes, we limited ourselves to five. Sorry and/or you’re welcome.
Season 1, Episode 5: “Calderone’s Return, Part II”
Song: “Angelina Flashback” by Jan Hammer
Duration: 3 minutes
Anna: I really remember the first time I saw this scene, back when we were first making our way through Miami Vice from the very beginning. This is the series’ fifth episode, and its first real sex scene; I don’t mind saying that it hit me like a ton of bricks. Watching Vice for the first time, I was actually shocked by how extravagantly dated it is. Watching old TV is always a bit like that, but Vice is the first and maybe the only show I’ve watched that’s so firmly, deliberately entrenched in its era that watching it is really like cracking opening a vacuum-sealed time capsule… if that time capsule only contained top 40 hits and the “what’s hot” section of GQ… and it wasn’t so much a capsule as a swirling vortex that sucks you in, nauseous and disoriented yet strangely captivated. The Clothes. The Hair. The Music. The Style. (My BRAIN.)
I’ve since come to adore Vice for many of the same reasons that initially infuriated me, but the sex scenes can still be a tough pill. When it comes right down to it, Vice’s sex scenes sort of encapsulate the bad parts of the show’s dated-ness. The way this particular scene is filmed, with slow-motion twirling, copious dissolves, and the superimposed images of sculpted bodies intermingling to synths… This scene is just not something that could exist in any other era. For whatever that’s worth.
David: In this scene, Tubbs plays the old honeypot scheme—getting close to the man they’re investigating through his girl. In this case, it’s his arch-nemesis Calderone’s daughter, Angelina. Tubbs comes to Angelina’s door and she answers it wearing many towels. Tubbs isn’t a master of words, but he is a master of glances. They engage in some nonsensical dialogue about wanting to tell each other things, but it’s really the glances that communicate. What they say I can only assume is PASSION. Moments later, Angelina and Tubbs are in a montage: twirling around, a sunset, more twirling, etc. The twirling eventually stops—presumably sometime during the night or early morning—and they wake up and make plans to go to a party. “I love masquerades,” says Tubbs. Little does Angelina know that she just twirled with someone who’s masquerading as someone else.
Anna: Tubbs is not only the master of glances: he is also the master of low-buttoned tropical shirts. And exposed upper thigh. Tubbs’ sex scenes always feature plenty of exposed upper thigh (more on this later).
David: Tubbs is also the master of muscular backs. Vice’s sex scenes often seem to be more about showcasing Crockett and Tubbs than the lovely ladies.
Anna: Yes, I’ve noticed that, too. Normally, I wouldn’t complain about that sort of thing, and yet… Maybe the twirling got to my tummy a bit. I do like those zebra sheets though. I’d sleep in those (though I might have to work up to the twirling—maybe it’s a stamina thing).
Anna: If Tubbs’ sex scenes are defined by twirling, Crockett’s are defined by grasping—sweaty, frantic grasping. Similar to Tubbs’ intense glancing in the previous scene, I think Crockett’s signature grasping is supposed to seem passionate…? But to me it just seems sort of inept. You know when you tease a dog by offering it two toys at the same time, and it starts drooling, and its eyes start spinning from sensory overload? That’s how Crockett makes sweet love to a woman: like a dog that can’t choose between a squeaky hamburger and a fake rat. I’ll give this scene a few points for the semi-intriguing kinkiness of French-girl-cop’s seduction. Crockett is SO ANGRY and uninterested until she makes him a whisky on the rocks, throws his own words back in his face by telling him to “cut the small talk,” and then starts peeling the guns and mauve tank top off his body. Then Crockett breaks out an admittedly charming grin, and proceeds very quickly into his less charming frantic grasping. After the grasping finally ends, Tubbs calls, interrupting the post-coital bliss. You know, just to feel involved. This is another common feature of Vice’s sex scenes: Crockett and Tubbs like to check in with each other, usually to ruin each others’ time with updates on the latest drug-related deceptions and murders. Crockett and Tubbs can’t let each other enjoy anything, maybe because they are, after all, a couple of narcs.
David: Crockett paired up with a French detective? This will never work. Or will it…? Danielle’s no Inspector Clouseau, but Crockett isn’t so blinded by her very sequined dress that he instantly trusts her and her Gaulish ways. Leading up to the sex scene, Crockett steals Danielle away from some morphine dealers, hauling her sternly by the arm all the way up to her hotel room. What follows is sort of a reverse break-up where the following lines are said: “You could have listened a little bit better,” “We’re getting nowhere,” and “Give me a little time.” Somehow these clichés really break through to Crockett, and he says, “Cut the small talk.” Shortly thereafter, he finds himself with two hands in a mass of red 80s hair, holding on for dear life as he kisses the hell out of the French detective who is still, unfortunately, not Inspector Clouseau. Then we cut to a few shoulder-and-above scenes of Danielle and Crockett in varying stages of—um—lovemaking. The demands of non-explictness actually make the “lovemaking” seem weirder than it needs to be. You start to wonder what, exactly, is going on down there that’s so strange, so frightening, that our fragile eyes and constitutions need protecting.
Afterwards, Danielle puts on a silk nightgown with shoulder pads that would be the envy of any linebacker. The phone rings, Crockett answers it. It’s Tubbs. And in typical Tubbs style, he ruins the post-coital mood by making Crockett realize that Danielle was lying to him. Way to go, Tubbs.
Anna: Crockett really loves clichés . And whisky. And shoulder pads, I guess, ‘cause this lady sure wears a lot of them!
David: Shoulder pads can only dress up deception. Crockett should know this by now.
Anna: Also, you’re so right about this scene being creepier due to primetime TV censorship. It’s like Se7en: the horror is that much more horrifying when you have to use your imagination.
Anna: This entire scene is just kissing: really slow, really chaste kissing. I’d like to say that makes it a refreshing exercise in restraint, and yet… The location, revealed in a slow pan out, is clearly the underwater throne room of Prince Namor the Sub-Mariner. Seriously: in this scene, Tubbs and his lady-of-the-week are the centrepiece in a neon lit, palm frond-encrusted clam shell waterbed. You heard right: a waterbed. As if the languorous, “let’s slow this down a little” keytar jam and excruciatingly tentative mouth wrestling weren’t enough, there’s the hypnotic churn of the waterbed to really complete the feeling of your soul turning into a thick, syrupy goo inside your chest. This scene goes out of its way to emphasize just how long it’s really meant to be: the kissing is bracketed by establishing shots of the dusk and dawn Miami skyline to indicate that it went on, literally, all night long.
All of that said, I thought these two made a pretty swell couple. With the exception, of course, of her tendency to commit remorseless murder. For Tubbs, that type of thing always seems to be a deal breaker.
David: This probably ranks among the most boring and least explicit sex scenes in Miami Vice. Perhaps in Miami period. Throughout the scene, Tubbs and his lady friend are slowly kissing on a waterbed in the blue light of a circular glowing headboard. The camera zooms out showing the entire waterbed and the room decor that looks like a cross between Ceasar’s Palace, Las Vegas and an “Under the Sea”-themed junior prom. I suppose a lack of sudden movements could, in fact, be prudent when doing anything on a waterbed, I’m not sure. But if so, Tubbs and his lady friend could be doing a great public service for viewers who may—at that very moment—have been getting into a waterbed for the very first time. Maybe this scene could be appropriated by some sort of Waterbed Council to provide new waterbed owners (and their nighttime guests) a primer on techniques they can use to stay safe while making out in a waterbed.
Anna: Was there, like, a waterbed craze beginning in the 80s? It seems like an 80s or early 90s thing, but I don’t really get the point of them: is it a sex thing, a therapeutic thing, or just one of those excessive Yuppie luxury toy novelty things that really has no point whatsoever (thus explaining why waterbeds seemed to vanish off the face of the earth past a certain date)?
David: Interestingly enough, the popularity of waterbeds seemed to drop off sharply right after this episode.
Anna: It wouldn’t surprise me. Let’s move on!
David: Don Johnson (or should I say Don Juan—no, I’ll stick with Don Johnson) was occasionally married to Melanie Griffith, adding a theoretically interesting subtext to this sex scene. At the time, they were divorced, so her being cast as a prostitution ring madam with a secret Nazi past might carry some sort of intertextual significance. Also theoretically interesting is the fact that DJ and MG had very similar spiky hairstyles at this time; this, coupled with DJ’s natural lack of body hair, sometimes makes it difficult to know who’s kissing who.
Anna: I’m as interested as anyone in the semi-sordid happenings of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith’s real-life ramblings. I mean, I’ve read both of Pamela Des Barres’ autobiographies, and watched both of Johnson and Griffith’s atrocious filmic romances (Paradise and Born Yesterday). So I can say with some authority that if you hoped this scene would shine some light on any intriguing behind-the-scenes mysteries… It’s hard to say whether you’d be satisfied. Melanie’s character does seem fairly adept at keeping pace with Crockett’s customary sweaty grasping, but then, she is an Oscar winner. Credit where credit’s due: the actual sexy bits of this scene are probably the least creepy part. I mean, the frenetic intermingling of spiky 80s hair and pinkish tans surrounded by copious rows of candles illuminating an already well-lit bedroom is certainly offputting enough, but the real heart of this scene’s creepiness is in the cutting, the sexy bits being interspersed with views of wrestling legend Captain Lou Albano strangling a woman to death with his bare hands. The soundtrack is Steve Winwood singing “it’s a finnnneee line… a very fine line.” Touché.
I really wanted to find this one sexy, but Lou Albano makes it an uphill battle. I’ll give the scene this much credit: the aftermath has one really great line, when Griffith’s character tells Crockett, “All I know about you is that you drive a Testarossa and you live on a boat.” Implying, of course, that’s all she needed to know to jump into bed with him. And admittedly… I can’t say I blame her. Assuming, of course, she was unaware of the sweaty grasping to follow.
David: And to think Antonio Banderas would eventually come along and take Melanie Griffith away from all this—the spiky hair, the sweaty grasping… Lou Albano…
Anna: If you recut this scene with a Cyndi Lauper song and got the Iron Sheik involved, maybe it could be repackaged as a Rock ‘n’ Wrestling tie in.
David: One can dream.
Anna: This scene doesn’t have Crockett or Tubbs in it—hard to say whether that’s an advantage or a disadvantage. I’m all for giving the girls some story focus, but must that story focus involve falling in love with 80s Liam Neeson’s Irish accent? Besides being a member of the IRA, Neeson’s other virtues include wearing barely-there half shirts and sport coats that stepped right out of a Mentos add (you know, the one where the guy sits on wet paint, then gets the rest of his suit paint-y as a “clever” way to disguise his idiocy). That said, there are a couple of things I find pretty amusing about this scene. The first is the huge chug of brandy (?) Gina downs before things get underway, steeling herself for the inevitable. The inevitable being the second thing that cracks me up about this scene: Neeson’s total monopolization of every shot, his tanned, muscular Irish back photobombing Gina at every conceivable angle. Neeson will not, can not, allow Gina a single inch of screen time. Not sure if that’s to protect Gina’s dignity, or whether it’s meant as a “gift” for us ladies.
David: I haven’t seen it, but I can only assume that Liam Neeson did a better job in Rob Roy than as a guest star on Miami Vice. Which isn’t to say that his role as a Northern Irish radical and love interest for Gina lacks charm. Neeson’s character and Gina bond over their Catholic upbringings and how many nuns taught them (spoiler: it’s a lot). They’re obviously very turned on by this topic. During the entire sex scene, Neeson eclipses the screen. Quick acting tip: in a sex scene, you need to keep in mind that you’re not the only one there—otherwise, it’s masturbatory.
Anna: Now that I think about it, it is sort of creepy how turned on they get talking about their religious upbringing. Catholics are weird. Or maybe it’s just the Irish. Where is Gina supposed to be from again? Cuba?
David: Yes, that gets established at the end of season 3, in the episode that goes back in time and features Gina playing the part of her own mother. It was excruciating.
Anna: Poor Gina. She really gets the worst episodes. But not the worst sex scene. When it comes right down to it, there’s just too much competition.
David: Frankly, I’m surprised this episode didn’t start a long story arc involving Gina giving birth to radical Irish children who consequently get involved in different sides of the Northern Ireland conflict. Thankfully, though, Neeson just dies.
Anna: And Crockett gets the spoils! By that I mean his Testrarossa, rather than a rebounding Gina. The Testrarossa belongs to Neeson’s character before Crockett gets his hands on it. So for the rest of the series, Gina’s gets to watch her co-worker ex-lover drive around in a car that used to belong to her dead terrorist ex-lover. Which is a bit weird, though I can’t quite put my finger on the specific message. Regardless, I’m sure Crockett didn’t worry about it too much. I’m guessing his thought process was something along the lines of: “That car is awesome and I want it for myself (even if I have to kill Gina’s boyfriend to get it).”
David: Crockett isn’t always the world’s most sensitive guy.
Anna: That just about wraps things up, save a few honourable mentions:
This scene is awesome because: Pam Grier! Foreigner! And plenty more of Tubbs’ exposed upper thigh!
This one failed to make the main list only because it’s not technically a sex scene. But still: Tubbs’ waterbed skills face some stiff competition from Crockett’s ability to perform make-outs in a pool, balanced on an air mattress.
This scene is awesome because it features Tubbs on a horse. It’s less awesome because it also features a (literally) nauseating amount of twirling.
Which really does bring us to the end. Sorry and/or you’re welcome if at least one of these scenes managed to twirl its way into your heart… or make a sweaty, frantic grasp for your soul.
—Anna and David
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