Tom Pelphrey attends The Prime Experience: "Outer Range" on May 15, 2022 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images for Amazon Studios)

'A Viagra Moment? Netflix Series Features Actor Tom Pelphrey at Full Attention


There's a Viagra-driven moment on the Netflix's "A Man in Full" than is bringing the mini-series some attention. The limited series, based on Tom Wolfe's 1998 novel, boasts a starry cast: Jeff Daniels, Diane Lane, Lucy Liu, Bill Camp, and Tom Pelphrey. It also premiered earlier this month on the streaming giant with little attention or critical love. It does have some pretty high-end talent behind it: created and adapted by David E. Kelley ("Big Little Lies"), with episodes directed by Regina King and Thomas Schlamme, the series received a lukewarm response from critics with a Rotten Tomatoes index of 43%.

At the center of the series is the rivalry between Daniels, as an Atlanta real estate magnate in a financial crisis, and Pelphrey, a timid upstart who hopes to take advantage of Daniels' troubles by demanding the mogul pay his accumulating debt.

The show is rated TV-MA does feature a warning for "sex, language, sex reference, sexual images, injury detail," but even with that warning some were not prepared for a Pelphrey's showy moment towards the end of sixth and final episode. In the scene, Daniels walks in on Pelphrey having sex with his ex-wife (Lane); after she leaves, Daniels locks the door and approaches Pelphrey, dressed only in a sheet. Pelphrey tells Daniels he has just taken a Viagra, and drops the sheet to show the copious proof. Whether or not Daniels had penis envy was not revealed. The tweet below contains the sequence, but be warned it contains full frontal nudity.

The scene so surprised Vulture television critic Jen Chaney that she headlined her May 3 Big Red Spoilers column with: "We Need to Talk About That Wild 'A Man in Full/Ending." (Note: link is behind a firewall.)

"Right now you are probably feeling shocked, flabbergasted, disgusted, profoundly confused, or some combination of all of these emotions. That is okay. That is normal. If you watched the last ten minutes of 'A Man in Full' and thought, Well, that was a completely understandable way to end a television show and I have no further questions about what I just saw, then I can only conclude that you fell asleep and missed the part where a smirking Tom Pelphrey shows his naked, erect penis to Jeff Daniels in what has to be the weirdest instance of full frontal male nudity in the history of the medium. Those of us who actually saw that scene, then watched it again to make sure we didn't hallucinate the entire thing, need a place to process what we have witnessed. This, my mildly traumatized friends, is that place."

Tom Pelphrey and Jeff Daniels in "A Man in Full"
Source: Netflix

Over at, Kanika Saini concludes the moment "ultimately sheds light on the unchecked male ego, the urge for dominance, and the consequences of obsession and greed...

"Charlie (Daniels) repeats, not once but twice, in the series, 'A man's gotta shake his balls.' In the final scene, when Raymond flaunts his genitals, the series comes full circle, bringing focus on toxic masculinity back to the spotlight.

In the final showdown, Raymond's wagging his 'big red dog' is more than just a shock factor. It's a statement of power, a moment of reckoning where egos clash and lives are irrevocably changed. The symbolic act sums up the entire show's exploration of power, ego, and the journey of men who refuse to rein in their 'big red dogs'."

Whether prosthetics were used for the scene is not known.

In Britain, the scene has elicited condemnation by many feeling it broke rules defining nudity on television.According to, ".UK communications regulator Ofcom has certain guidance. material unsuitable for children should not, in general, be shown before 2100 or after 0530'. Adding that "Broadcasters must ensure that material broadcast after the watershed, or made available on BBC ODPS, which contains images and/or language of a strong or explicit sexual nature, but is not 'adult sex material' as defined in Rule 1.18 above, is justified by the context."

But, Unilad adds: "Netflix isn't quite the same as broadcast TV, given it's a streaming service."

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