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How HBO’s ‘The Righteous Gemstones’ Is Embracing the Full Monty: ‘This Show Is Not Afraid of Anything’

The cast of HBO’s latest controversial series, “The Righteous Gemstones,” had one thing on their minds at Thursday night’s premiere at Paramount Studios — male genitalia. While “Game of Thrones” inspired many a think piece over its so-called “peen problem” (and gratuitous female nudity), no one can accuse this comedy about a sinful televangelical dynasty of shying away from the full monty.

“There’s a d–k in every episode or close to it,” said the show’s executive producer and director, Jody Hill. “I don’t know if you’ll like these d–ks, but they’re in there.”

“He’s not gay-baiting you,” said Edi Patterson, who plays the only female member of the Gemstone clan. Along with her brothers (creator Danny McBride and Adam Devine), she competes for air-time as well as the attention of their less-than-holy father (John Goodman). But despite baptizing 5,000 followers in China, they can’t even save themselves. Their spiritual shortcomings combined with naked ambition frequently result in literal nudity and occasional drug abuse. “Let’s be real: There is an episode that has about six d–ks in it,” boasted Patterson. “This show is not afraid of anything.”

Devine doesn’t see anything wrong with packing half a dozen penises into a single episode. “Excessive? I think it’s the right amount,” he said with a wink. “I’m happy it’s making [male nudity] less taboo because women have been naked in movies for decades. And if anything, men’s bodies are a little funnier. “ (According to Tony Cavalero, who plays a reformed Satanist and possible love interest for Devine’s character, the male cast members had ample opportunity to size each other up while shooting for four months in South Carolina: “Everybody drank like crazy and then we all went swimming in our underwear at like 2 a.m.,” Cavalero recalled. “My wife was like, This is what you’ve been doing while you’re here?”)

Actress Nika King, who plays Zendaya’s mother on HBO’s buzzy “Euphoria,” thinks this trend is long overdue, as that series also includes a fair share of male nudity. “When you see men in that capacity, we’re not used to it,” she told Variety. “Usually it’s the woman showing her breasts, showing her body, so why not the men? I can appreciate that.”

McBride is well aware of his competition, as it turns out. “We heard that ‘Euphoria’ had a s–tload of d–ks and so we wanted to keep up with that,” he joked to Variety. But seriously, even he wondered if they had pushed the envelope too far. “There are so many d–ks in this show that at one point we really asked ourselves: ‘Are there too many dicks in the show?’ And it’ll be seen who won that argument.” Echoing Jody Hill’s sentiment, McBride emphasized that there’s nothing sexy about all of the appendages on display. “I don’t know if you’ll like the d–ks that are in the show,” he added. “It’s old man d–ks.”

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