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Length: 6 x episodes (25-28 minutes each)
In the long and winding history of televisual entertainment there are certain ideas, certain concepts, that are instant classics.
Champagne telly like Breaking Bad, Mad Men, The Wire, The Sopranos and, of course, Burgo’s Catch Phrase have left an indelible impact on the cultural landscape. These are the shows that will long be remembered.
And then, very much on the other side of the coin, there’s dross like Sexy Beasts on Netflix.
Sexy Beasts is a dating show with a twist. And to be fair, the twist is a memorable one. All the contestants - consisting of one eligible man or woman and three prospective suitors - are slathered with prosthetic makeup so they resemble animals, monsters or fantasy creatures.
The show’s stated reason for this is so the contestants form a bond based exclusively on personality rather than looks. But, let’s be honest, the real reason is because it’s bloody hilarious.
It’s a carnival freakshow of a concept designed to appeal to two types of audience members: 1) Those with a highly developed sense of dumpster fire voyeurism and, 2) Toey furries who are SUPER into it for their own very private reasons.
The sad thing is, once you get past the funny conceit and actually watch the show it’s… just not very good, hey.
The contestants seem to consist exclusively of part time models and aspiring actors almost always in their early twenties. So, when the big reveal occurs - the moment where the eligible hopeful meets the chosen suitor sans makeup - they’re almost always conventionally attractive.
Why not shake the formula up? Have one of the contestants look like Jason Momoa and another Danny DeVito! Or have a proper age range and chuck some sassy septuagenarians into the mix! Now those would be reveals worth watching.
Sadly, Sexy Beasts consistently goes with the most boring treatment of the material. Which is super weird, especially when you realise the Poms came up with this concept in 2014, and it’s since been adapted for America, Germany and even Korea.
Seven years of development time for… this?
One thing you can say in favour of the show, however, is that it’s short. Episodes are all 28 minutes or under, which means the pain of an annoying contestant, or comedian Rob Delaney’s voice-over, never lingers long.
And let’s be frank: half the country’s in lockdown and who knows how long it will last. So something funny and a bit stupid is just what the doctor ordered. In that regard? Sexy Beasts is a tolerable time-waster if you’ve run out of decent telly to watch and re-watch.
It’s junk food for the soul, full of empty calories and brightly-coloured nonsense.
However in terms of quality viewing? Aside from the excellent make-up effects and a handful of bored chuckles, Sexy Beasts should probably be humanely put to sleep.
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