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Call them guilty pleasures, eyebleach, comfort TV… whatever they are, they’re those shows you’re not exactly proud to be watching. So… why are you?

Warning: this article contains spoilers for Netflix’s Sexy Beasts season 1 in its entirety.

What even is this show?

Since Netflix is making us wait for a second season of Love is Blind (even after forcing us to watch the horrific, drawn out reunion special), they are doing their best to sate our appetites with a cavalcade of low-budget, trashy dating shows in an attempt to catch lightning in the bottle twice. With Sexy Beasts, they utterly fail to match the adventures of the “pod squad” we grew to love in the BV (before vaccine) times of the pandemic…

…but at least we get a woman going on dates in full-on dolphin mask, right?

Randomly set in England, Sexy Beasts features real-life singles hoping to say goodbye to superficial dating, who sport elaborate makeup and prosthetics to undergo the ultimate blind date test. Nina, the aforementioned dolphin, literally goes on a date with a rhino, an insect, and a scarecrow. I shit you not.

So, why am I watching this?

I was drunk and alone on a Saturday. And I didn’t feel like getting emotionally devastated by Coco again.

Best part?

The make ups are pretty great, especially if you were a fan of SyFy’s Face/Off. And the concept, although weird as fuck, is actually entertaining. From the comfort of our own homes, we can experience a panda from Jersey going on a date with a tin man, an alien, and a bull. What a time to be alive.

I love the idea that the dates take place in a real bar, and no one told the other patrons that they were filming a reality show where a reindeer woman fondles the dangly bits of a guy who looks like a fucking rooster. So, there are some great reaction shots.

Most cringeworthy part?

As much as everyone says they are there to find someone based on their personality, a fair amount of the contestants (mainly the men, natch) privately confess to the cameras that they hope the woman they pick is actually hot.

James the Beaver is quoted as saying, “Ass first, personality second.”

And that’s the thing. Even if someone’s face is made up like a horrid, liver-spotted troll, from the neck down, all the contestants meet society’s conventional beauty standards. They are lean, fit, and able-bodied. If memory serves, pretty sure at least half the female contestants are models in real life.

And when the two participants do meet sans makeup, they mainly just gush over about how hot the other one is.

So, I found myself questioning the hypothesis of this so-called “social experiment.”

Anything redeeming?

As much as they whittle down the dating pool from three to one, it’s not really a competition, so the three potential dates all seem super friendly with each other. There’s zero Bachelor-level backbiting. Everyone seems in on the joke, so no one takes it all that seriously. And when the first eliminee reveals themselves without the animal makeup, the remaining participants talk about how gorgeous they are. So, while it’s silly, at least everyone is super nice and supportive.

What makes this show addictive?

It’s mindless. It requires 20 minutes an episode. We’re not talking Game of Thrones plot complexity or character development here, so if you go to the kitchen to open a second bottle of wine (don’t judge), you really aren’t missing much.

I also confess to feeling a small amount of schaedenfreude when a contestant—who claimed they “clicked” and “felt great” about a suitor—is disappointed to find that the person is not as hot as they’d hoped. Now all of a sudden, they’re out here claiming “I think I got more of a friend vibe.”

You sure didn’t mind playing with his antennae (not a euphemism) when you didn’t know what he actually looked like, did you, Nina the Dolphin?!

Will you finish the season?

Welp. Already did. And in the trailer, they showed some Sexy Beasts I didn’t see yet (Armadillo! Hammerhead Shark! Egyptian Mummy!) – so, crack open the Snoop Dogg Cali Red for Season 2!

Eric Mochnacz

A wizard of pop culture. A prince of snark. A delightful addition to any dinner party.

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