WHERE TO WATCH:
WHAT IT'S ABOUT:
Hoping to say goodbye to superficial dating, real-life singles sport elaborate makeup and prosthetics to put true blind-date chemistry to the test.
WHAT WE THOUGHT:
When Netflix first revealed the trailer for Sexy Beasts, everyone's immediate reaction was: "What fresh hell is this?" followed up by: "I can't wait to binge it."
Its concept is so bizarre you'd think that only an exec on many hallucinatory drugs and cocaine could have come up with this furry fantasy, yet it's actually a remake of a 2014 British show that the hungry Netflix machine resurrected for its insatiable audiences.
Unfortunately, we only have ourselves to blame.
Sexy Beasts has a simple, yet absurd concept, similar to that of Love is Blind. People go on real blind dates with no idea what the other person looks like because everyone has been morphed into bizarro furries… I mean humanoid animals and nightmarish mythical creatures. In each episode, one person goes on dates with three potential matches and picks one to see where their attraction might lead.
And the masks aren't your average Halloween store costumes - most are on par with special effects makeup of big-budget blockbuster films, created by a team of over 40 people. From a dolphin, to a dinosaur, to a zombie, to a chicken, there's literally no limit to the insane creativity and craftsmanship that went into these masks. You can't help but gape in each episode while wondering at the same time how these magicians must feel having their magic wasted on such a trite dating show.
But beyond the magic of the masks, is there actually any substance to the romance part of Sexy Beasts? Weirdly enough, it's fascinating what people resort to in the art of dating when they're not obsessing overlooks (although one Beaver got around this by checking out his dates' behinds when pulling out their chairs). Filtered by extremely self-aware narration reminiscent of Love Island and Come Dine With Me (which would have been even better with a British accent), the interactions range from cringe, to sweet, to funny. While some dates on the show might take it too seriously, I did actually laugh wholeheartedly throughout the short episodes. There's also the added bonus of trying to guess what people look like underneath if you're watching with other people, and boy were some guesses completely off.
As for the type of people that would be on this show, one pumped-up Panda sums up the contestants pretty well: "I am so single I am dressed as a panda bear to try to find a connection with someone." In the modern dating world dominated by apps where strangers judge you on your looks, I can get how something like this could be appealing to people who are just over that and want a genuine connection.
Although, your chances of finding that on a ridiculous television show is still pretty slim.
One big critique of the show was that despite it championing the message that "looks aren't everything", all the participants on the show are conventionally good-looking and kind of defeats their whole point. While it might seem like that at first - and there are some gorgeous people on the show - I still do think some people would never have gone for their chosen dates if it was based on looks, and there's also a surprising racial diversity that's almost impossible to tell under all the makeup. It also feels like the producers of the show made some effort to pair the humanoid freaks with compatible matches, although they have mentioned they chose people that are quite animated and talks a lot as they don't have use of facial cues.
In all honestly, I really enjoyed Sexy Beasts for its short format that requires no emotional investment like other long-form dating shows. It's self-aware enough that you can laugh with them rather than at them, and if you're into the art of special effects, you might just be fascinated with the craft of the disguises. My only two wishes are that perhaps the contestants have one more date before they decide who they like and that they give us a little sneak-peek at the application of the masks and makeup.
As long as you go into Sexy Beasts with the mindset that it's a dumb yet funny dating show, you'll be all set up for a good time.
WATCH THE TRAILER HERE: