I consider myself a connoisseur of low-brow reality TV. 90 Day Fiancé and its constellation of spin-offs live in my psyche rent-free, and the abject bleakness of Catfish never ceases to amaze. And yet, nothing could have prepared me for the visceral horror of Netflix’s new show Sexy Beasts, a dating reality series that sounds like The Masked Singer, Love is Blind, and the furries episode of My Strange Addiction were tossed into a blender. Indeed, several hapless singles are forced to conceal their identities with elaborate animal costumes. There’s a panda, a beaver, and what I think is a bottlenose dolphin, along with fictional creatures like a mummy and a devil. The costumed heterosexuals are set up on blind dates at bars filled with paid crisis actors — sorry, I mean actual patrons — and engage in painfully awkward small talk. As some couples ostensibly make true romantic connections, the show attempts to answer that age-old question: can we fall in love without knowing what someone looks like? (The answer is yes, see the first two shows I referenced above.)
Netflix dropped the trailer for the first season of the unhinged series — Sexy Beasts hasn’t even aired and it’s already been renewed for a second season — and reader, I felt my neurons begin to rewire fear-based pathways. This show is cursed. It is a bad taxidermy nightmare in 4K. It is the frenzied manifestation of a bad LSD trip I had in college — and I will watch every single second of it. Here’s every thought I had as I watched the 1:30 second trailer.
- The trailer goes from 0 to 11 very quickly. “I want to get married, I want to have babies,” says a woman’s voice. She’s wearing a panda mask and a lavender parka, and is talking to a bull with a giant septum piercing. They are seated stiffly and appear pained, even as she talks about nuptials. After the initial shock wore off, I wondered why Panda and Bull are wearing winter clothes in an indoor setting. At least the koi fish behind them look comfortable.
- Next, we’re introduced to an alien that looks like the Halloween City version of Mystique. She is greeting a beaver that looks like the Halloween City version of Chewbacca. Actually, that was mean and I take that back. Halloween City would never.
- We have our first meme moment, folks. Beaver is apparently just not that into beavers. “Ass first, personality second,” he says, as he sports a giant protruding tooth and scraggly sweater.
- There’s a raccoon fursuit. I’m sorry, but this show is about furries and fursonas and I will not be convinced otherwise. Not that I’m judging anyone’s community or kinks. Just stating an objective fur fact.
- The dolphin costume is the most cursed thing I’ve ever seen on television, and I’ve watched the bootlegged Star Wars Christmas special. Don’t google it.
- A baboon and devil kiss in the rain. “I’ve kissed this girl and I don’t even know what she looks like,” says Baboon, and I find myself rooting for these two. It can’t be easy to make out when the nose and chin of your masks are distended so far they could have their own zip codes.
- Hearts are about to broken, as a scarecrow, an insect, and a rhino are awaiting Dolphin’s decision. If it were up to me, Scarecrow wins by default purely because of the cracked terracotta pot on top of his head.
- You really didn’t think Netflix would cast normal-looking people, right? Though their masks resemble the crappy taxidermy you’d see at an antique store off the highway, all of the contestants are hot singles in your area. So much for a dating show for the rest of us!
The first six episodes of Sexy Beasts premieres on Netflix on July 21, 2021. You can watch the freak show trailer below.