Reviews For Sexy Beasts, Netflix's Dating Show Where People Dress Like Animals, Are In And They Are Ferocious

sexy beasts netflix season 1

There's pretty much no doubt that if you manage to hit upon the right concept for a dating show, you could have a massive success on your hands, and one that ends up dominating pop culture for several weeks, on top of it. While these types of shows have been with us for many decades, the ante has been upped in recent years, especially with offerings from Netflix like Love Is Blind and Too Hot To Handle. Now, Netflix is back with Sexy Beasts, a dating show that puts its singles in elaborate prosthetics for each encounter, and the ferocious reviews are finally rolling in.

If you're already thinking that Sexy Beasts sounds a bit like Love Is Blind, you'd be correct. The basic conceit of these romantic reality shows is to have people find connections that aren't based at all on how prospective partners look. But, where Love Is Blind saw the hopefuls talking and trying to forge relationships through a wall which completely concealed their physical appearance, Sexy Beasts sees a lucky single matched with three blind dates, while all of their faces are kitted out with extravagant makeup so they look like animals or mythical creatures. The costumes are removed only after the singleton in question has chosen one person to go on a second date with.

Grace Henry of Radio Times readily admitted that, once participants get over their costumes, Sexy Beasts features several "normal" dates, awkwardness included when it comes to stilted conversations. Though, Henry also noted that this aspect of the show is what will likely appeal to viewers the most:

Too often it can feel like wannabe superstars sign up for dating shows with an ulterior motive and play up to the cameras. With Sexy Beasts, that element’s removed. Instead, we get what feels like authentic, old-fashion dating (with the addition of the costumes of course) where the contestants just want to get to know each other...The lack of wild twists outside the outlandish outfits doesn’t mean a lack of drama, though – Sexy Beasts serves up plenty of memorable moments, especially when a contestant doesn’t get picked and takes it badly, which happens more than once. It’s particularly interesting to see an immediate switch in attitude when a rejected contestant gets to see who they were dumped by and they regret not putting in effort.

Unfortunately, it's the seeing "who they were dumped by and they regret not putting in effort" part of Sexy Beasts that many reviewers found a ferocious dislike with. Several pointed out that for a show which purports to help people forge real bonds not based on looks, the show still manages to have both cast typical Instagram model-worthy players and folks who really do care about their supposed attractiveness and that of those they date, making the whole concept of the show rather hollow. As CNN's Brian Lowry put it:

But hold on, there's an inherent cheat built into the format, lacking even the courage of its slim conceit, since everyone -- stripped of their prosthetic appliances -- is attractive by conventional standards and those of the genre...So what does that leave? A show consciously designed to garner attention, which has succeeded in the past. In reality TV, making fun of a concept is fine as long as you get the name right, and 15 minutes of fame is always worth it...for those who are discriminating at all -- or at least prefer that a show's premise isn't a lot of hooey -- the main regret after Sexy Beasts will be the decision to waste much time watching it.

Yet another review bemoaned not only the fact that Sexy Beasts repeatedly foils its own concept, but that the pacing of episodes takes away from any potential for viewers to become attached to the people shown within and whatever their stories might be. And, this, according to Variety's Daniel D’Addario, leads to a dating show that's just not as much fun as it seems it would be:

Sexy Beasts isn’t trying to achieve precisely what Love Is Blind did, but it doesn’t even get close in terms of insight, novelty, or memorable characters. There’s no time in overstuffed episodes to really consider the oddity of dating at all, let alone to examine how folks might feel about dating under these circumstances, beyond the barest of pleasantries...The brief episodes are so relentless in terms of establishing the situation...that little sparkles through the spackle.It’s all technically perfect — transforming young and eligible people into zombies, trolls, beavers, and dolphins. But this seamlessness leaves little room for personality: There’s little whimsy or humor extracted from the simple fact of fairly humorless people trying to flirt through prosthetics. Generally, all involved work to pretend that there’s little odd at all about the situation.

Lest you think that there might be little for you to truly love in Sexy Beasts, the A.V. Club's Saloni Gajjar, while noting how the show undermines its basic premise, has found at least one "saving grace" in the dating show for you, if you're still determined to watch: narrator Rob Delaney (Catastrophe, Deadpool 2). As, Gajjar noted...

Delaney’s comical, self-aware narration is the saving grace. It’s as if he’s in on the joke that the show is preaching personality over beauty, but those rules are clearly meant to be broken.

Sexy Beasts will debut its six-episode first season on Netflix on July 21, with Love Is Blind: After the Altar coming on July 28 to catch us up on what the Season 1 participants have been up to recently. For more to watch in the coming weeks, check out our 2021 summer TV schedule!

Adrienne Jones
Senior Content Creator

Yennefer's apprentice, Gilmore Girl; will Vulcan nerve pinch pretty much anyone if prompted with cheese...Yes, even Jamie Fraser.