Dress it up -or down- however you like, shows as bad as Sex Box USA should not be on SBS 2.
I fail to see how this informs, educates or entertains. Having one or two African-Americans, or gay participants isn’t enough to meet Charter in my view. A crap show is still a crap show -just with ethnic or sexual diversity along for the unfortunate ride.
Sex Box is a UK format in which couples who are sexually dysfunctional enter an enclosed box which is sound-proof and without cameras, where they perform intercourse and discuss their (hopefully) improved performance with therapists -all in front of a studio audience. The British series has screened on SBS before and was instantly forgettable. Now we get the US version which comes close to being Jerry Springer meets Sex Box.
Described as “the most radical therapy ever seen on television,” it features three so-called experts: Beverly Hills relationship therapist Dr. Fran Walfish, sex therapist Dr. Chris Donaghue and Florida pastor Dr. Yvonne Capehart. Note: only 1 is wearing a visible wedding ring, the pastor.
Three couples will discuss their dysfunction before entering the Sex Box. Elle & Brandon have been married 6 months but are “already acting like an old married couple.” While he gets an orgasm during sex, she doesn’t. TMI? The experts hone in on Brandon, interrupting him, putting words in his mouth and passing judgment after just a few sentences from him.
The experts already ask Elle why she stays in the relationship (cue audience applause) and are expecting it to fail. What great advice.
“Are you ready to enter the Sex Box?” they ask. Thankfully after their 17:29mins (yes there’s a timer) in the Sex Box, Brandon’s performance improves. Just to be sure they even score each other like a Red Faces act.
The second couple, Rebecca & Tyson, have been married for 10 years, but he wants to have a regular third for sex, which is apparently known as a “thruple” (ok I did learn something). “We’ve had 3somes, 4somes and moresomes,” says Rebecca, who considers herself bisexual and whose full figure would leave Dolly Parton sorely lacking. Yup, this must be the US edition.
In the third couple, Alexia & Christopher, it’s the female who is letting down the team showing a lack of interest for her partner who likes to record their sex. These two were happily kinky, detailing how Alexia’s pregnancy enhanced her sex drive to the point of her being in the hospital with an epidural and giving her husband a blow job during contractions -seriously. “He knows the slut I could be,” she tells the experts. I’m sorry and you’re here WHY?
As they enter the Sex Box our charming voice over man advises, “He needs to convince her she can be a mom and a bad girl too.” About here I’m thinking this was not what SBS 2 was set up for.
“I let him go down on my boobs and have a fun time there,” Alexia later reveals. Cheers for that.
The show tells us that couples are at their most vulnerable and frank after the intimacy of sex (both of which are a dream for producers), so Sex Box justifies its existence thus. It could have opted for a considered one-off documentary on the problems of intimacy, but instead TV opts for a sensationalist and kiss-and-tell approach, that looks more gameshow than informative TV.
I can only assume this is on SBS 2 because for similarly inexplicable reasons, SBS has a forthcoming local series called Undressed in which singles disrobe and get to know one another in bed. Even if they could get in bed to read out the SBS Charter I am yet to be convinced this will bring anything other than controversy to the broadcaster.
It’s probably time to start asking who is approving this stuff at SBS and why we apparently don’t deserve better.
Sex Box USA airs Sunday, 19 June at 10.20pm on SBS 2.