Hello, and greetings from Sexy Beast Manor, an absolutely real place nestled among the burning hills of our increasingly cursed reality! There has been big-time discourse around Netflix’s reboot of the British dating show Sexy Beasts — many a feather ruffled over its being a poor representation of the furry community (lol, no shit) or a surrealist sign of the end times.
But that’s not what we’re doing today. Instead, let’s dig into what really matters: how effectively the creators have hit the show’s titular brief. Obviously, every lovable ding-dong on this show is “SEXY” because Netflix pours big money into meticulously casting just enough racial diversity to distract us from the fact that it’s still just a bunch of thin, able-bodied, straight, cis folks who tick all the Eurocentric beauty standards while still being normie-hot enough that they could conceivably work at the second-shittiest Dunkin’ Donuts in your hometown. So, SEXY? Done and dusted. But are they “BEASTS”? Let the highly scientific taxonomic exercise commence!
According to the busybodies at Merriam-Webster, a beast is primarily “a four-footed mammal as distinguished from a human being, a lower vertebrate, and an invertebrate.” Basically, that means we’re looking for big ol’ hairy, four-legged wild animals who don’t lay eggs. Out the gate, there’s some solid beast representation. The tit-man Mandrill? Check. The Bull who claims he’s a total nerd? Yep. The dancer-slash-graffiti-artist-slash-Wolf? Mmhmm. The Leopard I have zero memory of but was supposedly on this show according to my notes? Gotta be beast.
Textbook beasts are so beast there’s not much they can do to disqualify. Take the Panda for instance. Try as she might to convince us she’s a “Sour Patch Kid–crazy lunatic psychopath” (her words, not mine), my girl is a definitive beast. Same situation for the holistic-health practitioner Rhino, who self-identifies as “techno prince warrior-poet monkey-man spiritual cowboy on the hero’s journey to liberate humankind.” Much to think about, but a rhino who’s spiritually a monkey cowboy sipping on Moon Juice is, if anything, doubling down on beastdom. Alas, a beast by any other name is still a beast.
Beasts By Technicality Only
While we have the textbook out, it’s worth acknowledging that while some critters are technically beasts, an incorrect vibe can throw everything off. The Beaver who’s an ass man? I’m tempted to reconsider this one, but on principle alone, it’s a no. The Mouse with a ponytail who’s really into fragrance? Way too twee. And while in theory a reindeer is very much a “beast capable of destroying a midsize SUV,” the actual Reindeer execution is a sorority Halloween version of Rudolph’s lil’ girlfriend from that Claymation show with the Abominable Snowman. Cuteness is not beastness.
Just as it’s possible to be a beast by definition but not vibes, it’s also easy to fall into the trap of being a non-beast with beast energy. These babies are square in the “cannot be tamed” zone but fail to hit that “four-footed mammal” metric. The Dinosaur is straight out of Land Before Time, and we’ve already gone over the fact that egg laying is a no-go. Demons as a category are borderline, but the human hair and the Bridgerton x Forever 21 collection choker imply that this one walks on a very disqualifying two feet. The Alien is a butthole-balls combo disguised as a head to which I refuse to give any additional attention. And finally, The Walking Dead–industrial complex has spent too much time and money for us not to be fully aware that zombies are just humans with a bit of a remix. Solid attempts to all!
At Least They’re Animals?
Here’s where things start to fall apart. While the admin-assistant Dolphin is an aquatic mammal, the whole no-legs, can’t-survive-on-land thing feels like instant beast disqualification. The Mantis has a nice sprinkle of beastlike menace until we remember that all our textbook beasts could squash him with a single misplaced hoof. And while the Cornell alumna Frog meets the lowest possible bar of being a creature of sorts, amphibians are a no-go, especially those with Disneybounding energy.
Let’s take a quick moment to revisit the Aesop fable “The Bat, the Birds, and the Beasts.” I promise it’s relevant. In it, the birds and the beasts are at war, and a bat doesn’t know which side to choose. Notice here that it’s a bat, with his furry lil’ mammalian face, who is considering joining Team Beast, NOT a Rooster or an Owl (although bonus points to whoever phoned it in on that owl mask — I hope you snuck out early with plenty of time to enjoy the day).
This next taxonomic section is tough. Although there’s some rad makeup artistry happening here, we’re way out of beast territory. A Pixie? Unquestionably a human with a few coats of face paint, and that’s before we find out she’s also ex-military. A couple of bootleg Wizard of Oz characters? While a Tin Man and a Scarecrow who look more like a piece of chalk and a whoopie cushion dressed as Leatherface provide a fun little nugget for fans of copyright law, it’s a no. There’s a special flavor of willful ignorance I can’t help but admire in selecting the only yellow-brick-road skippers who AREN’T beasts for inclusion in the horny-beast parade.
Y’all Should Be Ashamed of Yourselves
Well, well, well. We’ve reached the last circle of Dante’s non-beast hellscape Inferno, where beasts are so non-beast they go full orbit into being human again. Exhibit A is Stone Man, who is somehow even less beast than Tin Man, if only because he has a better jawline than almost every human I know. The assignment here was to hide the contestants’ hotness, not make an extra-chiseled, tastefully hunky version of an inanimate lawn ornament.
And finally, we have not one but two separate versions of an old lady attempting entry into the beast canon. The Troll is just a run-of-the-mill elderly lass, and the Witch? You’re not going to convince me any living being who looks like she shops at Erewhon and uses OnlyFans for synastry content is any flavor of beast. Hard no.
If this is season one with a buffet o’ beasts at production’s disposal, imagine what a season two with slimmer pickings may have in store. With bated breath and the sheer knowledge that there are 13 distinct breeds of guinea pig alone, we can’t help but remain optimistic about mankind’s ability to continue innovating in these times of extreme adversity.