According to Netflix’s new blind dating show, Sexy Beasts, looks aren’t everything – yet beauty is still skin deep on television, according to experts. The show, which debuted on Wednesday, is the most recent in a long line of gimmick–driven dating shows. In this scenario, participants’ features are disguised by ultra-realistic prosthetics, making them appear to be diverse animals or mythical creatures when they meet for dates.
Sexy Beasts, like former Netflix success Love is Blind and the 1965 ABC series The Dating Game, in which players were separated by a partition, aims to persuade viewers that appearances don’t have to be a role when falling in love. Three experts believe that’s just a beautiful notion that hides truths about dating psychology, television regulations, and even how pop culture deals with race.
According to Cheryl Thompson, an assistant professor at Ryerson University’s School of Creative Industries in Toronto, the renewed practise might be a reaction to the impression that reality television is manufactured. “When you watch a program like The Bachelor, you know that the very good-looking blond is going to win,” Thompson explained. “So it’s… attempting to dispel the notion that the show is shallow and that, no, no, these individuals are truly falling for each other and aren’t making their selection just based on their appearance.”
However, Jessica O’Reilly, a Toronto-based sexologist and podcast presenter, told that hiding a contestant’s face, as Sexy Beasts does, does not eliminate the possibility of judging someone based on physical characteristics. Sexy Beasts layers on the makeup and prosthetics, but just on their faces: candidates still get to see each other in person, talk in close proximity, and acquire a sense of one other’s physical demeanor.