Did the controversial “Sex Box” turn on viewers? All signs point to a less than satisfying performance.
In WE tv’s latest reality show, the title is the concept. Couples have sex in front of a live audience -- though unseen inside a camera-free, soundproof cube because otherwise it’s porn -- and then emerge to have a post-coital discussion with a panel of sex shrinks.
With each episode featuring three couples, Friday’s premiere looked to tap into our obsession with faux-hardcore kink (thanks “Fifty Shades Of Grey”).
But anyone looking for “Fifty Shades"-like buzz -- or a “Sharknado"-like outpouring -- came to the wrong box. There wasn’t much chatter on social media during the show’s premiere.
Most of the show’s preshow Twitter hype came from, surprise, famous reality show personalities. Kenya Moore, Natalie Nunn, Jai Rodriguez, Brandi Glanville and Patti Stranger all plugged the show.
But many of those who were watching online seemed to find the proceedings either amusing or boring.
“What in the hell?,” wrote @lindsaycoffta, who branded the show as hastag “crazy.”
Viewer @TheGeneralList admitted the show wasn’t “as exciting” as he’d hoped but watched the entire episode.
“Sex Box” didn’t impress critics, either.
Times TV critic Robert Llyod wrote in his review: “Nothing will be said here that hasn’t been said on television before, to or by Dr. Drew or Dr. Ruth or, in a dirtier way, to Jerry Springer. Less will be shown than on “Big Brother,” countless dating shows or any random hour of MTV. Indeed, younger viewers may be surprised to learn that sex therapy is also available off the air, just as older ones might automatically dismiss this televised experiment in ratings improvement as phony, gross and undignified.”
“Watching it is kind of like bad sex — the clock watching, the profound embarrassment, the desire to check your email,” said the New York Times.
And according to Salon, “Like almost all reality television, “Sex Box” wants to be provocative, but not too provocative; vaguely laudatory, but not truly groundbreaking,”
Others were excited by “Sex Box,” but not in a good way.
The show, which originated on Britain’s Channel 4, outraged the Parents Television Council, a conservative media watchdog group.
The group gathered more than 38,000 signatures on a petition urging the network to reconsider airing the series, which they characterize as a “live sex show.”
“Most cable subscribers do not elect to bring WE tv into their homes, let alone Sex Box. It is forced on us as part of the cable bundle,” the group wrote in a letter. “It is fundamentally unfair to force cable subscribers to pay for content that offends their sensibilities and violates their conscience just so they can have access to the channels and content they do want to watch. Yes, we can change the channel. Yes, we can even block the channel. But at the end of the day, a portion of our cable bill is still going to underwrite Sex Box. And that’s wrong.”