You’d think I’d have learned my lesson from “Sex Dwarf,” but no. No, friends. When I saw mention of the show “Sex Box” in the Twitter feed of one of The Daily Beast’s entertainment writers, I had no choice but to Google it. (His article about the program is so full of giddy double entendres it almost makes learning this show existed seem worthwhile.) What I discovered is an idea dredged from the stygian depths of my nightmares.
The initial run of the show was in the United Kingdom, which makes me think that “Black Mirror” wasn’t so much a sci-fi anthology series as some kind of clairvoyant documentary. It’s now burrowed its way to this side of the pond. Its premise is that after having sex people are flooded with oxytocin, a feel-good brain chemical that makes them more emotionally open and honest. Thus, troubled couples agree to have sex in a sound-proof on-stage box, after which they emerge and discuss their difficulties with a panel of sex and relationship experts.
In front of a live studio audience.
There is literally nothing about this show I find less than horrifying. Enclosing myself in a box for the purposes of getting busy while an audience outside waits around knowing what I’m up to? Appalling. (Given that I can think of no more anti-priapic a set of circumstances than the ones surrounding entry into that godforsaken box, I fear I’d be forced to admit a lack of success upon exiting. I would rather commit Japanese ritual suicide.) Chatting about my relationship with TV experts? Ghastly. Knowing that anyone (my coworkers, my mother, jerks I’d hated in high school, etc.) could tune in to watch? Mortifying. All of this while being forced to wear satin pajamas emblazoned with the words “SEXBOX” on the pectoral? No thanks.
And this is to say nothing of the hair-raising aftermath, when any trip to the grocery store held the potential to be accosted by random strangers (or, worse, people I know) saying “Hey, didn’t I see you on that TV sex show?” I’d have no choice but to bludgeon myself to death with a canned good.
I’m not here to judge, and it seems that people who’ve actually appeared on the show say it did them good. Kudos to them. For my part, volunteering to be chum for the next “Shark Week” would be preferable.
So that’s this week’s (admittedly now quite sporadic) Question — if you were to design a reality program perfectly fitted to your screaming nightmares, what would it be? If Allen Funt and Beelzebub were to collude on a show to torture you, what would it look like? What details and nuances would make it fittingly hellish?