Get out the sanitizer, WEtv introduces 'Sex Box'

Wednesday, 25 February 2015 09:25 AM Written by 

Sex box

As certain as death and taxes, the PTC is caterwauling over WEtv's "Sex Box" (10 p.m. Friday), an admittedly ridiculous, attention-grabbing concept for a TV therapy show, but despite the title, no sex is shown on TV (and it's not a "live sex show," as PTC claims in one release).

People do discuss their sex lives and relationships, and while I wouldn't let a child watch the show, there's no reason to decry the cable airing of a program that at root is about interpersonal communication just because it involves sex. (One caveat: If the 10 p.m. East Coast airing means the show is on at 9 p.m. Central/Mountain, or worse, 7 p.m. West Coast if the East Coast feed is available via satellite service like DirecTV (and I think this is the case), then WEtv does have some explaining to do because the series does include frank conversation about sex acts.)

That said, "Sex Box" is a ridiculous tease, and there are better reasons to object to the show.

Read more after the jump. ...

First off, production elements of "Sex Box" are over-the-top and silly, from unwarranted, pulsating music to the announcer's claim that viewers will see "the most radical therapy ever shown on television." To its credit, "Sex Box" is not dull despite being a talky show, but it's also unclear how many times viewers can watch this before the relationship issues gets repetitive. As for the "therapy," it's pretty shallow and fleeting.

In the one-hour premiere, three couples discuss the state of their relationships and get interrogated/advised by Beverly Hills psychotherapist/apparent plastic surgery victim Fran Walfish, sex therapist Chris Donaghue and pastor/couples' counselor Yvonne Capehart.

The first couple featured in a review screener, Elle and Brandon, share details of their relationship in a taped piece and then come out on stage where Brandon is taken to task for his selfish behavior in the sack. After that, the pair is sent into the Sex Box, a separated room on stage that pulses red when couples are inside it (and then turns white when they emerge).

Donaghue says the advisers would love to come to their bedroom with them but they can't (why not?) so the Sex Box is the next best thing because after sex couples are more open, vulnerable and honest. That's a pretty thin justification for the gimmick of this show and Donaghue repeats it to each couple so that by the end of one episode it sounds a lot like "the doctor doth protest too much."

Once a couple enters the Sex Box, a clock is started and the docs discuss the relationship further while Elle and Brandon get it on. After 17 minutes, the pair emerge and, what a shock, after being chastised, Brandon was more giving.

The second couple, Rebecca and Dyson, are at an impasse because he wants to open their relationship to a third member to become a throuple, which appalls Capehart, the pastor. Rebecca says she wouldn't mind except for the fact that they have kids. After their time in the Sex Box, Dyson agrees to wait a year before entertaining the notion of a throuple again, which seems to satisfy the advisers, though it's not clear why just kicking the can down the road is a win.

The third couple, Alexia and Christopher, are having issues because they have a baby and Alexia is no longer interested in sex. After their time in the Sex Box (31 minutes, the longest of the three), she's less squeeged out about sex with her husband and Donaghue declares, "The Sex Box was really able to help you find that compromise."

The notion that everything is hunky dory after a proverbial roll in the hay and a few minutes of counseling is patently absurd, but that's what "Sex Box" would have viewers believe, which is a public disservice by creating unrealistic expectations.

"Sex Box" also has man-on-the-street interveiw segments that are played for laughs, but the show's more glaring oversight is that viewers never get to see inside the Sex Box. Presumably there's a bed -- pity the poor production assistant tasked with changing the sheets -- but is there a sink? A shower? The Sex Box is full of mystery but the show itself grows predictable even in its first episode.

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