‘Sex/Life’ is pretty awful, and not in the ‘so bad that it’s good’ way

A still from ‘Sex/ Life’  

There are different kinds of comfort watches. You could channel your standard-issue '90s blockbuster sans Jeff Goldblum (sigh) into The Tomorrow War , or you could have some zombie fun with a Snyder-style extended music video with Army of the Dead... or you could watch beautiful people swap spit and other body fluids over eight episodes of Sex/Life.

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Sex/Life is pretty awful — and not in the “so bad it is good” kind of awful. It is just truly terrible, with embarrassingly bad acting, a wafer-thin storyline and toe-curling writing. Okay, even if you are not looking at the Netflix show to better your mind, the sex scenes do not really work. They are vaguely monotonous, and while Billie’s (Sarah Shahi) moans would surely wake up the dead, they do not generate much heat. 

Inspired by BB Easton’s novel (really?), 44 Chapters About 4 Men, Sex/Life tells the story of Billie who has given up her wild child days to play happy families with her perfect husband, Cooper (Mike Vogel). She lives in a perfect house in the suburbs with her two perfect children, Hudson (slightly creepy) and Ellery. 

  • Episodes: 8
  • Run time: 43 to 52 minutes
  • Creator: Stacy Rukeyser
  • Starring: Sarah Shahi, Mike Vogel, Adam Demos, Margaret Odette, Jonathan Sadowski, Amber Goldfarb, Li Jun Li
  • Storyline: A bored housewife spices up her life with memories of her ex-boyfriend

Feeling neglected by Cooper, Billie starts writing a diary remembering hot sex with her ex-boyfriend, Brad (Adam Demos). Cooper reads Billie’s diary and gets full on jealous and goes to checks out the competition in that infamous shower scene (it definitely HAS to be a prosthetic). Sasha (Margaret Odette) is Billie’s best friend and Brad’s part-time lover. There is Cooper’s boss, Francesca (Li Jun Li) who has feelings for him. Meanwhile, Cooper’s friend Devon (Jonathan Sadowski) and his wife Trina (Amber Goldfarb) suggest an orgy as a way to spice things up — that can never go wrong.

While that other famous diarist of pop culture, Bridget Jones, lent an entire lexicon to a generation from singletons to commitment-phobes and a whole lot of unprintables in between, Billie’s excursions into purple prose are excruciating to put it mildly. This is a show that goes nowhere. Billie, from episode one to episode eight, has not moved an inch forward or backward. She and the characters around her are all stuck in the same circle of hell where all bad writing goes to die.

There isn’t a great reveal for Brad’s reason to break it off with Billie. It was not a drug deal gone bad, nor is Brad abducted by aliens; he is just a jerk and continues to be a jerk albeit with good hair and an odd gait — maybe said prosthetic is to blame . 

Even the jobs are such a cliché. Brad owns a record label (is that even a thing these days) and drives a mean bike. Billie and Sasha studied psychology in university. Sasha is now a hotshot psychologist while Billie gave up her PhD to be a Stepford wife. Cooper wears a suit and carries a briefcase and does some obscure job in the city. How cool it would have been if Cooper was a super spy like Harry Tasker (Schwarzenegger) in True Lies. Cooper could have terrified the living daylights out of Brad just like Harry does to Bill Paxton’s Simon. 

As none of that will ever happen in this over-heated show, all you can do is marvel at the beautiful house and Billie’s lovely, white nightdresses, while she has a cupcake meltdown in front of an erstwhile tattoo parlour.

Sex/Life is currently streaming on Netflix


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Printable version | Sep 27, 2021 10:53:02 AM |

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