‘Sexy Beasts’ in ‘The Masked Singer’ makeup up ‘The Dating Game’

In each episode, a participant in heavy prosthetic makeup is presented with three potential matches, each equally dressed in different guises. The idea is for the selector to get to know the candidates without being swayed by the looks (Netflix really likes this construction) before he and the audience get to see how The Bachelor/Bachelor really looks. Huh.

Like other Netflix dating entries, this British-origin show also has a cheeky narrator that offers different sides. When one of the non-selected contenders is presented without makeup, the disjointed voice asks, “Is this face so hot that Emma regrets her decision?”

But wait, there’s an inherent deceit in the format, also lacking the boldness of its thin conceit, because everyone — stripped of their prosthetic tools — is attractive by traditional standards and people of the genre. In one episode, the Bachelorette announces that she is a model, and is not wearing a sackcloth, so the dice roll’s bets on whether she looks fine once the mask is removed are not gambling.

So what does that leave? A show deliberately designed to attract attention, which has been successful in the past. In reality TV, it’s okay to make fun of a concept as long as you get the name right, and 15 minutes of fame is always worth it, even if it means donning the cumbersome makeup equivalent that Tim Curry called “Legend.” I was wearing.

“Fboy Island” employs a similar strategy of transforming an existing format, with a provocative title representing another permutation on “The Bachelor”. Later this month, the concept features three women choosing potential mates from a collection of two dozen contestants, divided into “Nice Guys”—those looking for a real love affair—and “Fboys,” who are after something else.

The supposed viability of the dating formula is illustrated by the way that networks and services keep churning out such shows — stripping them with short strands of new DNA — yielding a bountiful harvest that currently includes a second season. “Love Island” on CBS.

If programming executives can keep wooing audiences with such minor tussles over familiar topics, it’s hard to blame them. Still, for those who are discriminating at all — or at least prefer that a show doesn’t have much of a premise — the main regret after “Sexy Beasts”‘ decision to waste more time watching it. Will happen.

“Sexy Beasts” premieres on Netflix on July 21.


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