So I knew it was going to be bad, possibly even really fucking BAD but I couldn't have guessed how godawful sad it would be. And depressing in a way that not even reading Jean Rhys after you've had a few drinks can be. So depressing, in fact, that right now I'm actually hanging myself from the ceiling fan with a pair of old stockings. And I don't even have a ceiling fan.
Yes, I'm talking about the insanly terrible TV show How to Have Sex After Marriage. Which should come with a razor blade and/or a picture of Milo Ventimiglia with his shirt off, in case you should a)decide it's just not worth it after all, b)wish to regain the desire to live.
Clearly the name of the show tells it all: This Is Shit, but I couldn't resist. I just couldn't. It had been a long day. I'd finished my book. It was on after Ladette to Lady. I was tired damnit.
What the name doesn't tell you about the program the title sequence does: all ridiculous moaning noises that nobody in the history of sex has ever made and words like 'foreplay' and 'orgasm' floating onscreen in large print with such cold precision they render both the words and the acts they describe about as erotic as a small kitten doing a shit on your chest. Permanently.
Next, and I say this for the benefit of those lucky fuckers who didn't stay up to watch it, the couple of the episode are asked to rate each other on emotion(?), sex and looks. Out of ten. And they're, well, how should I say it? They're not that nice. Coming about ten minutes in I figured this must be the worst part of the show (it wasn't) - it had to be (it wasn't). And the mind boggles because I could not imagine WHO THE FUCK would honestly want his or her partner to deliver this kind of cold hearted assessment? Psychopaths, that's who. Feeling okay about your soft bits are you? Wait until you see your partner holding up a "2" for appearance and see how good you feel then, eh. About as happy as the poor saddos in this show, actually. 0So, unsurprisingly, this spirit-crushing venture... well it crushes the spirits of the participants, rendering them soft play-do-like characters who can then be rebuilt in the image of the show's creators.
Which means it's time for the hideous life coaching bit in which a shrill hyena of a woman attempts to patronise the unfortuante bint of the couple into submission. "You're an amazing woman," the hyenna tells the woman she met twenty minutes earlier. "You are beautiful and strong and sexy". Whatev. And did I mention she has the eyes of a cold-hearted killer?
The saddest bit is that at the heart of the show there are some basic truths: men and women do often miscommunicate. Men and women do often have different attitudes to sex. Otherwise good relationships can be ruined by bad ideas about sex and a complete lack of communication. Blah blah blah. But all of that is covered with some sort of ridiculous shlock in which relationship woes are smoothed over with a bit of slap, a suit and some painful (not even like that) attempts at bondage. Uh huh.
It also has a surprisingly high Ew factor in which two guys with rictus smiles are made to watch as some random women demonstrates oral sex techniques which are, she claims "30 years in the making". Jesus Christ. I tell you, you've not lived until you've seen this woman fiddling about with a plastic model of female genitals. And again in theory, or on paper, it's not the worst thing in the world. It's even vaguely sensible and instructive, maybe, but... really? This is what we've come to is it? A plastic model? The end result is that sex, in this show, reduced to a piece of latex, two blushing men and some fake moaning of the top of some bad music is all about as much fun as watching a porno with your creepy Uncle.
And I did I mention the use and abuse of my favourite phrase in the world "make love"? Bleh. Do yourself a favour and watch it next week: your own sex life will never look so good.