The word “furries” is currently trending in the United States, and it’s all thanks to a new Netflix dating program called Sexy Beasts, a reality TV show in which singles try to find love while wearing ghoulish makeup and prosthetics so that they’d look like animals and other, well, beasts. From dolphins to devils, this vehicle, narrated by comedian Rob Delaney, intends to find out whether miscellaneous 20- and 30-somethings can ignore facial features and focus on what’s on the inside.
Of course, this would require the contestants to completely ignore the fact that they all have slammin’ bodies that simple owl makeup can’t really obscure, but sure... personality!
“So y’all canceled Grand-Army for THIS!??” asked one irate Instagram user. Perhaps. Hey, prosthetics don’t come cheap.
But back to furries, the community of people who dress up, create art, and interact online (and IRL) as their fursona, the anthropomorphic animal rendering that they believe best represents them. Early online chatter has (mostly jokingly) concluded that this show is the furry agenda in action, with various iterations of “The furries have won” making the rounds. A cursory glance on Twitter shows some pushback to the program, with people—furry and otherwise—bemused not by the weirdness of this reality TV premise, but rather its refusal to just make a dating show about furries: “Why can’t we just do a dating show with furries so it doesn’t look like some fucking Wes Anderson mushroom trip”; “Just hire furries to do your fucking costume work for you”; “it’s definitely not part of the furry agenda cause if it was, theyd have better costumes than that”; “Netflix could’ve saved a lot of money and time by just gathering a bunch of furries. they come with their own costumes, and 95% of them are single”; “We’ve been doing this as furries for years, this is nothing new!”
Some, however, appear to be truly offended by Sexy Beasts, even likening it to appropriation of furry subculture. Cartoonist TBSkyen tweeted, “this trailer feels more like it has ‘ha ha animal people are weird lmao look at this shit’ freakshow premise.” But this feels like as much of a mockery of “animal people” and “furries” as The Masked Singer does, which is to say, not much of a mockery at all. It would be one thing if Sexy Beasts’ participants were wearing the kind of fursuits popularized within the furry community. They’re decidedly not, as evidenced by this all-too-realistic beaver look.
This isn’t a show about furries, and it’s certainly not a show for furries either. So who is this terrifying reality show for? It’s for people who couldn’t stomach The Masked Singer after Sarah Palin’s cameo but want something else to watch while they wait for the next season of the chaotic Netflix dating show Love Is Blind, in which a bunch of hot singles go on speed dates which allow them to talk to one another but prevents them from seeing each other.
But did Love is Blind include a woman with panda makeup asking a curly-haired bull if he has health insurance? I don’t think so.
So for those who want a reality dating show with a terrifying and unsettling twist, Sexy Beasts airs on July 21.