Sexy Beasts - Behind Netflix's Wild Dating Show

Sexy Beasts - Behind Netflix's Wild Dating Show

Nov 29, 2022, 7:34:22 AM Entertainment

Radek Sienski of Sexy Beasts

When asked what the most important quality in a romantic partner is, most people say “a good sense of humor” or “someone who accepts me for me” but how many of us mean that with sincerity? With a deluge of superficial dating shows ranging from The Bachelor to F-Boy Island, Sexy Beasts takes the premise of disregarding the superficial into a whole new realm. Narrated by Rob Delaney (BAFTA and Primetime Emmy Nominee for the comedy series Catastrophe), Sexy Beasts takes physical appearance off the menu for couples who profess that they are actually in search of real connection that is more than skin deep. This Netflix series features couples who meet and date while wearing state-of-the-art Hollywood makeup and prosthetics for interactions that exist purely on personality and charm. For this series that truly aspired to establish itself as something unique from the din of other dating shows, the production utilized the editing expertise of Radek Sienski (known for his work on the BAFTA Nominated and BAFTA Award-Winning Series First Dates). Sienski’s reputation as a professional who illuminates the humanity of any story made him the perfect editor for a concept which skillfully misdirected emphasis on the surface in search of the core root.

Sexy Beasts 2

William Blake’s famed quote, “The Road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom” is apropos when considering Sexy Beasts. A drastically different approach to dating shows, this production nullifies aesthetics by making them unavoidable. Participants in the show are given the full Hollywood treatment by elite makeup artists who provide their faces with the appearances of such creatures as a lion, dolphin, panda, alien, ogre, and many others. After an initial meeting for drinks to establish any chemistry, an activity date provides expanded opportunities before an eventual reveal of each person’s actual appearance. While these creature masks provide almost limitless variations and points of interest for viewers, it also requires creative forces behind the show to stay focused on the main theme. Radek confides, “I have to be very conscious when editing it to always give it an overarching sense of purpose and structure, to remember at all times we are watching a date and two people potentially falling in love with each other. It’s very tempting to run with the humor and forget about everything else, but it’s my job to make sure that each story has a proper narrative arc that viewers will find satisfying. In a way it’s totally opposite to how I would normally approach the edit. Usually I start with structure first and pepper in humorous elements later. With this, I start with humor because it’s at the forefront of it so much and then make sure that it works narratively. It was very rewarding and refreshing to work on something that is different, and through many iterations before it reached its final form, I helped the show to find its own language when so many other shows feel the same.

Comedy is tethered to every aspect of Sexy Beasts whether it’s overt or not. Seeing contestants as animals at the zoo with perplexed onlookers, watching a beaver and leopard sculpt ice while one tries to exhibit his well sculpted sinewy frame, or any number of other never-before-seen dating situations elicits as many jokes as it possesses. The eventual catharsis is made all the more pleasing by this as Mr. Sienski tells, “My favorite part of the show are the actual reveals where we see the real faces of contestants. It allows us to see and study them for the first time and often is surprisingly emotional! By not seeing their faces for such a long time during each episode, the final section feels very human and way more intense. It allowed me to really take viewers by surprise and deliver an emotional punch to end each episode on a high that makes you want to watch more. These were my favorite sections to edit on the show as I love dealing with genuine human emotions.”

Sexy Beasts seasons one and two are available on Netflix.


Published by Pooja Agarwal

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