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Once upon a time on TV, married couples slept in separate beds.

Now they share the same bed, right on stage before a live audience. Only they're not sleeping.

Welcome to Sex Box on the WE channel, a show in which, well, people have sex. In a box.

New episodes of the hour-long, TV 14-rated show air at 9 p.m. Fridays, with frequent repeats (full episodes online at WEtv.com).

"Tonight three couples in crisis with nowhere else to turn will take part in the most radical therapy ever seen on television," a narrator says in the debut episode. "Guided by three of the nation's leading sex and relationship experts, these couples are about to bare it all. Confessions will be made. Secrets revealed. And lives changed. All by having sex in this box in front of a live studio audience!"

Sound titillating?

It's not. We predict the only people who will get hot and bothered by Sex Box will be the Parents TV Council advocacy group, petitioning the show -- based on a British series with the same name -- for "pandering to the lowest common denominator."

No nudity is shown. No anything is shown or even heard. The Box is not only opaque, it's soundproof. Action is limited to people complaining and a panel (pastor Yvonne Capehart, Hollywood psychotherapist Fran Walfish and sex therapist Chris Donahue) dropping psycho-babble.

Donahue attempts to legitimize The Box activity as something bigger than a ratings gimmick, telling couples: "When you come out, your oxytocin is going to be high and you're going to be at your most honest and your most vulnerable."

First up are Elle and Brandon. Married less than a year, they're having unsatisfying sex (well, meek Elle is; selfish, always-joking Brandon seems perfectly happy). They discuss their issues with the experts and then go into The Box, while the panel continues to yammer. Some 17 minutes and 29 seconds later (yes, they're being timed), the red glowing light turns blue, which means the couple is coming out. They emerge sheepishly, as will the others, in satin pajamas.

The panel seems overjoyed that Brandon (who Elle rates a 7.9 on the scale of 1 to 10) was more attentive. Brandon (who rates himself an 8.8) is always overjoyed with Brandon. The pastor remarks, "I now believe there's much hope for them."

But we at home are not convinced. Seventeen minutes doesn't seem like all that long to take off microphones, disrobe, tango and put on clothes, when we can barely get ourselves dressed in that amount of time. Also, Elle's hair and makeup still look perfect.

Besides, we have other concerns on our mind. Um, no showers before they come back out to speak? Gross. And just how thoroughly is The Box disinfected before the next couple's foray?

Speaking of the next couple, it's sexually adventurous Dyson and Rebecca, who claim to have participated in "threesomes, foursomes, moresomes." Deciding after 10 years of marriage Rebecca isn't enough woman for him (really? But her bra size has got to be a triple-Q!), he wants another partner to join them permanently. That's when we learn a new word: thruple: n. a three-way relationship. Rebecca's not down for a thruple because they already have a throng -- young children at home (who will surely need therapy after their parents' appearance on Sex Box). Also, Dyson admits to being a lazy lover, to which the pastor asks, "If you can't [have] enough energy with one woman, why do you want two?"

After their 26 minutes and 41 seconds in The Box, everything is all better. No, it's not. Dyson says, "I can't guarantee that," about his not pursuing another partner. To the relief of the panel, they sort-of agree temporarily not to thruple, which makes us predict this union will certainly uncouple.

Last are Alicia and Chris. Alicia no longer feels like getting her freak on since having a baby. But after a chat with the panel, the couple stays an episode record of 31 minutes and 49 seconds in The Box. They agree to more compromise and romance.

And the Sex Box experience must have been effective for them because the couple made a follow-up announcement since the taping: "We are having another baby!" Which makes the audience at home go, "Awww!"

Which then makes the audience at home go, "Ewww!"

Was the child -- gulp -- conceived in The Box?

The email box:

jchristman@arkansasonline.com

Spin Cycle is a weekly smirk at pop culture.

Style on 03/08/2015

Print Headline: Sex in a box while America watches? WE find it boring

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