Given that this isn't a commercial blog, I've been refusing a few "offers" recently (advertise an escort service on my blog? Er, no thanks...). But I just couldn't resist the chance to preview a series called Sex: How To Do Everything (starring Em and Lo - no, I don't know either, but TD recognised the names). And so I settled down to watch episode one. That is to say, I had to attack the link with multiple tabs in Firefox and IE, download QuickTime twice, view the HTML source of the secret page to find the direct link to the movie and watch it in a separate window and kill all the other running processes in order to watch it. But hey, I watched it. So here's the review.
Sex: How To Do Everything is a programme which appears to be a blend of a few things - it's not exactly a show about how to have sex, it doesn't actually show much sex and it's not really one of those shows that have people talking about sex (like The Sex Show on L!VE TV in the '90s), rather it's a crossover of all those things and a few more bits. In fact, it's more of a variety show than anything else, held together by one common theme. No prizes, of course.
On the whole, a big plus point for the programme is that it is presented extremely well. The opening credits are nicely done and the programme occasionally snaps to some quick softcore snaps of a couple who are allegedly having sex. The woman's pulled faces are amazing. The music, depending on what's on screen at the time, lurches from porn-stylée "snapping" music to classical music intoned by string quartets. The studio is bright and colourful and has a giant screen showing revolving background images of sex (er, presumably if you forget what the show's about, or something) and everything's done very nicely. Em and Lo themselves make for presenters who are both attractive and likeable, and - of course - they are sex experts (that's what the caption says, "Em & Lo - Sex Experts," so it's got to be true) who clearly have a lot of knowledge in their field. For style, it gets ten points.
The format of the programme appears to be rather haphazard, but there are clearly some things which are constant (although, having seen only one episode, it's hard to predict things exactly). The programme picks an aspect of sex - episode one is my absolute favourite, oral sex - and shapes its featurettes around it. We have helpful diagrams of how to do it, "Em & Lo's Confessional Booth" (a cheesy, but amusing, attempt to get random people to confess their darkest sexual secrets), random street interviews (the type where you see a microphone in front of a person and they're saying a line, about... well... oral sex, in this case) and debates about the topic. Personally, I don't think these work, as Em and Lo are debating against each other and it's clearly line recitation... and neither of them are that good at acting, actually. But all the little bits, an odd mix as they may be, are handles well, with lots of humour, sensitivity, and an air of not trying too hard to take anything seriously. And the voice of the voiceover guy is strangely comforting, for some odd reason.
The programme also features a very sweet couple named as Georgie and Dougie (what would they call their child? Maggie?) who are 'roving reporters' - er, yes, really - exploring... well... things to do, I suppose. This episode had Georgie visiting a 'sex educator' - named Midori, which is actually Japanese for 'green' - and learning some blowjob techniques, then using them on Dougie. This section sounds pretty embarrassing, but it's not really. In fact, this was one of the best sections, with a good selection of music, a genuine sexually active couple who suited each other and genuine real sex going on. Georgie's voice is irritating, but I'm sure she means well.
The strangest thing about this programme as a whole, however, has to be the fact that they have special guests on the show who, following a featurette about what they do, appear on a sofa chatting informally to Em and Lo. In episode one this was an artist (whose name escapes me at the moment) who specialised in unusual art, and this includes - naturally - taking plaster casts of girls' vaginas. It's so obvious when you think about it, really. We had a short story of a girl who was nervous about what her vagina looked like, went to this guy, got a cast made and picked her own one out on her first try when looking at the finished product, and then we are back in the studio, the artist relaxing on a sofa with a rather gratuitous clinical psychologist next to him. The next guest, pictured, was a man who had mastered the art of giving himself blowjobs, and he seemed like a genuinely pleasant person. Not only did we have him talking freely about how to suck oneself off, we also had a video of him doing it, cock and all - so no censorship on this show; that's a good thing. But still, it appears to be a talk show during these bits, and that's disturbing, although I'm not sure why.
And that's the programme, in a very large nutshell.
Do I have any criticisms? Well, yes I do, but they're not so much critical as they are confused. It's difficult to see exactly which audience this is aimed at. It's clearly aimed at sexually active people, but that eliminates the catchall element of programmes like Sexcetera (which is nowhere near as good, but at least it's universally accessible), but of what age bracket? It's likely to go over the heads of experimenting teenagers and be scoffed at by people aged 35+, so it's for a rather specific niche. Horny young people surfing late-night channels may be disappointed, as it's actually people talking about sex rather than doing it (unlike in Kira Reed's documentary-which-I-wish-I-could-remember-the-name-of, which has a lovely softcore sex scene in every episode). It's also difficult to see which country it's aimed at; I'm not entirely sure a UK market would lap it up, but it's too intelligent for a US market.
It's a US-style show, as well, with four (FOUR!) advert breaks per episode and a "New York vs. London" slot of the street interviews. But at the end the UK's Channel 5 logo makes an unexpected appearance, which makes me wonder if this is due for a UK release or if it's at all international.
So, yes. This programme appears to have only a very vague direction and if it were any shorter, it wouldn't work. But as it is, it's worth a watch, bcause it's funny, smart, accurate and - best of all - unashamed about the fact it's talking about sex. It manages to do all the stuff it wants do to without being trashy at all, and for that I applaud it. And, as I said before, it's presented ridiculously well. If you're a fan of this type of programme, then you should give it a watch because it's fresh and new, and definitely the best of the crop.
If you'd like to see it now, you'd evidently have to pay - there's a link here if you want to do that. Personally I'd wait until it's out on TV, but why not link, just in case you want to sample an episode?