Review: Sex/Life

SURELY THIS MUCH SEX GOES AGAINST SOME KIND OF STREAMING GUIDELINES?

By Arianna Khalidi

Straight off the bat - this was one of the worst shows I’ve ever watched. Morally it could out-worse any Harry Styles Wattpad fanfiction. While watching it, there was a glimmer of redemption, which was ultimately rooted in the principle of family. But whoever wrote this shit decided to fuck that up and change that in the last 3 minutes of the entire show. 

*Warning - Spoilers Ahead (but it doesn't matter because the show is terrible)*

I’ll be walking you through Sex/Life, the trending show on Netflix that—you guessed it— explores the balance between sex and life. It follows the life of Billie Connelly, a successful woman who is pursuing her PhD in New York City. During this, she spends a good amount of time having sex and going to parties with her friend Sasha. Throughout, we follow Billie who now has a family consisting of two children and an incredibly established husband. The show includes many flashbacks to her life when she was younger and in love with a record label owning hunk, Brad, who has stepped back into her life in the present. From there, Billie becomes horny and almost ruins her marriage. Take what you will from that.

Going off surface-level judgement, I thought this might have been another rendition of something like 365 Days, and I was pleasantly surprised when I found out it wasn’t. My initial thoughts of the show were:

  1. Is this dubbed?

  2. Quality is lacking.

  3. Oh, this isn’t dubbed.

  4. Surely this much sex goes against some kind of streaming guidelines?

The Shitfuckery Begins.

From memory, we are introduced to the story and the entire plot through Billie and her extremely private journal that she keeps on Microsoft Word on a laptop without a password. I should’ve stopped watching there. Although she has a husband, Cooper, who is an intelligent, caring, ambitious guy, Billie finds herself fantasising about her ex-boyfriend and their sexual endeavours. 

In the first half of this show, there was a conversation that could be appreciated, believe it or not. We get an idea of what it is like to transition from being a person who lives independently to being a mother with responsibilities which sometimes requires you to sacrifice a particular lifestyle. Billie reflects on her younger self who lived a ‘wild’ life which she enjoyed and felt fulfilled in. It was a valuable insight into how women feel postpartum. The confusion and frustration in identity is a pressing issue that I’m sure many mothers experience as their lifestyle dramatically changes. Billie chose to defer her PhD studies and dedicate her time to her children that she loves dearly, yet as a result, she feels as though she is not completely content with who she is. 

We revisit this conversation often in the show, and I would have been happy if they actually acted on it, but that’s when Brad comes in…

Firstly, I want to say that when I found out Brad had an Aussie accent, it took every fibre in my body not to stop watching the show. It was an incredibly jarring experience of watching and hearing an Australian amongst strong American personalities. The man is also potentially the worst actor that has ever disgraced my screen. Adam Demos only had one expression the entire show, and his delivery was atrocious. The only thing worse was who he was portraying... Brad Simon, a playboy with daddy issues who pursued a career which he hoped would attract his attention. Within the show and through the flashbacks, we are exposed to not only incredibly graphic sex scenes, but also how toxic the relationship he had with Billie was. Brad would attempt to push Billie away with low blow comments about her past and current life, always ending in “I don’t love you, I never will”. Classic... He proceeds to resist supporting her when she falls pregnant with his baby and cheat on her after her miscarriage. But apparently, all Billie needs to hear to forgive him is, “give me a second chance,” or alternatively, he can finger her and redeem himself that way. 

The Shitfuckery Continues.

If that doesn’t do it for you, Brad continues to sleep with her best friend, Sasha, and films their intercourse for Billie to watch without any consent from Sasha herself. Brad just can’t respect that Billie has a family and continues to pursue her after she has rejected him multiple times. Whilst this is all occurring, Billie continues to write in her electronic journal about her sexual fantasies with Brad, and inevitably, her husband Cooper finds out. Instead of spinning out, he jerks off to one of her entries and later tries to make more of an effort to satisfy her sexually. Although Billie consistently cheats on him emotionally, Cooper only tries to better himself. What was bothersome to me was when Billie was asked whether she loved him, she insisted yes and pleaded with him to trust her. 

The show makes one final desperate attempt at having substance during a scene where Cooper stands up for his wife, once again, and defends her and their marriage. Regardless, in the story, Billie seemingly chooses Cooper in the end. She chooses her family and the man who she “wakes up happy next to every morning”. He’s the full package, and she becomes content with him, their family, and their improved lifestyle. I was ecstatic when she denied Brad a relationship. To me, it was recognising her worth and realising that she could not be promised stability in life. He would only be able to scratch her insatiable itch for sex. Considering his tendencies to walk out of her life at any inconvenience or even get considerably violent, she was making the better decision. 

The Shitfuckery NEVER Ends.

Why would you think there would be any logic in this conclusion? Of course, there’s no way to balance sex and life. You have to choose one or the other apparently. So in a speech delivered by Sasha, her best friend during a book launch, she offers the advice she didn’t think to offer Billie during the months her life was falling apart. And only during this moment, Billie realises she needs to be railed. So she leaves her husband and kids, goes to Brad, and says, “I’m still with my husband, this changes nothing.” And then she has sex with him, and the show then ends.

We are left with the idea that Billie and Cooper potentially adopted a polyamorous approach in their relationship as Cooper pursues a woman he very expectedly denies the advances of throughout the show. Regardless, it cancels out any character development or progressive conversation instantly. 

Bringing It All Home.

All this being said, I think exploring sex and life through the lens of a woman is extremely important and, frankly, a conversation that needs to be had. This show had an opportunity to do that. However, instead, they chose to position an emotionally abusive relationship at the centre of it. The inconsistencies in Brad’s character were only ever detrimental to Billie. He possessed no respect for any of her decisions that weren’t relative to himself. Brad’s past is no justification for how he treats women as well as how he approaches life. Something similar can be said for Billie. She has every right to seek fulfilment in her life, but as a mother and wife who constantly assures her family of her loyalty, she needs to understand that her actions have consequences. She can’t avoid accountability for the life she has built for herself. In other terms, sometimes you should reassess your priorities and sometimes having a root isn’t always at the top of your to-do list when you have a toddler and newborn. 

Women should be able to satisfy themselves however they please and embark on a journey to fulfil themselves emotionally, physically, and sexually. But this show really only displayed a weird and inconsistent approach in balancing life and sex as Billie neglects any thought on how this may affect her children or people around her. To put it simply, this entire show is boiled down to the thought of that one friend who keeps breaking up and getting back together with their shallow ex who brings nothing to the table. 

Women should be able to satisfy themselves however they please and embark on a journey to fulfil themselves emotionally, physically, and sexually.

Final Thoughts:

  • Prepare yourself for a completely unsolicited full-frontal scene

  • Brad is literally the scum of the earth who does not care about anyone besides himself

  • The dialogue in this show was horrible.

  • There’s lots of sex, like every 5 minutes on average at least.

  • I hate this show

Writer's Bio: Arianna Khalidi is a student at UNSW studying a double-degree in Media (PR & Advertising) and Arts. As an avid sports enthusiast, she can usually be found watching a game of football, following an F1 race, or exploring an entirely new sport all together. Aside from supporting her team, Liverpool, she loves to listen to old school hip hop and R&B, read books, go on hikes, retweet memes no one else finds funny, and drink chai lattes. 

A Definitive Ranking of the Beloved Papa Louie Games

Alexa ranks our the childhood cult classic, Papa's Pizzeria games. Where does your favourite lie in the ranks?

Read More

Why Are Small Dogs Not Scared of Big Dogs?

Carla speaks to the professionals about why on Earth small dogs are never terrified of big dogs? Free dog videos included.

Read More

Worst UNSW Zoom Fails

Carla has a look at the worst fuck ups made by students (and lecturers) over Zoom for the past two long years of online learning.

Read More

Read More

Blitz Editor

Caleb Burke

Blitz Producer

Katie Vicary