Because, “Satan Spells “Sin”: F-U-N”
I try to avoid reality shows. Like cigarettes, they’re addictive and entirely unhealthy. But when I heard that A&E would be airing a reality show about swinger couples in an Ohio suburb, I was intrigued. I also thought the show symbolized the growing acceptance of the swinger lifestyle, which is kind of cool. Boy was I wrong.
According to Entertainment Weekly, A&E filmed nine hour-long episodes of the show Neighbors With Benefits but after airing only the first two, the show was cancelled. Were the ratings really that bad? Probably not. Religious activist groups are just really that uptight. It’s more likely that the pressure they put on A&E (and their advertisers) brought the show to a sudden halt.
I watched the first two episodes, and they were fairly entertaining. The male half of the show’s main couple came off as a bit of a predator, but it was still watchable. It’s fairly obvious that the show was very orchestrated, but that’s no surprise, nor is it uncommon for “reality” television.
I’m not personally in the lifestyle, but I’m surrounded by it, so I suppose it’s not that fascinating to me. For most vanilla folks, I would think that Neighbors With Benefits is an interesting look into the lives of people that have a different take on what marriage means to them.
Enter the boring dolts at Citizens for Community Values (CCV) and the American Family Association (AFA), plus the hateful bigots over at One Million Moms (which is really just a branch of the AFA). These religiously fueled activist groups encouraged their following to rise up against the horrible mockery of marriage featured in Neighbors With Benefits. Oh please. And also fuck One Million Moms, they’re the worst.
I mean is this really more offensive then TLC’s Toddlers and Tiaras? What is wrong with people? Can a television show actually threaten the sanctity of marriage? If your marriage is so frail that it’s brought to its demise by a poorly thought out reality show from the same network that brought us Duck Dynasty, you were probably doomed to begin with. Besides, if you don’t like it, just don’t watch it! It’s really that simple.
The show didn’t even paint swinging in a particularly positive light. Some of the encounters were downright awkward, not sexy. It also showed that some of the couples were struggling with their choice to swing. Neighbors With Benefits even included opinions from some very religious people that were not in the lifestyle.
In the first episode, Neighbors With Benefits, films a prudish couple that speaks about their Christian values and how the neighborhood is being corrupted by these new swingers. They worried that Tony and Diana, the main couple, were recruiting more people than their religion was. (Side note: When Tony and Diana hosted a party right across the street, these two looked like they were ready to whip out their binoculars to try to get in on some voyeur action.) Clips from future episodes also showed religious leaders voicing their concerns about swinging. Ironically, the show looked like it was setting up for a some interesting commentary on religion versus the swinger lifestyle.
In the second episode, one of the women tells her very religious mother that she and her husband are soft-swap swingers. The mother voiced her disappointment and then explained that, “Satan spells “sin”: F-U-N.” I laughed out loud. That was before I knew that good had triumphed over evil. I guess I’ll be watching the third episode in hell..