If SBS is known for screening Sex Before Soccer then it returns to its roots (!) for a new drama anthology, Erotic Stories.
As the title suggests, it’s crammed with explicit, horny scenes, sex toys, fetishes, squirting and more -you may need a safe word within reach.
But it’s also deliberately provocative in its themes and allows for some performances we might not otherwise see,
There are “eight steamy stories” which draw upon some fine acting talent including Frances O’Connor, Mark Coles Smith, Kate Box, Tim Draxl, Danielle Cormack, Alex FitzAlan, Rärriwuy Hick and Catherine McClements.
Australia doesn’t do a lot of anthology series, and I’m reminded of Seven Deadly Sins, ABC’s 1993 miniseries dramatising stories around Lust, Greed, Avarice, Sloth and more. SBS zeroes in on Lust for the series by Lingo Pictures, but there’s plenty of other sinful delights.
Each episode (two screen weekly) is a bitesize 30 minute instalment with a different story, style and cast. Whilst there are 8 different writers, there are two directors, Leticia Cáceres and Madeleine Gottlieb.
Catherine McClements stars as Philia, a jaded copywriter directed by her magazine editor to write an advertorial about a high-tech sex toy, or risk losing her job. A single mother, struggling to connect with her daughter and the hectic pace of life, she turns to friend George (Bert LaBonté) to test drive the contraption, effectivaly via remote online sex.
But is does that qualify as cheating, given George is happily married, if they don’t physically do the deed?
“Phylia” lands with a lighter touch than episode two, “The Deluge” when recently-single Cara (Kate Box) tries to reignite her sex life with a casual hook-up with Lili (Emily Havea). There’s at least the courtesy of a sexy dinner before these two get it on, until Cara learns that Lili is a ‘squirter’ -sex should not be so laundry intensive….
There are deeper connections however to her bestie Ginger (Danielle Cormack) in a story that walks a tightrope between friendship, attraction and commitment. The cast is excellent at playing upon desire and navigating relationships new and familiar.
By contrast, the gay men of episode three “Bound” need no dinner dates before sex, simply rocking up to a stranger’s home for no-strings sex, courtesy of a dating app. CJ (Joel Lago) is used to hiding his leg braces from his hook-ups until he catches the eye of hunky club promoter and DILF Jet (Tim Draxl) on public transport. But the visit to a nightclub, and the upstairs fetish sex space, will challenge them both.
CJ also faces patronising comments from well-meaning individuals, yet may have built up walls that leave him feeling like a pity-sex plaything, in need of stronger self-respect. Lago and Draxl take us into more worlds than one in this tale, and watch for the cameo by Drag Race: Down Under‘s Kween Kong.
With such diversity on screen, be it sexual, ethnic or living with a disability, Erotic Stories, totally fits the broadcaster’s charter, even if scenes are so erotically-charged they could lead to SKY News outrage or a Senate Estimates grilling (that might be the best publicity the show gets?).
It’s also a series for which an Intimacy Co-Ordinator must have worked overtime.
I would have liked some link from story to story, but the beauty of any anthology series is the unexpected element each story can bring.
Light some candles, pour a red wine and get some chocolates for some spicy storytelling.
Erotic Stories double episodes 9:30pm Thursday on SBS (all episodes at SBS on Demand).