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The Untold Truth Of Netflix's Sexy Beasts

We all have strange dreams from time to time. Sometimes they're rooted in reality to begin with, making it moderately unsettling when aspects of them come to fruition. Other times, they're so outlandish that we shake them off within moments of waking up.

But every so often, when the stars align and a very special birthday wish is made, the fevered and unhinged workings of the unconscious mind are magicked into the real world. In the 1800s, this phenomenon led to the first verified encounters between humans and giant squids. In the 1990s, frosted tips made the transition from dark fantasy to even darker reality. And now, a new imagined terror has crossed the threshold into real life. Remember that dream you had where a guy with a panda face made out with an R. L. Stine monster after a magical evening of axe throwing? Enjoy reaping what your REM cycle sowed, because "Sexy Beasts" is coming to Netflix.

The imaginations of startled internet users were well and truly captured when advertisements for "Sexy Beasts" started popping up in their social media feeds. But what is it? And where did it come from? Most importantly, is this the beginning of a "Sweet Tooth" situation that we should be worrying about?

Netflix's Sexy Beasts: What's going on here?

You probably know the gist of "Sexy Beasts" already. Contestants, disguised as amorous inhabitants of the Island of Doctor Moreau, are thrust into a social experiment designed to see if people can really fall in love based solely on their personalities. It's like going on a blind date in one of those restaurants where they serve everything in the dark, but instead of being in a pitch-black room, everyone looks like they were pulled out of Zootopia by the magic ticket from "The Last Action Hero."

Each episode of "Sexy Beasts" will introduce viewers to a new quartet of colorful characters, with one participant trying to find love in a field of three competitors. The full gamut of potential pairings alluded to in Rowlf and Kermit's "Hope That Something Better Comes Along" is on the table. A praying mantis romances a dolphin. A mandrill and a demon hold hands on a roller coaster. One woman dresses as a panda and exclaims that she wants to have babies, which, biologically speaking, is pretty much as glass-is-half-full as you can get.

At the end of each episode, decisions are made, and the contestants see one another without the benefit of several pounds of latex appliances. Will love persevere in the face of an actual face? Tune in to find out.

From whence did Sexy Beasts emerge?

"Sexy Beasts," which premieres on Netflix July 21, might seem like a natural extension of the public's fascination with shows like "The Masked Singer," but there's actually a long story behind its conception.

The series was originally produced as a BBC 3 show back in 2014. Appropriately produced by Lion Television, "Sexy Beasts" ran for six episodes on the channel before making its way to the international stage.

Since then, the format has found homes around the world. A German version of "Sexy Beasts" ran for two seasons starting in 2015, and felt exactly as similar to Werner Herzog's dream journal as you'd probably imagine. Midway through that same year, Realscreen reported that China, South Korea, and Lithuania had all signed on for "Sexy Beasts" of their own. The Netflix version of the show won't even be America's first toe in the "Sexy Beasts" water — A&E ran their own take on the format in 2015, complete with a swamp creature and that living doll man that your kid hasn't stopped drawing ever since the accident.

Netflix seems intent on keeping this trippy dream alive, as the service has already ordered two six-episode seasons of the project, with both coming out before 2021 is in the books.

Who's involved with Sexy Beasts?

Decking out dozens of strangers in 4K-worthy creature effects is no easy task, but Netflix brought in a real A-lister to get the job done. All of "Sexy Beasts'" beasts-who-are-sexy come courtesy of Kristyan Mallett.

You may not know his name, but you know his work. Mallett has more than 200 credits as a makeup artist and prosthetics designer. "Guardians of the Galaxy?" He worked on that. "Star Wars: The Last Jedi?" He worked on that, too. He's been part of some of the biggest franchises of the last 20 years, starting out in the "Harry Potter" series before working his way up the ladder, taking the lead on projects like Netflix's upcoming "Sandman" series and HBO's "The Nevers." Helpfully, he's even credited on one episode of A&E's version of "Sexy Beasts."

Narrating the series is none other than Rob Delaney, fresh off of "Catastrophe" and "Deadpool 2," whose work series creator Simon Welton told Variety would be "a real treat" for viewers.

A grateful internet responds to Sexy Beasts

Given that the component parts of "Sexy Beasts" add up to a carnival of peculiarity, it's only natural that the internet responded with characteristic aplomb.

Reactions to the show's first trailer became something of a cottage industry in the hours following its debut. NPR questioned the logic of hiding conventionally attractive people behind masks and then asking whether they would still like each other after their hotness was revealed — they "were all doing fine, most likely, in our regular world, in which we all go out with our own heads on," they hypothesized, before revealing that they were also "rooting for the dolphin." The Washington Post mused that "Though love might not be entirely blind in this case, it sure is strange."

Meanwhile, social media was on the show's first trailer like spirit gum on the skin of a "Sexy Beasts" contestant. "Would you go on 'Sexy Beasts?'" became an instant conversation starter on Twitter. At least one user campaigned to get Gritty, the Philadelphia Flyers mascot, to appear on the show, which, in retrospect, does seem like it was the most natural course of action.

Not everyone is excited about Sexy Beasts

If Netflix's "Sexy Beasts" teaches us one thing, it's that you never know when a leopard and a beaver are going to traipse into the country club for a round of courtship sporting clays. If it teaches us a second thing, it's that there's a lid for every pot, but that a second and third lid will inevitably leave disappointed.

In that vein, the response to "Sexy Beasts" hasn't just covered the spectrum from "awesome" to "that's weird." At least one vocal critic has been eager to voice his grievances with what he sees as a show that's "very exploitative of the furry community."

"I was already reading the comments under the trailer," self-professed community member and author of "Furry Nation" Joe Strike told Slate, "and there are still a lot of furry haters out there, and they let their feelings be known in those comments. Some of them were pretty nasty. I don't know if anybody from the community is involved in the creation of the show, but I'd be surprised if they were."

To be fair, the only apparent connection between the subculture and "Sexy Beasts" seems to be a shared interest in obsessively detailed animal costumes. If there's anything more at the center of that Venn diagram, we'll have to wait until the show's premiere on July 21 to learn more.