They used to be called The Napalms. They were on their way to becoming the biggest punk band in England until Johnny Napalm signed a contract with the devil for hookers and blow, promptly going AWOL. Following in the footsteps of generations looking for a fresh start, Johnny’s bandmates came to the US and rechristened themselves The Sexually.
Already I’m skeptical. Why am I skeptical after viewing just one episode? Because I’m not sure why anyone in the post-Spinal Tap era would attempt a mockumentary about a dimwitted, drug-addled, oversexed English rock band, but that is exactly what On The Leesh Productions is doing with The Sexually.
The only time anyone has ever come close to touching Spinal Tap-level rock’n’roll buffoonery was when Mr. Show aired their “Wyckyd Sceptre” sketch. This Is Spinal Tap is one of those rare works of art that are so magnificently brilliant that it establishes a whole new terrain, like a comedic lunar landing. It set the bar so high that to top it one has to reach Mars or Venus.
Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the appeal of trying to top Spinal Tap or even just play the rockstar role. But you don’t want to be another also-ran genre band, right? So to avoid such a pitfall you need fresh material. While the rockstar may be fun to play, it isn’t necessarily interesting to us viewers (particularly if the material isn’t groundbreaking).
I don’t find the material in The Sexually fresh enough to sustain a laugh orbit, nevermind take me to the moon, but I will say that it does have it’s moments.
The head writer, Jeff Lycett (who plays “Juice” the singer) wrote himself into a catch-22. “Johnnie” is actually a humorous character (the below scene is pretty funny), but by virtue of the plot, he’s entirely absent from the first 5 episodes. So far those episodes have revolved around the band’s meager attempts to find Johnnie at their lawyer’s behest. The whole project would be better served if Johnnie was found so that something could actually happen. In any case, if Mr. Lycett is able to resolve this situation to better incorporate Johnnie’s humor, we might have a show worth watching:
One saving grace is the level of the troupe’s acting. They know the overblown roles they’re supposed to play playing and run with them. Jessica Arinella has summoned her best Cruella De Vil to play the band’s frigid, hardass lawyer, Evelyn, and pulls it off quite well. She’s possibly the best part of this show, and frankly, she’s terrifying (as evidenced here).
Overall, though, I find the episodes a bit difficult to watch. Even if you’re into the concept, the joke wears thin after a few episodes. But if more care is taken with the storyline of The Sexually something good could arise. The cast certainly has the talent to pull off an entertaining project.