Critics Think A&E’s Swinger Series ‘Neighbors With Benefits’ Is Pretty Boring

Senior Writer
03.24.15 12 Comments
Neighbors with Benefits promo image

A&E

While some bros and babes might be down to clown and explore the wild lifestyle of swingers, there are a lot of people who simply do not get the concept of men and women openly sharing their wives and husbands with other people. But for one group of friends in a small Ohio township, swinging is a way of life, baby, and A&E (which once stood for Arts and Entertainment and was created to be like PBS) thought these people were interesting enough to have their own series, Neighbors with Benefits.

As for the other neighbors that aren’t featured on the show, some aren’t excited about their township being portrayed as Partner Swap City, USA. But stars Tony and Diana (center couple) believe that what they’re doing is healthy, and there’s a system in place to make sure no lines are being crossed. Unless you want them crossed, you naughty neighbor.

Tony, who owns his own construction company, said he loves watching his wife have sex with another man.

“It’s an extension of myself, watching her pleased and stuff from different angles. Man, I feel awkward saying all this,” he said. “I think there definitely needs to be a healthy amount of jealousy in every relationship, especially a swinging relationship.”

The husband and wife said they are very picky when it comes to choosing partners to have sex with, and they have rules.

“If we didn’t meet you in the lifestyle and we were friends before, we will not ever cross that boundary,” Tony said. “Our friendship is way, way, way more important than any sexual fantasy could ever be.”

“We have group texting,” Diana said. “We have individual texting. I’m comfortable with Tony individual texting another girl. I guess I could look at his phone any point in time if I wanted to.” (Via ABC News)

See? Rules and trust. It’s not like they’re going out and just banging everything in sight. Unfortunately for the couples on this series, though, it seems the critics aren’t feeling the love. Even the nicest, most unbiased reviewers complained that a show that can’t show people getting freaky is “destined to be boring” and “mostly dwells on the negotiations that all of this freedom requires.” When it comes to the central topic, though, Variety’s Brian Lowry basically wants to know – where’s the beef?

Moreover, most of the extramarital encounters within the show — despite a discretely placed bra here and some kissing there — are so awkward and stilted that there’s nothing particularly sexy about them, to the point where the viewer-discretion advisory seems wholly unnecessary.

Yet that’s really giving “Neighbors With Benefits” more thought than the exercise merits. Because even if the audience suspends disbelief, the benefits associated with watching this show are barely worth getting out of — or for that matter, into — bed over. (Via Variety)

That’s kind compared to Entertainment Weekly’s Gillian Telling, who believes that Neighbors with Benefits is so “cringe-worthy” that it might actually be a swinging deterrent. Of the show’s premiere, she notes:

Unless you are really, really drunk and at a party with other really drunk people, this lifestyle is mostly just awkward and uncomfortable. Sober swinging (as seen on the world’s most awful date between Eric and Lori, and Tim and Nina) is the creepiest. (Via EW)

But there’s just something about this series that makes her think it won’t last.

While any married couple might understand the need for some variety and excitement in the bedroom after a while, something about Neighbors With Benefits ends up being a real turn off from “the lifestyle.”

Maybe it’s because they kept flashing back to scenes of empty swings at the playgrounds, which was a good reminder: Where are all their kids? Hopefully NOT downstairs watching A&E in the rec room.

I guess it could be worse, though. They could have flashed back to empty sex swings at a playground. But that’s more of a TLC series thing.

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