'Filth,' 'Smut,' 'Porn': Toni Collette Netflix Show 'Wanderlust' Disgusts Viewers Overseas Before U.S. Premiere

Raunchy, sex-filled drama about a married couple exploring an open relationship starts streaming on Oct. 19.

Oh, Britain. Our days of goofing on you for being too stuffy and sexually repressed won’t be coming to an end any time soon.

As Netflix gears up to release "Wanderlust" — Toni Collette and Steven Mackintosh’s raunchy new drama about a middle-aged couple exploring the ins, outs, ups, downs, and reverse cowgirls of an open relationship — many in Britain have already seen enough.

See, the digital streamer teamed with BBC One on the production which meant overseas got an early peek between the sheets. But now, just two episodes into its U.K. run, critics, viewers and even a watchdog group decided the show’s scandalous premise and overtly graphic content are too hot for them to handle.

"But no one really wants to see real sex, any more than we want to see our own openings," a Mirror critic wrote in a column lamenting the over-sexed state of British TV. "It’s be far too close to home."

"We fear ‘Wanderlust is nothing more than soft porn dressed up as a mid-life crisis," a spokesperson for Mediawatch-UK said in a statement distributed before the show even aired.

Trailers and reviews for "Wanderlust” do paint a provocative picture, but judging from the outcry you’d think Netflix and the BBC had joined forces to bring us "2 Girls, 1 Cup of Tea."

However, that doesn’t really seem to be the case.

Sure, "Wanderlust" shows loads of fornication. And masturbation. And BDSM. And workplace impropriety. And lingerie. And dirty movies. And even Britain’s first televised female orgasm. (Congratulations, Toni — hopefully your efforts win you an award, or knighthood!)

But there’s honestly nothing most adult viewers haven’t encountered before. This is the digital age, after all — every kink and fetish imaginable is already just a few strokes away. If anything, the show plows new fields with its examination of non-monogamy and it’s candid depiction of what decades-long relationships can and often do look like after boredom and monotony have begun creeping in around the edges.

"It’s so honest and fresh in the way the women are portrayed. To be a middle-aged woman, to be in a long-term relationship and to be alive, dealing with a lot of things — it’s tough," Collette said in a recent Radio Times interview. "Certainly a middle-aged woman’s sense of self-esteem, of sexuality, is not often talked about."

Apparently, none of that floats across the pond because many U.K. viewers are already abandoning ship. In a series of tweets below, you’ll see one user complain about "utter filth" airing on BBC, and another compared it to British porn site Television X, calling it "an outrage."

Critics are piling on, too, and their complaints aren’t limited to the show’s abundance of on-screen action. Some are turned off by "Wanderlust" daring to give representation to non-traditional relationships.

"I have always thought that an ‘open marriage’ is like an open sandwich — superficially mouth-watering, but inherently unstable and prone to falling apart at the first bite," Independent critic Sean O’Grady declares in a review of episode two, just before sliding down a weirdly specific slippery-slope implying non-monogamy paves the way to all manner of perversions:

"Would it be just fine if [Collette’s character] Joy came home one night smelling a bit funny and casually mentioned that her new f–k buddy was "into scat"? What if [Mackintosh’s character] Alan’s latest sexual partner has glossy blond hair, four legs, will chew on a bone all day long, answers to the name Honey and is registered with the Golden Retriever Club? Or what if they spent their life savings on sex workers who’d been trafficked into modern slavery?"

Well, that’s one take.

Perhaps the only slurping, licking, and biting most Brits enjoy is by way of Earl Grey and biscuits, but for the rest of us "Wanderlust" debuts Oct. 19 on Netflix. In the meanwhile, feast on a few more over-the-top social media reactions from viewers abroad:


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