The most awkward love scenes in Netflix Originals
Ahh, Netflix. Everyone’s favorite streaming platform to sit and unwind with — whether you’re on your own, with your pets, or luring a potential flame over under the guise of “Netflix and chill.” Nevertheless, since launching its streaming service in 2007 with merely 1,000 titles to choose from, Netflix has since evolved into the streaming monster it is today. As SyFy Wire put it, it has even managed to become more valuable than Disney.
Another thing that the streaming giant has that Disney doesn’t? The unabashed, graphic love scenes found in their Netflix Originals. These have gotten so popular, in fact, that major magazines like Cosmopolitan have outlined moments hotter than whatever you’d get on your favorite adult-only streaming service — but this list is not that. Instead, we’re here to take you on a stroll down the platform’s most intensely awkward displays of intimacy. Sometimes, it’s because love is messy no matter how we try to spin it, and Netflix has a knack for pulling out uncomfortable, raw human emotions (there’s a reason they won 27 Emmys in 2019 alone). Other times, it’s just straight cringe. Either way, these love scenes are so uncomfortable you’ll want to reach for a Clorox wipe to sanitize your brain. Here are the most awkward love scenes in Netflix Originals.
You: Joe's first rodeo with Beck
In the alternate universe where Gossip Girl’s Dan Humphrey grew up to become You’s Joe Goldberg, Penn Badgley’s addictive thriller has so many awkward love scenes it’s hard to count. Never mind the fact that Joe is a stalker-slash-nice guy who slowly picks off the BFFs of Genevieve Beck (Elizabeth Lail) and hides a dead body in the trunk of his car like nobody would notice. Writers didn’t even wait a single episode before making us watch Dexter 2.0 pleasure himself outside of Beck’s apartment as she finished the job her selfish boyfriend couldn’t (a scene Badgley almost made creepier by opening his eyes, according to Cosmopolitan Philippines).
That was undeniably awkward, especially when an elderly woman walked in on him — or out on him because, of course, Goldberg was outside in a public place, and of course, Beck was directly in front of a window. Still, nothing compares to the eight-second love scene where Joe finally, finally gets Beck in bed. Part of the awkwardness is in the build. It’s set up to be downright romantic. The hunter has finally gotten his prey, but the poor fool lasts a mere five pumps. Even Beck is confused. Later in the season, we get an episode with Beck’s narration, where she asks (via Vulture), “What was that? Eight seconds? Oh yeah, he’s got that Trump-just-took-Pennsylvania look.” Sorry, dude. It happens.
Sex Education: Talk about an opening montage
With Season 2, Sex Education had a scandalous reputation to uphold. After all, the first season opened with a graphic sex scene where both Aimee Gibbs (Aimee Lou Wood) and Adam Groff (Connor Swindells) fake their climaxes. The end result is Gibbs inspecting her boyfriend’s condom, asking, “Where’s the spunk?” This seems to be a theme in Sex Ed’s openings because the so-called “spunk” (in our best British accents) leads to one of the most awkward self-love scenes ever to be committed on television.
By now, Otis Milburn (Asa Butterfield) is a well-versed therapist at the sex therapy clinic he’s been running out of his high school, which is somehow a confusing mix of both British and American cultures and cannot actually be placed on a map. Though his mother, Jean Milburn (Gillian Anderson), is actually successful in the field (she’s a literal doctor), Otis still hasn’t learned that a public wank is not a good idea.
You know how teen romcoms from the ’90s always had a fashion montage? Well, Season 2 gives us an inaugural masturbation montage which ends with Otis helping himself in his car while his mother pops into a shop for a quick errand. Let’s just say, he doesn’t notice that she’s returned, and Dr. Milburn quickly learns the answer to “where’s the spunk?” while screaming at her son in disgust through the window.
Love: Gus' three-way did not go as planned
Judd Apatow’s short-lived Love is so successful in its delivery because neither main character is particularly likable. Gillian Jacobs’ Mickey Dobbs is an oft-impulsive alcoholic with some severely selfish, self-destructive tendencies (and a penchant for wearing bathing suits as outerwear). Similarly, Paul Rust’s Gus Cruikshank completely embodies the so-called nice guy with a chip of entitlement on his shoulder, and as a result, the show reads like a play-by-play of how to constantly get in your own way.
Though Love has plenty of awkward moments, including Gus’ unbearable date with Bertie (Claudia O’Doherty), where he tries to out-nice one of the only actually nice people on the show, we’ve got to say that potential incest trumps all. In the show’s premiere episode, Gus tries to score a threesome with two co-eds at a party, clearly oblivious to the fact that he’s arguably a little too old and far too awkward to feasibly pull it off. Where’s the catch? Oh yea, he’s having a three-way with sisters. Upon this shocking realization, Gus jumps up, yelling, “What the f**k! Ew!” and the sisters try to justify how it’s not technically incestuous because they’ve never actually touched. The scene ends with Gus trying to get just one of them to stay, but they both storm off.
Unorthodox: Yanky and Esther finally succeed
Unorthodox’s portrayal of the Satmar Hasidic community has been nothing short of controversial. While the on-screen adaptation of Deborah Feldman’s memoir was praised by the Los Angeles Times for getting “Hasidic Jewish customs right,” Forward called the series “grossly inaccurate.” Either way, it gave us the kind of raw, uncomfortable love scenes expected from a couple who clinically consummate their marriage with almost no knowledge about the act itself.
One of the most awkward parts about Yanky (Amit Rahav) and Esther (Shira Haas) completing the act is getting through it painlessly. In fact, Yanky’s mother confronts her daughter-in-law in an effort to prevent her son from, in her words, “[losing] his confidence.” It’s abundantly clear that she views sex as largely about the man. Later that night, as the pair argues, Esther admits she read that it’s supposed to be pleasurable for the woman, too. This takes Yanky to the edge because, according to Refinery29, women are not allowed to read books that aren’t approved by their husbands.
With the threat of divorce looming over her, Esther eventually relents, storming into bed and angrily preparing herself to procreate clinically. She winces in pain through the whole act, assuring her husband to keep going. When Yanky finishes, he revels in the afterglow without even asking Esther if she’s okay. It’s clear she is not.
Always Be My Maybe: Is losing it ever not awkward?
Always Be My Maybe manages to show the subtle tenderness in teen friendship-turned-love accurately — but wow, is teenage love awkward. Is this stuff just blocked out of our memories? Does anyone remember what it’s like to kiss with braces? Though the comedy is rife with the kind of bittersweet moments that saw Fresh Off the Boat‘s Randall Park through six seasons, the inaugural sex scene between Park’s Marcus Kim and Ali Wong’s Sasha Tran takes the awkward cake — or the free shumai.
It’s never not awkward to lose your virginity, and this scene, where the pair nervously sit in Marcus’ car before clumsily stumbling to the back seat, is hardly an exception, but it not just uncomfortable because it shows the cramped realities of car sex. It’s painful because it’s true. In an interview with Vulture, Park admits he based the scene on losing his own virginity with his high school girlfriend. “It was just horrible. It didn’t last long. It was clumsy,” he said. ” … We went to McDonald’s, and the moment that I remember is us just standing there, staring at the menu, and me feeling, Oh my God, I’m a piece of s**t.” We will kindly slink away in Keanu Reeves’ UberPool now, thanks.
Bonding: The other way to pay rent
Netflix’s Bonding was always going to be awkward — and that’s before we even mention the fact that it annoyed the dominatrix community enough that creator Rightor Doyle eventually addressed it in The Daily Beast. The show’s about a nervous graduate student named Pete (Brendan Scannell) who’s learning the BDSM ropes from his best friend, professional dominatrix Tiff (Zoe Levin). There’s definitely a learning curve, but that’s part of the charm, and it seems to out-awkward itself from the moment Pete sits in on his first session and watches Tiff’s client run through a list of Flintstones characters before reaching his safe word “Barney Rubble.”
It’s expected for things to occasionally get uncomfortable in the dungeon (see: Pete accidentally laughing at a client), but the real awkwardness happens at home in a brilliant display that breaks down the ridiculousness of performative masculinity. In the scene, Pete’s straight roommate Frank (Alex Hurt), a human crafted solely from frat boy tropes, offers to waive a month of Pete’s rent in exchange for — for lack of better terms — butt stuff. Pete agrees, and Frank keeps his shirt on “so it’s not full-blown gay.” He winds up spread-eagle with his legs in the air, saying, “Wow, you have really nice eyes … Enter away, roomie!” All is well (albeit a bit uncomfortable) until Frank’s girlfriend walks in and punches Pete in the face.
The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina: The Weird Sisters get wild
If there’s one thing for certain, it’s that Melissa Joan Hart’s Sabrina Spellman would never participate in a teen orgy with her cousin (of all people), but that’s just not the Sabrina Spellman that Netflix gave us. No, The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina is darker, a lot darker. It’s the kind of dark that simultaneously scandalizes Fox News and the Satanic Temple, two parties you’d think would be ferociously batting for different teams, at least publicly.
The same month that the New York Times revealed Netflix and Warner Bros. had amicably settled their lawsuit with the Satanic Temple (presumably, all parties retained their souls), the series made headlines again for an uncomfortably steamy underage sex scene. In the Episode 7 scene, artfully set to Fiona Apple’s “Criminal,” Kiernan Shipka’s Sabrina walks in on her cousin Ambrose; his boyfriend Luke; her love interest Nicholas Scratch; and all three of the Weird Sisters having what appears to be a teen orgy. Sabrina is told to either get in or get out, and she gets out.
In Netflix’s defense, no one in the scene was actually naked, and Prudence was about to die in a ritual sacrifice. Still, it’s always going to be a little awkward watching a 16-year-old potentially have a seven-some with her relative, no matter how many times removed. Harvey Kinkle would never approve.
Ozark: Leave Wyatt alone
To be totally honest, it’d be impossible for Ozark to fill the void left by Breaking Bad completely, but it does have something Breaking Bad didn’t: an awkward sex scene with an uncomfortable age gap. For those who never made it to Season 3 and quietly believed they couldn’t tolerate another five minutes staring at a dark blue screen, we implore you to at least fast-forward for some second-hand cringe.
Fans were woefully unprepared to witness Darlene Snell (Lisa Emery) and Wyatt Langmore (Charlie Tahan) jump into bed during Season 3, Episode 5. Forget mommy issues; these are some serious grandmommy issues. The scene is a perfect storm of awkwardness that stems beyond the uncomfortably passionate make out or the way it all went down after Darlene asked Wyatt (who’s young enough to be her grandson) if she was a good mother. How would he know? Also, murdering your husband on a whim doesn’t exactly put you in the running for mother of the year, you know?
Perhaps what’s most disturbing is the fact that Darlene is the type of cold-blooded killer who stands out as particularly sinister among an entire series littered with kingpins, murderers, and crooks. In fact, Wyatt is one of the few characters who nearly made it out of his family’s dismal criminal patterns. He’s sweet, he’s soft, he’s naive, and he’s easily manipulated. It’s painful watching him fall into the arms of such a calculating force of evil.
13 Reasons Why: Jessica's solo run
13 Reasons Why seems like a series that solely exists to make people uncomfortable and upset. Throughout its three seasons, it’s been accused of glamorizing teen suicide, deemed “triggering” by some celebs, and it’s been panned for a graphic, two-minute sexual assault scene that’s so horrific we can’t even describe it. According to The New York Times, it’s also linked to an uptick in actual teen suicides, too. Considering the show’s history, this Season 3 scene seems rather tame, but we’re choosing to focus on scenes involving love rather than gut-wrenching displays of hate that already have their own headlines.
In Episode 3, Jessica Davis (Alisha Boe) experiments with a vibrator in an attempt to rediscover her sexuality after her assault. This is perhaps what makes it all so uncomfortable: watching her cry as she looks at her nude body, her hands on her bare stomach. It’s hard not to cringe at any masturbation scene that starts in tears, but watching someone’s trauma play out in real-time is particularly painful — and that’s the point. According to the Daily Star, fans were “appalled,” but in a series filled to the brim with traumatizing sex acts, Davis’ solo run happens to be the show’s best sex ever.
Polar: Sorry to that camera operator
Netflix’s Polar, a movie adaptation of the award-winning comic Polar: Came From the Cold, is dismal across the board. Holding a mere 19% on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic, the two-hour-long epic has been described by Variety as “gaudy, garish genre sludge,” and honestly, that’s exactly how it feels. It’s a test of endurance, like running in quicksand through one exaggerated violent act after another — and that’s before even mentioning that it hinges on the cliched premise of a veteran assassin coming out of retirement. It wasn’t easy for the actors either. Mads Mikkelsen, who plays lead Duncan Vizla (aka The Black Kaiser), told SyFy Wire that it took him “quite a few weeks” to recover from the brutal torture scene, though whoever got fired over the visual errors may have taken longer.
Polar‘s awkward, gratuitous sex scene is actually a bright spot — sort of. It doesn’t even stand out as unusual other than it ending in someone being shot in the middle of the act. In other words: don’t watch this with your dad because it’s going to be really uncomfortable, but on the plus side, the scene takes you out of the behemoth of a film for a second. This is only because a rogue camera operator is visibly present behind the window and somehow nobody noticed, but we’ll take what we can get.
Black Mirror: Here, piggy piggy
There’s a reason Black Mirror won four Emmys in 2018 alone. Though the series depicts a terrifying, dystopian future, it’s not that dystopian or that far into the future. What makes it so unsettling is the fact that almost everything in every horrifying scene could almost happen, and the show doesn’t hold back. The show hit the ground running with their series debut “The National Anthem,” which hinged on a sex act so horrific it makes us wish technology would catch up with those mind erasing sticks from Men In Black.
In the episode, Prime Minister Michael Callow has intimate relations with a pig in order to save Princess Susannah, who’s been kidnapped from the Royal Family. The act painfully plays out on live TV as grimacing viewers listen to Callow sob for nearly an hour. This isn’t just one of most cringeworthy scenes on all of Netflix, it’s one of the most cringeworthy scenes, period — and one of the few true cases of life imitating art, if you buy into rumors.
British Black Mirror fans were shocked to see the series trending on Twitter after former Tory treasurer Lord Ashcroft claimed that former prime minister David Cameron put his privates in the mouth of a dead pig — as the Independent put it — “for the banter.” It was allegedly part of Cameron’s “society initiation” when he studied at Oxford. Black Mirror strikes again.
Tiger King: Joe Exotic's wedding
This isn’t a sex scene, per se, but we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention Tiger King’s ultimate awkward display of unbridled love that was Joe Exotic’s bizarre throuple wedding to John Finlay and Travis Maldonado. In many ways, it rivals the cringe-factor of Doc Antle’s bizarre harem (which he claimed doesn’t exist, according to Cosmopolitan) and Carole Baskin’s wedding photos that we’ll never be able to unsee (which definitely do exist).
Exotic’s wedding, which you can watch 20 minutes of on YouTube, doesn’t just have one awkward moment. Rather, everything in that scene is working together like magic or like Jeff Lowe and the $3,000 hitman when they had to play nice with the Feds. There’s the matching fuchsia button-downs, the fluorescent lights of what’s clearly a community rec hall, and the big, uncomfortable unspoken reality that two out of three of these men were reportedly straight. Plus, a three-way marriage isn’t even legal. What kind of two for one special was Exotic trying to pull here? Was it catered with expired Walmart meat? We have questions.
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