Slag Wars is fun. The new, SFW reality series from Men.com is almost so ridiculous, gay porn-y, and shamelessly put together that it is immune to criticism. Is it taking itself too seriously as a “real” TV show? Maybe, but at the same time definitely not. There are competitions. And eliminations (I think, but there’s a real cliffhanger at the end of Episode 1). But mostly it’s fun.
First of all, as a rule, I’m never going to say anything bad about Internet faves Sophie Anderson or Rebecca Moore. Ever. And nobody but Men.com is going to produce this. That’s the reality. I’m OK with that. In fact, I love it. But based on the (SFW) marketing, a lot of people are asking: “What even is this show? I don’t get it.” I think that’s the vibe? The tagline says it all: “Who will be the next Cock Destroyer. And what the hell does that even mean?”
Basically, seven gays, girlies, and nonbinary friends are shacked up in a “secret location tucked away in the British countryside” (an establishing shot features cars driving by on what looks like a busy freeway) so that they may compete to … be the next cock destroyer. Of course, as everyone knows, you can’t just make that happen. Sophie and Rebecca basically emerged from the sea fully grown, born of the primal Internet Gods. And maybe that’s all part of its impenetrably extra veneer. Who cares! Do you hate fun? That’s what I thought.
It’s also definitely just a regular reality TV show. They do the RuPaul entrance deal, interview commentary, and they’re quickly met by their first challenge: “Foreplay Challenge.” Here’s where some eye-rolling comes in, because not one of these alleged slags and slag queens can actually use a pole. (Also the pole shouldn’t have actually been used anyway. Did not look sturdy.) But see? Here I am hating fun. Who am I to gatekeep cock destroyerness? What, every cock destroyer needs to have pole experience? (OK, it might’ve been nice if one of them did.)
This actually gets brought up in some of the requisite drama. Onscreen, our lovely trans sister Nicky gets a little into it with sweet boy/Cock Destroyers superfan Kevin from the countryside, who claims he’s never done any sex work. Nicky (and we) wonders why he should be on a show dedicated to promoting sex worker positivity—especially after Noah Purvis got kicked off Love Island for his gay porn past? Basically, he tells on Nicky and Rebecca stomps it out politely and firmly There will be no gatekeeping on what a cock destroyer is, and the moment manages to be both simultaneously drama and anti drama.
Anytime some kind of internal woke criticism comes up (or directorial cringe, hi Matthew Camp!), I tell myself to relax. Sure, it’s kind of a dude parade (5 out of 7 contestants are serving he/him), but ok so what: Rebecca and Sophie are literally porn stars for the gays. It’s the best thing about them. This is kinda their crew, and it’s definitely their market. Slags love a hustle. And I would’ve loved to see more girlies on the squad, but two she/they’s outta seven is still way better than almost any other reality show in existence.
Everyone is in rare form and just having fun. That’s what we love about Slag Wars. Sophie is as lovey, emotional, and positive as always (almost to hyperbole in the show’s more scripted moments), and has a perfectly adorable meltdown over whether or not they should even eliminate anyone! And duh, Rebecca Moore is hot as fuck, totally nailing the boss mommy tough love judge. And yes, of course, this Men.com show has a loveable himbo top you wanna pick up and hug, Matthew Camp: bare chested, boxer briefed, and… present on set as ever. They don’t even really try to mic him all that well. He’s like a himbo Mr. Jay, basically.
But here’s the thing: He’s also kinda the Paula? And it’s narrated by ChaseIcon! And it has a faggy, high camp dramatic sound design by Andrew Barret Cox. And honestly, it’s just refreshing to see something this wild and fun and gay gay in a reality TV format. People are so squeamish about this kind of stuff, so fuck yeah, who cares if it’s not on VH1? I’m just glad it exists.