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TV review: ‘Gigolos’

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Gigolos airs Thursday nights on Showtime.

You expect a certain level of class and sophistication from programming on premium cable channels. Or at least that’s usually the case: Showtime’s new reality show Gigolos has no such high-minded pretensions, and is instead content to use its premium-cable freedom to combine a boilerplate Bravo-style reality show with occasional graphic depictions of hardcore sex. If you love the Real Housewives franchise but are disappointed that cameras don’t follow the subjects into the bedroom with their sexual partners, this is the show for you.

The Details

Gigolos
two stars
Thursdays, 11 p.m., Showtime

For everyone else, Gigolos is an oddly jarring experience. It follows a group of five male escorts in Vegas as they service clients and deal with the same mundane tasks that fuel every other reality show (the guy who doesn’t like kids gets stuck babysitting; the aging gigolo encounters roadblocks in his efforts to start a new business; etc.). The stars are bland pretty boys, and their clients are mostly suspiciously attractive women who have agreed to be filmed having sex (the credits feature the same standard disclaimer about participants being over 18 that you see in porn). There’s no insight about the perils of life as an escort (another disclaimer asserts that no one on the show has been paid for sex) or the culture of Las Vegas, and the show’s attitude about any kind of non-mainstream sexuality is frustratingly retrograde. The client interactions seem just as contrived as the everyday situations, and once you get past all the thrusting and moaning, you’re left with nothing but more reality-TV junk food.

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