What We Do in the Shadows review: An uncomfortable sexual adventure


FX’s What We Do in the Shadows gives us perhaps its most uncomfortable  episode yet, as the roommates host the bi-annual vampire orgy.

FX’s What We Do in the Shadows flips yet another classic vampire trope on its head by giving us what is probably the most awkward and uncomfortable episode about a vampire orgy possible.

Historically, vampires are presented as being incredibly attractive. (Looking at you, True Blood.) They’re not just sexual beings; they’re sexual ideals, and the idea of an orgy full of dozens of them should basically be everyone’s dream.

Well, this is…not that.

Instead, the roommates’ bi-annual vampire orgy is pretty much just sad and weird. That’s probably the point, if you think about it. (This sort of twist on a traditional trope is exactly the kind of thing this show loves to do.)

There’s plastic over all the furniture, sad re-purposed chocolate fountains from Party City, and Colin Robinson boring everyone while wearing a harness. This honestly looks like the least fun party in the world.

And that’s not even counting the fact that the show has already made the idea of vampire sex horrifically uncomfortable by forcing us to watch Lazzlo display a variety of sex toys and tell us about his previous experiences in porn. Basically, I never needed to hear Lazzlo say the words “bat codpiece” ever in my life, but here we are.

There are a few genuinely entertaining moments that have nothing to do with vampire sex, such as Nandor and Guillermo’s trip to buy party supplies and the familiar’s growing irritation with being bossed around by Lazzlo and Nadja. Since there’s really no B-plot beyond the titular orgy, if all the undead sex references make you cringe-y, well, there’s not a lot to be done about it.

Granted, some of the orgy-related moments are genuinely hilarious, such as Guillermo trying to narrate the various activities going on – since vampires can’t rely on the tried and expected orgy tradition of mirrors on the ceiling.

But everything also feels like it kind of goes on for too long, especially given that the episode virtually ignores almost everything that’s happened in the previous two episodes. No mention is made of the vampire council’s death sentence on the roommates, so I guess that’s a thing everyone’s cool with ignoring now. Also, Nadja’s new protégé Jenna, a highlight of “Citizenship,” is nowhere to be seen and apparently did not receive an invite to the orgy.

Nadja, however, is this episode’s utter highlight, from her deadpan expression while being forced to watch her husband’s dreadful porn career to her repeated rejection of bad sex as a concept.

What We Do in the Shadows doesn’t always prioritize female perspectives – of any sort – but here it at least gives a voice to the idea that women just really aren’t that impressed by male tales of sexual prowess and conquest, and just want to do their own thing. (Sometimes I really do wonder how and/or why Nadja and Lazzlo have stayed together this long.)

By the time we reach the part of the episode where the ostensible virgin sacrifice is having sex with one of the party’s leather-clad sex slaves, everything has passed well into the realm of the ridiculous. And if by some miracle you aren’t tired of sex toy jokes yet, or really needed to see a pair of bats getting busy, then maybe you’re still into “The Orgy.”

As for me, I’m basically pleading a headache and looking forward to the season finale.

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What We Do in the Shadows’ first season concludes next Wednesday on FX.