'Scrotal Recall' is a silly title, but a great Netflix show
Maybe you’ve looked at your Netflix queue lately and seen, among the new shows, one with an eye-catching name. Scrotal Recall hit our queues last month, and first nabbed attention for its wacky title. But if you’re not watching because of the name of the show, you’re missing out.
Would it help you to know—as it did for me—that it’s a British comedy? Created by Tom Edge, the show became available on Netflix in April, but it first aired in England in 2014. And all it takes is a quick Google search for “funny British town names” to know that our cheeky friends across the pond have been getting away with far worse for quite some time. A sitcom called Scrotal Recall is rather tame by comparison. And while I can’t deny that the show is aptly named, it should be noted that it will hit you in the heart and the funny bone much more so than the title “character.”
The series is set in London and revolves around three friends in their mid- to late-twenties. We meet Dylan (Johnny Flynn) first, looking completely deflated as he is told he has tested positive for chlamydia.
Nurse: “Two tablets should clear it up, but left untreated it can cause infertility so you’ll need to contact your previous sexual partners.”
Dylan: “All of them?”
Nurse: “No, just the ones you like.”
(Sarcasm: not helping.)
Being the good guy we quickly learn he is, Dylan decides to contact all his former sexual partners himself rather than with the form letters the clinic sent him home with. “Yeah, that’s it,” says Luke (Daniel Ings)—friend number two—laughing as he recognizes the “literature” immediately. He is suspiciously familiar with the protocol. “They’re like bad Valentines’ cards,” he says. “I love you so much it hurts…when I urinate.”
(Jokes: also not helping. Too soon, Luke—too soon.)
Attacking the situation like one might the initial stages of a scavenger hunt, Luke brainstorms different ways Dylan might approach contacting the list of women. Some are logical (e.g. chronological order), while others are not super appropriate (e.g. by bra size), but all go to firmly establishing him as the skirt-chasing counterpart to Dylan in his earnest search for true love—but you can’t help but to be equally fond of both these fellas.
Over the course of the season, characteristics in Luke that could have easily dissolved into a tedious cliché of the womanizing sidekick, instead come off as downright delightful thanks to a few well-placed character-depth reveals, as well as Ings’s delivery and physicality. He’s an absolute comedic beast—he doesn’t just say the joke, he invests his whole body in its success. (I have two words for you: Point Break. You’ll understand when you see it.) You simply cannot not like this guy.
Last but not least, also in the mix is Evie (Antonia Thomas), who is both a great co-conspirator in the trio’s antics, as well as the perfect friendly foil to the guys when they need a little calling out. At a wedding, Luke introduces a bridesmaid to Evie and a newly dumped Dylan, making sure to emphasize, “Evie’s just a friend.” Evie interprets: “He means you can sleep with either of them without me objecting.”
As the story’s action gets underway, Dylan ultimately decides to contact the women in alphabetical order, and the show takes you back and forth between past and present—jumping as far back as five years, and as recently as eighteen months—to show both what led up to each of Dylan’s sexual encounters, as well as what was happening with the trio at the time. We get hints throughout the first episode of what lies beneath the case of chlamydia driving the story, but it’s in the last sixty seconds that the stakes become clear. Oh, it’ll make your heart ache at least a little.
And it only gets better from there.
Big jokes that come at you like sucker punches around every corner, and some serious heart make this show binge-watch-worthy. And at just six episodes in it’s debut season, you may as well make some popcorn and settle in, because it will take a lot more restraint than I had to not devour this treat of a sitcom in a single sitting.