When Netflix recommended a series called
“Scrotal Recall” to me last year, I did a double-take.
It makes sense that the show, originally broadcast by the UK’s Channel 4 and brought over to the US by Netflix, would come up as something I’d like based on my deep love for fellow Brit-coms like “The IT Crowd,” “The Inbetweeners,” and “Merlin” (don’t knock it ’til you try it).
It wasn’t on Rotten Tomatoes… but IMDb users rated it 7.9 out of 10. Someone was watching it. And someone was liking it.
I could give it a shot.
“Scrotal Recall” centres on Dylan, a floppy-haired, hapless 20-something in an unnamed British city that isn’t London, which already sets it apart from most shows Americans get from across the pond.
In the show’s opening, Dylan finds out he has chlamydia (“the missionary position of sexual diseases,” according to his friend and housemate Luke).
Dylan gamely informs his past partners, each of whom drives the narrative of one 23-minute episode detailing the circumstances that led Dylan to the point where he has to call these women — so far, they’re all women — about an STD.
Each episode stands on its own as a flashback, while running plotlines keep you invested, primarily the exquisitely agonizing will-they-or-won’t-they romance of Dylan and his best friend Evie.
You might think a show called “Scrotal Recall” would be heavy-handed, boorish, and heavily reliant on sex jokes in place of an actual plot. I wouldn’t blame you if you did. But despite the fact that the main driver of the story is one man’s sexual escapades and ensuing STD, “Scrotal Recall” is silly, charming, and … sweet.
The characters are understandable and easy to identify with. They’re not depressingly cynical, jarringly quirky, or too witty to be anything but scripted. For all of their flaws, they come across as regular people who generally and genuinely try to do the right thing, or at least the best thing they can think of at the moment.
There are some things “Scrotal Recall” is not. It’s not a tale of politics or intrigue. There are no drugs or guns, to the best of my recollection, and it’s free of horror and violence, minus one bar-bathroom mishap and a tussle over a stolen camera. If you’re looking for the next “Game of Thrones,” this is not your show.
I’m not the first one to point out that “Scrotal Recall” might do well to junk the name and start again. “Is it too late to change the name of ‘Scrotal Recall?’” asked Stephanie Merry at the Washington Post. “Netflix’s new original ‘Scrotal Recall’ is so much better than its name,” wrote Vivian Kane at Pajiba. “‘Scrotal Recall’: Don’t be put off by the title” warns Jake Laverde at Den of Geek.
I can’t blame the creator for the name. In an interview with Den of Geek, show creator Tom Edge acknowledges the misnomer. “It was kind of a joke for the producers,” he said. “I wrote a page’s worth of titles and that one was at the end with, in brackets, ‘Not this one obviously!'”
The Washington Post points to another interview Edge did with Dan Owen, in which he acknowledged that the title is a pun, and “those go stale fast.” He admitted that there’s a tonal mismatch between the title and the show, and added: “I hate coming up with titles. It’s my worst thing.”
And let’s be honest, here: More than one person had to look at the title “Scrotal Recall” and think it was a good enough idea to pass on to the next guy.
As of press time, there’s no verdict on whether Dylan, Evie, and Luke will get a second season. Truthfully, that’s why I’m championing their story. Six episodes is not enough.
So watch “Scrotal Recall.” Tell your friends about it.
Just be sure to warn them about the title.
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