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Exclusive: Showrunner Stacy Rukeyser calls Netflix’s Sex/Life ‘Bridgerton’s older sister’

Screenshot of Stacy Rukeyser's interview with Monsters and Critics.
Stacy Rukeyser serves as the showrunner for Sex/Life. Pic credit: Netflix & Junket Productions

The raunchy romantic drama Sex/Life has been taking Netflix by storm since its premiere on Friday, June 25. It has been trending on the streaming platform in the United States for the entirety of its debut weekend, currently sitting in the number four position.

The story draws focus on mother-of-two Billie Connelly, who is played by actor Sarah Shahi. While Billie is a caring mother and wife to her husband (played by Mike Vogel), she longs to break free of her mundane, suburban life and go back to her colorful time spent in New York City. This causes a rift in Billie’s relationships as she begins to journal about her past lover, Brad.

Showrunner Stacy Rukeyser refers to this show as her “baby” and the first series that she’s created herself. She told Monsters & Critics, “It’s a dream come true. I’m so thrilled. I’ve been a TV writer for 19 years and I’ve climbed my way up the ranks.”

She added, “I’ve run shows created by other people, but this is the first baby that I created myself. And, it’s a show that I feel comes from such a personal place, such a personal connection. I’m just thrilled to get it out into the world.”

Monsters & Critics had the honor of chatting with Stacy Rukeyser about the creation of Sex/Life and the message that she hopes views take from the series.

Picturing the audience for Sex/Life

Monsters & Critics: How do you think the Netflix audience is going to take to Sex/Life?

Stacy Rukeyser: Well, I think we are like the big sister to Bridgerton because Bridgerton takes a real look at female sexuality and desire as well. But it’s all about first experiences and your first taste and your first blush with all of that. We’re the big sister to say, like, this is what happens when you grow up and you’re at the next stage of your life. And here is the next set of complications that could happen.

M&C: What are you hoping that your audience takes away from the series?

Rukeyser: I think that one of the current mantras in feminist thinking right now is that you can have it all, just not all at the same time. And I’ve always really kind of bristled at that because I feel like it’s another way of saying you can’t have it all and you have to choose.

I hope that this series lets women feel seen and lets them celebrate all parts of themselves. And realize that it’s OK to say, yes, I’m responsible, grown-up, and maybe even a wife and mom, but I am also a ravenous sex goddess at the same time.

M&C: Who is the audience member that you created the show for?

Rukeyser: I think it’s for anyone who’s ever wondered “what if,” which is probably all of us. I think that anybody can wonder, did I make the right choices in my life? Is this who I am supposed to be? And also, gosh, I had fun when I was single.

Inspirations behind Sex/Life

M&C: Sex/Life is inspired by the novel 44 Chapters About Four Men by B.B. Easton. Did you have any other inspirations that you looked towards when you were creating the characters, especially Billie? While watching it, I was like oh, this is so Gossip Girl.

Rukeyser: That’s cool. I’ll take it. The movie that was such a reference point for me was Unfaithful, which is the Diane Lane movie from a while ago. She was nominated for an Oscar for it. I loved it so much. And everybody talks about the scene on the train where she’s remembering the sex that she had with her French lover and all of the different emotions that she goes through.

That was so much of what we were going after. But it’s also set in the Connecticut suburb where I grew up and it is a sparkly fever dream version of the New York City that I lived in after college with my best girlfriends. And there were some impossibly sexy men back then, too. But it’s sort of the fantasy version of what that time was like.

Watch our full interview below:

Sex/Life is currently streaming on Netflix.

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