With at least three cable shows built around nudity, is a full time naked reality channel now inevitable?
Beyond the question of whether this concept is a fleeting fad, why has there been so little controversy to date?
Between Discovery Channel’s “Naked And Afraid”, TLC’s “Buying Naked” and now VH1’s “Dating Naked” (note the word NAKED in every show title to make sure it has your attention), there haven’t exactly been demonstrations in the streets protesting these programs.
Is it because we’ve reached the point of complete depravity? In a world where Internet porn is ubiquitous, are these just not particularly shocking?
So far, we’ve come across only one objection to “Dating Naked”, from the Parents Television Council. It’s attempting to convince McDonald’s to pull its ads from the show:
The Parents Television Council is calling on McDonald’s to reconsider its sponsorship of VH1’s “Dating Naked,” a reality show with contestants who date each other in the nude, citing the McDonald’s CEO’s desire to become a “more trusted and respected brand.” McDonald’s ads were found on the 7/17 premiere episode and nearly all of the repeat airings of that episode.
“McDonald’s is admittedly struggling with its brand image, yet the Happy Meal company executives think it appropriate to sponsor naked-dating on television. As part of its marketing review, the folks in Oak Brook need to hire Captain Obvious. The title alone should put the program on the company’s do-not-buy list. We urge McDonald’s to reconsider its sponsorship of any and all future episodes of this show,” said PTC President Tim Winter.
But this has generated very little attention since the press release was sent out five days ago.
Just how fast will the nude novelty wear off? VH1 may have revealed its hand when episode three of “Dating Naked” degenerated into a shoutfest thanks to contestant Katie, who developed a black eye after a zip line accident and spent the rest of the hour cursing and flipping off everyone, including the host and network itself.
Wasn’t Katie an obvious plant by producers looking to pump up the action?
What kind of people agree to appear on these shows, anyway? Apparently, those with many, many tattoos.
Equally ridiculous is network spin asserting nudity is not the central theme of these programs. From the AP:
“The secret sauce of our show is not the fact that they’re naked,” said Denise Contis, West Coast head of production and development at Discovery. “I think it’s the storytelling, the cast and a survival experience that’s authentic.”
Memorable characters make successful shows, “and it takes a big character to take off their clothes in front of a reality TV camera,” Montgomery said.
Standards are the same at each show: male and female genitalia are blurred out, along with female breasts. Backsides are fair game. A graphic artist takes about a week to cleanse each episode of “Naked and Afraid.” A strategically placed flowerpot or sofa obscures the nude home shoppers in “Buying Naked.”
Discovery wasn’t searching for a “naked” show when developing “Naked and Afraid,” Contis said. It wanted a new twist in the survival genre and, ultimately, the most elemental shelter is clothing.
“Naked and Afraid” and “Dating Naked” have one thing in common: none of its subjects have much experience with public nudity and therefore generally lack confidence. That leads to moments that are more cringeworthy than titillating. And as mentioned above, body parts are blurred out. How sexy is that?
And stuck with a particularly thin premise is “Buying Naked“, as selling real estate at a nudist colony just doesn’t seem like a concept that could carry a show through multiple seasons.
Since there’s little doubt network suits have at least a dozen more nude reality shows in the works, the race will be on to make them stand out from the crowd (by NOT blurring out body parts). Will one finally become shocking enough to generate public anger? Or are we just numb to all of this?