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Naked TV

I’ve never understood the issue with nudity.  Not that I’m interested in flashing my tahtahs, mind you.  But why does it always seem to be the next big thing in television?

When the first round of Degrassi High graduated from high school in 1992, Canadians got a two-hour send-off movie and the first view of Joey Jeremiah butt cheeks.  And that was at eight o’clock on a Sunday night.

The next year, we saw an equally cheeky David Caruso on NYPD Blue at a respectable 10pm.  And yet, some advertisers still pulled their commercials in outrage.  Soon after, the rules started to change and the butt began showing up in limited release on network television.

Skip forward about twenty years and we’ve got Discovery’s survival show Naked and Afraid, TLC’s real estate program Buying Naked and VH1’s Dating Naked.  (No explanation required.)  And new naked show ideas are being pitched every day. 

Of course, viewers can’t really see anything.  All the parts are blurred and digitally covered with the exception of – what else – the backsides.  Thank you, Degrassi.

So what’s the point?

As a viewer, I’m not getting much out of this.  And even if the juicy bits weren’t completely obscured, why would we care?  These aren’t airbrushed models of human perfection.  They have cellulite and droopy parts just like the rest of us.  We see it every day in the mirror.

Parts is just parts, folks.

Looking at it from the production side, I’m not entirely sure why someone would have to be naked to buy real estate.  Or who would invite them into their open house.  It’s just not sanitary.

And I have enough problem with bug bites.  There isn’t enough money in the world to get me to go camping without adequate cover and a massive supply of DEET.

However, producers of the Dating Naked claim there’s a deep philosophical concept behind their show.  Apparently, it’s a “metaphor for allowing yourself to be truly exposed and truly yourself in the search for love.”  In other words, ladies can’t stuff their bras or squeeze into their Spanx to make a first impression.  And men can’t hide their shortcomings either.  But the producers can edit the heck out of these pixilated interactions to create drama, tension, and commercial breaks.

Meanwhile, cable channels continue to splash full frontal and unobscured nudity across the screen while viewers laud their creativity and Emmy-worthy writing.  Because, of course, when you have a vampire covered in blood or female prisoners in lockdown, they must also be nude.  That’s just real life.

So if the nudity is not what people are noticing (or actually seeing) on television, why are producers working so hard to put it there?

Because they can?  Because it’s art?  Because of costume budget cuts?

Ironically, the Parents Television Council is disappointed but not overly worried about the growing number of “Naked” shows.  Their president predicts “the trend will be short-lived.”

Especially once the cold weather sets in.


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