None of this matters a whit to VH1, which salaciously depicts walking around and “dating” in the nude as a carefree, meaningless, harmless activity – so harmless, in fact, that a program glorifying it can be rated TV-14 DLS, acceptable for young teen viewing. Needless to say, anyone with even a modicum of modesty or decorum would disagree.
The Thursday, August 7th episode of VH1's Naked Dating (9:00 p.m. ET) was typical of the series. Chuck, a “creative” ladies’ swimwear salesman from Miami Beach, tells the camera, “I’m a colorful guy, with or without clothes,” then adds, “I’m looking forward to STRIPPING everything away to focus on having a relationship.” Because naturally, when a young man who describes himself as a “ball of energy” is face-to-face with a naked woman, developing a deeply meaningful, long-term relationship will be the only thing on his mind.
Similarly, tattooed Las Vegas cocktail waitress Camille states, “I think I’m still single because I consistently fall for the wrong types of people.” (Apparently, Camille believes that a man willing to appear nude on national TV is the right type of person.) “My relationships haven’t been sticking, so why not try something extreme and different?” Camille shrugs.
The duo is greeted by host Amy Paffrath (Amy keeps her clothes on throughout the episode), who explains the show’s premise: “You’ve tried everything from the bar scene to blind dates and even online dating, but none of it has worked…For the next three days, each of you will go on three dates with three different people. At the end, each of you will decide which person you felt the strongest connection with and wish to continue dating. Now, go get undressed for your first NAKED DATE!”
After Chuck and Camille each undress for their “date,” the viewer sees them totally naked but with Camille’s breasts and both of their crotches blurred. Naked buttocks are fully exposed.
“I hope I can keep my eyes on his eyes and not his package,” Camille states. Chuck takes the opportunity to embrace the naked Camille and leer, “Nice outfit! I am enjoying what I see!”
For her part, Camille confesses, “Guys that I usually date are big guys that have tattoos and a rocker edge to them. With Chuck, I would usually never give the time of day. I like the fact that I’m actually trying something new.” Because the only way for a woman to try dating a man she’d normally reject is to see him naked first. Wait, what?
After an afternoon swimming, the naked couple begins making out under a shower. Unfortunately for the randy Chuck, Camille proclaims he’s not a good kisser, and sends Chuck to his room alone. The next day, Camille is truer to her usual form. As each strips for the camera, Camille states, “I hope that my second date is tan, muscular, like a beach surfer.” Chuck notes, “The second date, I’m hoping for something bigger” – and he gets it. Approached by Kristin, Chuck exclaims, “Wow! Her boobs are like – wow! Kristin’s boobs are like, WOW!” (At these words, the camera zooms in on Kristin’s chest. While her breasts are blurred, their size is obvious.) Nor is Kristin oblivious to her own assets; when Chuck states that their assigned “date” for the day is archery, Kristin cups her breasts and says, “These might get in the way!”
Meanwhile, Camille is equally impressed with her new date, Rob. “He’s stacked. He obviously hits the gym. He’s got good arms, that five-o’clock-shadow thing goin’ on. SUPER hot. And as much as I’m trying to look at Rob’s eyes, I can't help notice his penis looks like a baby's arm holding an apple!” Their “date” playing pool is little more than an opportunity for sleazy innuendo, with Rob remarking, “You want to hold the balls?”, “I want you to hold the stick, but you’ll need both hands,” and “It went in the hole. You took care of the blue balls.” “I definitely felt his pool stick. A couple times!” Camille leers. The sleaze continues in the next part of their date – cigar rolling. “You wanna try mine? It’s thicker than that one,” Rob smirks.
Then, the show’s participants get down to the real business of their so-called “dates”:
Camille: “I'm a very sexual person...Some people are like, ‘I could hit it three times a day,’ and others are like, no…”
Robert: “Well, I could definitely go three times. But I'd rather please others than get myself off.”
Kristin: “I would like to settle down and find a husband, but it needs to be someone who can keep up with my sex drive.”
Chuck: “She kept checking me out, looking at my package.”
Kristin: “I can’t keep my eyes on his face. It was pretty.”
Chuck: “You seem like a very sexual person.”
Kristin: “Yeah, I’m very adventurous. I get a little crazy. Toys, pull my hair, bite me, rubber tassels...Tie me up, spank me, I'll get rough with you. My favorite toy is the cat of nine tails.”
The overt sexual tone carries over as Robert, Camille, Kristen, and Chuck frolic naked together in a swimming pool, with Chuck noting, “Her checking me out, me checking her out, and now, that’s going to lead to some really interesting situations!” Camille invites Robert to spend the night “bunking” with her.
And so on into their third “dates.” Noting his date Michelle, Chuck leers, “Boobs, butt…She’s really, really attractive!” while Camille remarks on her third date Julian’s “erect penis…there’s just (bleeped d**k) coming at me everywhere!“ Practicing yoga, Julian has Camille lie flat on her back, open to his gaze, and rub her feet against his thighs – all the while apologizing for being “excited.” “He keeps pushing down his boner…I have a (bleeped d**k) in my face,” notes Camille.
That night, after a “clothing optional” party at a villa, Camille goes off with Rob, while Chuck ends up with Kristin. The couples go off to “enjoy their last day in paradise.” As the couples kiss, Amy encourages them, “There’s rooms right up there. Get to it!” An onscreen title concludes: “Camille and Rob disappeared into a room in the villa…and haven’t been seen since. Chuck and Kristen finally took things to the next level. Chuck definitely landed in more trouble than he could handle – in a GOOD way!”
In short, the program’s entire philosophy and raison d’etre can best be summarized in a comment from Chuck: “I want to have sex!”
Frankly, if it weren’t for the nudity hook, Naked Dating would never have made it onto TV. Without the salacious nudity, tawdry, smirking commentary, and promise of sexual activity to lure in jaded viewers, the program would merely be one more tedious “blind date” show, ala The Bachelor. Unfortunately, as Forbes magazine recently noted, nudity “is becoming de rigueur in the world of reality television.” In addition to Discovery Channel’s Naked and Afraid (the program which started this trend) and VH1’s Dating Naked, there is also TLC’s Buying Naked, and Skin Wars on Game Show Network. And VH1 is also planning a one-hour Dating Naked Wedding Special for September 18th, in which two of the people who met on Dating Naked are married by a nude clergyman. By combining the already-sexual “blind date” program with nudity, Dating Naked has started a deluge...and who knows how much more extreme this trend might become?