Television has always commanded attention. If you are in a living
room with a group of people and the set is on, people will naturally
keep their eyes on the program, even if it is something stupid. Humans
are attracted to things in motion and for that reason, television
commands attention. But television has taken its lumps more recently.
There are so many channels, programmers try extra hard to call attention
to their offerings.
It seems that a few programmers have
discovered that people are interested in naked people. It started with a
show called “Naked and Afraid” on one of those channels most people
skip past. If you’ve missed this classic series, two persons — one male,
one female — are dropped into some exotic, untamed jungle or desert or
swamp or uncomfortable locale and told how to get out.
is, the man and woman are naked. Yup. As a jaybird. And a camera crew
follows them around, showing what they have to do to find shelter, stay
warm, and get food. Viewers are treated to a survival show, with the
added nudity. Now most of the nudity is blurred out, except when the
contestants are facing away from the camera. There are cheeks
everywhere. And that certainly catches a person’s eye when you are
scanning the channels looking for Jeopardy! or reruns of The Big Bang
So, “Naked and Afraid” started gaining a lot of attention,
and other television producers decided they wanted to draw in traffic
the same way. So last weekend, I stumbled across “Selling Naked” which
is one of those house-buying shows where the customer has to choose
between three houses to buy. This version is the same basic idea — real
estate agents are trying to sell houses and condos — but the perspective
homes are in nudist communities.
That means a lot of naked people
walking around, gardening, etc., while some agent is trying to point
out the new shingles on the roof or the delicate trim around the window
boxes. The same rules apply to “Selling Naked” also, so lots of blurred
parts of people and lots of standing behind things.
earlier this week I read about another network with a show soon to
debut. It’s called “Dating Naked,” and I’m sure you’ve guessed the plot
already. Now, not much would have made my dating life more awkward than
being a contestant on this show. But that’s not the point. The point is,
how many people are there who want to appear naked on nationwide
television? And how much of them do we really have to look at?
it or not, there is a limit to what can be shown before many people
would rather turn the channel. While the first two of these shows have
apparently agreed to blur everything on the front half of bodies, will
the next show continue?
Already in Europe, there are shows on the
air that do not blur anything at all. While that sounds like a teenage
boy’s dream, it’s hardly necessary. It’s usually not desirable either.
If you’ll pardon the expression, the naked truth is that clothing is a
Part of what makes “Naked and Afraid” so fascinating is
that you start to wonder what additional injury will be inflicted on
them because they wear no protection. I really don’t want any part of
hearing someone walk naked through a briar patch or sit down wrong on a
pile of sticks. And I don’t need to know about all the insect bites and
Just put on some clothes and show us how well you
can catch a trout with your shoestring. That’ll do just fine. Better
yet, if we’re down to nudity to get people to watch television, maybe
we’ve already voted to ship the television sets off our little Survivor
When there are 13,000 channels in need of programming,
we’re going to hit bottom in quality programming. It appears we may have
hit bottom already.