Naked truth about a titillating show

Dating is awkward when you are both naked.Imagine you were a television network executive, and an eager-beaver producer came to you with a pitch for a new series. ”So,” he says, ”we get a bunch of naked people …” And you stop him right there, because you are already rummaging through your safe for bags of money to hurl at his face.
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I imagine this is how Dating Naked (Eleven, 8.30pm) came to exist. For those unfamiliar with the premise, and who find that title a little too cryptic, the show is about people dating naked. And … yep, that’s it. The participants are people who are unlucky in love, people who have tried everything to find that special someone. Well, everything except allowing cameras to film them going to an island and hanging out with strangers without any clothes on.

As a concept, it’s novel and fresh and has one big thing going for it, and that is, and I can’t stress this enough: they’re all naked. Oh sure, the rude bits are blurred, but it remains an exciting development in the field of looking at nude people on TV. On Thursday’s episode, the first date is between statuesque blonde Taryn and weedy Aussie Steven, who are as comfortable in each other’s company as you’d expect two people who have never met and are being forced to eye off each other’s wobbliest districts to be. To make matters worse, Steven is a self-described ”nice guy”, ”nice” in this case apparently meaning ”incapable of speaking for 10 seconds without making a joke about genitalia”.

Things don’t get any better – or they get much much better, depending on your proclivities – when Steven goes on his second date with southern belle Ashley, on an ATV: not a vehicle especially suited to minimising jiggle. Frankly, one is not baffled about why Steven is single, although it is puzzling why he thought he’d be in with a better chance if he was naked. Meanwhile, Taryn is being photographed on the beach by a towering bearded Israeli, whose habit of standing with crotch thrust forward is not putting her at ease. It’s a compelling insight into the dating rituals of the modern nude young person. I’m not saying it’s the greatest show ever, but I am saying that everyone is naked, so it’s close enough.

Disappointingly, the contestants on Survivor (GO! 9.30pm) are not naked, unless their swimmers fall down during a challenge, which is always a possibility. There’s not an awful lot of dating going on in this ”Blood vs Water” season but there is lots of potential for the destruction of families. The venerable reality giant has always been more about naked greed and betrayal than titillation, and it’s not stopping now.