VH1’s new show Naked Dating is “all about a noisy, provocative hook, and we embrace that!” boasts network vice-president Susan Levison. Naturally, every cable and satellite subscriber will be forced to pay for the show – whether they watch it or not.
In its heyday, VH1 was “MTV for thirtysomethings,” airing music videos of slightly older performers. Then the network began showing sleazy, exploitative reality fare like Charm School, I Love Money, and Rock of Love Bus. And now, the network’s at the point where it will air a “dating” program in which all the contestants parade around in the nude.
From the same production company that created Fox’s execrable (and mercifully short-lived) The Moment of Truth, each episode of Naked Dating will feature a naked man and woman at a “remote, exotic location.” Both contestants will be allowed to “date” multiple other nude people in every episode. VH1 claims that the program will be edited “according to network standards”; but given the sheer volume of smirking innuendo in the network’s press release – references to contestants being “stripped of all their pretenses” and “baring all” abound – one doesn’t have to guess what those “standards” will be like.
This isn’t the first time a basic cable network has added nudity to an otherwise standard program; but it is one of the most appalling. Trying desperately to pretend that VH1’s nudie peepshow is “deep” and “meaningful,” Levison claims that the program is actually about “stripping away the artifices of our modern world” so that the contestants can “reveal their ultimate, honest selves,” in their “search for true love.” The notion that the best way to be “honest” and find “true love” is to engage in a nude orgy on a tropical island is one only a TV network executive could believe.