Naked Attraction

3 out of 5

Presented by: Anna Richardson

A straight forward mission statement – to cut the jibber jabber and assess a mate on physicality alone – and pun-intended balls-out approach has promise of leveraging the mini naked dating show genre into something that knowingly smirks at its exploitation, but the signal gets somewhat mixed in the presentation and the show doesn’t have any need to try to actually do anything interesting beyond the premise, so that’s that.  We can then judge the show more severely for being shallow, but I think that’s reflective of some type of guilt regarding our own shallowness, which is why I liked that the series was somewhat upfront about that characteristic.  At the same time: It’s not a good show.  The format limits things too much; there’s not enough spontaneity like a game show, and even in the short five episodes aired there’s the sense that the show would turn toward more reality-show like baiting for ratings if necessary.  But: I watched it, I was intrigued beyond the titillation, and as repeated already there’s an element of refreshing honesty swished in there, so the three star is my tip of the hat to those positives, which are unique for a dating show.

The setup: A clothed contestant is presented with five naked bodies, revealed groin-first, then chest, then face, knocking off prospects one at a time to narrow down to a final two.  Then the contestant strips before choosing their mate for a date.  Bi, gay, straight girl / guy sexual orientations are represented, and represented without clear stereotype, which was nice.  The host – who lets us know she’s bi, making this a family-friendly all-inclusive experience – remains clothed, which is a bit odd but smart, keeping the focus on the participants.  In between rounds the host presents nonsense statistics about what attracts people.

And there are questions asked about Why choosing physical first is intriguing, as well as a followup after a filmed (clothed) first date about whether or not the matchmaking works.  This is where you can mine for interest: Even though the very premise of the show is to go shallow, and the setup forces you to make snap judgments (another review criticized this, but I liked that, as it was exactly the show’s intention), people continually felt the need to justify their decisions based around non physical traits, and on the whole, the setup rarely seemed to work.

Now, firstly, unless you’re really out for just a shag, I’m not trying to suggest that we shouldn’t imbue considerations of what people are like along with what they look like.  And secondly, dating shows are a bit of a shit deal, because what if you have no interest in the person doing the choosing?  So of course it rarely worked.  But that, again, was the value: Seeing firsthand how shitty we are at judging character, how dumb a lot of us look naked (myself included, gang; I’m an obsessive gym rat but bodies are hilarious), and how our brains are forever at war with our bodies.

Again, is the show ever smart enough to look into this?  Hell no.  And to be clear, I know my initial intrigue was exactly what the creator’s were banking on: I wanted to see naked bodies.  So extend the meta criticism to me as a viewer as well.

Spoiler: No boners occurred.  I was really hoping for a behind the scenes that would speak to this, but oh well.