Film and TV

Reality Bites: Dating Naked

There are a million reality shows on the naked television. We're going to watch them all, one at a time.

"Naked television" indeed.

When it comes down to it, dating shows aren't any better or worse than shows about flipping houses (Flip This House), staged cooking competitions (Celebrity Cook-Off, or the embryonic version of Ow My Balls! (Wipeout). Select a handful of attention-starved dimwits, preferably with visible abs and/or D-cups, and set them loose in an "unscripted" environment while letting cameras record the ensuing shenanigans.

You're probably familiar with the metaphor of the boiling frog: put a frog in a pan of boiling water and it'll jump out, but put the frog in cold water and gradually heat it to a boil, and the frog will die without complaint. VH1's new reality show is called Dating Naked, and if you feel like it's getting hot in here, it's probably not because of the blurred-out genitalia.

In each episode, a man and woman will go on three dates (including one with each other), then select one as their starkers soulmate. In The Episode I Watched, we meet Joe, a 24-year old from Long Island. Joe sees Dating Naked as a way to get over the pain of having his first marriage annulled. When he was 19. You see, Joe equates nakedness with honesty and "no secrets," which is certainly the case, so long as the only secrets you're worried about are, "Circumcised or uncircumcised" or. "Martini glass or landing strip?"

His counterpart? Well, let's allow her to introduce herself: "My name is Wee Wee."

[Side note: it took an effort I can only describe as "Herculean" to keep from throwing my remote control through the TV in the hopes the resulting implosion would create a miniature black hole and remove myself from existence].

Great name! Let's hear some more about you! "I can take care of myself, but I want a man who can take care of me, too." Makes perfect sense.

The host is Amy Paffrath. I suppose VH1 included a host in order to articulate the actual premise so people who channel surf by don't see pixelated naughty bits and place outraged calls to their cable provider. Paffrath offers bits of wisdom like, "Both of you are here for the same reason: you're single." That, and your sense of self-respect didn't develop as one would expect in typical human beings. She explains the rules, and then it's time to get naked. In other words, time for Joe to show Wee Wee his wee wee.

Joe's off to a good start: "I didn't even get to buy you a drink yet." You don't even have to get a woman intoxicated to see her goodies! Up high, brah!

The first part of their date involves running through the surf in a big hamster ball. It's probably a good thing this show probably won't catch on, because being forced to watch your prospective mate flop around nude inside a giant sphere before mating would likely spell doom for the human race.

After that, it's naked drinks. We learn that Joe's all about personality, while Wee Wee wants a caring/unselfish man. This explains perfectly why they decided to appear on a show that prominently features their bare asses (I believe it was Heraclitus who said, "The buttocks are the windows to the soul"). The date then moves on to dinner, where they ... put clothes on? BULLSHIT, Mr Han Man. Excuse me, but If they're going to "date naked," then pull out all the stops and spend the *whole* date naked. And if that means stray pubes on the filet, so be it.

Second date time: Joe gets Jasmine, who has kind of a Megan Fox thing going. Unfortunately for Wee Wee, her second date is Jeff, who has kind of an Annoying Nathan Fillion thing going. They sort of hit it off doing nude body painting, but Wee Wee is obviously more attached to Joe, which is a theme that VH1 will bludgeon into us for the next 30 minutes like Manny Pacquiao beating Antonio Margarito. Unfortunately, "Mr. Lon Guyland" is enjoying some sexy time at the Hammock Hut (or maybe it was the Hammock Hut, they're both on 3rd) with Jasmine. Say it with me: this will end well.

Long story short, Joe's mostly a pig. The third date comes around, with VH1 throwing the kind of curveball you'd expect from the network that produced Breaking Bonaduce by making them both black. Joe's date is Crissy, who is actually quite self-deprecating and charming, so her family was probably threatened. It'd be cool if Wee Wee's date "Justice" was, like, a U.S. Marshall or Interpol agent, but he actually does "events" in Miami. That's *yawn* neat.

He and Wee Wee birdwatch, Joe and Crissy go do ... whatever that thing is when a powerboat tows you on a raft and you get the shit beat out of you. Afterwards. I guess he raps while she plays congas (Crissy is actually a professional violinist, which I doubt Joe could identify unless he was watching a Dave Matthews video).

Joe gets pouty when Jasmine starts goofing around with Justice in the pool, which would appear to open the door for Wee Wee (you may recall her as the one he described as having "a great personality"). But wait! Jasmine was just playing hard to get, and she and Joe make out in a hut. I like to imagine VH1's effects team scrambling to increase the pixelization effect in order to hide Joe's no doubt rampaging boner.

Unsurprisingly, this is less "Dating Naked" than it is "Let's Throw Six People Together In Tropical Paradise and See Who Gets It On." Joe ends up choosing Wee Wee, whose existence had finally been validated, I guess. She chooses him as well, guaranteeing happiness forever after.

Or at least until the next hot piece of ass hits on Joe at Charlie Bullfrog's.

KEEP THE HOUSTON PRESS FREE... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Peter Vonder Haar writes movie reviews for the Houston Press and the occasional book. The first three novels in the "Clarke & Clarke Mysteries" - Lucky Town, Point Blank, and Empty Sky - are out now.
Contact: Pete Vonder Haar