Whilst perusing the internet with my usual seven tabs of social media, I began to see a growing trend surrounding a show called Naked Attraction new to Channel 4. One site suggested it was a ‘new low for TV’, another recognised viewers had branded it ‘Car Crash TV’ and it seems to be frequently agreed upon that it is ‘an awful concept for a show’.
Reading all this I naturally put aside my laptop…
…picked up my HDMI cable, plugged it into the big screen and sat down to watch the first two episodes.
Because I love trash TV and I know if I don’t love it, no one will. So really it was an important test to carry out. Ahem.
The first thing I would like to point out to Naked Attraction’s critics is, at its core, Naked Attraction is not a bad concept. Yes, the complaints of obscenity by those who find a reported 282 penii excessive for one episode (shout out to the presumed intern at The Sun who had to count them) may find some grounding.
But looking past our culturally imposed prudeness surrounding nudity and putting our hippy garlands on – perhaps there is something beautiful in a dating show that aims to introduce people in their raw state. Without the material accessories we use to try and project a false exterior, the person falls in love with what is 100% naturally ours. That’s a beautiful thing right? Right?
NOT RIGHT. Because where Naked Attraction goes wrong is it doesn’t recognise what it truly is, feigns to be something it isn’t and then destroys this body-loving concept, by plucking apart the individual details of a person in a way which tragically emulates the hypercritical eye we all despise to see in the media.
If I were to write the intro for Naked Attraction it would go something like this: ‘Hi all, I like seeing naked people, you like seeing naked people. So, let’s get some people together who we think might like each other, get them naked and watch them and see who does like each other.’
Unfortunately, Naked Attraction has a crack (‘scuse the pun) at trying to depict itself as some sort of scientific survey, with Anna Richardson claiming the aim is to find ‘what men and women find really attractive’. Yes C4 – some strong evidence will definitely be drawn from this sample, with all two people per episode being asked. I feel you are going to be making some revolutionary steps in discovering the workings of the human brain.
This is backed up by some awful bits of diagram, to try and make it seem more ‘science-y’, with Anna deducing ‘so more girth means more pleasure’ and other stuff you could have predicted even if you’d never seen a naked person before in your life.
Apparently in response to complaints about the show, a C4 spokesperson stated the aim was to ‘demystify the rules of sexual attraction for the Tinder generation’. Once again, at what point did someone in a white lab coat come in and suggest they were doing some sort of ground-breaking research here? Whoever it was, they were not a real scientist and someone shouldn’t have let them into the building.
But this faux-professionalism pales in comparison to the way the show approaches the naked body. Naked dating is an interesting concept and it promises so many things in terms of body confidence, loving thyself and seeing ‘real’ bodies on TV (which everyone loves right? Kill photoshop! Yada yada yada).
However, the way the show is constructed completely dismantles this. Instead of accepting each human being as a ‘whole’ we are subjected to focusing on the nipples, penis or toes of ‘Green’ (no name, just a colour) alone, so that these people are being completely dehumanised.
If the chooser goes off on a tangent, Anna is quick to bring them back with questions such as ‘what other willies are you drawn to here?’ And whilst they agonise over the appendage of some poor guy, I can’t help thinking how this could possibly encourage young men watching that the size and shape of their penis doesn’t matter? How can it not be doing any damage, when people watch contestants being unceremoniously booted-off based on the most trivial things? Don’t believe me? A guy got rid of a girl in episode 2 based on her little toe being wonky.
So Naked Attraction shoots itself in the foot, or the penis or whatever bit of body is hanging out of the pod.
Sadly, this car-crash TV addict will be sitting this one out – although I would be interested to see the season finale where the producers make Anna present their findings to a panel of doctors, with the aid of their cartoon vagina drawings.