Don't watch Naked Attraction at work – or at all

by Diana Wichtel / 28 November, 2017
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Naked Attraction: boring, but seems harmless.

At least they keep their clothes on in Married at First Sight. The same cannot be said of Naked Attraction.

Married at First Sight NZ on Three proved oddly compelling if you fast-forwarded through the experts squeaking, with increasing despair, “We used psychological and relationship expertise to match these couples!” Next time, let the contestants draw a name from a hat. Could the results be any worse?

By the time we got to the renewing of vows, only three of the six couples were left and the show was engaged in the Sisyphean task of trying to pretend there was the remotest hope for two of them.

Ben had been advised to give the marriage a year. “This is from this person who does my eyebrows and my eyebrows are amazing.” He took a break from congratulating himself on how hot he is to list the obstacles in the way of eternal happiness with Aaron: “A): I am not attracted to Aaron. B): We have nothing in common …”

Andrew looked happiest hanging out with his pet pig, Mr Pigglesworth, the only one who seemed to understand the enigmatic builder as he orbited flight attendant Vicky in the hope of one day landing. They had a final white-water-rafting date. “What I didn’t like,” said Vicky, “was when the water went all on my face.” What she also didn’t like, as it turned out, was Andrew. No chemistry.

Brett and Angel have bags of chemistry – possibly a secret supply of nitrous oxide. Laugh! Please make them stop. Never mind. Greater love hath no woman than that she is prepared to move to Lincoln. I’ll miss Angel’s mad metaphors. “Right now my stomach feels a little bit of a mixture of scrambled eggs and popping candy,” went one emetic observation. Romance was like riding a wave. “You feel it might break.” Well, waves tend to. “It’s very confusing in the noggin.”

The final episode had the ritual interrogation of contestants. Expert Pani seemed confused in the noggin, and a little annoyed, at the intractable refusal of so many to fall in love. Luke glowered beneath his beanie. Lacey walked out twice, for old times’ sake.

 

At least everyone kept their kit on. Tragically, this cannot be said for Naked Attraction, a dating show with no experts, although everyone involved appears in urgent need of help. And pants. A punter, clothed, briefly, chooses a date from naked people in pods whose bodies are revealed in daunting stages. It took me a while to realise this depressing glimpse into a new circle of light-entertainment hell was not another futuristic horror story from Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror. Even he couldn’t make this up.

Do I need to say it’s British? The show’s Channel 4 Twitter bio is honest, if grammatically challenged: “Now casting for a new series. If you’re single, stupid and keen in taking part …” Anna Richardson drew the short straw as host. She has the credentials: “As someone who has loved men and women, I can fully appreciate the bits that boing and bounce on both sexes,” she chirped. Otherwise, the dialogue amounts to variations on, “Have you ever been faced by six penises?”

Once, they weren’t allowed to say “placenta” on Shortland Street. Now, a naked dating show can screen on TVNZ 2 at 9.30pm and OnDemand. Don’t try to watch it at work. Or at all.

To be fair, the show has been praised for its gender, racial, all-shapes-and-sizes inclusivity. That didn’t stop a barrage of complaints when it first screened in the UK. But apart from boring you to death, Naked Attraction seems harmless. It’s like being trapped in a full-frontal, pierced-and-tattooed version of a vintage Butlins Holiday Camp Miss Lovely Legs competition. Main takeaway: everyone looks better with their clothes on. The series was mercifully coming to an end when I caught up with it. Replacing it is Bromans: “Modern geezers in the time of Caesar.” Be warned.

This article was first published in the November 25, 2017 issue of the New Zealand Listener.

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