“Dating in reverse” sounds like meeting in divorce court and breaking up on a blind date. Or breaking up at a single’s mixer and meeting because they want white kids. It’s also the slogan of Naked Attraction, the outer limit of primate-on-primate violence.
The internet lied to me. The finest reality TV cruelty doesn’t come from America, Japan, or even the Russian fight pits. England’s the uncontested king of Milgram reenactments. All thanks to Channel 4: a suffering-powered machine intended to take us all to Avalon.
Britain approaches reality television with the same empathy and restraint as real estate. But their signature food supply pranks will be forgiven and forgotten long before Naked Attraction. This show starts with hate for human flesh and ends with hate for human souls.
Despite the name, Naked Attraction isn’t a nudist colony thriller. It’s a game about exposing your soul. The contestants also have no clothes, but that barely matters. The star is the misshapen wraith hiding behind civility.
But that’s just my take. Like any modern crime, Naked Attraction has promo copy.
There’s at least one intact brain behind Naked Attraction, because “dating in reverse” does twice the work without the cliches. Whenever a dating show makes apps the Great Enemy, they’re liquefying at least one human soul per ad break.
In case you also skim pictures when you’re hung over: on Naked Attraction, six people line up to be judged, limb by limb, like a Virginia fire sale. Despite representing a different triangle trade vertex entirely, players jump in with a Jefferson’s enthusiasm. Cultural diffusion at its finest.
I’ll skip whether or not this would work. No one cares if dating show guests find love, including the guests. But of all the rituals for Instagram followers, this is the darkest since Age Gap Love. Which is real, exactly what it sounds like, with the first problem you thought of, and also British. Gladiators are next.
I smelled pain after finding ten seasons with no local knockoff. Networks love rushing hits to the syndication money-printer. Ten uncashed checks isn’t oversight. It’s a cover-up. They’re hiding the kingdom’s 539th greatest crime.
That, or their spinoff empire can’t process nudity without burying Janet Jackson/Katie Hill/[free space]. It takes work to out-prude the people that coined Victorianism, but children strive to surpass their parents. I lashed myself twice for every testicle in this show, and three times for every lash I enjoyed. The NBC set would look a little different..
Before we dissect the frog, two Flash Facts. One: The behavior in this torture chamber and my godless sense of humor don’t reflect the reality of dating. They reflect lonely souls judging desperate souls on national television. Body dysmorphia is as common as having a body, so keep that in mind. Two: everything’s censored, but if you read this at work you’ll end today less employed than you began it.
Naked Attraction spirals, but not far. We’ll warm up with the pilot, before deadlifting the heavy despair.
Our host is sideshow veteran Anna Richardson, not that you’d know from watching. Her name appears less often than pierced perineums. The penalty for self-promotion in her contract likely involves a cyanide tooth, or an episode as a contestant.
A shame, since her job takes flexibility. When the guest’s an escaped nun exploring rumors of muscular apes, Anna makes three jokes about balls. When the guest is a cult leader recruiting brides before The Ascension, Anna makes three jokes about vulvas. I’m not saying she’s bad. Just that she’ll be replaced by HarassGPT.
She hosted Secret Eaters, which did for eating disorders what Naked Attraction does for body dysmorphia. Anna opened episodes with “Britain has got a big fat secret,” a sentence tied with CCP propaganda for the cruelest words I’ve quoted. Secret Eaters played the oboe over it, alongside footage of people eating against their will. Cooler heads softened it to “Britain has a big problem” in season two, but by then mankind was ready to stream slap fights to the death.
Her first victim’s Aina, a London musician and perfect mark. She’s one of twelve fools to sign up for a reality show’s first season, before anyone knows how many MXCs of humiliation get added in post. The Great British Bake-Off and Big Brother pull from the same species on the same island. Adobe Premiere decides whether you get depravity or Big Brother.
She parties too hard for most guys, so Aina’s here to find one that also doesn’t get consequences. Love means more to her than exposure, unless someone would lie to be famous.
The host parrots Aina’s intro, and then the dick auction begins.
One of the dicks has this tattoo.
The match is over. In ads, the “unique value proposition” is something only your product offers, and a lie. Agencies invent the magic separating Pepsi from a theoretical alternative. This man has a real one, in plain sight, with two floppy ears. Every trait that leads someone to S1E1 of Naked Attraction leads to Elephant Dick.
The appeal may be lost on you, because you read. But writing workshops gave me some insight into people that don’t. For ennui’s horniest victims, elephant ears have all the charm spellcheck lacks.
You’ll get both, because the next phase is lying. We’re pretending the game isn’t over. Aina still has to evaluate five other dicks, and send someone home for one of two possible reasons. Followed by four more rounds of live mendacity.
“Cheap Thrills” plays while Aina eliminates the smallest penis. Per Aina, it’s because of “Something in the stance.” Before your brain can reject that, we learn the face a human makes during a Genital Walk of Shame.
I get it. He’s the first man out in a public dick-measuring contest. Only a select group of fraternity rejects know his pain. Afterwards, comfort and mockery will sound and feel identical. The only thing I know about Yellow Pod is that he deserves better.
Yellow Pod’s a computer science student, and education can’t prepare you for that moment. The class is too hard to pitch: more of us would get mileage out of Advanced Dirty Bomb Defusal than Intro to Televised Dick-Shame. All you can do is brush yourself off, hold your head high, and plot revenge from Monte Cristo.
I could say that the other players aren’t eliminated in girth order. That a round answering “What’s your favorite body part?” puts the game in the air. That the oceans are retreating and Vince McMahon is going to jail. But Naked Attraction bought ten seasons with one truth: we never stop lying. Players eliminate overweight people for their voice, short people for their elbows, and black people for their fixation on Chinese Emperors. But like Zhao Gao’s usurpation of Qin Er Shi’s court, everyone can see what’s happening.
Aina gets naked for the finals. And after revealing her id, she takes her clothes off too.
This theoretically reverses the dynamic, as the host feeds contestants leading questions about Aina’s body. But Aina’s still scheduled to humiliate one of them afterwards, so it’s a compliment contest. The man on the left knows he’s lost, and calls her “presentable” twice. Meanwhile, as Elephant Man wobbles towards victory, he shows more confidence. His enthusiasm becomes apparent. He gets an erection.
Perfect power move. They leave together.
A cynic might call this premise an incel factory. Yup. That, if nothing else, isn’t Naked Attraction’s fault. I don’t double-check trending terror motives when I write, except I do because I’m a lunatic. But I don’t expect others to.
“That’s a lot of incel jokes for one dating show,” says the strawman. “But I trust Dennard. Surely he knows consensus reality can’t survive an incel episode of Naked Attraction.”
Got you again, Comedy Strawman. When will you learn?
By season 7, Naked Attraction is done with standard human isolation. The spark is dead. It’s heard all of isolation’s stories, tried every position isolation likes from porn, and rerolled sex dice with isolation until their usual came up. Buying a couple’s cruise only made the divorce bells louder.
Thus begins the stunt casting.
The season premiere has the Christian. I retired from jabs at the Abrahamic expanded universe, after learning I was an “asshole” who was “not helping” at multiple “weddings.” Naked Attraction skips that lesson, and sets up the softest target it can find for a direct collision with the zeitgeist.
We meet Brian in a jarring cutscene. It has the grace and subtlety of an unprotected chair shot. We’re a long way past Season One’s underground charm, which didn’t exist. Naked Attraction can feel The Masked Singer breathing down their neck, and they don’t have Chris Jericho’s number.
Brian explains “If I was a wine, I’d be a well-aged Californian Cabernet Sauvignon with lots of elegance and flavor, paired with all kinds of big, bold, beefy dishes.” Screenwriting books call that the lie your hero believes. This gentleman will elegantly call three women fat and pair with no one.
Brian’s never had a girlfriend, kiss, or full explanation of reality TV. I don’t know why his Tory friends didn’t warn him. Or at least tell him not to say “I don’t know where all the parts of the vagina are.” It robs comedy writers of fun paraphrases.
He likes taking things slow, the way a political prisoner likes free housing. Abstinent people are all over the place, but they’re not charging onto Naked Attraction. And Brian’s hornier than someone ordering wings at a strip club. An editor he should never forgive included this shot:
Then the game begins. Anna’s more dialed-in than usual, which is never good for the players. She hits Brian with five variations of “How much not-fucking have you done?” seconds after showing a short film with the answer. Brian’s too direct and evasive at the same time, explaining he’s had “half a lapdance” and “avoided looking at the bottom part.”
Anna smells blood. They roll out six bottom parts.
Brian struggles with the concept.
Once again, the match is over. Brian’s still here for love, but the pods are here for airtime. Whoever wins, the date ends in untouched wallet condoms and Jordan Peterson retweets. Anna and Unseen Producer feign concern before gently and supportively getting Brian back to work.
To his credit, he rallies. Genetic memory helps Brian spring into human shopping, and discard idolaters with piercings and makeup. But first, he eliminates Blue Pod for being his “usual type.” I will now cash in my one free virgin joke. I’m tearing out the coupon, handing it to the cashier, and going back to bored Emperors afterwards.
Brian’s “usual type” doesn’t matter because he can’t have a usual type. I don’t have a usual type of private jet. Reagan doesn’t have a usual part of Heaven. Naked Attraction knows Brian can’t see himself, so it’s set him up to fail. Brian’s dick is an afterthought; his brain’s naked.
Then Green Pod, a gothy gym resident, helpfully identifies key areas of the vagina. And it’s a lock. Three minutes after saying “I think sex should be sacred,” Brian decides Suicide Girls are sacred. We’re now playing for silver.
Seven seasons in, that means dancing while Brian plays piano.
The logic? Brian needs a classy girl that can wall-twerk to Bach. The truth? They’re dead and Anna Richardson’s the devil. She barks improv comedy at the pods, while Brian avoids tritones in front of bodies he’ll never touch. Green Pod and Pink Pod sway in confusion, which I get. Yellow Pod refuses and Red Pod sends it, both earning my eternal respect.
Strong showings all around, but Brian’s fully committed to Elvira’s torso. He’s planned their wedding reception, down to the wine and Bible translation on each table. Which is a shame, since Blue Pod looked willing to take that deal.
Each trial ends with a time skip and post-date autopsy. I didn’t show you Aina’s, because you know what happened. Some say they’re still going. But did Brian connect with the Morticia stunt double of his dreams?
Look at that gap. The couch has a demilitarized zone.
This should be the only censored image. It’s graphic. The couch is Naked Attraction’s cruelest character, and Anna Richardson tries. Failed couples sit across a force field, with eyes that say “I miss the pod.” It’s like the Penance Stare: I feel every rejection I’ve received or given at once. Homecoming and divorce court, combined on one couch cushion.
It happens a lot.
See, in the NakedVerse humiliation isn’t punishment for thirst, prudishness, desperation, aloofness, low ELO, dropping dumbbells, cruelty, or naivete. It’s punishment for breathing.
Brian slips into playing hall monitor again, but I’m done needling him. Let’s tap into something I normally avoid: new ants. Noo-aunts. Nu-wants. Fuck. I can do this. Clap your hands and believe in Jamaican Tinkerbell. Nuance. Someone can be a reactionary dork and get done dirty by Channel 4 at the same time. The latter isn’t justified until they load up on Tren and become dating coaches.
Naked Attraction bugs me because it wears constructive clothes. If it was called The Lonely Torture Hour or Fuck You, I’d be talking about chokeslams right now. Instead, Channel 4 made a sex-positive venus fly trap. Brian doesn’t need Naked Attraction. He needs two years of constructive failure and a sex-ed pamphlet. Now he’s the U.K.’s most humiliated non-prime minister.
And yes, it’s worse than swiping. Comedians hate online dating and new material. Yet Naked Attraction effortlessly defends the concept. OKHingeMeetsFish, if nothing else, puts some distance between you and live judgment of your pores. For many, that inch of comfort separates romance and Romanian law enforcement. The industry’s an antitrust suit waiting to happen, but so is water.
As for self-promotion? I get it. I really do. Half my career is walking by klan rallies with a “kick me” sign. Here’s a handy rule. Write down the craziest shit you’d do to double your following. Not your reach, sales, respect, or fanbase: just passerby on Mark Z’s lawn. Take a photo. If anything more humiliating than that comes along, say no.
This article was brought to you by our fine sponsor and Hot Dog Supreme: Neku104, voted best Red Pod for Crotch Only on Seasons 1-17 of Hot Dog Attraction.