If there’s one show most of us will never be on -- because we’re too modest or Mother Nature didn’t let us hit the DNA jackpot -- it is VH1's Dating Naked. The show isn't coming back for a fourth season in 2017, but producers haven't said it’s officially canceled and are leaving the door open for a future return.
There are those, though, who have the kind of body and confidence such that they don’t mind their boy and girl parts getting pixelated for a basic cable reality show. In theory, the idea of being paired up with a perfect specimen of the opposite sex while running around in a secluded area sounds nice, but remember, this is reality television.
What we end up seeing is a slickly produced 48 minutes of buff bods with varying degrees of personality. (Do you want your potential mate to be stupid or crazy? It’s what this show specializes in.) But there are days of shooting and hundreds of hours of work put in by dozens of people. This is far more show than documentary.
So, let’s take a little time and look back at the three seasons of what some critics called the most awkward show on television. We didn’t find it awkward because people like us weren’t on the show; we think it’s far more awkward to pretend there's much reality in this reality show. Here are 15 Shocking Truths Behind VH1's Dating Naked.
15 World, meet Jessie’s lady parts
Now, you’d think one of the coolest jobs in the world would be the guy (or gal) who has to pixilate the genitals out of the show. Every day, you show up for work, and all you do is put a blur mark over some probably great-looking privates. You get to see what the world doesn’t... except that one day you weren’t paying attention. A 28-year-old model, Jessie Nizewitz, appeared on a July 2014 episode. She was given all of the assurances her vagina would be blurred out... but the night her show aired, she was inundated with texts and messages from family and friends that they knew a few more intimate details about Jessie than she had planned to reveal. The editors just dropped the ball on a scene she was wrestling with her date, and there was a quick flash. She filed a lawsuit against the producers, claiming her real boyfriend left her and that it caused emotional damage. A judge dismissed the lawsuit because Jessie signed a contract saying she wouldn’t sue the show before she started.
14 Losing your clothes is part of the audition
Considering there were only 10-12 episodes per season, which meant only about 40-48 contestants per season, auditions were held like they would be with any television show, although dropping your clothes was part of the process. Producers explained that they needed to be sure that the people on the show wouldn’t have any issues with being naked on set for days at a time, but we think they all just wanted to look at naked people. One of the contestants did a Q&A on Reddit shortly after his episode aired and explained that along with getting naked, he had to submit to a long interview with professional matchmakers and take a personality test that consisted of around 500 questions. He also admitted that he got the audition through his modeling agent and that most of the people who were trying out already had agents.
13 Everybody is in on the joke
Much like the way people on the outside feel the need to explain to professional wrestling fans that it’s fake, contestants and others connected to the production of Dating Naked have said that a lot of people feel the need to point out to them how ridiculous the show is. And like wrestling fans who all know it’s not real, those who make Dating Naked are well aware that they’re making a silly show and not something that will ever make TV Guide’s list of Top 100 Shows. When asked about how everybody felt making the show, a contestant named Jack said on Reddit, “I think part of the charm is that we all bonded over the show being ridiculous. You embrace the fact that the concept isn't stellar, but you do it to make great TV and most importantly, have fun!”
12 Uncensored adaptations air around the world
While Dating Naked has very little actual nudity (and none outside of a couple of bare butts) the Dating Naked concept was sold to many countries in 2014 and 2015, and in many of the more liberal countries, there's full frontal nudity. We’ll let you go find those clips on the Internet for yourself, but suffice to say, they leave nothing to the imagination and are almost a scene-for-scene copy of the format of the American version. The most popular and successful version of the show was the Dutch one, called Adam Zkt. Eva (Adam seeks Eve). The show aired in seven other versions throughout the world, including in Germany, France, and Italy. The Dutch version was given subtitles and sold to Australia and Portugal, meaning that the show aired in 10 countries at its peak if you count every version. Most only lasted one or two seasons.
11 The male contestants like to compare parts
With all the stereotypes you hear about women being catty to one another, it sounds like they mostly got along together on the set, and despite some being obviously enhanced by silicone and science, there wasn’t much talking behind each other’s backs. That wasn’t the case for the male contestants, according to one female, Kerri Cipriani, who appeared on the show. She said that the men were very into talking about each other’s junk, saying, "Oh, gosh. It was uncomfortable. I will say the guys made a lot of what they were working with. They all made a big deal about how they wouldn't talk about it, but they talked about it. There were girls there with fake boobs, and no one commented. But every single guy made some sort of comment (about one another's genitalia). They all talked about it the whole time.”
10 One contestant was a poor groomer on purpose
Anybody going on a show called Dating Naked expecting to find long-lasting love is an idiot. Most of the people appearing are struggling actors and models hoping that appearing on a national television show will lead to more gigs. Your “date” is really just your co-star. Of course, sometimes, the co-star doesn’t get the memo, or does, but doesn’t care. Diane Poulos, one female contestant, said that during the week she was on the show, she only groomed her downstairs area once, and it was by design. “It was my repellant. I didn’t want anyone touching me there.” Ironically, the host of the first two seasons, Amy Paffrath, has given interviews where she said the men were far more into their manscaping grooming rituals than the average woman on the show. Why was she keeping track?
9 A trip to the deli
There were certain contestants during the three-season run of Dating Naked who stand head-and-shoulders out from the crowd and Jaidyn Cayden (yeah, we have trouble believing that rhyming name is real, but we’ll just go with it in this case), who had a few moments that would make the Top 10 memorable scenes out of all 33 episodes produced. One that immediately comes to mind is when she saw her date’s manhood for the first time. The dude’s name was Jeb, and she wasn’t shy to tell him that she was a fan of his parts. Jeb actually deserves the memorable moment award for this one since he responded with, “Really? I’ve been told it smells like bologna.” Gross. Sausage, maybe... but bologna?
8 Food makes losing your clothes easier
One of the ways that producers make sure contestants are kept happy during their days of filming is to always have plenty of good food and drinks on the set. If your stomach is happy, then you’ll probably be happy, too. For some of the hard bodies appearing on the show, that means fruit, vegetable, smoothies and Muscle Milk. For our favorite contestant, Jaidyn Cayden (see other entry for our issues with her name), the food wasn’t so healthy, and it wasn’t something she just ate off to the side between takes. During one scene, she’s eating Cheetos, and you know how sometimes the cheesy dust falls off onto your shirt or lap. Well, the cheese particles that didn’t make it into Jaidyn’s mouth fell onto her genitals. She just took it in stride and wiped it off proudly. Later, she said in interviews she was embarrassed people saw her eating junk food on national television since she rarely does that.
7 Producers had to coax a certain level of flirting
It makes sense that flirting was very different because let’s admit what flirting is -- it’s a silent game that hopefully leads to seeing the other person naked. But if the other person shows up naked, it’s going to completely throw off your flirting game. Amy Paffrath, the host of the first two seasons, said that it surprised her that once you got used to the nudity, the dating environment was actually less sexual than it typically is when dating is done fully clothed. We understand what she means. Flirting comes with a level of mystery since it’s kind of a game, and clothing hides the mystery of what a human body looks like. While it's agreed by most contestants who were interviewed after the show that there wasn’t any actual scripting of dialogue, several said that cameramen and production assistants would suggest things to say since many contestants were adjusting their mojo to a clothing-free environment.
6 What’s the real reason there was no Season 4?
We’re still not sure, to be perfectly honest, as we couldn’t find anybody going on record to say exactly why. One of our guesses is that Viacom, the parent company of VH1 (and MTV, Comedy Central, Logo, and CMT to name just a few) has been refiguring its strategy to remain competitive in a world where more people are watching TV on their mobile devices or are skipping television content altogether. A show that has 40 contestants and several dozen crew members fly to a tropical location to film several weeks of television isn’t inexpensive to make. Chris McCarthy, one of the bigwigs in programming at VH1, went on the record saying, “It’s a great, fun format. We would like the opportunity, at some point, to reinvent it, but for right now, we felt the shows and assets that we have made more sense as we head into the year.” Hopefully, it’s just a break and not a true cancellation.
5 You would think the target audience loves Oreos
Let’s be honest on why people are watching. It has nothing to do with the contestants finding potential love (although a marriage did come out of a couple meeting on the show); it's more about seeing somebody’s butt and hoping the editors got lax on the blurring. At the beginning of the third season, however, producers were faced with several companies asking VH1 for their advertising to specifically not air during Dating Naked. It likely came as the result of a letter-writing campaign by the Parents’ Television Council, one of those conservative watchdog groups. It worked as Mondelez International (snacks like Oreos, Triscuit, Nabisco, Cadbury), hhgregg (appliances and electronics) and Henkel (hygiene products like Right Guard and Dial soap) all caved to the pressure and pulled their advertising. We’d counter-protest, but it’s going to take more than some pixelated lady parts to get us to give up Oreos.
4 The ratings weren’t that great
It’s not the 1970s before cable, and it’s not the 1990s, when cable spread ratings thin. It’s the 2010s, and the Internet has left a tiny audience for television, and unfortunately for Dating Naked, it didn’t score great ratings. The problem with putting on a show that has the word “Naked” in the title and not delivering any actual people who are naked is that the audience won't return. It’s not like it’s hard to find naked people these days, and if the show’s format is really loved by viewers, they can just find one of the international versions online that doesn’t bother with the blurs. Only one episode in the 2014 season drew over 1 million viewers. The news was worse in 2015 when they couldn’t even crack the 800,000 mark. A switch in hosts didn’t do much to help, as none of the third season episodes in 2016 were able to surpass 700,000 viewers.
3 Producers thought a fourth season was coming
The aptly-named production company that makes Dating Naked, Lighthearted Entertainment, was under the impression that there was going to be a fourth season of the television show as they put on an open casting call for potential contestants in 2016 prior to finding out there wasn't going to be another season. But, like VH1 said, it wasn’t a real cancellation and more of a just shelving of the show for the moment. Other media outlets were also under the impression a fourth season was coming as articles were written about the likelihood. Considering how many shows are out there right now with the clever hook of nakedness -- and the fact it’s not all that clever anymore -- it could actually make sense to let things settle down for a couple years. As they say in the corporate world, "We'll keep your application on file if any opportunities arise in the future."
2 The first female contestant was nicknamed Wee Wee
Yeah, it seems like a male contestant would go by the nickname Wee Wee, but it was, in fact, a woman, Christina Porcelli, who claimed that moniker. She was in the very first episode of the show, and unlike so many other stories, she actually ended up dating the guy she met on the show, Joe, who was 12 years younger than her. Porcelli was an aspiring 36-year-old singer from Nashville when her episode first aired. While her music career didn’t go anywhere, she’s clearly still trying to keep her D-level celebrity status going. In looking at her Twitter page, she actually participates in a celebrity voicemail service where you give her money and she records your message. Not sure how many people would know her from the show, but you’ll have a lot of explaining to do when a woman calls herself “Wee Wee” on your voicemail.
1 She knows the name of the show
How else could we end this collection of shocking secrets about Dating Naked without talking about Jaidyn Cayden one last time? Our favorite contestant of all time knew what she had to do to get on the show: audition naked. She recalled in an interview that the auditions were packed with good-looking men and women all wearing their tightest clothes to enhance their assets. But since the show was about not having any clothes on, it didn’t make sense to even arrive at the auditions with anything but her birthday suit and a smile. Her plan clearly worked because the loony lady not only made it onto the show but is also easily the most memorable contestant in the three-season history of the show. If they could've all been like her, we know the show would still be on.
Sources: Tampabay.com, hollywoodlife.com, eonline.com, vh1.com, wikipedia.org