Monday, 10 January 2011

Reality bites, sucks

Isn't it a shame that real life isn't more like porn? As a homeowner, I've had to call out all kinds of tradesmen, but the only tools any of them have ever whipped out is a socket wrench. Although a friend of mine did once have a bed delivered by a well-built van driver who offered to help break it in, but that's a story for another blog.

Anyway, the point is, pornography and mundane reality are like two divergent axes (see fig.1 below). The sexier the situation is, the less likely it is that a road tax application or a Tesco bag-for-life will be involved.

But all that's about to change, thanks to the Playboy channel, which has unveiled bold plans to create a pair of sexy new reality TV shows, with hijinks high on the agenda. Channel bigwigs presented their concepts to the Television Critics Association last week, in a move that shows God (like a porn casting director) loves a trier.

Aimed at loved-up couples, rather than onanistic singles with a 12-minute attention span, Swing will follow pairs of contestants as they visit a swinger compound - think Windsor Safari Park with more water-based lubricant. They'll "establish the ground rules" with the resident sex and relationship expert, explore the group, and meet with a therapist to discuss their feelings.

As Playboy TV Senior VP and GM Gary Rosenson explains, “No elimination stuff, no tribal councils, no craziness. Just really people hanging out, having fun, goofing off and eventually it gets hot because that’s what they’re there to do.” Well, that and the fact that this is going out on the Playboy channel after all.

The second show being prepped for the 2011 season is A Brooklyn Kind of Love, which follows the ins-and-outs-and-ins of coupledom in the New York borough. But unlike other relationship shows, this one will follow its subjects into the bedroom.

Speaking about the show's explicit action, co-producer Joe Gantz claims that “...a lot of reality shows and TV shows in general are about sex but they dance around sexuality in such a way that it’s all innuendo and there’s no authenticity.  So it was nice to be able to do a show where you didn’t have to worry about things being too real, too authentic.”

Admittedly, authenticity isn't something that automatically springs to mind when you think of the Playboy channel, especially in its depiction of lesbianism. But 'Brooklyn' comes with real-life lesbians Bek Allen and Erin Williams; a genuine couple who agreed to go naked "with no hesitation".

And they're hoping to tackle some serious social issues, when they're not squirting aerosol cream somewhere unhygienic, with Williams stating “Our decision to do this show was primarily to show that gay couples go through the same stuff as straight couples go through and that we’re not all that different from anybody else.” Allen chipped in, adding that the show was “...a once in a lifetime opportunity to kind of be a spokesperson for homosexual couples..." Let's just hope these spokespeople manage to articulate a little more than "Oh, yeah, that's hot" and "Do me again".

According to Gantz, the shows are about more than titilation: “As we were interviewing couples, we felt that sexuality is a spectrum and I don’t want any hard distinctions. It’s a continuum and it’s a lot of overlapping... It’s on every aspect of their relationship but when it’s about the sex, it’s just right out there. You don’t have to worry about pulling it back for Playboy."

All this talk of 'overlapping', 'hard distinctions' and 'pulling it back for Playboy'. I'm turned on already and the shows haven't even aired yet.

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