tv

In defence of the "tasteless" new dating show that has angered Australia.

“Shame on you SBS!!”

“You are all about lowering moral standards in society. Pathetic.”

“What a waist [sic] of money and film, such a useless and tasteless programme.”

And my personal favourite…

“Thank you, SBS, for helping to continue modern civilisation’s inexorable decay into superficiality and meaninglessness. Well done.”

Reading these (100 per cent genuine) reviews left on Facebook about a show currently airing on SBS, you’d think they were airing porn at dinnertime.

Listen to Laura Brodnik and Tiffany Dunk battle it out about why Undressed divided them so strongly on The Binge. 

Not quite.

The complaints are about Undressedthe channel’s new dating show that involves two strangers undressing each other then getting into bed for 30 minutes to kiss, hug and talk in front of a camera.

After time is up, the lights are turned out and the couple are left alone.

It sounds trashy, vulgar almost and not far from ‘tasteless’.

But in reality, it’s the best new show I’ve watched in a while and by far the best dating show currently airing on TV.

Like Gogglebox and First Dates before it, Undressed is reality TV that actually manages to feel real and authentic.

undressed-brit-opinion-feature

Image: SBS/Undressed

Yes, it's awkward (you're letting a total stranger undress you to your undies on national TV, what do you expect?) but it's also engaging, insightful and disarmingly charming. And there's no need for dramatic music or unbelievable scripting to make it interesting.

The subjects and their stories are enough to hold and captivate your attention.

There's also one other major point of difference that makes it must-watch - its diversity.

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While other dating shows casting requirements seem to be size six and Caucasian, last nights episode alone featured men and women of all shapes, sizes, ethnicity, abilities and sexual orientations, including John, a young, gay, proud Biripi man who was involved in organising Dubbo's first pride march.

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There were tattoos, thighs that touched, people who were nervous about their bodies, people who were totally confident in their bodies, matching lacy underwear sets, your normal, everyday cotton sets.

With four potential couples each episode, we're given enough time to get to know who they are, what they do and what they're looking for as they answer conversation prompts from a screen and discuss values, past relationships and life experiences with each other.

Watching it for the last time on a Monday night, I was hooked after the first few minutes.

Julie-Chris-Undressed

Julie, a dancer meets Chris, a former Auto electrician who became paraplegic after a motorbike accident. Image: SBS/Undressed

Put into the Undressed scenario, the incredibly diverse contestants were the same - people looking for love and stripping away their clothes and inhibitions with a total stranger.

Yes, there are people in their undies, kissing, hugging and flirting. Yes, it's probably not ideal viewing for your primary school age children over dinner.

But far from being "tasteless", it's a raw, relatable, touching and accurate depiction and celebration of all the kinds of love and attraction, and the kind of cute-awkward-funny that will make your cheeks hurt from smiling.

Good one, SBS.

You can watch Undressed on SBS on Mondays 9:30pm or catch up on all the episodes via SBS On Demand.

You can buy any book mentioned on our podcasts from iBooks at apple.co/mamamia, where you can also subscribe to all our other shows in one place.