CARLSBAD — You can’t always believe what you see on TV. And then there are times when you can’t believe what you’re seeing on TV.
Both might be said about VH1’s newest reality dating show.
Earlier this summer, the cable network began airing the aptly named, “Dating Naked,” a show based on the premise of contestants seeking love in an exotic, tropical locale — the caveat being all of the contestants going on the dates are completely nude.
For Carlsbad resident Greg Schmitt, the nudity wasn’t a problem, he said. Schmitt, 29, a bartender in North County, appeared on one of the show’s episodes.
“The naked part didn’t really bother me so much. It kind of bothered me that it bothered other people — like they didn’t know what they were signing up for,” Schmitt said.
This isn’t the first time Schmitt, a former accountant and a Mixed Martial Arts fighter, has appeared on a reality show. He’s been on “Bam’s Badass Game Show” which aired on TBS, and two other dating shows, “Excused,” and “VH1’s Tough Love.”
Since then, he said he periodically receives emails from production studios asking if he’d be interested in being on another show.
That’s how he learned about “Dating Naked.”
Initially, he received an email asking if he wanted to go on dates in paradise. “Then they (producers) called me up and they’re telling me about it: ‘Oh, yeah, but you gotta be naked the whole time,’ so I was like, ‘Alright, I might as well,’” said Schmitt.
He said this could be the most extreme thing he’s done for a date, though he was quick to say that you don’t go on these types of shows to find love. “You go on to make a name for yourself and offend people,” he said.
Even though he did select someone to date on the show that just about ended once the show did. And, he said, he’s still single, chalking it up to his busy schedule.
Since his episode aired, he said he’s received a “modest” amount of attention, though not from his parents. Before leaving to shoot the show, he told them only that he was going to Panama (where the production films)for six days, and that he would be OK.
“I told them I was going on a dating show in a tropical location and all’s they really want to see is how you date while you’re on vacation. So that’s the story. I’m not lying. I just forgot that one last part,” he said.
He said his parents haven’t seen the show, but his dad did find out after seeing his son’s Facebook posts.
The only thing his dad told him was not to tell his mother.
The Parents Television Council, a Los Angeles-based grassroots education organization advocating for responsible entertainment, has issued statements warning parents and advertisers against the show.
The show is advertiser-supported, said Dan Isett, director of communications and policy for the Council, adding that the Council has spent a “considerable amount of energy,” trying to educate advertisers and sponsors of the show’s content, and suggesting they put their money to better use elsewhere.
With the emergence of more naked shows, Isett wonders where else there is left to go? “Is there anything short of hardcore pornography that would continue to ‘push the envelope’ at this point?”
While shows like the Discovery Channel’s “Naked and Afraid,” and TLC’s “Buying Naked” aren’t predicated on sexual content, that is why he said the “Dating Naked” show is a “bridge too far.”
According to media reports, a former contestant is suing the network and the show’s production company Lighthearted Entertainment for $10 million after too much of her was shown over the airwaves.
Later this month, VH1 will air the marriage of two contestants that met on the show, in (you guessed it) a special naked wedding episode.
Schmitt didn’t get the invite.
Still, he has a good sense of humor about the whole thing. “You kind of have to,” he said.
And so what’s in store for Schmitt?
He said he’s received more of those emails from production companies, and that he’s since been cast to appear on another dating reality TV show to air sometime in the near future.