With television writers on strike for the foreseeable future, there’s a chance we’re going to get an onslaught of unscripted shows in the coming months to fill airtime. Getting a healthy head start, Peacock announced this week they’re developing a reality show called Sex In The Dark. Like all dubious reality premises, this one is billing itself as a “radical social experiment,” though I’d argue almost everyone I know has un-radically had sex in the dark at one point or another. Regardless, I have a few questions.
According to a Deadline announcement, the show features “one single person who is blindfolded or left completely in darkness as they embark on ‘intimacy tests’ to judge their connection, chemistry and attraction with a number of different suitors.” Blindfolds are sexy, I’ll give them that. But “intimacy tests” is a phrase I’d support a conservative politician banning from society. “The show culminates in a final night in complete darkness,” the release continues “as the singleton bed-hops with the remaining suitors to see if smell, touch, physical connection and energy is all you need to fall in love.” If my early-twenties self had a say, I’d vote affirmative!
It seems like the premise is basically just watching full-grown adults play 7 Minutes in Heaven...but for thirty minutes (at least) and Heaven is probably just a soundstage in Culver City. Tantalizing.
The concept isn’t entirely new. In 2009, ABC aired Dating in the Dark and utilized night-vision, which is remarkably unsexy. Every time I’m watching something with night vision, I’m half-anticipating a raccoon to pop up with a chicken bone in its mouth. But, after two seasons, the lights were turned on for Dating in The Dark (it was canceled.) Love Is Blind also isn’t too far off, since that’s a show about hot people being threatened with not knowing exactly how hot their counterpart is. The stakes are high!
But what I’m really wondering is how are we going to watch this. Sure, I partially mean this ethically. But most intimate encounters in reality shows are blurred out or they are insinuated with goofy music playing over a pan to a closed door. Watching people have “sex in the dark” also certainly violates the FCC’s “obscene content” rules. But more so I mean this literally. How are we watching this finale in “complete darkness?” If that one Game of Thrones episode was any indication of audiences’ tolerance of low lighting, I’d be worried as a producer. (For the record though, eff producers!)
Best of luck to the studios (also eff the studios!) pushing a show about acts they can’t show on television in lighting not suitable for capturing images. I’m sure it’s going to be awesome.