Nickelodeon’s Are You Afraid of the Dark reboot had a successful enough first season that it’s coming back for another. The network today released a short new teaser trailer which, like all teaser trailers, is generally uninteresting to anyone save diehard fans eager to analyze every new character and potential plot line based on a 15 second clip.
But not I’m not here to slam teasers. I’m here because AYAOTD? calls to mind another ‘90s TV series that holds a special place in my own muddled memory, and therefore deserves a reboot: MTV’s Undressed.
No, I am not referring to the short-lived 2017 reality show in which two strangers awkwardly remove each other’s clothes for fun and profit. (Which incidentally, was also on MTV.) I am talking about the longer-running but in my opinion still too short-lived teen sex soap opera that aired between 1999 and 2002, which on a personal note coincided with A) the year my household finally got cable and B) the year I was in 7th grade.
At that point in my life, the circumstances that played out on Undressed were strictly aspirational, but they were also instructive. Just because no one had ever expressed romantic interest in me didn’t mean I shouldn’t still be ready in case a hot dude with a mushroom cut suddenly transferred from out of state and was assigned to be my partner for a semester-long project, or fell from a fluorescent light onto my lunch tray. Undressed warned me that I needed to get my shit together. If anyone was ever going to want to kiss me, I’d need a push-up bra, thinner eyebrows, and at least four dozen more butterfly clips.
Word of an Undressed reboot circulated in 2018, but as far as I can tell it never materialized. Maybe that’s because, as progressive as it was for its time (it was one of the only shows to depict queer characters and same-sex relationships), the tweens of today simply don’t need a 30 minute program to teach them about sex appeal. They already learned everything they need to know from TikTok on their way out of the birth canal.
Still, if this decade is hoping to redeem itself (I know it’s early, but I’m a pessimist) I personally think a great way to do it would be to give us this reboot, to let us revel in a bygone era before smart phones, before covid, and before we realized that sex is mostly overrated.