Well, that was interesting. Sort of. For a little while, anyway.
“Buying Naked,” the show that dares to strip bare the gritty world of house-hunting in the clothing-optional center of the universe — take your bow, Pasco County — has debuted to popping eyes and sniggering comment ... which probably is exactly what producers had in mind when they pitched Jackie Youngblood, Realtor to the tan-line-less, in the first place.
So, mission accomplished.
The two episodes that aired Wednesday night (and will be repeated Saturday at 10 p.m. and Sunday at 1 a.m.) exposed the show’s extremities: a deliciously low concept raised to watchability by Youngblood in the role inspired by Paula Deen — the effervescent, wisecracking, over-the-top blonde businesswoman.
Whether the combination proves sufficiently well-received to sustain a franchise, well, we’ll leave that to the cutting-edge wizards at TLC, who, after all, have given us such memorable programing as “Cake Boss,” “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo,” all icons chiseled into the Mount Rushmore that is American reality television.
About that, a cautionary note:
Halfway through the second installment, Mrs. Jackson — our household’s chief critic and quality-control expert — switched over to “Judgment at Nuremberg.”
“After a while,” she explains, “it just got boring.” This from a woman who rarely has anything less than a month’s worth of HGTV’s “House Hunters” stockpiled on the DVR. If she can’t watch a house-buying show to its “two months later” conclusion, that’s trouble.
Set up in an adjacent room, however, your correspondent, committed to all things Pasco, remained vigilant through the closing credits of Episode No. 2. And when it was finished, the first available conclusion presenting itself was this:
Some bars have a two-drink minimum. “Buying Naked” has a two-joke maximum.
One involves the strategic placement of accoutrements to hide, suggestively, what needs hiding. But, really, how many times can you, with a broad theatrical wink, station bare breasts behind ceramic owls or use an upright wine bottle as a stand-in for free-range man parts? And let’s not even discuss the less-than-artful applications of bananas and a strategically placed jaguar statuette.
The other is the obligatory reaction — spanning the gamut from stunned and embarrassed to leering and salacious — of the textile-world outsider (package delivery guy, pool cleaner) shoehorned into the middle of a house showing, with a follow-up on-camera debriefing with the intruder who will have recovered sufficiently to offer a wincing double-entendre. None of which we will repeat here.
If a Papa John’s delivery guy ever shows up in the middle of Youngblood showing nudist sorority sister-roommates a house, we’ll be a jazz track, a naughty, knowing arch of the eyebrow and a rye, “Oh, no! All my cash is in my other skirt!” from an episode better suited to Cinemax After Dark.
Still, it’s not like there weren’t some helpful tips.
For folks considering the nudist lifestyle: Don’t expect to go around hugging other enthusiasts, for instance; if you’re tempted to leer, wear dark glasses; in the interest of keeping butt sweat to themselves, thoughtful nudists keep towels with them, and thoughtful nudist hosts provide them to visitors.
For folks who might find themselves marketing a house to nudists: Eliminate sharp edges wherever possible; appreciate the folly of trying to peddle houses with kitchen counters that rise only to a person’s private parts — although there is hilarity in the inevitable observation about overzealous chopping; and casements made from unfinished wood give the willies to nudists, who are keenly alert to the threat of getting splinters in sensitive places.
On the other hand, this last worry may exist more in the theoretical realm; otherwise we are mystified how the dachshund lovers in Episode 2 could have chosen (spoiler alert!) the ranch bedecked in rough-hewn cypress. Perhaps it was one of those cases of facing your fears.
In a similar spirit, given the show’s mash-up of things Americans care deeply about — houses and buff humans in the buff — we are chagrined to imagine we have witnessed the launch of a durable series that, for better or worse, will put Pasco on the map.
Better this, one supposes, than “Moon Lake Mommas.”