I recently interviewed for a new position that I had been recommended for because I blog here with HBO Watch. My now boss asked me what I blogged about. I named several shows including “Game of Thrones.” His answer? “Oh yeah, I know that medieval porn.” I was ready to crawl away from the interview with the last scraps of my dignity after that because, in many ways, he had hit the nail on the head: “Game of Thrones” is pretty pornographic at times. Numerous sex scenes, brothels, whores… And what is “True Blood” but crazy sexy vampires? And “Boardwalk Empire” – Gillian even runs an upscale whorehouse and Lucy Danziger didn’t mind bearing all whenever she wanted. DON’T GET ME WRONG – THESE ARE SOME OF MY FAVORITE TV SHOWS. But would it hurt to keep it covered up every once in a while?
College Humor’s recent video asking HBO to show more “dongs” is, to me at least, a bit offensive. I think a man in a three-piece suit is much sexier than a naked Alexander Skarsgaard basking in the sun (especially before becoming a crispy piece of bacon). In the right suit, even Steve Buscemi is as handsome as George Clooney.
Jaime Lannister in his full Kingsguard raiment is a beautiful thing.
Speaking of Alexander Skarsgaard, dang that man can pull off a suit.
I’m not saying that HBO needs to cut all nudity. For many of the storylines to happen, nudity is going to be there. But really, I don’t want to see Hodor climbing out of a bath or that wineseller that tried to kill Dany running naked behind the khalasar. When Eric ripped off Dr. Overlark’s genitals in episode 9 of this past season, I was shocked: it was as grotesque a sight as I could ever not imagine. Did the doctor deserve it? Yeah, he murdered Nora. But really HBO? Zooming in on that later when Eric leaves? The doctor was oozing blood below the belly button. Your viewers are smart enough to figure out what happened.
What I hate about people calling these shows “porn” or something similar is that great television series are denigrated and relegated to being just “porn” in the minds of viewers not familiar with the stories. For many, all the naked bodies can be off-putting and uncomfortable. But Dany coming out of the fire in the “Game of Thrones” season 1 finale was anything but pornographic – she was reborn. Margaret, in season 1 of “Boardwalk Empire,” telling off Lucy Danziger in the dressing room was powerful and much more than pornographic. Even “True Blood” has had some nude moments – like Sam shifting – that had no pornographic elements. The context of the nudity seems to matter as much as the actual naked bodies. Sure, there are dozens of moments in the brothels of King’s Landing and across the Seven Kingdoms when, yes, it’s basically porn (most of them involving Littlefinger, Roz, or both). For every one of those moments, however, HBO delivers impactful scenes, fantastic acting, and story lines that cannot be found on any other television show. So do I want more of those moments and less nudity? Absolutely. There are moments when nudity is called for, but repeatedly showing brothels with naked women, naked showgirl dancers, naked vampires and wolf packs, etc., well, it’s tasteless.
Love or hate what I have to say, but I think a man (and woman) keeping it covered is just sexier and classier. Think of it as a present you get to unwrap later, a present wrapped in some of the most beautiful costumes and suits ever sewn together. Sometimes nudity is appropriate but don’t feel required for breasts, buttocks, and female frontal nudity to be shown in every show every season.
So, no, I don’t want everything on display; let your viewers enjoy their imaginations! As Elaine from “Seinfeld” classically said, “The female body is a work of art. The male body is utilitarian. It’s for getting’ around. It’s like a Jeep.” So please HBO, cut down on the nudity a bit (even those that could be “living works of art”) and don’t start showing male frontal nudity. In my book, a well-dressed man is a hundred times better looking than a naked one.
We took a look at the other side of this issue last week so be sure to check our MJ’s perspective as well.