Plugged In, October 1999


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by Steven Isaac

"Undressed interweaves 23 story lines of sexual confusion, selfishness and experimentation--it's Lust, American Style," writes James Poniewozik in Time. "Shot almost entirely in interiors--the insides of vans, apartments, bunk beds--it has a stuffy, caged-heat vibe . . . suggest[ing] that if you leave two people alone in a room, they'll be tempted to start rutting like rabbits."

Poniewozik is absolutely right. In fact, almost everything wrong with modern sexual ethics is embodied in MTV's nightly sleazefest. As its title implies, Undressed sells sex to teen viewers. Every kind of sex--except that which is properly encircled by marriage. Half-hour episodes feature three separate premises: high schoolers trying to lose their virginity, college students broadening their voracious sexual appetites and young adults shamelessly "shacking up." It's no overstatement to say that sex is the sole basis for every relationship.

Undressing, touching and caressing entwine with uninhibited discussions about sex, anatomy, orgasms, masturbation and porn. Exposed bras, panties and boxers fill the screen. One coed, deemed sexually inhibited by her peers, is frustrated after listening to her roommate having sex in the bunk above her night after night. She uses her new vibrator (a gift from said roommate) to satisfy her own urges while they carry on overhead.

When live-ins Dave and Katie find their sex life degenerating, Katie "spices" things up by picking up the bartender from a dive they frequent. She promptly has sex with him while Dave sleeps in the next room. Several episodes later, Dave tries to even the score by bringing home a waitress. Unfazed, Katie eventually has sex with the girl, too.

Homosexuality, bisexuality and group sex all play significant roles in Undressed. Gay and lesbian encounters are displayed with the same aplomb applied to heterosexual trysts. Dialogue goes so far as to hint that gay sex should be regarded as a more lofty ideal than traditional "breeding."

Unfortunately, Undressed isn't going away anytime soon. The world's largest music network loves to recycle its trash. Another big reason to strip MTV from your cable lineup.

This article appeared in the October 1999 issue of Plugged In magazine.
Copyright 1999 Focus on the Family.
All rights reserved. International copyright secured.