Porn stars are theoretically the perfect reality TV stars — prone as they are to exhibitionism and gifted as they are at inspiring feelings of both lust and contempt, or at least superiority. Thus it’s something of a surprise that this Fox Reality Channel series follows in the grand tradition of the elder Fox network’s gaudiest reality fare, which is to say most of the creative spark and heavy lifting exhausts itself with the clever, porn-pic-punny title, after which there’s nothing terribly distinctive about it.
Beyond the George Bernard Shaw homage in the cheeky title, “My Bare Lady” owes a considerable debt to Howard Stern, who has long delighted in showcasing porn stars in a different light — usually by simultaneously poking fun at their limited cognitive skills while admiring their other assets, through games like “Porn Jeopardy.”
In similar fashion, “Bare Lady” kicks off with an interview process that outwardly resembles that of every other reality competition show, except that here, contestants are asked to simulate an orgasm and read from “Romeo & Juliet.” The problems range from actual difficulty reading to repeated questions about what exactly a “Montague” is.
Four finalists are selected to make the trip to London, where they will undergo an intensive three-week training program, culminating with a stage performance and the question of whether they can successfully make the leap from porn to the legit stage. Somehow, given the premiere’s sniggering tone, one suspects asides about “blowing a line” will come up more than once.
This seemingly can’t-miss concept quickly begins to feel mundane, however, with the candidates engaging in the usual “This is a dream come true,” “I’m just looking forward to an incredible journey”-type patter.
Unclear initially, anyway, is whether the participants really want to escape their current careers or simply covet more exposure that will help market “Barely Legal 37.”
Like most reality fare, the series is more playfully naughty than truly risque, thus offering limited appeal to the “men in prison” demographic (otherwise known as “most TV critics”). As for the girls’ personal stories, they, too, are strictly of the once-over-lightly variety, which is a shame, since hearing how they got into porn is more interesting than anything else.
Nevertheless, it’s an attention-grabbing title, which is likely all Fox Reality needs to justify the series’ brief four-episode run. As for benefits to the ostensible stars, “My Bare Lady” probably won’t inspire a wider audience to grow accustomed to their faces — or for that matter, any other parts of them.