TV Review: Syfy’s ‘Naked Vegas’

Series from the producers of 'Duck Dynasty' stumbles where that show succeeded -- namely, in the casting process

With:

Featuring: Kelly "Red" Belmonte, Nicholas "Nix" Herrera

Seriously, “Naked Vegas?” As titles go, isn’t that kind of redundant? Still, this series from the producers of “Duck Dynasty” immediately stumbles where that program succeeded — namely, in the casting process. Focusing on a body-painting business in Sin City, the enterprise is unfortunately headed by Kelly “Red” Belmonte, who — in her animated, eye-rolling, too-frequent direct-to-camera interviews — appears to be auditioning for the Annie Potts role in a remake of “Ghostbusters.” Survive those, and you’ll get to see people strip down and have their bodies painted, but frankly, whatever movie with a similar-sounding name currently airing on Cinemax is probably more entertaining.

Not to be confused with Discovery’s “Naked & Afraid,” Belmonte’s Skin Team (heh heh) includes Nicholas “Nix” Herrera, a veteran of Syfy’s “Face Off.” Yet most of the focus is on the boss, who comes across as far too eager to please as the gang race through two projects with the requisite impossible deadlines.

In the first, Belmonte and company body paint a trio of lingerie models (including the marketer of the line) who are using body-painted versions of the clothes to showcase the naughty undergarments. Why on Earth someone would market their product without including the actual goods in the display makes about as much sense as everything else here, but without the concocted drama, there wouldn’t be much excuse for the show.

The second case features a couple who met at a haunted house and want to wear zombie makeup for their wedding at Eli Roth’s Goretorium at Planet Hollywood. Belmonte (OK, the producers more likely) convinces them to go the whole nine yards and have their entire bodies decked out, after easing the groom’s concerns that his most important honeymoon accessory won’t be left flapping in the breeze.

While there’s undeniable artistry at work and some finely chiseled flesh — and an inherent come-on in dressing it only in a thin layer of paint — nothing here is distinctive enough to merit sitting through an hour. (Future episodes, incidentally, promise Penn & Teller and a Playboy lingerie party.)

Syfy has done a reasonably clever job of expanding its brand to include unscripted programming — a pragmatic decision, given the expense of scripted sci-fi fare, which usually incorporates more fiction than science. That said, chalk this up as another one of those instances where what happens in “Vegas” really should stay there.

TV Review: Syfy's 'Naked Vegas'

Production:

Produced by Gurney Prods.

Crew:

Executive producers, Deirdre Gurney, Scott Gurney. 60 MIN.

Cast:

Featuring: Kelly "Red" Belmonte, Nicholas "Nix" Herrera

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