“Shame,” the latest NC-17 flick, hits movie theaters this weekend. But TV viewers have to go no further than their couches to find plenty of risqué material on the small screen.
From a weed superstore in Oakland and a family of moonshiners in Virginia to a couple of oddly-kissing virgins and comedians providing commentary on porn, there are plenty of salacious stories afoot in reality TV land these days.
Read on for the details, but warning: naughtiness ahead, i.e. don headphones for the video clips.
“Dave’s Old Porn” (Showtime, Thursday, 11:30 p.m.)
Think “Mystery Science Theater 3000,” except, instead of riffing on cheesy sci-fi movies of the past, the titular host — comedian Dave Attell — is providing commentary on vintage porn.
The premise is just that simple: Attell, with guests like fellow comedians Whitney Cummings, Chelsea Handler, Margaret Cho and Adam Carolla, as well as porn stars like Ron Jeremy and Nina Hartley, sits on a couch and makes wisecracks about porn flicks from the ’70s and ’80s.
Do viewers see the action of movies like “E3: The Extra Testicle” and “The Devil in Miss Jones” unspool on camera? Yes, indeed, though the more, ahem, delicate moments of the sex acts are covered, not with a black bar, but with images of a VHS tape, Attell’s face or the sofa Attell and his guests are porn-surfing on.
“Weed Wars” (Discovery Channel, Thursdays, 10 p.m.)
If one was in the market to purchase marijuana, for medicinal purposes, where would one go? In Oakland, California, it’s one-stop shopping at Harborside Health Center, operated by brothers Steve and Andrew DeAngelo.
The series might just change some minds on both sides of the controversial topic of medicinal marijuana, as viewers see everything from customers coming in to buy weed to help them deal with cancer and chronic pain to one Harborside employee who admits the selling, growing and smoking of weed has taken over his life.
The DeAngelos also have to deal with the constant threat of a federal raid — what they do is legal under state law, but not under federal law. Adding to their business pressures: a million-dollar local tax bill, which local authorities are demanding be paid in one lump sum, and within a week.
Fortunately for the brothers, they have just the thing to help them deal with the stress: their inventory.
“Moonshiners” (Discovery Channel, premieres Dec. 6, 10 p.m.)
It’s a “money-driven criminal enterprise,” and that’s what pits men named Tickle and Popcorn against a lawman named Jesse.
Part “Cops,” part “The Dukes of Hazzard,” the reality series follows the Pittsylvania County, Virginia shenanigans of people like Tickle and Popcorn, who are trying to outrun the law while making cheap liquor filled with, among other things, lead.
“Our business is booming,” says another moonshiner, Tim, while, Jesse warns the hillbilly entrepreneurs shouldn’t be written off as “silly country boys.” The moonshiners may be operating in the woods of southwestern Virginia, but they’ve developed a system for keeping the lawmen at bay, and everyone involved carries guns.
“Gigolos” (Showtime, Thursdays, 11 p.m.)
The title says it all: this randy reality series follows a group of gigolos in Las Vegas, as they try to please the ladies (these particular dudes only deal with female clients).
The sex? There’s plenty of it, although, even in one instance where there was what would qualify as an orgy in a season one episode, it comes off as strangely clinical.
Still, as there are no blurred-out faces during the gigolos’ romps, and their clients give on-camera interviews, it’s shocking to think about the women going back to their regularly scheduled lives after having been a “Gigolos” customer.
“Bad Sex” (Logo, Fridays, 9 p.m.)
Men and women, gay and straight, are the stars of this reality series, which follows them as they go through group therapy sessions with “sex specialist” Chris Donaghue.
Sex addiction, violent sex, cheating and a compulsion for public sex are among the problems discussed, in the name, presumably, of helping the group members uncover and deal with the underlying issues that cause the behaviors.
Donaghue’s no Dr. Ruth — and not just because he’s not actually a licensed sex therapist — but the stories are compelling, and, as with “Gigolos,” you can’t help but be a little amazed that people are sharing such personal stories with the group, and TV viewers.
Like Ryan, an admitted sex addict who’s bedded more than a thousand men, he estimates, and says he can’t go more than a few hours without sex without having a major panic attack.
“Virgin Diaries” (TLC, premieres Dec. 4, 9 p.m.)
From bad sex to no sex. This TLC special documents the stories of people who, for various reasons, have remained virgins, sometimes into their thirties and forties.
You may have already seen the viral video clip of Ryan and Shanna, a pair of newlyweds who didn’t so much as kiss each other through their courtship. That explains the awkwardness of their first big buss, which happened just after they were pronounced man and wife.
TLC is promoting the show as one that “celebrates” virgins, but awkwardness permeates the show, from Ryan and Shanna’s kisses, in which it truly looks like they’re trying to eat each others’ faces off, to their strategy for their wedding night, which includes Shanna’s plan to “slowly take our robes off and do foreplay.”