Watchdog group goes a tad overboard
A new study by TV watchdog group the Parents Television Council says full-frontal nudity was up 6,300 percent last season during network shows that aired in primetime.
But hop off that fainting couch, because the statistic is more than a little misleading: Body parts were almost always pixilated. And actors tend to cover up even pre-pixilation. So there was no actual primetime nudity.
The PTC — known for its campaign against MTV's "Skins" and support for the MPAA's R rating for the documentary "Bully" — monitored network television during the 2011-12 television season, looking for "scenes in which individuals are completely unclothed and only the sexual organs are blurred from the viewer."
In 74 percent of the incidents cited by the PTC, shows used blurring or pixilation to cover "sexual body parts," according to the group. In five percent of cases, a black bar or object covered the nudity.
In the remaining cases, television stars just flashed their breasts, vaginas and penises in prime time for all America to see.
Wait, no they didn't: The PTC didn't say what happened in the remaining cases. But a representative for the organization told TheWrap that it had found no cases of uncensored full-frontal nudity.
Also, if there had been any, you probably would have heard about it.
The actual number of "full-frontal" exposures was 64, according to the group's count. That was up from just one case the previous season — hence the headline-friendly 6,300 percent claim.
In coordination with the study, PTC president Tim Winter wrote a letter to members of Congress asking them to urge the Federal Communications Commission to move forward on a backlog of 1.6 million unresolved indecency complaints.
The PTC said only five depictions of full nudity last season were on shows that warned parents of explicit adult content.
"In other words, a young child was able to view 71 instances of almost full nudity on broadcast television during prime time without any warning to parents," the study said.
Except, again, there wasn't any actual full nudity shown.
One thing the study does prove: Nudity jokes have been done to death.
As the PTC points out, shows went to the nudity well an awfully lot last season. NBC did it 35 times, ABC 17 times, and CBS five times, including in Ashton Kutcher's debut episode of "Two and a Half Men." The CW did it four times, and Fox only three.
Among the nudity cited by the PTC was an episode of NBC's "The Office" in which Robert California removes his clothes and jumps into a pool. Ryan and Gabe, wanting to please their boss, disrobe as well. Pixilation abounds.
In one of the most extended non-nude nude scenes, on ABC's "Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23," Chloe comes into the kitchen nude (and pixilated) over her roommate's objections. She sits on the counter, eats yogurt, and leaves — apparently still nude.
But she wasn't. As actress Krysten Ritter (pictured), who plays Chloe, explained on "The View," she wore underwear and pasties for the scene.
The PTC has called out nudity before in cases where there may have been none. Early in the season, it complained to the FCC about nudity on "X Factor" after a contestant dropped his pants. The show pixilated his groin area, but he and others said he had been wearing underwear.
Watch Ritter discuss the faked nude scene from "Don't Trust the B" below. (Warning: Contains no nudity.)