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Rants and Raves is a new series where we give you our unsolicited opinion on the highs and lows of culture.

Frigid January temperatures are keeping me in bed, but lately TV hasn’t been the same comfort it used to be. Black Mirror, now available for streaming on Neflix, is being called the Twilight Zone for the digital age. Its razor sharp social commentary on our insatiable appetite for exploitation is chilling. Sex, despair, and shame are the similar themes of the soulless VH1 reality show perfection Dating Naked. Contestants may be naked on a sunny island, but it couldn’t make me want to cover up more. It’s getting darker much earlier these days. Outside and inside — on my TV.

Rant:

The new Channel 4/Netflix show Black Mirror is giving me nightmares. The first episode [massive spoiler alert] features the British Prime Minister faced with a beastly Catch-22 served by an Anonymous-style hacker: You can save a beloved princess who has been kidnapped, but only by fucking a pig on live TV. He has only hours to decide.

As the tension mounts and the pig fucking seems more and more likely, my own voyeurism gets the best of me. As the characters huddle around their TVs gleefully anticipating the PM’s pending beastiality, I too get a bit closer to my screen. Are they actually going to show him going at it with swine? He does, of course, sacrificing himself for someone else or maybe for his own approval numbers. The hackers release the princess before the PM does the deed, but everyone’s still inside watching him make love to a cloven animal.

Lesson: Our appetite for disgusting spectacle is boundless and if only one person had the humanity not to watch, they could’ve saved her without hurting that poor pig. I felt the same crisis of conscience as the rest of the characters. How could I have gotten sucked into this whole business? Why in the hell would I want to watch something so awful? Sign of the times, folks. The internet is making us evil, right?

I went to bed racked with guilt and had Inception-like dreams within dreams about pigs with British accents. I took a break but caved and watched the end of the season. Two more great 60 minute episodes. More nightmares. Now I can’t bring myself to start season two. But I heard Jon Hamm’s in it. Screw it. I’ll keep watching.

Rave:

Dating Naked is VH1’s reality show where contestants…well…go on dates naked.

Two heterosexuals go on naked dates then decide which other hetrosexual they like. It is a lesson in the depths of human psychology, rejection, and pain — and, surprisingly, it is hands down my favorite show on TV at the moment.

It feels like some mad sociological experiment: What if we just cut the bullshit and see if he’s well hung/she’s got a nice rack? It takes advantage of the vain and lonely. I recently watched an episode where Normal Looking Girl goes on a date with Normal Looking Guy. (They’re all on an island so by ‘date’ I mean they ‘ride jet skis’ or ‘go on a treasure hunt in the buff’ or something else equally awkward to do naked). Normal Looking Guy and Normal Looking Girl decide that they just aren’t right for each other, but say, “Oh well, let’s have a good time anyway and go skinny dipping!”

Then they each go on dates with ringers: Girl With Fake Tits and Well Hung Guy Who Is Kind Of An Asshole. Normal Looking Girl realizes that Normal Looking Guy was much better, but it’s too late. Normal Looking Guy’s made his decision: Fake Tits. Horrible exploitation aside, we learn that beauty and compatibility are relative. Or we learn that people will literally do fucking anything to be on TV. One episode features a man who sports an erection the whole date. The girl doesn’t seem to mind. I watch it in the buff myself. That way I can take a shower immediately after.