the leftovers full frontal male nudity damon lindelof interview

The Leftovers Boss: 'There's No Excuse Not to Show More Dongs' on Television

When about halfway through The Leftovers’ final season, Damon Lindelof sent streaking down the corridor of a submarine a fit Frenchman, periscope out, it wasn’t merely to serve the plot, it was also to make a point. “There’s an incredible disproportion between naked women and naked men on television,” he tells TVLine. “And if you’re going to do a show on HBO, which is one of the few places where you can do full frontal nudity, there’s no excuse not to show more dongs. I’m passionate about it.”

For those of you who haven’t been keeping up with the johnsons, in The Leftovers’ three seasons (which conclude Sunday at 9/8c), the EP has also startled viewers by having Christopher Eccleston and Chris Zylka reveal their leading-manhoods. “The audience still has a very odd reaction to seeing male genitalia,” says Lindelof. “Yet when they see female genitalia or naked breasts, they’re completely nonchalant about it. [So] I’m just the beginning of the vanguard, but I want to normalize male nudity on television.”

Though the most obvious and effective way to accomplish that goal might be to have his series star Justin Theroux bare all — especially considering how often his character is in the buff — Lindelof has never had him go to the same, er, lengths as his castmates. (Even after sweatpants-gate.) “Justin wants to leave something to the imagination,” he says, adding that while “my vanity plate is FFRNTL… I’d never ask an actor who is uncomfortable doing nudity to do nudity.” (Reporting by Michael Ausiello)

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  1. Monty says:

    This article went to great lengths to not use the word penis.

    • Nick says:

      It was very hard but they rose to the challenge.

    • dude says:

      It depends on their system. Some ad systems are very prudish and will pulls ads if you use even the clinical terms for sexual organs. I work for a media company and whenever we have to write stories about topics such as this, we have to use the most ridiculous names for body parts that always end up sounding more offensive.

  2. Michael Summerset says:

    There’s a lot of women who don’t want to see it. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should.

    • betsy says:

      pro tip: as a dude, maybe shut up about what women want to see

      • trololo says:

        Did you just assume their gender?

        • Billy Bob Johnson says:

          No. I believe she only made reference to his gender. You can keep your them, their, they pronouns.

      • Insane world says:

        oh betsy, do you think he lives in some remote place surrounded only by men or that he never talks with female friends, coworkers, relatives etc. Your comment is pathetic, just like the men and women who think like you. Maybe you shut up next time.

    • Hurley says:

      Why shouldn’t they show a penis on TV, exactly? How is that offensive to anyone?

    • dude says:

      Thanks for proving his point. Female nudity is seen as NBD but some people have a real problem seeing male nudity on screen. He’s just trying to help normalize it. There’s no big difference between a woman being naked and a man.

      • Pure says:


        Look at Sense8, it had full frontal male nudity and it…oh yeah, that’s right, got cancelled.

        • JB says:

          Sense8 wasn’t cancelled because of the male nudity, it’s cancelled because of $$$.

          • Pure says:

            True, however the gratuitous nature of its content – such as full-frontal male nudity – helped insure that it was always going to be limited to an audience that could fit easily inside of a bus shelter.

            Fewer viewers + less cash = NO SHOW.

          • Phil says:

            In all its episodes, Sense8 had one moment of full-frontal male nudity, about half-way season 1. None in season 2, which in fact had more female nudity. Still a weak argument.

          • Pure says:

            TO PHIL, I never wrote full-frontal male nudity was the ONLY reason Sense8 was cancelled. I gave it as an EXAMPLE of the gratuitous nature of Sense8’s content which limited its audience therefore not allowing Netflix to recoup the revenue they invested in that show – thus leading to the show’s cancellation. That’s not a weak argument, that’s the truth.

          • Stephen A says:

            It’s still a stupid reason. Game of Thrones has had full frontal male nudity and its the most popular show on TV.
            So it’s not that great of an argument. Oz, Spartacus are shows geared toward men that not only had frontal male nudity, but had homosexual acts in it.
            Your argument makes not one bit of sense.

          • Phil says:

            If gratuitousness had been such a problem, Sense8 wouldn’t have had a season 2 based on what it showed in season 1 alone, yet it did.

        • Connie Hoffman says:

          Sun Records got cancelled. They had nudity. By the way that was a great show.

  3. trololo says:

    >There’s an incredible disproportion between naked women and naked men on television

    Indeed, there’s a lot of upper body male nudity on the big five channels.

    But in all seriousness, you can’t really compare full-frontal male nudity (clearly seen penises) to full-frontal female nudity (merking-covered vaginas).

    • ScottJ says:

      This is the problem in a nutshell. A full frontal male is showing everything. A full frontal female is not. I suppose you could make a distinction between the two states of the male organ though.

    • Syr says:

      With today’s intense use of razors and/or waxing, one can hardly argue that vaginas show nothing, on the contrary!
      And one cannot compare male with female upper body nudity, as there are a lot of men without shirts walking around during summer time, while women are still forbidden.
      (They even face problems for breastfeeding, which does not really show much, if anything, and has a much more important reason for doing it…)

  4. Alaia says:

    I like that he’s “passionate” about this issue.

  5. chadcronin says:

    I Full Frontally agree. It’s silly that just because Justin is with Jennifer Aniston he has to be all modest when he did side frontal in the past. Oh well. The show is over. Hire actors who are more comfortable. Oz was an excellent show that had regular frontal and I actually canceled HBO as they really pulled back from being as free as they should given the cost. I love this guy and will be paying attention to his projects now.

    • mrmcgee says:

      Where did it say he was being modest because he’s with Jennifer Aniston?

      • chadcronin says:

        It didn’t but A listers don’t want their husbands penis being talked about on every website and show so she would probably tell him to keep it covered. Regardless if she cares if he shows it unfortunately so many people make a big deal out of it that the bigger the name is of the actor or who they date the more unwanted noise it will generate.

        • jless says:

          In what world is Jennifer Aniston an A-Lister? She has a collection of movie bombs! It’s amazing she is still working!

          • Rachel Blue says:

            Haha true.. although she is still one of the highest paid/earning actress around… so yeah she’s an A-lister

    • Gina says:

      Because there’s no way that he decided on his own that he didn’t want to go full frontal, right? It’s always a woman’s “fault” in someway or another.

  6. Wesley says:

    This is an interesting point he makes her, especially with regards to HBO. You watch a show like Westworld, which is wall to wall female nudity, but the main male characters are always shown from behind or have a strategically placed cloth on their privates or are filmed from the waist up. Maybe it’s just an HBO thing? Emilia Clark has talked forever about the disproportionate amount of female nudity to male nudity on Game of Thrones.

  7. jless says:

    It all come down to gratuitous nudity. If the nudity is very necessary to the story, very few are, them it should be there. If its just for titillation, them it just cheapens the work, and shows your lack of talent, and distrust for your own work. If you want to see dongs there are plenty of sites online that you can see that. The vast majority of superb movies and TV series, never had any frontal nudity on them, would those be better if it had?

    • Pure says:

      “If its just for titillation, them it just cheapens the work, and shows your lack of talent, and distrust for your own work.”

      The writers/showrunners use nudity as a crutch.

      In order to justify physically objectifying the female characters, they think objectifying the men too, somehow makes it alright, when it simply doesn’t.

  8. JB says:

    Here’s the problem with nudity on TV shows. A woman walks into a room fully nude. You see everything from head to toe. A man walks into a room. You see him from head to his waist. You may get a shot of his butt but that’s about it.

  9. Jimmy says:

    Don’t watch the show, didn’t read the article, just read the headline.


    • M says:

      Why? If that’s your stance, then they need to remove female nudity as well. Men are not the only ones who matter.

      • Jimmy says:

        It’s my stance and my opinion. If you want to voice yours that’s fine. No need to get defensive. And by the way I’m not against female nudity.

  10. M says:

    –It should be equal, and it should be part of the story, not window dressing for either sex as so much of female nudity is.
    –To the person who mentioned merkins — not when they’re shaved. (P.S. The vagina is inside a woman’s body. People need to stop calling the “general view” vagina — it’s the labia.)
    –As for Lindelof saying he wants things to be equal, good for him. As for the part about not pushing anyone who isn’t comfortable: there is a lot more pressure on women to accept nudity clauses because it’s so ubiquitous. They’re much more likely to lose a part if they refuse (unless they’re a big enough name). Until women have the same option Lindelof speaks of, I say put some pressure on the men.

  11. Mark says:

    Nothing wrong in male nudity