There are nude scenes on TV, and then there are NUDE SCENES ON TV. The kind of scenes that definitely warrant all caps, thanks to their ability to send the internet into a complete frenzy, start Twitter trends, and end up in the more...um...colorful corners of the web (yes, I'm talking about Pornhub). Here are the TV nudity moments that pulled a Kim Kardashian and truly broke the internet.
Alexander Skarsgård in 'True Blood'
Before Game of Thrones, there was True Blood—HBO's resident show known for excessive nudity. The thing is, most of the on-screen nudity was female-focused, and many people were wondering when one of the male stars would go full-frontal. True Blood delivered during the Season 6 finale (actually, in the very last scene) when Alexander Skarsgård's Eric was seen sunbathing in the nude.
Lena Headey in 'Game of Thrones'
Cersei's nude walk of shame was a extremely talked-about moment in Game of Thrones—mostly due to the speculation over whether or not Headey used a body double. She did—and she was unfairly criticized for it, which also became a thing.
"Some people thought I was less of an actress because I didn’t get my tits out," she said. "The thought of being naked for three days and trying to contain her in the way she would be I think I would feel very angry. I didn’t want to be angry. I don’t think Cersei would be angry. I did what I thought she would do, emotionally."
Alexander Skarsgård in 'Big Little Lies'
When Alexander Skarsgård and HBO team up, internet-breaking nudity follows—and the internet collectively agreed that the actor put the "big" in Big Little Lies after Skarsgård's full-frontal moment in the show. According to The Wrap, however, the big moment actually featured a big prosthetic.
Hodor on 'Game of Thrones'
Look, if you asked us whether we were expecting Hodor to wander out fully nude mid-episode of Game of Thrones, the answer would be...no. And if you're wondering whether his penis was real, the answer would ALSO be no. This moment was truly shocking and unexpected—even given GOT's known love for nudity—and the internet is barely recovering seasons later.
Matthew Rhys in 'Girls'
Remember when this Girls episode was on and you were like "la, la, la, fun times watching Matthew Rhys guest star in my favorite problematic show!" and then you were like "Holy hell is that a penis?" The internet was fully shook by this moment, and poor Matthew Rhys spent weeks talking about his prosthetic.
Jonny Beauchamp in 'Penny Dreadful'
Penny Dreadful provided fans with plenty of memorable moments of nakedness, but the one that stands out above the rest is the one when Jonny Beauchamp's character, Angelique, stripped down for a full frontal scene in a brothel.
"Nudity was my one big fear as an actor, the one thing I never really thought I would be able to do," Beauchamp told TV Insider. "In the theater, it's a little different. But to go full frontal for my first big TV project was daunting. I'd be lying if I said I didn't lose sleep over it."
Colin Firth in 'Pride and Prejudice'
Okay, so this isn't technically a nude scene, but it is a wet-shirt-clinging-to-body scene—and probably PBS' most viral moment to-date. Colin Firth's dripping wet emergence from a lake was enough to sustain thirsty Masterpiece Theater viewers (hello, me!) for years to come, and is part of the pop cultural fabric of our lives. (The iconic moment was even referenced in Bridget Jones.)
The Random Soldier's Penis in 'War and Peace'
Back in 2016, BBC aired a production of War and Peace (the same one that aired on Lifetime over here in the U.S.). Pretty standard BBC-y stuff, right? WRONG. Viewers were left in complete shock when a soldier walked out of a lake with his penis on full display. It's like, one moment you're sitting in the living room for nerdy movie night with your family, the next you're dealing with on-screen genitalia.
Janet Jackson in The Super Bowl
It happened on TV, so yes, we are including the time Justin Timberlake "accidentally" exposed Janet Jackson's nipple in the middle of their Super Bowl halftime performance.
Simon Quarterman in 'Westworld'
Westworld fans got very used to nudity—usually of the full-frontal variety—during the show's first season (see Thandie Newton's shoutout later in this list). But, when Simon Quarterman, who plays Delos employee Lee Sizemore in the series, bared ALL in season 2, the moment was as unexpected as it was welcome.
"It's not often that we see a man naked," Quarterman told Vulture of the scene. "It's a rare thing. Women have to reveal a lot all the time, and it felt so in keeping with what we were doing with the themes and with the tables being turned. And obviously, doing it with Thandie, who spent most of the season last year naked. I found it incredibly powerful, actually. When we were shooting, I was very clear to the team that they could shoot it however they wanted to. I thought it was important for that scene to happen."
The Old Man Butt in 'Sex and the City'
Raise your hand if you will always and forever remember the scene in Sex and the City where Samantha tries to have sex with an older man, then sees his butt, and is like ?? (Cut to all hands the world over being raised.)
Chris Meloni in 'Oz'
Chris Meloni spent much of Oz naked, but the scene where he peed definitely qualifies as a viral nudity moment. Apparently, the actor himself asked to pee on camera rather than use a prop or special effects. Truly method acting!
Alexandra Daddario in 'True Detective'
After she was done making the YA circuit in the Percy Jackson movies, but before she was a big screen "Baywatch babe," Alexandra Daddario bared all on True Detective in a scene that firmly established that she was all grown up.
Tom Hiddleston in 'The Night Manager'
In most cases, butts barely count as nudity, but the internet went collectively bonkers when Tom "Loki" Hiddleston gave the world a quick peek at his in The Night Manager.
Thandie Newton in 'Westworld'
Pretty much everyone in the cast of Westworld has to strip down at some point (although Anthony Hopkins will probably prove a permanent exception). The hosts are almost always naked when they're being repaired, rebooted, or reviewed. For most of the actors, this means sitting (literally) robotically in a chair while nude. For Thandie Newton, whose character, Maeve, becomes self-aware during the show's first season, the non-sexual nude scenes got a lot more involved.
Mehera Bonner is a celebrity and entertainment news writer who enjoys Bravo and Antiques Roadshow with equal enthusiasm. She was previously entertainment editor at Marie Claire and has covered pop culture for over a decade.
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