With shows like these, who needs Skinemax?

The Puddinette brightened my day this morning with something that took me by surprise even after 10 years of marriage – a reference to soft core…um…adult entertainment. No, she’s not out of town charging up an expense account with hotel pay-per-view movies. She was apparently following her usual Sunday evening routine last night and watching the “Real Housewives of Grover’s Corners” (or wherever they’re stalking the latest batch of celebrity wannabes), when one of the fame-seekers in question apparently got a bubble-bath visit from her boyfriend. I’ll let you use your imagination for the rest. If that’s not your strong suit, I suppose there’s always Hulu.

My wife assured me that all the unmentionable bits seemed to remain covered at all times, thank goodness, lest we have to deal with a 6-month FCC witch hunt that would no doubt bring the phrase “bubble-bath malfunction” into common use. Regardless of the lack of visible naughty bits, though, I’m assured that based on the, uh…motion of the ocean…little doubt remains as to what the Stepfords were up to in the tub.

Now, I’m probably one of the least prudish people you’re likely to ever meet. I don’t really care what this particular couple gets up to in the privacy of their excessively ornate master bathroom, especially as they appear, by all rights, to be consenting adults violating no laws in Orange County, Lilliput or wherever they actually live. So, as far as I’m concerned, good for them, way to go Old Boy, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more, say no more. However, I’m guessing that this was probably not the first time a couple from one of the thousand variations of “Real Housewives” got, um, horizontal, during filming. Why then, did this particular event up in the final cut?

The only thing I can figure is that the tub-thumpers in question are perhaps a little more narcissistic than your average “Real Housewives” contestant, or maybe have a tendency toward exhibitionism and no real shame to speak of. It’s probably some of all that plus a few helpings of imprudence and bad judgment as well.

Also, I can’t imagine that the show’s producers had anything to do with it.

So why does this bother me? I don’t know; I guess it shouldn’t. Someone’s entertained somewhere, right? Truth be told, though, that’s probably what irks me about it the most. “Real Housewives”, “Jersey Shore”, “The Bachelor”, etc, etc, all seem to pander to the least common denominator and we’re lapping it up like a kitten with a bowl of cream. But it’s not cream, everyone knows it, and there’s not a television executive anywhere that isn’t trying to figure out how it get in on the low class action.

Of course, I could argue that the real problem is that there are too many TV executives because there are simply more networks and thus more shows than the world really needs. But that’s going to have to wait for Part II of Puddin’s TV Manifesto.

Then again, if you were smart, you might call b*llsh!t on tonight’s little soap-box rant about the debasement of American culture and counter that my real problem in all this is that when I was an adolescent, you had to work to get access to stuff your mom didn’t want you to see. In my day, catching some inappropriate content on television meant engineering an overnight with that friend who had all the cable movie networks and parents that were soundly asleep by 10 pm. If all the planets aligned and you got really lucky, a Shannon Tweed flick would be on Cinemax at midnight.

Nowadays, though, you can apparently score some skin by accident on Bravo on a Sunday night.

Ironically, Shannon Tweed can be seen these days, fully clothed, on Gene Simmons’ Family Jewels on A&E.

My thirteen year-old self would be incredulous.

And would undoubtedly DVR every “Real Housewives” episode for the next six months, at least.

Pud’n