For those of you who haven’t followed the American TV comedy Arrested Development, Cross plays former analyst/therapist Tobias Fünke, a member of the tragicomic Bluth family by marriage. His total lack of self-awareness, including the implication that he is homosexual, is played for awkward laughs, as is his rare psychological disorder of “never-nude” syndrome:
Tobias suffers from “never-nude” syndrome (which, as the narrator states, is “exactly what it sounds like”) and wears denim cut-off shorts under his underwear (and underneath that, a tube sock) at all times in order to avoid anyone (including himself and his wife) seeing his genitalia. The condition is similar to severe gymnophobia, although it is portrayed humorously. In the episode “In God We Trust”, he attempts to reach out to his nephew George Michael during his tenure in the “Adam” muscle-suit for the “Living Classics Pageant” mistakenly assuming they have the same phobia (in reality, George Michael is trying to impress his cousin, Maeby). He conquers this for a time in the middle of Season 1, but after a close-up picture of his genitalia is shown on the evening news (where it has been mistaken for a photo showing evidence of WMDs in Iraq), he is driven back to the cut-offs.
From PETA’s press release:
We can’t begin to tell you how excited we were when Arrested Development and Mr. Show’s David Cross got naked for us! The kind-hearted comedian recently bared his bod for a mantastic new ad aimed at exposing the cruelty behind every fur coat. Although he drew the line at being genitally electrocuted like animals on fur farms are, dedicated David did try to better understand the pain of these animals by using double-sided tape to cover his naughty bits when he worked the runway for our cameras. Youch! (Sorry ladies, the discarded tape was promptly sold on eBay). But rest assured, the fur found on this sexy souvenir is the only type of fur you’ll see on the funny man—his own. David’s just not down with fur hags parading around in pelts.
This campaign is also extremely well-timed; Arrested Development returned to TV, as a limited series, on Netflix today.
I’m not ordinarily a fan of PETA’s sexual exploitation of (usually female) nude celebrities. But interestingly, this male version uses the borrowed comic interest of Cross’s Fünke character for ironic effect. It’s a far better strategy, in my opinion, but I wonder if they would ever do it with a woman.