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The 50,000 Men Obsessed With ‘That True Detective Scene With Alexandra Daddario’

‘It’s not just the fact that she goes completely nude that makes this an amazing nude scene. It’s the feel.’

The constituents of r/TTDSWAD — an acronym for That True Detective Scene With Alexandra Daddario — have thought of everything:

The subreddit, founded in March 2016, is unnaturally specific, even by Reddit’s horny standards. Every post must either be the famous full-frontal sequence Alexandra Daddario starred in during True Detective’s second episode “Seeing Things,” or a clever edit to that sequence that reveals a crisp new frontier in smut that’s now five years old. Currently, it stands at nearly 50,000 subscribers, which is disorienting to an outsider — i.e., scroll through the subreddit’s Rolodex and you’ll witness the exact same clip posted dozens of times in ritualistic uniformity. 

Speak to the denizens of r/TTDSWAD, though, and you’ll quickly understand the depths of their passion: how their infatuation for Daddario will never be consummated, and how donning 3D glasses before masturbating to the same thing you’ve watched hundreds of times makes a certain devilish sense. “I discovered the subreddit when I was browsing through my feed, and it showed up in my suggestions. I was pleasantly surprised,” says one poster. “It’s no secret that this scene is loved and treasured by many. But having a separate [forum] to celebrate that amazing body and worship the boobs and other assets of a goddess brought a smile to my face.”

The scene itself is surprisingly mild. Daddario is wearing a baggy white T-shirt, in a musty, ugly-wallpapered Louisiana apartment with a married Woody Harrelson. She pulls off the shirt, demurs toward Harrelson, before turning around and bending over. It is meant to titillate the senses, while also articulating the existential web of sin these characters are mired in. Director Cary Joji Fukunaga — knowing exactly what he’s doing — captures the whole breadth of the encounter with a conveniently framed wide lens. 

But that’s it. We don’t watch Daddario and Harrelson have sex, not even in the voyueristic, through-the-back-door Pretty Woman sense. Daddario keeps her clothes on for the rest of the series, and to this point, it remains the only nude scene of her career. Hollywood has no shortage of sweaty softcore indulgences, but between the minutes-long provocation of Blue Is the Warmest Color and the X-rated moral panic of Showgirls, Daddario’s turn doesn’t send shockwaves through the Horny Richter scale. Still, the posters of r/TTDSWAD tell me that the scene was constantly submitted to r/WatchItForThePlot, a sister subreddit for all things movie smut. It became so ubiquitous that they wanted to forge a kingdom for themselves — to elect Daddario into a Hall of Fame, permanently enshrining one thirst above all. 

It’s a tough obsession to articulate, but for the true believers, there’s something about the sequence that taps into an indelible earthiness that they could never find jerking off to Phoebe Cates in Fast Times at Ridgemont High. “Her eyes say a thousand words in this scene,” a poster tells me. “It’s not just the fact that she goes completely nude that makes this an amazing nude scene. It’s her raunchy expression. It’s the feel.”

“I feel like this scene lives on because despite it being so tame, you can still feel the energy of it,” adds another poster. “When she slowly removes her shirt, you feel like you’re in the moment; you feel like you’re Woody Harrelson’s character.”

A third poster takes a particularly unique angle. For him, the overarching genius of the rest of True Detective intensifies the quality of everything within its bounds. The masterfully dismal mood, the savant-level Matthew McConaughey performance, the six-minute tracking shot and the half-minute-or-so where Alexandra Daddario is naked — it’s a rising tide, lifting all boats. For decades, HBO has prided itself on distributing premier television, so maybe it’s possible to feel a little bit less like a horndog when celebrating one of the network’s most memorable nude scenes. Auteurship demands respect. It’s not masturbation, it’s paying homage. “The quality of the show definitely elevated the scene,” he explains. “True Detective is one of the greatest HBO shows of all time, so a lot of people probably went in for one thing but got this scene unexpectedly, so it was a nice surprise.” 

That poster looks at the rest of r/TTDSWAD as a hybridized meme. It’s, of course, a place to appreciate a highly notable True Detective nude scene, but it’s also a place to laugh at the fact that so many people on the internet share the same carnal fascination, like an accidental, amorous cult. And nobody wants to let the joke die. “[It’s] equal parts meme and practical fapping material,” he theorizes. “You’ll find several posts there that treat the whole thing pretty humorously.” 

His own contribution straddled the line. He cut out each part of Alexandra Daddario’s airtime and tied them together in the same GIF. It’s the handiwork of an extremely motivated libido, which makes it both funny or useful, depending on your mood. “[You] don’t have to search for separate parts of the same scene,” he explains. 

That’s the unspoken truth: r/TTDSWAD is only kidding… unless you’re serious. They’ve invented their own perpetual motion machine — a million different ways to watch an Alexandra Daddario nude scene, the limitless innovation of human lust. 

Just make sure to disinfect those 3D glasses before you leave.