I just watched an episode of the Discovery Channel’s new series Naked and Afraid. A man and a woman who meet for the first time are dropped off in some remote location and the first thing they do is take off their clothes. Where in real life would this ever happen? (Okay, maybe Charlie Sheen’s house.) For twenty-one days they survive together. Each person is allowed to bring one thing with them. They bring things like a hatchet, a cooking pot to boil water or something to start a fire. I’d bring clothes, but in my case the show would be called Naked and Grossed Out. It is all marketing. A Cooking Pot and Afraid just wouldn’t attract the same amount of viewers. Of course the first thing the people do is fashion clothes out of plants and brush. There is a reason why even the most primitive societies wear clothes: certain parts of the nether regions are not made to be exposed to the sun or hung out to be dragged through all kinds of flora and fauna. At least they’re using average looking people and not people who look like super models, but I imagine that will come if the ratings slip. (I had a friend who went to a nudist camp once. All he said when he came back was: “There are a lot more Rosanne Barrs and Rosie O’donnells in the world than Nicole Kidmans and Jessica Albas.” Come to think of it, he’s never been compared to Tom Cruise or Brad Pit.) Survivalist reality shows have become big. They set up scenarios about how to survive if you’re hanging gliding in the Serengeti and you crash. I already know what to do: DON’T GO HANGGLIDING IN THE SERENGETI! I guess for the three people watching who might actually do it, it might be helpful.
My youngest daughter and I always talked about doing a Youtube parody of Man vs. Wild. I just know when Bear Grylls eats those worms some crew member is standing by with a couple bottles of Scope and a Big Mac. I think he builds the shelters and spends the night at the Holiday Inn.
I’m not a big fan of reality shows. I watched Pawn Stars when it first came on. I like history and the stories behind the items brought into the shop held my interest, then the people on the show started having lives. I don’t want them to have lives. I don’t want to know about their funny birthday parties and exercise programs. I want to believe they just live in the pawn shop and do nothing but get experts to come in and tell them the history of items. I don’t want to know if they are married or eat or go to the bathroom. I want to believe a big guy named Igor keeps them locked in the basement and only lets them out to do the show.
Redneck reality seems to be the latest trend in television shows. I’ve watched Swamp People a couple of times. Catching one alligator is about the same as catching another. The show likes to try to make you believe someone is going to get eaten or have their arm ripped off, but if that happened we’d hear about it on the news way before the episode ever aired. Naked Swamp People might be interesting? It would give the alligators a few more things to clamp on to. I have a few friends who are crazy about Duck Dynasty. I’ve watched the show a couple times. It’s funny. I just think most of it is staged and scripted. If it’s scripted, I have to judge it as a situation comedy, and then it’s just so-so. I’ve never watched Here Comes Honey Boo Boo. I can’t bring myself to watch a show with someone named Honey Boo Boo in it.
I watched the granddaddy of reality shows, Survivor, when it first came on. The producers kept putting more obnoxious people on every season, until it finally got to the point where I wanted all of the people to be voted off the island. Sometimes I wanted them to be eaten by alligators or have to run around naked and drag their nether regions through the flora and fauna. I still watch the final episode every season. I’m waiting for a member of the jury to ask, “Why did you lie, connive, cheat and stab me in the back?” I want just once for the contestant to answer, “Because if I hadn’t I’d be sitting over there with you losers.”