The show Naked and Afraid is a reality tv series which airs on Discover Channel. This show when it began offered viewers a concept which had not been seen previously in reality tv. Each episode of the show follows the day-to-day lives of 1 man and 1 woman who are called survivalists. These two people are strangers up until the point when they are introduced to each other on the show and then told they would be thrown into the wilderness to survive for 21 days naked. After this introduction at a designated spot, it is up to both of themto procure food, water, clothing and shelter for each other. These are to be gotten and made from materials in their surrounding environment.
The show does not follow the couple for 21 days instead, one episode shows the events which transpire for the couple during the whole time they are in the wilderness. They are both only provided with a cross body satchel (well, this kind of makes it a bit decent if you catch my drift). The satchel contains a diary which each person uses to chronicle their journey of survival or just thoughts, there is also a camera in the satchel which is used for the visual capturing of their journey. Both survivalists are also equipped with identical necklaces which have a microphone embedded in the centre bead so we can hear their conversations. Both are also allowed just one helpful item to take along with them. This could be a tool or something else but not a smart phone. A map is also provided for them. There have been cases where a medical emergency had to be granted. There was one such emergency where a survivalist had to be given a tampon.
Asides from situations like this, the couple have to use their map and make their way to the designated pick up spot at the end of the 21 days. They have to be there to be picked up by the transportation which would be waiting. The means of transport is dependent on the environment. They could be airlifted or driven out. There is also the option of ‘tap out’ if for any reason they choose not to go on.
All through the show, viewers are given constant update about the statistics like temperature, number of days that have passed etc. This is then used to update the Primitive Survival Rating which tracks survival fitness in experience, metal capability, skills.
The home of the show is the United States specifically, the Louisiana Bayou, Everglades in Florida and Alabama. There are also other locations around the world where survivalist have been taken to. Such locations are Botswana, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Cambodia, Malaysia. Thailand, Croatia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Philippines, India, Panama, Ecuador, Australia, Peru, Guyana, Fiji, Dominica, Honduras, Bolivia, Brazil, Mexico, Columbia. These locations where not for leisure as exotic as they sound, they were there to survive.
When it’s all said and done, there are some factors that lead us to believe that this reality tv show isn’t as real as the producers would want us to think. To see a naked and afraid uncensored would be to see humans at our most basic level. This is supposed to be what the show hope to achieve but with all things human, this isn’t the case.
The first factor that suggests the show isn’t what it seems is the survivalist are never alone. The concept of the show was to leave two people in the wilds to find their way to a certain location at the end of a specified number of numbers with just the barest necessities to see them through. On the contrary, this isn’t the case as there are always cast and crew members around. Not just walking along with them but even in a vehicle. There is also the issue of the locals. In some location’s survivalist have said, they are never too far away from them. There have been cases where they can hear the locals or even come in contact with them during the 21 days.
The producers of the show also say the survivalist embark on this journey just to show their survival skills but some former contestants of the show have let it slip that some form of incentive is given to each contestant. The exact amount of this incentive is not known but there are rumours it is between $20,000- $25,000.
Medical help is closer than they show producers make us to believe. In one particular episode, we see a female contestant suffer from food poisoning after she ate a turtle. She was vomiting and lethargic for three days then suddenly make a recovery on the fourth day. Well, it was found out that she was attended to with IVs and food, well treated which aided her recovery.
Like most reality shows, the narrative is written by the producers of the show. Some events are scripted to make it seem like it was nature that was punishing the contestants but this was not true. In one episode, we see a case of a weak, suffering contestant. The show claimed she has taken contaminated waterbut this was not. The contestant later revealed she had eaten a very spicy chicken curry dish from a local the day before and it made her sick.
This closely follows editing of the three-week journey. Remember, it would be shown in just one episode. Well, the show producers get to decide once again the narrative to show to the viewers and this most times isn’t the accurate representation of what had happened.
Nevertheless, the show was created on a very interesting premise and is pretty cool to watch. You can start with the earlier episodes and still get a feel of just what it takes for you to beat the elements and emerge stronger. Watch Naked and Afraid and have an idea how the early men lived.