Hard core survival television on tap for summer 2015.
“…it is impossible to disentangle completely a persons behavior from their physiology. The physical traumas, privations, and deficiencies which can undermine the body’s strength and efficiency all have psychological consequences.” John Leach, Survival Psychology*
Discovery Channel, the folks who bring us the most elemental and challenging wilderness survival series in production, Naked and Afraid, is one-upping itself. The July 12, 2015 Premier of Naked and Afraid XL will feature a group of experienced survivors, twelve mostly sculpt and nubile nudes dropped into a Colombian wilderness. The group will confront a challenge of biblical proportions: forty days and forty nights naked and afraid in the wilderness!
This is hard core survival television. Even the most cynical outdoors commentator must allow for the enormity of risks and challenges survivors and producers have taken on. Will cast members find each other, work together, or fragment into smaller groups, antagonize or assist each other? Will they exhibit team evolution à la Tuckerman; Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing? Will they pull each other through the challenge like true hunter-gatherers? Will extreme personalities destroy cohesion, fragment groupings? Will available local resources sustain them? Must they become nomadic? Will anyone survive for forty days and forty nights? I’ll be tuning in.
There will be no cruising to extraction on bodily reserves in Naked and Afraid XL. Forty days in the wilds will make successful hunting and gathering a must. Cast members must maintain hydration, avoid dangerous pathogens and serious traumas, and obtain significant caloric intake, or tap out!
Editors knitting together episodes for Naked and Afraid XL no doubt worked at least forty days and forty nights to place and keep all those blurred fig leaf pasties in motion to cover enough anatomical exposures to make episodes palatable for censors and general audiences. Nevertheless nudity undoubtedly will be a major draw attracting viewership to Naked and Afraid XL. Provocative nudity and cast members coping with nudity have been decisive ingredients supporting the extraordinary success of Discovery Channel’s ‘original sin’, Naked and Afraid. Much more of the same is on tap in the new production.
Voyeuristic viewers will get much more than view-bites of buns in motion. The “physical traumas, privations, and deficiencies” endured by hard core survivors will engage empathetic viewers more deeply than other “reality” television productions. Somehow, this challenge will evoke vicarious atavistic recall, pricking deep species memories, deep origins: A familiarity you can’t quite put your finger on, not unlike a 1960’s teenager’s bug-eyed gaze starring intently while flipping glossy pages for images in old National Geographic Magazine articles about tribal societies featuring hunter-gatherers.
Experienced wilderness survivalists and outdoor enthusiasts will watch upcoming episodes. Some will admit to it. Renegade 83’s Naked and Afraid productions plumb the depths of cast member psyches, vicarious viewers right there, up close and personal. Episodes offer teachings in survival psychology for willing students.
My hat’s off for these intrepid survivors willing to bare their bits and expose their psyches, but my clothes will stay on in the wilderness!
“NAKED AND AFRAID XL is produced for Discovery Channel by Renegade 83; David Garfinkle, Jay Renfroe and Sean Foley are executive producers, and Steve Rankin is consulting executive producer. For Discovery, Denise Contis and Joseph Boyle are executive producers.”
*Survival Psychology, 1994. John Leach. Macmillan Press Ltd. This book is a must read for students of wilderness and calamity survival.
Tom Bain, Outdoor Readiness