I mentioned over at my paid blog last Friday that I have become addicted to a reality TV series. Naked and Afraid. The legends edition, or some shit.
To be honest, it's completely fucking embarrassing. It's brain-dead television. And I know enough about how these things work to be aware of every moment the producers are manipulating me - which is pretty much every second I’m watching. And yet, I just can't look away. It's not like it's Trainwreck TV. It's more like it's the survivors-of-a-train-wreck-eating-the-corpses-of-the-dead TV.
The premise is pretty simple. They take a bunch of survivalists and drop them into hostile environments. It's like Survivor, I guess, which I’ve never watched and have no interest in watching. I think the thing which drew me into this show is that the only competition is between the naked humans and the environment. For the season I’m watching, a dozen contestants are organised into four teams of three and set loose in the Louisiana Bayou. After that, they're on their own. Also, did I mention that they’re naked?
Thankfully, given the amount of time each episode the camera spends jammed up the arse cracks of these nude maddies as they clamber over fallen logs, any offending bits and pieces are blurred out.
But yes, very naked. And muddy. And crazed.
I think you’d have to be a bit unhinged to sign up for a show like this, but you’d definitely have to have something a little weird and extra going on to stick with it. I don’t doubt these are the people who will triumph in the ruins of civilisation when it eventually collapses in two or three years, but shit we’re not there yet. Why subject yourself to this?
I also don’t doubt that huge parts of the show are scripted and that there are doctors just off camera, and sharpshooters to protect the talent from the wildlife. I get the artifice.
But as I mentioned on Friday, I just can’t help but feel this is where we’re heading and occasionally in spite of all the scripting and artifice you see real horror and desperation in the eyes of these people. They don’t even look human anymore. I remember chatting with Steve Stirling about the past and he made the point that we’d all die pretty quickly back there, that the ‘people’ we met wouldn’t even seem like people to us but more like monsters.
I dunno where I’m going with this.
Probably just unburdening myself of the guilt of watching this stupid thing.
I do wonder whether there’ll be a reality show about the collapse of civilisation before we get to the actual collapse of civilisation, you know, in two or three years. You could film it in one of those spooky Chinese ghost cities, and populate the stage with thousands of cannibals and savages.
I reckon the contestants from Naked and Afraid would totally be up for it.
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