Follow TV Tropes


Series / Naked and Afraid

Go To

Naked and Afraid is an American reality television series that airs on the Discovery Channel and premiered on June 23, 2013. Each episode chronicles the lives of two survivalists—a man and a woman— who are given the task of surviving a stay in the wilderness naked for 21 days. After they meet in the assigned locale, the partners must survive by finding water, food and building a shelter until they journey to reach a preset extraction point.

The show has inspired a Darker and Edgier Spin-Off, Naked and Afraid XL.


Naked and Afraid provides examples of:

  • Action Girl: Most of the female contestants.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Congrats — you survived and proved yourself! However, you're likely sunburned, bruised, covered in bug bites and/or suffering from dehydration, starvation, and various sicknesses.
  • Body Paint: Mud gets used as this by some of the survivalists.
  • Boisterous Bruiser: Some contestants talk about their skills and prove that they can walk the walk as well as they can talk the talk over their three-week trial.
  • Boisterous Weakling: Some contestants talk about their skills and how easy it will be to survive and quit after a few days or have to be evacuated after doing something foolish like drinking tainted water.
  • Boring, but Practical: During a Season 3 episode that took place in a Brazilian desert, the male survivalist spent the entire time sitting in the shade of his shelter, eating fruit and only using energy to go back and forth to get water during the cooler parts of the day. He did very well, unlike his partner, who felt the need to spend all her time out in the sun hunting. She eventually had to be evacuated to receive medical attention due to severe heatstroke.
  • Advertisement:
  • Covered in Mud: Some of the survivalists intentionally evoke this, using the mud to cool themselves off, block the sun and repel insects.
  • Deconstruction: Of Discovery's usual survival show setups. Surprisingly, sending normal everyday people into survival situations isn't going to result in crazy survival shelters, daring feats, and being able to construct overly complicated weapons from grass and twigs. Quite a few people needed to go to the hospital shortly after they made it through an episode and a few survivalists were forced to abandon the challenge when it became clear they needed immediate medical care.
  • Determinator: All successful survivalists who complete the challenge.
  • Didn't See That Coming: At least one episode in the early 2020s had the contestants tapped out because of the COVID-19 Pandemic, something no one had anticipated. The reasoning wasn't even a medical one, but a practical one — if the contestant had endured the full challenge, they might've been stuck in the country due to air traffic being grounded.
  • Dining in the Buff: Not surprisingly, this happens all the time on the show.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: Contestants are dropped off in a strange, exotic location completely naked and forced to brave the elements.
  • Exposed to the Elements: Obviously.
  • Fan Disservice: Even with most of the survivalists on the show being naked and in good shape, they're still in a tense, harsh survival situation. They certainly aren't fitness modelling and even the most attractive of them don't look their best after a few days of not bathing, much less once starvation and dehydration start to set in. Accumulation of bug bites, scratches, sunburns and hair-tangles doesn't do their looks any favors either. Also, many survivalists featured on the show, male or female, become obviously emotionally distraught during their trial.
  • Fanservice: Most of the contestants — male and female — are in excellent shape and are not unpleasant to look at as they walk around naked.
  • Fight to Survive: The core idea of the show.
  • Hell Is That Noise: Part of the tension during the nighttime scenes comes from animals moving around the camping survivalists. One couple in Season 4 had a panther walk within a few feet of their bed.
  • Hope Spot: After failing his initial challenge in a four person survival group in a previous episode, Wes returned for an All Stars episode. After having to go through a brutal hike, numerous failures setting up shelter, trouble finding food, and his partner receiving a medical tap out due to leg surgery acting up, he finally found food and looked set to complete the challenge... only for the COVID-19 Pandemic to force the team to tap him out on Day 18 to avoid the possibility that air traffic would be grounded. Wes is so far the only person to fail the challenge while having his Primitive Survival Rating increase, since he was tapped out for something neither him nor the staff could have predicted.
  • It's Not Porn, It's Art: Moreso "survival" than "art." The show has taken a lot of criticism from both Moral Guardians and serious fans of survival reality who claim that the nudity element of the show is less about increasing the challenge for the survivalists and more about cheap exploitation. Fans of the show argue that there is nothing sexual about the nudity and that the survivalists are too busy focusing on not dying to think about getting laid. Even the survivalists who were single and open to the idea of romance with their partner said their first priority was survival.
  • The Load: Several of the survivalists became this to their partners after they proved to have vastly overrated their skills.
  • Mucking in the Mud: Happens to the survivalists in the swampy environments and the ones in hot climates, who use mud as a sunscreen/insect repellant.
  • Naked First Impression: When the contestants meet each other for the first time, they have already been stripped of their clothes.
  • Naked on Arrival: The contestants arrive at the location already having gotten naked in the boat or car on the way there.
  • Naked People Are Funny: While the show is largely serious, there is some humor between some of the couples regarding their nudity.
  • Naked People Trapped Outside: Unless they create clothing from the materials that they scavenge, the contestants spend the entire time trapped outside in the nude.
  • National Geographic Nudity: Averted. Despite the lack of any sexual content on the show, women's nipples and the crotches of both genders are blurred out.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: Pretty much the whole point of the show. While similar Discovery survival shows in the past point out how dangerous a survival situation can be, it's usually glossed over due to them being very well versed in wilderness survival, either having practiced it all their life, being in the army for some time, or both. This show, however, tends to have a combination of lesser-experienced survivalists or sometimes even normal people taking up the challenge, with no equipment or scenarios to go off, and it pretty much hammers home some of the stuff shown off in such survival shows as Man vs. Wild, Survivorman, and Dual Survival is extremely optimistic at best.
  • Nipple and Dimed: Women's nipples are blurred out along with genitals.
  • Nude Nature Dance: Several of the Wicca-practicing survivalists have indulged in this.
  • Poor Man's Porn: While the focus of the show is on survival rather than sex, it cannot be denied that most of the survivalists are in peak physical condition and none of them is unattractive. And to the joy of those attracted to asses everywhere, bare backsides are not blurred.
  • Rated M for Manly:
    • Surviving in the wild with nothing but your wits and a naked woman? Sounds like heaven to a certain kind of man.
    • Averted with some of the male contestants, who prove to be way out of their depth and wind up depending on their female partner to survive.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story: Wes' return in All Stars saw him suffer numerous hardships, but he endured until he got a lucky break and seemed poised to make it to Day 21 after failing in a previous challenge. Unfortunately, the COVID-19 Pandemic reached its pandemic phase during his challenge, forcing the staff to tap him out on Day 18 so that they could leave Ecuador before air traffic was grounded. Wes is the only contestant who had his PSR increase despite not making the full twenty one days because he was tapped out for reasons that would never have been considered when the show launched.
  • Shameless Fanservice Girl: And men. As this proves, the nudity is never a problem for anyone.
  • Skinny Dipping: Occurs for those survivalists lucky enough to have water to bathe in.
  • Vomit Indiscretion Shot: Survivalists who drink contaminated water or eat contaminated food usually end up throwing up.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Survivalists who become The Load or who have a bad attitude usually get called out on their bad behavior by their partners.
  • Wild Wilderness: All locales the survivalists are dropped into.