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This is weird. it seems like one huge inconsistent cop-out to advertise a show on the basis of the participants being naked, then to pixillate everything. You might as well allow them shorts and tops! Is this down to the peculiar American attitude to onscreen nudity?
I don't know why I watch the show, this is not porn since everything is blured and this is not survival either because they're so lame. Anyway I can give some analysis about recurrent schemes that I've observed in the show.
So everything start with some teaser, you see some butts and high survival skills are advertised. Contenders are then assessed with survival scores that comes from nowhere, often one is just a survivalist wannabe when the other just want to prove something for himself and can't stop thinking about his family.
After that the two participants meet (There is often a family ) and ask each other if they are not uncomfortable with nudity to point out the awkwarness of the situation. They are supposed to bring each one a survival item of their choice, luckily for them if one has some random item the other one always manage to have a cutting tool.
Then the show begins. And inevitably they show poor skills since day one. They don't manage to make a shelter the first day, the fire usually don't come before almost a week and the tension is building up. Then they starves, and feel miserable for another week.
However after that everything get's better, they found something which is horrible to eat (often because it's digusting such as a snake or because this is too cute according to one hippy contender), however in the name of survival they overcome their unwillingness, and just makes a good meal. They even manage to craft some items after that but as a recording that survival is tough something goes wrong before the last day.
They leave for a difficult journey, but they never miss the rendez-vous. Then again contenders are assessed with scores that have no real explanations.
I have to disagree on a few points, but the above is generally a good summary of the basic formula of the show.
First, I wouldn't say the survival elements of this show are lame. Some of the contestants were lame, true, but the show does take care to show how various techniques are employed and teaches a fair bit about the environments in play as well as the flora and fauna.
Next, the nudity isn't used for titillation (no pun intended) as much as you might think. Sure, the idea of being stranded with a member of the opposite sex in a primal setting is a sexual fantasy for a lot of people but the appeal quickly wears off as starvation and dehydration set in or the contestants become more muddy and dirty as time passes.
It is a reality TV show, so naturally the producers have tried to create some drama by pairing up some unlikely couples (i.e. devout Mormon hunter with a free-spirited Vegan or sexist good ol' boy with an outspoken Californian feminist). In most cases, the couples either manage to overcome their differences or they both tend to wash out in the end.
It's rare for the relationship to be completely one-sided in terms of skills, though the pairs will tend to be experts in different fields. Again, this is something that is planned for by the producers in the pre-production stage of the show, as one of the behind the scenes episodes revealed.
Despite this, a few contestants who proved to be all hat and no cattle have slipped through. And some enjoy the show purely for the schadenfreude experienced as the proud fall - like the Marine who was crying to go home on Day One after his manhood got sunburned.
All in all, this is a fun little program that does teach about survival techniques while driving home just how difficult it would truly be to live a primal lifestyle.
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