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The appeal of the original Naked And Afraid was that it taught real world survival skills and about the exotic climates the challenges were set in. That was completely abandoned in Naked And Afraid XL as the show became more about the arguments between the teams than about the battle for survival.
This would have been bad enough had it not been for obvious Manipulative Editing and contrived stunts that were clearly meant to enhance the drama (i.e. Team Butts and Nuts showing up half-starved just as The Alphas were about to dig into their first successful hunting kill)
In the end, this experiment has soured me on both series and I don't think I'll be watching the regular 21-day edition of the show anymore, much less another season of NAXL.
Random thoughts on this episode while watching the finale.
Rewatched this episode and had a few thoughts.
This is the episode where the narrative Shane fans had for Alana and Dani falls apart if you pay attention to the continuity between episodes.
The two women are lazy and Shane did all the work? Yeah - ignoring that they did just fine without him after he abandoned them in Episode 3, Alana and Dani made it across the savanna just fine. Actually, they did the best out of all the groups. Probably due to the fact that the made protective clothing - a step nobody else took.
Alana and Dani are out to cause drama? Funny, because The Group of Five reveal that Shane - despite largely keeping his distance from them - apparently saw fit to inform them about how terrible Alana and Dani were within a day of their arrival. Eva asks Alana about "them not seeing eye to eye with him" and Alana agrees that is a fair assessment without further elaboration or comment. Meanwhile, Shane is having a panic attack in the bushes, complaining about how he can't catch a break.
To Shane's credit, he did finally find a way to help out Team Alpha Male... as a guinea pig. And when he finally tapped out so as not to burden the other men, he declared that he was still The Alpha Male. Begging the question of what kind of Alpha Male is apparently driven into fits of crying because women are being mean to him... but I digress.
Unfortunately, the hatred for Alana and Dani spread to The Group of Seven among the Fan Dumb on-line, with even Laura and Eva being dismissed as lazy and mooching off of Jeff and EJ... even as the rest of the Alpha Males are depicted as mocking the other team's difficulties or - in Jeff's case - poaching on their fishing grounds and bragging about how he's doing better at fishing with his hooks than all of them are with one big net.
This from the man who was most insistent on the groups maintaining their distance and not sharing resources. To his credit, he does decide to share his eel with them in spite of this though the decision is born more of Christian guilt than the reasoning that there's no way his team can eat all that before it spoils.
And to the credit of EJ, he revealed on his social media that the groups did trade resources in ways that weren't depicted on the show, noting in particular that Alana and Dani gave him and Jeff fruit. So much for "Team Moocher" eh Shane Fans?
As I noted in my review of the 5th episode, it is clear that this show was scripted to some degree and heavily edited to turn certain characters into heels/faces as the needs of the episode demand.
Case In Point: Most of the footage of The Group of Seven (well, six really, but I'll get to that), shows them lying around and conserving their energy in the middle of the day. This had been done with most of these survivalists in earlier episodes to try and sell the narrative that they are all lazy bum heels leeching off the efforts of the faces - all of whom favor high-action survival techniques (i.e. shouting as they try and kill things and playing up for the camera).
Unlike the previous episodes, we do get to see The Group of Seven successfully gathering insects to eat and working together to hunt a stingray. EJ shows up shortly afterward, asking for a bite of their hard-won bounty. While many might see this as fair play, given that Jeff shared his eel with the larger group before, it's worth noting that The Group of 7 never asked for a handout as EJ seems to be doing here. Few among the fandom seems to think it's selfish for EJ to ask a group that is already splitting their sparse meal five ways to split it further just so he can try a new kind of meat... particularly given their relative lack of success in securing food and EJ's group's insistence on a "you only eat what you help kill" policy. Granted, they ignored it to help the larger group out twice but it occurs to me The Group of 7 never asked for any handouts and indeed seem to have been going out of their way to avoid stepping on Jeff and EJ's toes... despite their spying on them and laughing at their failures.
The big story, however, is Dani J's decision to tap out after being cast out of The Group of 7 for continually wandering off and not contributing to the team. Naturally the Fan Dumb blamed Alana and her apparent magical ginger powers to turn people against each other and make other people lazy for this despite most of the complaints about Dani's behavior coming from Laura. I think this is because comparisons were made to Shane - who also wandered off alone a lot and thus the Team Shane supporters declared the equally weird Dani J. the newest Saint of Columbia, ignoring her weaselly efforts to join Team Alpha Male because they were doing better.
It's become clear at this point that some kind of scripting is going on with the new series. It's way too coincidental that the five-person team shows up JUST as Team Alpha Male is settling down to enjoy their meal.
And it seems really weird that the people who teamed up before (Laura/EJ, Eva/Jeff) don't acknowledge each other. Well, I guess given what a jackass Jeff was to Eva, it would make sense that she wouldn't run up and hug him. But Laura and EJ tackled the Amazon together. You'd expect a little more reaction.
It also would have been nice to have some kind of sit-rep on Alana and Dani after Shane left them. Then again, I guess watching two women who know what they are doing and don't argue doesn't fit the tone they are going for with this series and the best we could hope for was a note that they were stock-piling resources.
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