Hump, Marry, Kill: Naked & Afraid (That’s Actually A Real Show On TV)

Hump: Seriously, where do I sign up for Britt Robertson’s career? The pint-sized actress has carried not one, but two, CW dramas, which, while short-lived, were pretty engrossing. She also headlined a sweet, sincere movie with Teen Wolf Tumblr/ONTD dreamboat Dylan O’Brien (who she was/is possibly dating in real life) called The First Time. Along with Shailene Woodley’s much-anticipated The Spectacular Now, which comes out in August, it remains one of the most realistic, non-sugar-coated, loss-of-virginity movies from the past decade.
Now, Robertson’s transcended The CW and indie coming-of-age flicks and has officially hit the big leagues. She’s starring in Under the Dome, CBS’ surprisingly huge sci-fi series based on Stephen King’s book of the same name. Dome’s debut this past Monday actually brought in the biggest summer premiere ratings for any show on network TV since NBC’s The Singing Bee in 2007. So, congratulations on the major taste upgrade, America (seriously...The Singing Bee?), and mazel tov to Robertson for landing what could potentially be the new Lost.
Marry: Who wears the pants at Sterling Cooper and Partners? Peggy effing Olson, that’s who. You better recognize that she’s coming for your job, Don Draper — and that she looks bangin’ in a dress that seems suspiciously like a black teddy with some lacy stockings, Ted Chaough.
Kill: You know those people who watch Survivor and are like “Wimps! I could do that with my eyes closed and a venomous snake eyeing my leg like it’s a five-course dinner?” Well, some of them must be executive producers at Discovery Channel, because I’m pretty sure that’s the only reason Naked & Afraid made it to air. See, what makes Survivor so engrossing are the ridiculous challenges contestants have to complete, in addition to living in a remote location far removed from their usual creature comforts with strangers preselected by showrunners to be as out there as possible. It’s good TV because the stakes just keep piling on top of one another.
This is not the case with Naked & Afraid. On this show, the stakes certainly aren’t low — a man and woman who do not know each other must survive for 21 days in a remote location with no food, no water, and no clothes — but they’re just not compelling enough to answer the main question of why someone would want to do this. If you’re really a true survivalist, don’t you go into the jungle to be one with nature sans HD cameras?
The contestants (if you can call them that; they’re not really “winning” anything besides not dying or needing to be medevaced to the nearest hospital) must deal with extreme weather conditions, dangerous local wildlife, non-potable drinking water, and other harsh wilderness trials that test their survival skills. None of that is easy, but sadly, it also does not make for good TV.
Watching two naked people shiver in a Costa Rican jungle while you know warmly dressed cameramen are capturing all the action with a strict “do not interfere” order from the producers is just sort of sad. The first episode was a pathetic tale of what happens when a person goes too long in the cold rain without a proper meal. It should have been called “Hangry & Hypoglycemic,” because the two survivalists were way more focused on their endless cycle of snapping at and apologizing to one another for letting their instinctive need for food overtake their social graces and manners. But, don’t worry, Shane Lewis is writing a book about his experience; because why watch a 42-minute TV show when you can read a whole pseudo-introspective book about it?
Photo: Courtesy of Kharen Hill/©2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc; Courtesy of Jaimie Trueblood/AMC; Courtesy of Discovery Channel

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