I’ve wanted to review another episode of Naked and Afraid for a while, but I’ve been hesitant. Obviously each pair of survivalists are going to have their own unique quirks. Not every team is going to get along from the start. Sometimes the drama of two people trying to find middle ground in a place where teamwork can mean the difference between life and death is more exciting than wondering what predatory animal will sneak into the camp and make a meal of everyone while the camera crew and rescue teams are on their smoke break. And there’s nothing more annoying than going online to read the observations of some random Internet blogger whose biggest challenge is wondering when CVS is going to restock the Arizona Sodas.
Kim, one of the survivalists from my first post, liked and re-tweeted it, which got me a mega ton of hits. People on her feed liked the tweet, which invited more hits. So my first thought was that I should review more of the episodes, because more of those survivalists are going to have Twitter accounts. But not all of them have done things that someone with an ounce of common sense would approve of.
There was one team that got along perfectly. Unfortunately, they refused a food source. Again, I’m no expert, but that was pretty effing stupid. It wasn’t like they were turning down berries they couldn’t identify, or not wanting to risk injury by killing something that could mortally wound them. The exact words of one of them was “I don’t want to eat bats.” Sure, a couple of days later, they found a snake. But there were a lot of bats in that cave. That would have made a great appetizer.
The other major reason is that aside from the different personality types of the survivalists, there isn’t a lot of variation as to the locales. Usually it’s a warm environment. Sometimes it’s a jungle, or an island, or a forest, but the temperature is usually scorching during the day. It’s very rarely a place where any native inhabitants have to plan to buy winter clothes toward the end of summer.
It is in that respect that the episode featuring Greg and Cassie was unique enough for me to really pay attention. This episode was filmed in the crisp country side of Canada: home to Moose and Squirrel. Also a chipmunk. And bears. There were some bears in that episode.
Greg, former military, had his apprehensions about working with blondes. While I don’t know how the producers cut everything together, or in what order the “talk to the camera” segments were originally recorded in, the episode makes it seem as if Greg made this remark before meeting Cassie.
Cassie, a survival expert, was a young blonde woman in her twenties. So she was young and had a physical trait that people in the 21st century still apparently stereotype.
I’ll never understand where it came from. I know I used to laugh myself into convulsions at blond jokes when I was a kid. I grew up with TV characters like Kelly Bundy, and my own brother, Daryll, who could definitely have what the family referred to as “blond moments”. But I’ve grown up and now I find such observations to be what they were for me as a kid; childish and immature.
In Frozen in Fear, the only person who had a blond moment was Greg. And his moment was assuming that a blond would match his preconceptions. Fortunately he ate his words pretty quickly and swallowed his pride when he and Cassie were forced to endure a couple of really cold nights in the forests of Ontario. The fact that Cassie pulled her weight from start to finish, doing her part to keep them both alive and providing moral and emotional support by helping Greg to build a better shelter and eventually get that fire going, probably went a long way to dispelling the outdated myths, at least for him.
Canada was a tough one. Anyone from my neck of the woods knows how much of a hassle moose can be in an urban environment. Now imagine them in their own habitat. If you can’t, read The Hatched by Gary Paulsen sometime. The main character nearly gets his day wrecked by a territorial moose. And you could come back at me by pointing out that The Hatchet was a work of fiction. To which I reply, that it was a researched piece written by someone with experience, and moose are still pretty dangerous, even in an environment that most people are quick to remind you is set up.
Yes it’s true. There is a rescue team to come to the aid of survivalists in life threatening situations. Aside from the diary cameras, which each survivalist is given, there is also a camera crew filming them, but they may as well be as invisible as the people behind the fourth wall. Still, camera or not, these people are naked in an extreme environment. Injuries, animal attacks, medical conditions, and all sorts of other unpredictable events could still put someone in a world of danger. And even someone with a military background can find himself out of his depth.
Although no one has been in the direct cold, yet, Greg and Cassie were still in an environment where hypothermia was much more likely than in the warmer climates of previous episodes. Camera and rescue crew or not, the human body still has its limits. Limits like, no natural immunity to being trampled by a moose, which also could have easily happened and nearly did on at least one occasion that made it to the final cut. Do you think the moose is going to see the camera people and say, “Oh sorry guys, my mistake. Carry on. Don’t worry, I’m not going to violently attack anyone who startles me.”
It’s too bad the moose didn’t trip, though. That would have been a major boon for Greg and Cassie, with their machete and cordage.