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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Discovery Channel grins and bares it

Naked and Afraid.
That has all sorts of different connotations.
It might sum up a few unsettling dreams of mine over the years. Here’s the CliffNotes version of them: I have left the house. I might be shopping. Or golfing. Or playing in a beer league softball game. Or in a pew at church. All of a sudden I look down and I’m not wearing any pants.
Is Dr. Freud in the house?
But in this case, Naked and Afraid is a television show on the Discovery Channel that I stumbled upon a week or so ago. (At the time, I was Fully Clothed and Confident)
The show’s premise: Drop two totally naked people in the middle of nowhere (Tanzania or Costa Rica or just about any other locale where there’s no mint on your pillow). Don’t give them any food, water, Hanes underwear or anything tagged by Charmin (wait, does this sound like a Carnival cruise)? They have to forage or kill their own food.  How does snake tartare sound? They have to locate a source of water (what no Evian?). They have to survive for 21 days.

In summation: Two strangers who are totally naked who must stick together for three weeks Is it me, or does it sound like one of those Kardashian weddings?
The whole concept sounds ridiculous, and it is. But for some reason, it is also captivating.
The show is part Survivors. It is part Bear Grylls. It is also part 1950s era peep show, although due to the necessary blurring no private parts are even remotely discernible. With the camera’s glaucoma, you could not tell a chicken breast from a can of Spam.
So there is absolutely no titillation. There is plenty of dehydration and starvation, though. There’s no place for dirty minds; there is lots of mud and grit, however. There are also ravenous hyenas, jagged thorns, blazing fires and raving tirades by stressed out participants.
Fortunately, one of tirades did not come from my wife, Kim. She walked into the living room and saw me prone on the couch.
What are you watching? she asked.
“Naked and Afraid,” came my reply.
That was that. Even though she had no idea what the show was all about, she shook her head sadly. It was one of those expressions that convey both sympathy and disgust. I tried to explain myself. The whole Survivor thing. She wouldn’t hear it. She just kept walking.
And I just kept watching.
But that show got me to thinking. Forget the so-called extreme sports. Pinky up activities like BMX, kite surfing and snowboarding. You want extreme? What about playing football naked? Get ready for a remake of Sopranos, and that has nothing to do with organized crime. What about nude hockey? It’d be tough trying to find a goalie. It’s 11 o’clock: Do you know where Jimmy Howard is. There’d be no hand checking in basketball and how many times do you think Austin Jackson would slide into second base?
The possibilities are endless. Anyway, Naked and Afraid on the Discovery Channel is worth watching. Just don’t tell my wife I told you so.


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