I think several facts about me have been well-established. I hate the outdoors. I like the chilly air that blows from a/c. I like all of my creature comforts. And I really and truly love reality TV; the more ridiculous the better. And I have once again discovered the more ridiculous. It’s on the Discovery channel and it’s called Naked and Afraid. The premise is, well, I’m not sure, but the set-up is that two people are left naked in the middle of the wilderness. They are each allowed to bring one survival item.
The episode I saw was in the Serengeti. The closest water is three miles away and it’s brackish, so until they reach the water and build a fire to boil it, they are screwed. And all the clean water in the world isn’t going to help them when the pack of hyenas comes for them in their sleep. They have to survive 21 days and then send smoke signals so a rescue helicopter can find them.
Yes, intellectually we know that there is a tent somewhere nearby with water and medics, and the folks in the camera crew are probably gnawing on candy bars, but try to suspend disbelief for just a bit. The two people also have their own video cameras and allegedly the crews and medics pack up and leave each evening. To be honest, even with a camera crew and clean drinking water within my reach, I still wouldn’t wander around the desert naked.
As you can guess, these people are your typical survivalists who, when all is said and done, probably live in a heavily guarded compound somewhere. They are rugged individuals who know how to make fire, make shoes out of bark, find caves to sleep in, and don’t at all mind eating insects and random plants. In my humble opinion, these people are batshit crazy. Cuckoo. Looney Tunes. I mean, haven’t we spent all these eons evolving into sophisticated animals who have clean drinking water, shelter, adorable clothes and shoes, a/c, and satellite television with 400 channels of riveting content? Not to mention high speed internet!
At least on Survivor there was a $1M prize at stake. On this show, the prize is simply the self-satisfaction of making it through the treachery. It is pure madness. Except for one possibility. These folks lose a whole lot of weight, really fast. Like 10-12 pounds a week (although in fairness I weigh a lot less when I’m naked too. According to my calculations a pair of jeans weighs roughly 38 pounds). Still, at the end of their adventure they have that gaunt, Kate Moss starvation look many of us envy. And I suppose when they complete their task and arrive at the Tanzania Hilton or whatever, they probably put a pretty good dent in the breakfast buffet and gain half the weight back. If there is a dinner buffet…all bets are off, because you can really do some damage at dinner.
Nonetheless, as we all know from diet books and commercials and infomercials and internet research, what really matters in weight loss is the before and after pictures. It doesn’t matter if you were chubby and content pre-diet, and now you’re hungry and snarly and end up gaining it all back anyway; all that really matters is that you lay in a whole pile of skinny pictures before you hit the smorgasbord. And my personal favorite, going shopping and purposely grabbing clothes that are two sizes too big, so I can shout out to the sales clerk “I need at least two sizes smaller!” These of course are the same clothes that fit you for a brief and shining moment before retiring to the back of your closet where they silently taunt you for the rest of your days.
I mean, that’s what I’ve heard from other people in the course of my, umm, research. But I digress. A lot. Given how desperate other people are to lose weight, I’m thinking that we should make a spin-off from Naked and Afraid. Let’s call it Naked and Embarrassed and Searching for a Dairy Queen. Why put perfectly healthy people into a survival situation all the way over in Africa when we could take out-of-shape couch potatoes and drop them off in a rural area where the nearest food is three miles away? I mean, hell, we can even give them water at that point. The real question is, can they make it to the nearest Dairy Queen and score a blizzard before losing 10% of their body weight? And will they go into a Dairy Queen naked or will their embarrassment offset their overwhelming desire for frozen dairy treats? Also, importantly, what kind of blizzard will they order? The best part about this is that not only do we not need to offer a prize, if we market it the right way we can make people pay us for our innovative new weight loss program.
I’m going to go put a production crew together. Please join us; we’re coming to a Dairy Queen near you.