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It's hard to imagine a time in American history where a meager make-out session on a secluded beach would be considered scandalous, but in the heralded era of Old Hollywood, that was the case. Deborah Kerr and Burt Lancaster, stars of From Here to Eternity, weren't messing around when they were rolling around and exchanging kisses that would make even the French look inexperienced.
Of course, I have no soul (Really! I'm a medical phenomenon), so instead of being enamored with the secret embrace of two lovers on a beach, all my cynical self could focus on was the ridiculous amount of sand that had no doubt found its way into their cracks and crevices.
Don't lie! The same thought went through your head.
Every Sunday night, it's a ritual in the Anderson household to watch Discovery Channel's Naked and Afraid. There's no fetish. Instead, my father and I find ourselves constantly engrossed in the inevitable personality clashes between the two contestants. There's always a dominant personality, but what makes the show popcorn-binge worthy is when both participants—one man and one woman—are dominant.
It's great. You'd safely assume that two domineering forces would come to blows, right? Wrong. It never happens.
Instead, the man and woman snap at each other with passive-aggressive comments. The man will push his chest out and approach the female. "Hey, do we have a problem?" With her mighty chin held high, the woman always responds, "No, do you?" He'll quickly brush all the tension and resentment under carpet. "No, no, no. We're good." Then, they both go back to days of a sort-of awkward quasi-friendship.
So, assuming my family is normal (which is a big fricken assumption), why do the contestants have to be naked? If we're all watching for the dynamic between the man and the woman, why must we be subjected to images of two strangers cuddling in the Colombian rain forest?
I'm not against nudity. I'm also not a prude. I've seen Titanic a thousand times. Then again, remember when I told you I was a cynic? When Jack is drawing a naked Rose, I'm not seeing breasts. I'm looking at Jack thinking, 'This kid can draw!" I have an eye for talent!
But the plot of Titanic was a romantic one, so it made sense that nudity somehow showed its face in the film. There's no romance in Naked and Afraid. I don't watch it expecting their raft to sink in the middle of the Danube River.
This is a survivalist show, for Pete's sake! I'm watching to see if the contestants can make it in a foreign land for twenty-one days without any help.
Each episode I watch, I think to myself at least once, "Why? Why no clothes?" What does it add to the show? As a faithful viewer, it seems like a punishment. I'm rooting for them to build a fire. I'm hoping they find a reliable water source. I'm praying they find food.
What do I get for my endearing support? A quick shot of some guy's scrotum. You can shade it out, but we all know what it is!
I still watch the show. I'll always watch the show. But if it means anything to anyone in this chaotic world we live in, these are my honest thoughts about the role nakedness plays in Naked and Afraid. New show ideas? I suggest Clothed and Afraid, At Least a Speedo and Afraid, or just Afraid.