The TV show Naked and Afraid is an intriguing concept: putting two people into the jungle and seeing if they can survive for 21 days and reach a certain destination point. (I think many of us have wondered how we'd fare in similar circumstances.)
The show is also marketed well: though it has nothing to do with sex, its title implies that it does, and it's always a man paired with a woman, who meet each other for the first time in a remote location, stark naked (they are strategically blurred onscreen).
All of the people who volunteer for the show are always self-styled survivalists, or wilderness experts. But a lot of them in fact seem to be no such thing. A fair number of them, especially the women, seem to rely on their partner to do most of the work.
The show is most interesting as a study in psychological endurance: how long will people go sleep-deprived and food-deprived before they give up, or at least become dispirited. (It doesn't take long.) While it's not clear how much real danger the cast members are in, they are inevitably tested to the limits of their endurance, and all lose weight during the 21 days.
Watching the show, it's hard not to wonder how the human race survived the Stone Age.
A more accurate name for the show would have been Tired and Hungry and Dirty. But that wouldn't have had the allure of Naked and Afraid.
It's hard not to wonder what the sexual dynamic is, at least at first, between the two castmates. Surprisingly, it's almost nonexistent, at least after the first hour or so. The presence of the cameramen must quash whatever friskiness they might have initially felt, then, soon enough, they're basically starving, filthy, and covered with mosquito bites, none of which exactly encourage romance.
On top of that, the man and woman sometimes end up resenting each other.
But by the standards of reality shows, it seems quite real, and that's what makes it interesting. The cast members' discouragement doesn't seem faked, and you don't get the impression that the cameramen are feeding them MetRx bars on the side, or that they're sleeping in posh hotels when the cameras aren't rolling (as Bear Grylls evidently did in Man vs. Wild).
That original "reality" show, Survivor, was summer camp by comparison.
The show is worth a watch, just don't expect titillation. It's more about the soft porn of watching other human beings break down.