Another season of Naked and Afraid, and other visit to paradise. Scratch that, we’re in the Peruvian Amazon, so likely this will be hell on earth. Last season I learned a lot on Naked and Afraid, and hopefully this season’s survivalists DVR’d a few episodes to see what their predecessors did right and what they did that was completely boneheaded.
Here are discomforting stats thanks to the fine folks at Discovery who are thoughtfully sending these two folks into the Amazon “at the beginning of the rainy season.” (Anyone remember how gross Billy and Ky’s wet feet were last season in the Louisiana bayou? Are we in for more prune feet? Wet=miserable.)
Fun facts about the Amazon rainy season:
The Amazon rises 30 feet
60 species of piranha
20 foot-long black caiman
Electric eels capable of shocking prey with 500 watts of power
Other fun things found in the jungles here:
Mosquitoes (insert mosquito swarm sound here)
Sounds like a fun place. I would put this travel brochure down and say “No thank you” to this Vacay. And, according to Mr. Deep, Ominous Voice, “The Amazon has already claimed it’s first victim. (I totally just flashed back to last season’s premiere when Executive Producer Steve Rankin was bitten by a Fer-de-Lance snake). One survivalist was so wigged out, that he quit before he began!!! I would totally be that person “Oh, we’re not in Hawai’i? No thanks. I’m good here in the boat.” But I’m assuming that this person watched Season One, right? The super-scary filming location weren’t a surprise. You knew you were gonna be naked, so that limits you to warm, tropical, bug infested places.
The crew regroups, flies out another survival expert and filming resumes 5-days later. I hope that the female participant used her waiting time to eat, because it may be the last eating she does for three weeks.
It’s time to meet the participants…
AK, from Alabama, age 31. Married with 3 kids, stay-at home mom. Totally beautiful. Does living history reenactments using resources and skills available to 1812-era Native Americans. AK has a unique set of survival skills, she should good at using primitive bows, may be well-versed at making fire. “I’m gonna prove to myself and everyone else that I can.”
Tyler, from Las Vegas Nevada. Age 29. Married with 2 kids. War Vet, served in Afghanistan. Did high altitude survival training. Military training is great, but the military usually equips soldiers with cutting edge equipment and supplies. And he looks like a bigger guy, so he’s going to get hungry. “The only thing that’s gonna stop me from being out here for 21 days is if I get hurt or sick.”
The strip down. I always feel bad for the women when they have long hair that you know will be blowing all over the place and get really knotty over the next 3 weeks. Could I choose a hair tie as my survival item?
BTW-Awesome tan lines AK! You go girl!
And then the most awkward moment of the show: the meeting. AK: “I see you brought the twig and berries.” Tyler: “You got the ladies along, so we should be good.” Gag. Why does everyone suddenly become 12 years old the moment they get naked? We know this is embarrassing. We are embarrassed for you. We are embarrassed by you.
Let’s see what their goodies are (get your mind out of the gutter, you know I’m talking about their personal survival items)
Tyler has a machete.
AK has a fire starter.
Is it just me, or are the little carry-sacks much larger than last year? And the diary cameras are HUGE!
Hey, a shot of the crew. Hi crew! I wonder if the participants get jealous of the crew and their pants. I also wonder if the crew eats and drinks in front of the participants. That would be mean. And funny.
Lay of the land. Ak and Tyler need to hike 2 miles to a good camp area and eventually raft 12 miles on the Amazon River. How are AK and Tyler supposed to gather that info from the map that they were given? It looks like something my first-grader made.
Time to check the Primitive Survival Ratings (PSR):
Hmm, room to grow.
Lets go into the jungle. I bet it’s totally fun in there, dry, and there are no bugs.
AK and Tyler seem like they’re going to get along well.
Good call AK, birds nests do make great kindling. You’ll have a fire in no time.
3pm, 101 degrees. Cue ominous thunder and clouds.
AK is having a tough time with the fire starter. I have never seen anyone not have a hard time with one of those, and the streak continues of fire starters outwitting humans.
The fuel is wet, so AK gives up making fire to help Tyler make shelter. AK gives up easily. I’m just sayin.
Night falls and cue the mosquito sounds.
I know how much the sound of a single mosquito in my bedroom annoys me, I can’t imagine how awful a swarm of a thousand mosquitoes sounds. Actually, I can, because the mosquito drone is now playing like a constant soundtrack.
More mosquitoes (some of which looked absolutely prehistoric), and mercifully, the night is over. But the rain continues…
Yikes, that’s a lot of mosquito bites. Their mosquito bites look nothing like the mosquito bites that I get. Does anyone know if a huge number of mosquito bites can cause a severe allergic reaction? The major notes of the day: AK can’t make fire. Crazy mosquitoes continue.
The rain stops and the sun comes out. Hooray!
Tyler made fire. Hip, Hip Hooray! AK was looking utterly despondent. Always darkest before the dawn, darling. Tyler finds some termites and tries to make natural bug repellant. We’ll see if that works. Now that you have fire, get some sleep.
Oh, they look so cozy and snug. Sleeping peacefully.
Ruh-roh! The fire is out. The #1 rule of Naked and Afraid: Don’t let the fire go out. Sleep in shifts, but don’t let your precious bug-reducing fire go out. Cue the mosquito swarm sounds. And then Tyler breaks the fire starter. Perfect. Future participants, don’t request the orange-handled fire starter. They are junk. Maybe ask for flint and steel instead.
Back to the longest night ever.
The next morning, misery is the mood at camp.
Holy cow, Tyler says his butt has so many bites that it looks like cottage cheese. Tyler, your butt looks way worse than cottage cheese, it looks like hamburger! And WTF happened to your foot?!
AK, is ready to be done with the mosquitoes and this experience: “Right now, they’re eating my Va-jay-jay alive.” I hear ‘ya sister, I’m tapping out for you.
AK tearfully leaves the show. How long before they give the poor girl some clothes? We see her walking down a path and onto a boat with nary a stitch on her. Toss her a space blanket, fellas, she’s done. Let her cry in some semi-clothed peace.
Tyler chooses to continue alone. Good luck Tyler, do you have the stuff it’ll take to stay out here alone for the next 17 days? Did AK get to leave her broken survival item and tote bag behind for Tyler? Two tote bags almost equals shorts.
Oh, that’s so sad; AK wasn’t gone long enough to chip her hot pink manicure.
So Tyler loses a partner, but magically gains a headband. Where’d that come from?
Commercial break. I need to refuel.
We’re back. More mosquito sounds and Tyler pulls a big, biting bug off of his private parts. Tyler decides to swim across piranha-infested river in search of a better campsite. Are piranhas attracted to blood in the same way that sharks are? If so, swim quickly Tyler, because you and your gnarly foot are leaking some bodily fluids.
Phew, made it across the river.
Tyler uses giant leaves to cover himself. Those look pretty awesome, would have been very helpful at your original camp. Also, would make great pants.
“Lack of ‘da food.” makes Tyler’s brain not work so good. Mine too, says the woman currently eating popcorn on her couch.
By Day 5, Tyler’s spirit is broken and he taps out. WHAAAAA?!?!?!? The show is half over? We were promised a supersized episode, not an appetizer? What is going to happen next?
Tyler and AK are still given PSRs despite not lasting a week on Naked and Afraid.
Tyler’s PSR dips to 4.4
AK’s PSR drops to 4.3
Hey, two new survivalists…
EJ-48. the guy from Naked and Afraid Africa!!! He is a former career military man. He is tough as nails, but has a gentle heart. 8.2 PSR
Laura-28 from Naked and Afraid Panama. She is a primitive survival expert.8.2 PSR
They were both pretty awesome on their episodes. But EJ needs some shoes stat. While he was in Africa, he stepped on a nasty thorn and his food got totally infected and the medic had to do bush surgery to relieve the infection. It was very graphic and very gross.
EJ and Laura will have the same survival equipment as Ak and Tyler, but it is unclear if they are given the broken fire starter, or if they get a new one.
Laura and EJ point out what a terrible, bug-infested camp AK and Tyler made. Ouch.
EJ and Laura make fire in about two minutes. That’s how you do it! True, they aren’t doing it in the rain, but they’ve already survivied Naked and Afraid so they have a marked advantage. And they had a plan for having enough firewood to last the entire night. Now they are making the shelter. These two are such pros.
Even their superb fire and awesome shelter can’t protect them from the crazy bugs. Mosquitoes, mosquitoes. Unforgiving and maddening. Holy cow!!! The camera just showed a mosquito swarm that was so thick it looked like smoke.
Will EJ and Laura tap out like AK and Tyler?
EJ is giving Laura kind of a romantic sponge bath. It was a little weird, but her back is absolutely ravaged by bug bites.
EJ and Laura decide to move camp in search of a bug-free area. Good luck with that, because honestly, it’s not like they’re going to find any more mosquitoes.
Laura stepped on a crazy thorn. EJ has been there, and we all know how quickly that can become infected.
EJ and Laura find one of those cat’s claw vines, with water in it. And I’m not sure that Laura needed to lie down on the ground to drink from it, but I guess that’s how she rolls. She’s a reclining drinker.
They find a great camp location and start building their shelter. They are like a well-oiled machine. Holy cow! I spoke too soon. EJ cut his leg with the machete. And when I say cut, I mean slashed. Barf, barf, that is a ton of blood!! I am feeling woozy looking at it.
Is that blood going to attract scary critters?
The medic comes and gives EJ some very back-alley looking stitches. Again with the medic! EJ is stoic through it all, but how is he going to keep that clean in the dirty Amazon? Laura wraps a giant leaf around it to keep it clean. She is adorable, and should get her own survival show.
Back to shelter building. EJ and Laura built the most amazing looking A-frame shelter I have ever seen. It looks like something that could be rented by the night at an exotic resort. They build it high off of the ground in hopes of getting above the mosquitoes.
But it sounds like they are right in the neighborhood of a Jaguar. Jaguars have the scariest cry I have ever heard. Sounds like a bullfrog-monster. I would be soiling myself from fear. And never sleep again.
EJ and Laura are hungry. They try to fish for piranhas. Eat them before they eat you, that’s my motto. Not really, my motto, is “don’t go where things want to eat you, especially not the Amazon, where everything wants to eat you.” Thorns make terrible hooks, and they lost nearly a dozen fish by them falling off of the thorn/hook. That would be so frustrating!
Then Laura sees a huge boa and instead of fleeing from it, she wants a spear so she can catch it. She is so much tougher than me. She and EJ run crashing through the brush trying to catch this absolutely massive snake. A boa can leap the length of its body and is aggressive. I would run in the opposite direction of that snake. Mr. Deep-Voice Narrator informs us that boas have a vicious bite and been known to attack humans unprovoked. So again, I would run the other way. The snake slips off into a tree and I’m pretty sure I saw it give an evil smile as it slithered away.
Two weeks without food. EJ was a big guy at the start, and he is looking physically deflated. As they are walking past a water hole, and holy moley, they see an eel! An electric eel! Is every food option in the Amazon potentially deadly? An eel was caught last season on Naked and Afraid, but this one looks prehistoric!! Since it is an electric eel, and a shock from it could be fatal, EJ or Laura can’t just leap into the water hole and grab it.
Then it gets weird for a minute. As EJ catches the eel with a stick and kills with it the machete, he goes a little coo-coo. Laura wants him to thank the eel and show it respect; but EJ stars taunting the eel. Then they start fighting and Laura gets offended.
I act crazy when hungry, it is day 14 for them without measurable food, so perhaps they should eat first and then revisit this conversation. After the adrenaline-filled hunt, EJ apologizes for being a little jerky. He is a former soldier and I think the moment of the hunt took his mind to a place that he is embarrassed by. He calls it “the ogre in the closet.” EJ and Laura make up.
Electric eel doesn’t look like anything I would ever eat, but after two weeks without food, I am sure it tasted great for them. “Great for them” is the same as gross for me, though. And it looks like a lot less meat than I would have guessed.
Now that they have food, they have to start working on getting to the extraction point. They have about a week to travel 9 miles down the Amazon so they start building a raft. I know that the Amazon is like a highway, but I prefer my highways to have rest stops with restaurants. And maybe a gift shop where I could but some pants and bug spray. Laura and EJ are totally unaware that as they are talking, a huge snake is lurking behind them.
Day 16 and Day 17
They start building the raft. Montage.
EJ and Laura have built such an awesome raft. They test, and re-test the raft, and they add two sweet benches and for them to sit upon. It looks as well-made as Amish furniture. I feel like that boat could be on the porch of a Cracker Barrel. EJ is a building superstar.
Laura suddenly has a cute outfit! A little bandeau top. So crafty. But, some green lily-pad-things totally trap their boat. It looks like they spend all of day 19 paddling and going nowhere.
That night, EJ is in tears because he missed his wife’s birthday. It was sweet to see him emotional over someone he loves, and the exhaustion of building the raft and the entire survival experience is clearly taking a toll on him. But, c’mon guy, the end is so close!!
Laura and EJ have to grow propellers on their paddles if they’re going to make it to the extraction point in time. I’m not sure how they could have made a better paddle, but why not use long poles like gondola drivers? (gondoliers?)
That night, out on the water, they see glowing eyes. Lots of glowing eyes. So many glowing eyes! Again, I would soil myself. Suddenly, they are besieged by a biblical storm. Do they keep paddling amidst the lightning, or head to shore where all of the glowing eyes live? They pull off of the river and shudder and shiver under their benches as lightning crashes all around. They are nearly hypothermic.
Commercial Break I need a blanket.
Back to the storm. I am really terrified of lightning. Mr. Ominous, Deep-Voice Narrator says, “in a few hours, their organs will start to shut down.” Then they show the time and we know that sunup is more than “a few hours” away. Come on sun, rise! Bring your warmth!
Mercifully, the rain ends, the sun rises, Ej and Laura’s organs are still functioning and they are back on the water, paddling the last 2 miles to the extraction point. EJ is spent. Laura is such a tough little soldier; she just keeps paddling.
Finally, they hear a helicopter. The helicopter lands, and Laura is out of the water like a gazelle. My heart dropped when EJ jumped off of the raft, I was completely convinced that he broke a leg.
EJ staggers up the bank and he and Laura climb onto the helicopter. I am totally crying. I would be so glad to be out of there. But these two are crazy. They already survived misery on Naked and Afraid once, and they came back for more. Locos.
At the end of the experience, EJ has lost 44 pounds, Laura lost 12 pounds.
They both increase their PSRs to 9.1! That is epically high and well deserved.
Phew! What an exhausting but exhilarating episode. This show is not for the faint of heart, and participants on Naked and Afraid are of an entirely different class of mental and physical toughness other people. I am sure that had AK and Tyler chosen a different camp location, they would have fared much better on Naked and Afraid. But that is how survival is: one wrong choice and you are screwed. I wonder if they would like a second chance to prove themselves.
What do you think? Could you survive for 21 days in the Amazon? What would have been harder, the lack of food, threats from animals, or the mosquitoes?
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