Recap: Naked and Afraid XL Reunion: “Dirty Dozen Return”

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion Kellie Freeze

This reunion seems to have been recorded before the entire series has aired, so who knows if any of the participants had the change to see what horses’ fannies some of them have been? Hopefully the producers will show some key moments so we get to see the group’s reaction to some of the behaviors of their fellow participants.

I was hoping that tonight’s moderator was going to be Josh Wolf of Naked After Dark fame, he’s hilarious and has a sense of humor that would dissipate tension. And he loves “Adult Show & Tell,” so he could have everyone show their prowess with catching eels from a barrel. But it looks like a self-directed reunion will have to do. (If there was a moderator, he or she was cut out.)

By a show of hands, (Or perhaps by sounding off below,) who likes the participants more after watching Naked and Afraid XL? Who likes some of the participants less? Anyone in particular that suffered in your mind’s eye?

Do you think the reason that so many of the participants came off as jerks (I’m just assuming that you feel the same way) is because with more than two people, there’s so much more talking? If I had cameras on me for 40 days and I had a lot of people around me, I stand a pretty good chance of saying something idiotic. But if I was with one person, I may not talk for days; especially if he was a jerkface.

Another point I’d like to point out is that the survivalists had a lot of stuff! On the first few seasons of Naked and Afraid, the survivalists had two survival items. Two. So you had to think hard. Did you want fire? Did you want to cut stuff? Did you want to boil water in something? In later seasons, some of the participants have been given a flint in addition to their two items, but still, that’s pretty Spartan living. In Naked and Afraid XL, each survivalist had a blade in addition to their survival item. So each group of three had six survival items. There was no “waiting for my partner to be done with the knife,” so you could cut wood, or go hunt, or clean a fish. You you had your own knife. (Unless your teammate went postal and threw your stuff in the water.) Maybe having such a large amount of stuff on-hand made people less community-minded. You didn’t need your teammate because you didn’t need his or her knife or pot, or magnifying glass. Perhaps when you have nothing, you’ll share everything. That’s my two cents; I’d love to hear your thoughts…

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion
They’re baaaaaaack!

All 12 people returned for the reunion. They may have been contractually obligated, but I feel that several of the participants had every right to wash their hands of the show.

I’m also glad to hear that some of the relationships that were forged in the wild are still going strong. And Laura poignantly pointed out the biggest difference between Naked and Afraid and the XL experience. “You can get by the 21 days with a lot of mental attitude and a little bit of skill; I feel like the 40 days is different. You have to give it everything you have, or you’re not making it out.”

We got to see a little scene of Chris, Alana and Luke eating lizards. It’s gross, but like most things, it could be improved by a little ranch dressing, or some Mayo. And it was early in the survival experience, because there was no hostility.  Those were the days, or maybe even that was the day.

Tender Bits. Several of the male Naked and Afraid XL participants had run-ins with insect bites on their private parts. Why did everyone on XL not try an make any type of clothing? Or shoes? Was this a group decision or an edict from above?

The Agony of ‘Da Feet. Shane revealed that he built a box of sharp stuff in his apartment to toughen his tootsies, and Eva also demonstrated how to walk over tough ground without ruining her feet.

Hakim talked about the guying cramps that caused him to tap on early in the 40-day experience. “Love is sacrifice,” he told his teammates.

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion
Yikes! Eva’s hand got pretty messed up, but we never heard about her cut after Episode 1.

The Agony of ‘Da Hand. Why did they never again mention Eva’s hand? I’d love to know how that nasty cut healed up!

Rock on! A new season of N&A in October. And it looks like some of the pairings may be same-sex! That will be so much fun! And we can wash the bitter taste of Naked and Afraid XL out of our mouths.

It was fun to witness a few lighthearted moments with the crew, I’d love to see a BTS episode with more input from show producers, camera people and the show’s casting director, Kristi Russell. It’s hard to remember that while the survivalists are traversing terrain, so is a crew (albeit a well fed one) who has a camera attached to their faces, or boom mics in-hand. It was a great chance to see the folks who make this show possible and an awesome segue to the interpersonal conflicts that arose in XL.

“I can survive the wild, but surviving the people is another thing,” said Jeff.

The trouble with Honora. Honora still feels marginalized by Chris’ refusal to eat her fruit, and Chris is still an ass. It is still pretty hilarious to watch her throw their stuff in the river. And Honora is still a little unhinged. I’m glad she has her therapy dog there to help her get through revisiting the moments where everyone on that team looked unstable.

We got a highlight reel of Jeff and EJ’s partnership. And we got to hear a lot of their yelling. We also got to hear about the awkwardness when EJ and Jeff didn’t want to spend time with their former teammates Laura and Eva. EJ apologized for being a little aloof.

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion
channeling Steven Tyler … if he was a jerk.

Rock On! Part 2. Can we talk about this for a second: WTF is Danielle wearing in her hair? Is she a member of Aerosmith? Maybe she needs to listen to their lyrics…

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion
Was Shane’s biggest obstacle mental or physical?

The Shane Game. Shane got to talk about his drama with teammates Danielle and Alana. You know that partnership was put together to cause drama. Shane is still hurt by his teammates crappiness. Perhaps it was a poor choice of words for Shane to “offer his help” to his teammates, when really he was the one asking for help. Maybe this one incorrect phrase was the defining moment that set him up for failure. Alana finally asked Shane if she could give him a hug. Hopefully Alana had a chance to introspect and realized that she was pretty bitchy.

Naked and Afraid XL Reunion
Suddenly, almost everyone realizes they were a jerk to Dani.

Dani Drama. Dani revealed that the four days that she spent alone were mentally taxing. Dani got a change to hear the awful things that Alana and Danielle said about her. And she had the opportunity to hear what “The mob” said behind her back. Dani took such a classy route and let her teammates make themselves look as bad as they were. I am so proud of her for asking them, “What the hell is wrong with you?” Exactly, Dani. What is wrong with them? Luke and Eva apologized, but Eva’s apology felt especially forced. Regardless, it was too little too late, because their lack of care cost Dani the opportunity of completing the 40-day challenge.

Probably my favorite part of the reunion special (besides watching Dani tell off her former teammates) was seeing the eight who made it to extraction stuff their faces. I’m sure that after starving for 40 days, any nutritionist would recommend they eat a big bowl of Doritos. I’m sure that everyone puked later, but it was fun to see how giddy they got over Chips Ahoy, PB&J, Doritos and fruit.

Other Naked and Afraid XL recaps
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 8 “40 Days Filth and Fury”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 7 “40 Days Falling Apart”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 6 “40 Days Sacrifice”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 5 “40 Days Death Match”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 4 “40 Days Jungle Rich”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 3 “Snake in the Grass”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 2 “40 Days, No Escape”
Naked and Afraid XL Episode 1
Discovery announces new series, Naked and Afraid XL
Naked and Afraid Casting Secrets
How To Get On Naked and Afraid

all images © Discovery Channel

26 Comments

  1. Naked & Afraid should be done more in Nicaragua. Where the forest is more thick, weather unpredictable, wild animals, and more stuff in the jungle to eat.

  2. On Snhawk’s reply: she must be stoned? really? and she gained weight?
    I would pair up with her anytime, any place. Jelousy is an ugly thing Hawkster! she “ROCKS”!
    and she is smokin hot too!!

  3. Although I like watching NAA, I find many of the actions of the participants quite inexplicable. These are people supposedly picked, especially in XL, for their “survival expertise.” Yet these “experts” do not (usually) produce any of the following items, which are fairly easily made in the wild:
    * Hats, to prevent sunburn and sunstroke
    * Primitive cloaks, clothes and skirts, to minimize sunburn and insect bites
    * Primitive sandals or shoes, to prevent lacerations and foot infections
    * Hiking sticks/spears, for support and to use in probing ahead for snakes while walking
    * Fans, to cool themselves
    * Water filters using sand, grasses and charcoal, to reduce the chance of stomach upset
    * Decent above the ground platform primitive beds, to reduce insect bites and the danger of snakes
    * Well constructed shelter roofs, to keep off rain and to channel rainwater into containers
    * Containers for water made from bamboo or similar
    * Adequate rain shelters for their fires
    * Fire heat reflectors
    * “Long” fires
    * Baskets
    * Etc., etc.

    Most importantly, the contestants do not generally produce fish or game traps — rather they stomp around seeking game during the maximum heat of the day. This risks heat stroke and is generally useless, since game and fish are active at dawn and dusk. (Apparently even the stupidest game animals are smarter than many contestants!) Those few contestants who do make traps usually only make one or two. I submit that a REAL survival expert would:

    * make dozens of simple traps for fish and game, on the assumption that only about 5-10% of the total number of traps would work each day
    * avoid “hunting” like a “peak predator” much, and focus 95% of available energy on trapping
    * dig up worms, feed these to the fish regularly at dawn and dusk at the same spot and time each day until they were lulled into this routine, then after several days begin harvesting these fish in large quantities using nets and traps
    * rapidly locate a grove of bamboo, cedar or similar useful wood (e.g., the native “orang asli” of Malaysia generally will not camp until they locate a site near (but not next to) a stream or spring and a bamboo grove)
    * create at least one useful new “product” (e.g. sandals, fan, fire reflector, etc.) each day or at least every other day. Thus after 21 or 40 days, the survival team would have quite a few useful and comfort-enhancing items.

    The fact that very little of this common-sense survival management occurs makes me quite suspicious that unnecessary suffering is being encouraged, for the sake of drama, by the producers in the field. I hope I am wrong.

    Thoughts?

    Lew Toulmin, Ph.D., F.R.G.S.
    Member National ’04, The Explorers Club

    • Lew-
      Your thoughts are so appreciated! I wondered why only one or two of your fantastic suggestions were ever implemented by the participants of Naked and Afraid XL.
      I also wondered why there wasn’t much trapping done by the survivalists. Or shoe-making. And why were their shelters so terrible? The “six-pack” spent their last 10 days lying on the ground! That is ridiculous! I love your idea of “training” fish to eat at the same spot!

      And, why did no one ever think to fish like this?

      I saw it on CNN, some time ago, so it would have been easy for anyone else to find.

      • Thanks Kelly and Richard for the kind remarks!

        And what an incredible way to fish for piranha! And she is almost in bare feet and from a narrow board, too. Staggering.

        Yes, lying on the ground in the jungle is very dangerous and stupid.

        I think survivalists should rest during the heat of the day in a very hot environment, either taking a siesta or doing small easy tasks like making cordage or baskets/backpacks of local materials. But then they should be active before dawn, through the morning, and in the late afternoon and early evening with more difficult tasks. Just lying around all the time and dying a little bit each day does not in my mind add up to real XL-level survival.

        I learned the trick of training fish to come at dawn and dusk by feeding the fish in our klong (urban canal) beside our house in Bangkok when I was a kid.

        Also in Thailand I learned another trick I have never seen on any survival show: use the tide to catch fish automatically every day. To do this, the Thais on the Gulf of Siam build a small crescent-shaped wall about 2 feet high, between the low and hi tide marks. The bow of the crescent points out to sea. The crescent is about 30-80 ft long. In the middle of the bow/crescent is a small opening (about 10″ square) covered with a net. As the tide falls, fish and crabs are trapped by the crescent and migrate toward the net, and are caught there. Easy-peasy. Of course a survivalist could start with a much smaller wall.

        This technique would have worked very well on the survival show “Alone” set in northern Vancouver Island in British Columbia, but not one of ten “expert” contestants used it.

        Researching how so-called “primitive” people survive and thrive should be compulsory for all survival show contestants.

        Cheers,

        Lew Toulmin

    • You’re so right. Very disappointed in their poor excuses for “shelter”, c’mon pretty shoddy. No atlatle’s? WTF, no slings? Shane makes the first bow? That’s it one bow? no decent arrows? wow….

  4. Discovery Channel is really trying to protect Jeff, Dani B, and Alana. I have been a regular poster on their Bios as well as the others. I was negative toward those three and Discovery has removed ALL of my postings. Seems I have been Blackballed. Are they really going to give little Jeff his own show? What would he do on it? Imagine thirty minutes of his juvenile screaming.

    • I agree, Every time he did something I quickly hit mute. I know he would scream his lungs out. What type of show would he even be fit for? Nope can’t see that.

    • snhawk, I’ve noticed the same thing on my posts, several on each, honest and critical. They don’t want anyone pointing how just how dismal the “survivalists” skills were.

  5. I’ve never commented on a television show before. I’m a bit too busy with my own life and world. But I had to comment about the behavior of some of those people. If I ever saw Alana, Dani the veg, Laura or Eva out in the real world I would probably be rude to them after seeing the way they treated other people. It felt like a scene from “Mean girls” the way they packed up and gossiped about normal Dani. Especially when they stooped to name calling. ‘Pathological liar’ ‘Sociopath’ etc. Normal Dani didn’t do or say anything to deserve that. And then watching your smug little ‘see you next tuesday’ smiles during the reunion show really curdled any positive feelings I may have held for you. Luke’s apology sounded sincere. Eva’s apology, like much of Eva, was quite obviously contrived and affected. Dani the Veg and Alana the ‘see you next Tuesday’ are the two who really should have apologized but true to their character (or lack there of) they just sat there like bumps on a toad and said nothing. Laura made a few comments about leadership. It seems her idea of leadership is partaking in gossip and is stirring the pot. Chris does come across as an egotistical prick. Although I think Honora shouldn’t have been on the show and looked pretty unstable when she threw their things in the water I could see why she was upset with Chris’ attitude. She couldn’t quite put it into words but it was more than a piece of fruit he threw on the ground. It was more his dismissive and condescending response to every thing she did or said. I thought it was quite clear from the very beginning that he didn’t really want to have her on his team. So of course she picked up on those emotions.
    Being out there in a survival situation like that you are more than just physically naked, Your inner self is revealed as well.
    What a pity that so many of them revealed a very ugly heart and a sinister disposition. Ugly to the core.

    • Hi Bob,
      I don’t see it on Discovery’s website yet. They seem to be running two weeks behind in posting their full episodes.

  6. I wonder how much time had elapsed between extraction and this finale show. I was stunned by Dani Beau’s appearance. She went from emaciated to plump, complete with a double chin.

  7. Love the show. I liked Shane and felt bad that he was paired up with Thing 1 and Thing 2. I was glad to see Shane pair up with EJ and Jeff and I only wished he hadn’t wasted his time and energy helping Thing 1 and Thing 2. Would have loved to have seen Shane finish, but it doesn’t matter he did well and I still think he would have made it if his circumstances had been different in the beginning. To EJ and Jeff – you both did great on every level and the fact that you even praised God for your blessings was a big thumbs up for me. I personally feel that EJ and Jeff was the only reason the other 6 made it out. If EJ and Jeff had not shared their food with the others there is no way they would have been able to stay.

  8. Dani: I liked Dani a lot. Specially after surviving alone for 3 days. But she has to learn to adjust and adapt. She not even managed to integrate herself in the group of 3. It is a survival situation. She can’t run around the whole day without telling the other group members where she is going and what she is up to. So I think the reaction of the others was very normal. This would happen to her in any other group. I can’t see any mobbing in their behavior. I also did not like that she was running to the others complaining.

    Jeff and EJ: In one way it was of course much fun to see the two different ways. The over active ones by which they lost too much weight and the “lazy” ones keeping the vegetarian in best shape. On the other hand it is funny having read EJ comments on discovery channel: “Welcome to the clan” and then he is avoiding the “clan”. Taking in Shane but not Dani?

    Chris: I did not like him in the other show and also not his attitude against Honora. But he integrated himself within the group very nicely. So I really started liking him.

    Alana: If a strong person can integrate herself so nicely within a group then this is demanding respect. I started to like her a lot.

    To see a functional group of 6 people in this extreme situation was very surprising. So well done!

    • Anna, Functional group? You’re kidding right? Chris did and said some pretty awful things to both his partner in the 21 day episode and especially to Dani Julian and because he was somehow allowed to be with the “in” group you “liked” him? Please, this wasn’t high school. Same with Alana the classic beyatch, the group accepted her so you like her? Wow, some standards you got girl.

      • KenO you must be a pretty cool guy, misquoting comments on the internet so you can be negative for no reason.. pathetic.

  9. I know they were supposed to be ‘hands off’; but it would be interesting to hear from the production crew what their observations were. That said I’d simply like to give a shout out to Shane; I’d gladly partner up with someone who works that hard!

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