While not promoted as a nudist program, nudity is central to the theme of Discovery's "Naked and Afraid," survivalist reality show that airs in Dallas Sunday evenings on the Discovery Channel. In each episode a new pair of total strangers, one man and one woman, are dropped off in a remote wilderness setting that varies from deserted tropical islands to dense jungles to the plains of Africa.
Both cast members are required to immediately strip and surrender all clothing including shoes when dropped off at their remote site. Their objective is to survive the elements completely naked and threats from any indigenous wildlife for 21 days, with only their collective wits, survivalist skills and the one piece of survival gear allowed each cast member. The couple must also forage for their food and water for the entire three-week period until the end when they must travel to a distant pick up point. There is of course a film crew present but they are strictly forbidden from intervening except in cases of life-threatening medical emergencies.
This reality show holds nudist appeal for a couple of reasons. First, you witness just how effortlessly and quickly two opposite sex, complete strangers get comfortable with their shared nudity. That is something everyone who has every visited a Dallas-area nudist club for the first time has discovered. The show also allows viewers, at least vicariously to see how humans once lived and survived in the days before we had sweat shops in Asia to make all our clothes. Viewers watching the show see for themselves that while clothing can offer warmth and protection when the weather is cold or inclement, wearing them every moment of every waking day is far from necessary.
"Naked and Afraid," while not aimed specifically at nudist viewers it is at the same time not intended to appeal to creepers. If you tune in to the show, you will see the occasional bare bum but bare genitals and female breasts are always completely blurred so voyeurs move along, there is nothing to see here.
This Discovery program is yet another example of quality cable television programming that presents the nude human body in a tasteful, nonsexual way. The cast members typically have average, everyday looking naked bodies. The producers do not recruit celebrities or fashion models so the show promotes both positive body image as well as realistic body diversity even if that isn't a goal behind the making of the program.
If you haven't seen the program, check out the video trailer in the sidebar. If you have watched it and find it a positive step towards normalization of nudity, consider taking a moment to visit the Discovery Communications Viewer Relations page and tell them you like the show.
"Naked and Afraid"
Where: DSC 3 (Time Warner Cable subscribers) or check your provider
When: 9:00 p.m. Sunday
Rating: TV-14 (may contain some material that parental guardians may find unsuitable for children under the age of 14)