After just three episodes, Naked and Afraid XL has become more like current The Real World seasons than its amazing sibling show. While the survival elements are familiar–tough conditions, extreme challenges–the personal drama is an unwelcome addition to the spin-off of the usually fantastic series.
Dividing up the group into threes has mostly served to create drama and division, especially since it seems like some of the more explosive personalities from Naked and Afraid were cast. The original show’s pairs may fight or have conflict, but they usually end up relying on each other. Here, the threesomes mean one person is alienated from almost every group.
Last week’s episode ended with a woman, who was verbally taunted by her two male partners, running off to the river repeatedly to hurl their limited supplies (each person gets just a knife and one survival item) into the water.
It was the most juvenile, ridiculous thing, even if, as the narrator said, she was being affected by fatigue.
And don’t even get me started on Shane, one of the show’s worst casting decisions, who was clearly brought back because he brings aggressive drama. (In episode three, when he abandoned his “fucking lazy” partners, he told the camera, “If nothing else, it’ll come off that I’m an asshole who’s a bad-ass rather than a fucking woman-hater.” Nope, try again.)
NBC’s The Island started with sub-par Survivor drama yet grew into a terrific show. I suppose it’s possible Naked and Afraid XL will improve when the individual camps merge, but it’s been unpleasant enough to abandon it now–especially since the original is still airing new episodes.