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Spoofs & Satire

The Mall of the Wild

Even cable series must adapt to survive. Possible spinoffs of Naked and Afraid explore charted territory.

Credit: Lwp Kommunikáció

Two survivalists—one male, one female—will be dropped off, naked and afraid, in the middle of a crowded mall. They’ll be extremely awkward around each other at first, trying not to notice the other’s nakedness, but will soon realize the importance of getting their bearings to increase their chances of survival in this strange new environment.

In urgent need of food, shelter, and clothing, the contestants will scavenge the surrounding area for materials from which to construct a primitive credit card, but will meet bitter disappointment when it’s rejected at the food court. That night, they’ll be forced to make camp in the glass-walled elevator after they try and fail to shoplift a tent from REI.

Over the next 21 days, their endurance will be tested time and time again. As tensions run high, will they learn to work together to survive or will their constant bickering annoy the hell out of those trying to shop?

And then the worst setback of all: While foraging for spilled popcorn and the occasional discarded piece of candy, the male contestant will cut his exposed foot on the escalator. Bravely, he’ll decide against an emergency extraction, but as he cleans his wound in the water fountain both contestants will be unceremoniously kicked out by mall security.

 

Two survivalists will be taken to an exclusive country club and dropped off, naked and afraid, in front of the pro shop. From there they’ll seek out a wooded area (marked by white out-of-bounds stakes on holes 4, 6, 11, and 17), where they’ll forage natural materials to assemble golf attire appropriate to the course’s standards (please: no denim).

The contestants should keep up their strength by eating plenty of insects and drinking from the water hazards.

The next task will be to return to the pro shop and reserve a convenient tee time. This can be tricky due to the club’s plentiful afternoon leagues, a heavy weekend tournament schedule, and the contestants’ growing sense of isolation and despair. If unable to secure a time for that same day, the contestants should keep up their strength by eating plenty of insects and drinking from the water hazards.

In order to reach the extraction helicopter waiting for them on the 18th green, the contestants must systematically make their way along the entire course—a journey that, in their weakened state, without the aid of a cart, and with only a limited knowledge of proper golf etiquette, will take several grueling days. Absolutely no mulligans.

 

Two survivalists will be dropped off inside a large library, naked, afraid, and without the benefit of reading glasses. Their survival instincts will kick in, and they will immediately begin familiarizing themselves with the Dewey Decimal System. They will then track and hunt down any Jack London books in which they might pick up a thing or two about surviving in harsh conditions—probably one of those wolf books that takes place in Alaska.

They’ll build a simple shelter with textbooks and hardcover bestsellers, venturing out periodically to steal from the vending machine in the lobby and to compete with various homeless people for wash time in the restroom. At a point when their strength and stamina are high, the contestants will undertake an expedition to the lost-and-found box in search of loose articles of clothing. When their quarry is found to be too out-of-style or grungy, loincloths will be fashioned from torn book pages, increasing the risk of paper cuts, infection and, eventually, septic shock.

If the contestants can make it through the full 21 days without the library being shut down and turned into a community center, the extraction helicopter will be waiting outside near the book-return bin.

 

Two survivalists will be dropped off, naked and afraid, at a medium-priced restaurant with a friendly atmosphere and plenty of available tables. They’ll be extremely awkward around each other at first, as they have each been through a long dry spell without a date, spending the majority of their evenings at home watching survival-based reality TV.

Luckily, the contestants will quickly begin to hit it off over appetizers. By dessert, they’ll already be planning to see each other even after the 21-day challenge is completed. Who knows? Perhaps they’ll spend the rest of their lives naked and afraid together.

When she excuses herself for a brief trip to the ladies’ room, he’ll make a joke about her calling for an emergency extraction through the restroom window. They’ll both laugh, but several minutes later she will have failed to come back. He’ll wait another 10 minutes, then sadly conclude the worst and request his own extraction.

Producers will inform him later that night that his partner was found dead on the floor of the ladies’ room, victim of a scorpion bite. The next day, the male contestant will be spotted at a private beach, naked and afraid and heartbroken. But ready to meet new naked people.

Ralph Gamelli has been published in The Big Jewel, McSweeney’s, Monkeybicycle, and Yankee Pot Roast. This is the part where he’s supposed to put down some little joke, but as always he refuses to bow to societal expectations. More by Ralph Gamelli