Monday, February 5, 2024

Alone: A Reality Show about Survival.

Alone is a series where 10 people are dropped off into the wilderness to survive. The person to stay there the longest wins 500K. I watched the first two seasons and both times the contestants are dropped off on Vancouver Island (Near Seattle) several miles from each other. Too far to ever find each other.  

They're allowed to bring some survival supplies like tools, knifes, nets, tarps, rope, etc. Vancouver Island is a difficult place to survive. It's a northern rain forest. It's cold, sometimes freezing and always wet. The people that do this challenge are trained in survival, some have been in the military and yet they struggle to start a fire. The forest is dense and wet, making it hard to set up a shelter. Plus it has bears, wolves and cougars. One unique thing about this show is that the people are really alone. There is no camera crew. They have to set up cameras to record their journey. 

Each person has a radio. They can "tap out" at any time. Then a boat or a helicopter will come pick them up. In the first few days (for season 1 and 2,) a few people tap out right away. They are scared off by the predators or it turned out to be harder than they thought. 

I haven't watched many reality shows, but for those that I have watched, I can see how people get hooked into them. Once I get to know the characters, I tend to want to know who's going to win. Many of them talk about why they entered the contest. Usually it involves helping their family. So then I find myself caring about the cast. It can be fun to try and predict who will drop out next. 

For food, most of them rely on fish or crabs, but as the days go on winter starts to come. It gets harder and harder to get food. The sea is rougher, the wind is fierce. They struggle with hunger and then the loneliness gets worse. It all contributes to a mental struggle.  

The last few struggle to fight the temptation to tap out. Some of them describe it as fighting against their brain that keeps telling them to tap out. I think that is a survival instinct in itself and is part of the sub-conscious mind. Then the conscious mind fights back because they want the money. What makes it even tougher, is that no one knows how many people are left. So they have no idea how much longer they need to stay. There was one person who tapped out that surprised me because he was doing well. However, the loneliness got to him. In Season 2, the winner went about 60 days. 

Also in Season 2 there there was one woman who I really admired. Nicole made it as the 4th remaining person. She was almost always pleasant on camera. Her survival skills really impressed me. She knew what plants she could eat. It was obvious how much she loved nature. For awhile, she was thriving until seals started stealing fish from her net. But in general, she seemed to blend in with nature and often demonstrated patience, rather than a blur of expletives. 

This show also demonstrated to me how much people need each other. Often times, one of them would say "why am I doing this?"  Of course, they had a good reason to do it as in the money, but the loneliness made them question it. It seems we need other people to give us purpose. Many of them made statements that they appreciated their spouse and families more than ever. That they wouldn't take them for granted anymore. It seems it gave them new perspectives on many things. 

I started watching this for writing research purposes because some of my characters are going to have to survive in the wilderness. However, it seems I've learned some other things as well. 

1 comment:

  1. I think the only "reality show" I ever watched was Project Greenlight just because I liked seeing how they made a movie. I'd last about two minutes out there and not because of loneliness.