This season has been extremely difficult for the 12 men and women of Naked and Afraid XL as they have struggled to survive in the drought-stricken foothills of Africa’s Lebombo Mountains. During the latest episode of Naked and Afraid XL, aptly titled “The Sickness,” several participants had to leave the competition after eating contaminated fruit.
Fans of the show were quick to post their comments and opinions on Naked and Afraid’s Facebook page. Phaedra Brothers, one of the survivalists from this season, commented on a preview post about what occurred and asked for understanding.
“As this episode airs this Sunday, please keep in mind we’re all very real people. I know this is a reality show and meant for ‘entertainment’. However this is very real, and one of hardest moments of my life… Not being there it’s easy to say what we should or shouldn’t have done. That being said, thank you all so much for the kind words of support and love. Means the world to me and the others.”
The first Naked and Afraid XL participant to become ill was Ryan, who had decided to leave the group and strike out on his own. Along the way, he was the first to discover and eat some of the fruit. People noted that later in the evening, he was in severe pain and vomiting. As lions roared around him, he was forced to call for a medic. Once the medical team arrived, it was quickly decided that his situation was serious, and Ryan was rushed to the hospital.
The next day, the rest of the group decided to follow him, and they too had their fill of the fruit except for Stacey, who declined. When they made it to the river, Jake and Steven set out to find Ryan. They discovered his abandoned camp and his camera, and after watching the shocking footage, Jake ran back to the others, shouting for them not to eat any more of the fruit.
Jake was the first to become nauseous, followed by Phaedra. As the Naked and Afraid XL survivalists became very ill, writhing in pain and crying out, the medical team found themselves scrambling to get Jake and Phaedra to base camp for treatment. Later that night, Kim became ill, and once again the medics had to rush in, carrying her out on a stretcher as she was screaming in pain. At the end of the harrowing Naked and Afraid XL episode, Phaedra and Kim were being transported to the hospital and Jake was still fighting to remain in the game despite suffering from debilitating pain.
Fans of the show had a lot of comments and questions about what transpired. If Ryan fell ill before anyone else, why weren’t the others warned to stay away from the fruit? One fan remarked that what they saw was terrible and wondered why Naked and Afraid XL would allow them to get so sick. There may have been no time to warn them, or perhaps the show has a strict hands-off policy unless someone’s life is in immediate danger.
The Naked and Afraid XL crews may not have realized that it was the fruit that made Ryan sick. At first, some believed an under-cooked lizard that Ryan consumed was responsible. That would explain why no one was told about the fruit, but speculation aside, at least Ryan’s camera was left behind, and the others were able to discover what had transpired the previous evening.
To their credit, the Naked and Afraid XL medical crew did respond promptly when called, and everyone who fell ill received treatment as quickly as possible. According to the Futon Critic, besides their most recent challenge, the Naked and Afraid XL veteran survivalists have had to deal with tick-bite fever, debilitating heat, and the effects of starvation. Those who suffered gastric problems because of the tainted fruit, although they were in severe pain, were still extremely disappointed that they couldn’t continue. If Jake ends up leaving as well, that leaves only Steven, Darrin, Stacey, and Alyssa to complete the Naked and Afraid XL challenge. There are both pros and cons to having a small group of four, and only time will tell if any of them are able to last the entire 40 days.
What do you think about what happened? Leave your comments, thoughts, and opinions below. Naked and Afraid XL airs on Sunday’s at 9 p.m. ET on the Discovery Channel.
[Image via the Discovery Channel]