By LARRY WOODY
The other night I was channel-surfing and came across a show that featured a buck-naked, mud-smeared, middle-aged couple stumbling around in the wilderness. I assumed a bear must have eaten their pants.
Since that's something you don't see every day (unless you regularly ride the New York subway), I stopped to check it out.
As it turned out, a bear didn't make them bare. They were running around naked as jaybirds just for the heck of it.
According to the title of the program, they were not only naked, they were also afraid.
I watched the entire "Naked and Afraid" episode to try to figure out (1) why they were naked and (2) what they were afraid of. Neither point was made clear.
Maybe they were afraid their parents would see the show.
The plot consisted of the nude couple stomping around in the woods and splashing in the mud. The camera crew was prudent with the camera angles, and various vital body parts were blurred out.
They didn't need to be concerned with full-frontal nudity. Their problem was full-frontal stupidity.
I didn't catch their names, so I'll just call them Earle and Melba.
At one point it started to rain and Earle decided to build a campfire. He piled up some firewood then, dog-gonnit, remembered he'd left his matches in his pants pocket.
Melba didn't have a convenient place to carry hers, either.
Earle tried to start a fire by rubbing two woodchucks together while Melba stood around shivering and slapping skeeters. That was about it.
The announcer said to tune in next week for another exciting episode. The trailer showed Earle shouting, "Don't squat there, Melba -- that's poison ivy!"
It was titled, "Earle Roasts a Gopher."
I detect an Emmy, perhaps in the "Best Wardrobe" category.
Not to be too harsh, but Earle and Melba make the Kardashian sisters look like college professors. At least the Kardashian nitwits have enough sense to put on some clothes when they're on TV. Well, sort of.
I continue to be amused by TV "outdoors reality" shows. There's nothing real about the "reality." I was watching one show ostensibly being filmed in the remote Alaska wilderness when a pizza truck drove by.
"Man vs. Wild" features a burley, grizzled actor with the unlikely name of "Bear Grylls." (His real name is Morty Snitzberger. He's a former Bronx cabbie.)
The shows consist of Bear wandering around in the sleet and snow for no apparent reason. Evidently he doesn't have enough sense to get in out of the rain.
The same goes for "Survivorman." The star, Les Stroud, often spends an entire show trying to collect a few drops of morning dew in a grimy poncho so he can brew himself a cappuccino.
Occasionally he'll eat a bug.
That's about it.
If Les really wanted to survive, instead of spending two days trying to trap a lizard for supper, then wasting two more days trying to start a fire to cook it, he could simply walk out of the desert. And next time, carry a cell phone.
I suspect that if Bear and Survivorman ever found themselves in an actual "survivor" situation -- say they got lost in Central Park -- they wouldn't last overnight.
But at least, unlike Earle and Melba, they're smart enough to keep their pants on.