Taking a page from sibling Investigation Discovery, the flagship Discovery Channel seems intent on churning out similar shows distinguished mostly by their cheeky, attention-grabbing titles. So the survival adventure “Naked and Afraid” provides the lead-in to “Dude, You’re Screwed,” a sort-of competition in which a handful of badass types — with pedigrees like Green Beret and Navy SEAL — take turns kidnapping each other, stranding one of them in an inhospitable locale and watching from afar how he tries to reach safety. Given how tired the formula is, small wonder network honchos would tart it up any way they can.
In the premiere, the other guys snatch up ex-SEAL-turned-football coach Jake, blindfold him and drop him on top of a mountain in Iceland, left with a few basic items and other less vital ones, like a pink teddy bear. Talking trash while his pals analyze his every step in direct-to-camera interviews (helpfully, we’re told the camera crew will intervene only if things go terribly south), the show seeks to straddle the fine line between putting someone in real jeopardy and keeping it all playful.
The whole exercise, of course — actually developed by sister network Animal Planet, which will air the show next year — hinges on macho banter and competitive spirit, fostering the belief that each of these guys wants to “win” so badly that they’ll really put themselves in considerable peril to avoid having to be rescued. In the interim, there are survival tips like not sleeping over hot air vents and risking getting wet if you ever find yourself spending the night outdoors in Iceland, which would certainly rank low on the list of useful nuggets of educational television information.
The series will play out over seven episodes, no doubt offering more exotic locations and grueling nights for the participants. Still, unless you harbor a real appetite for this sort of fare, “Dude, You’re Screwed” might leave you thinking of alternate titles — maybe not “Dude, Where’s My Car?,” but something closer to “Dude, I’m Bored.”