Regular readers know -- unless you're skimming... and forgetting... -- that one of my favorite TV shows is "I Shouldn't Be Alive." In fact, this is the only show that I find myself telling other people to watch. (I used to tell people to watch "The Comeback," which is now off the air.) Part of it is that real-life situations can remind you of something that happened on "I Shouldn't Be Alive." Things go awry and you can say, You know, if this was "I Shouldn't Be Alive'... well, you know, all sorts of unfortunate decisions and bad consequences would ensue.
Usually, the characters on "I Shouldn't Be Alive" are hardy, experienced outdoorsmen taking on a tough challenge and running into some bad luck. The new episode, "Lost in the Amazon," is not like that. You have a young couple, fulfilling their dream of seeing the Amazon rain forest, starting out from a lodge, onto what they know know to be a 3-mile hiking path. All they have to do is stay on the path. Like little children, they become charmed by the cute animals they see and totter about pointing at things -- ooh, it's a toucan! -- until they realize they're not on the path. They have a compass, but they've left the map back at the lodge, and instead of preserving their awareness of their starting spot and meticulously exploring the possible ways back to the path or just staying put and waiting for rescue, they decide they're sure which direction on the compass point is the correct one and hike straight into the forest trying to go as far as they can. They trudge on for days, into unmarked forest, completely destroying any chance that people who go out to search for them can possibly find them. They keep going as if they've got a shot at coming out on the other side of the forest, when, if they remember anything about where they are, there could be nothing but 1000 miles of forest ahead of them.
In all the other episodes of the show, the tough guys with problems display an astounding will to live. Horribly crushed leg bones, -70 degree temperatures, an elephant stampede, trapped under a boulder.... they deal with it. "Lost in the Amazon" is different. These characters don't just give up, they get tired of struggling and decide to commit suicide! And their struggle, on the physical level, consists of foot blisters, unclean drinking water, mosquitoes, sleeping outdoors, and -- despite much talk of scary animals like jaguars and snakes -- a herd of little pigs. The man does a decent job of yelling at the pigs to make them go, and the woman has the good idea of straining the water through her bra cup. But mostly, they slap mosquitoes, keep walking (as if it's a solution), and talk about ending it all. They happen to run across a man in a boat who saves them, but this is right before the deadline on their suicide pact, which was premised on the notion I'd rather die than spend one more night in the forest.
I was picturing an alternate version of the couple who realize that they are so deeply lost that they may never get out and decide they will live out their lives in the forest. Build a camp, develop your hunting and gathering skills, and find a way to make life good. Wouldn't you get to the point where you'd look at each other and say Hey, we're Adam and Eve.