OK, beyond the obvious scripting, the super-skilled “random” survivors, the overly contrived situations, the actors who seem to have trouble remembering this is a TV show (OMG! they kidnapped one of our girls! I hope she’s OK and they don’t hurt her!), and the not-quite-in-touch-with-reality scenarios, I think I may have put my finger on what bugs me so much about this show, and I think it’s pretty telling about my general world view, too.
They’re not allowed to fail. They never have a project that fails. Want wind energy? OK. We will build a windmill and it will work like a charm on the first try. Want gas? Let’s render bio-diesel from these dead rotting hogs we happened to find in a nearby truck. Poof! and it works!
If the actors (participants, whatever) set up their electrical circuits wrong, they don’t burn down their house. No, the off-camera experts help them fix it. If one of the actors cuts a large gash in his arm and decides not to bandage it, they don’t let him experience an infection and gangrene. No, one of the off camera experts convinces him to bandage it. Going fishing or hunting in the middle of the day? Fine! Forget to put your tools and other valuables away? Oh, someone might come take one or two, but they’ll quietly leave and won’t take the stuff you REALLY need. One of your females goes wandering off alone, far out of earshot of the group, without telling anyone, and without a weapon? Oh, we’ll “kidnap” her, but she’ll be fine and be returned to you if you give us some of your gas.
I don’t really have a solution to this. I mean, they can’t let them fail, because the failures could be fatal or, at the least, fairly damaging. And they can’t do that. But it also takes a LOT away from the show. Because real life, particularly in a survival setting, isn’t this easy. You don’t succeed at everything.