This was posted on Tuesday, February 7, 2017 by Rodney Ho on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
The whole concept of "fish out of water" is a standard trope on TV, from "The Beverly Hillbillies" to "Orange is the New Black." And it works in reality TV, too.
On "Kicking and Screaming," Fox is pairing up survivalist specialists with folks whose primary outdoor exposure consists of walking from their car to the entrance of the supermarket. They compete in challenges in a Fiji jungle. The winning pair splits $500,000.
Two of the newbies are from metro Atlanta: a Powder Springs delivery truck driver Mike Forbs more comfortable in a jacuzzi than swamp water and Nakeisha Turk, Atlanta Hawks cheerleader, who was a magnet for mosquitoes.
There’s also professional chess player, an etiquette coach (“I don’t take out the trash or pump gas”), a former “Baywatch” actress (Angelica Bridges) and a 2010 Miss Wyoming whose dog wears bow ties that match the color of her outfits (Claire Schreiner).
There's also a pampered fashion student Maxwell Carr from Buffalo who happens to pump out pithy quotes. A sampling from the debut episode:
"I’m full of chemicals and bad decisions."
“I’d do anything for a cigarette and a shower – in that order.”
"My personal hygiene is already at an all-time low out here.” - before jumping into a mud pit.
I spoke to both Forbs and Turk. Here are mini-profiles of each:
Residence: Powder Springs
Job: Delivery truck driver
On the show: “I’m a big ol' scaredy cat,” said Forbs in the opening moments of the first episode. He then freaks out when the “Baywatch” actress sticks a tiny frog on his shirt.
Why he's doing this (besides the money): He divorced his wife, who found him too unadventurous. This is a way for him to prove otherwise, especially to his two kids, ages 10 and 4.
His survivalist creds: None. "I'm totally not an outdoors person. I'm from Miami. I know the beach. I don't know nothing about being out in the woods. If you work hard to put a roof over your head, why would you go outside?"
What his survivalist partner Jessie Krebs says about him: “He’s having trouble with confidence and going out there and doing stuff. I’m here to build confidence. I think Mike and I are a perfect pair.”
Best part of being in the jungle: "I thought there'd be all sorts of dangerous animals out there. There weren't." (Presumably, animals tend to avoid big congregations of human beings.)
Where's the grub? He said he honestly thought they'd be fed. Instead, they had to fish and forage for their own food. "I thought after we built everything, they'd hook us up with a burger or something."
Worse than poverty? "I grew up at times when we had no bed. We had to sleep on the floor. I thought that was rough. That was nothing compared to this. We were sleeping on tarp and dirt and grass and sticks. I was eaten up by bugs. After awhile, I just gave up slapping at them."
Chance of winning: Doesn't look promising. He appears out of shape and out of sorts in the first episode.
Residence: Atlanta, born in Knoxville, Tenn.
Job: Atlanta Hawks cheerleader
First comment on the show: “I’ve never seen anything like this before with my own two eyes,” she said, marveling at the jungle surroundings. “Maybe on ‘The Jungle Book.’ “
Her philosophy: "I can do anything for a month."
Her advantages: "I am very fit and very competitive. And my partner helped find Saddam Hussein. How bad ass is that?"
Her outdoor creds: Zip. "I don't like spending more than four hours at a time outside. And here we were, hungry 24/7, sleeping on the ground, having to wear the same outfits for weeks. That is nothing I ever do. I was hungry, stressed and tired."
Lessons learned: "You have to be uncomfortable in order to grow. That was the case here. And I know I can live without my phone for a month!"
Chance of winning: Better than Mike's. She appears sharp and in shape. Her survivalist partner, though, is older than most, so that could hurt her. Then again, John McPhee is identified as a "mercenary" and former U.S. Army Operations Sergeant Major.
"Kicking and Screaming," debuting 9:01 p.m. Thursday, March 9, 2017, Fox