Man vs. Wild

I’m just not sure we need another man v nature show. Handsome, strapping dudes with rippled abs heading out in to the wilderness to test their mettle against nature. The Amazing Race, the Croc Hunter (RIP), Survivor…even if this one has a vibe of authenticity, there’s just something about all this that reeks of artificiality, of marketing and showmanship. In the upcoming program Man vs. Wild, “seasoned adventurer” Bear Grylls (really? His name is bear?) strands himself in places that tourists sometimes go and where danger lurks around every…um…Burger King. And then, Herr Bear finds clever McGuiverian ways to escape. For example, we learn from the show’s site that he will escape quicksand in the Moab desert, he’ll navigate dangerous river currents in Costa Rica, and build a snow shelter in the Alps. We also learn that Bear: “is a Karate black belt, served three years with the Special Air Service, a special forces unit of the British Army, during which time he broke his back in three places while parachuting over Southern Africa“.

I could be wrong, this new show could be great, but to me, the only way I would really be interested is if he could REALLY REALLY die. I mean, why go to all the trouble and pretense if we all know that he’s probably never going to hurt himself. Yes, yes I know that Steve Irwin took one for the team recently and that helps make the case that these guys really do put themselves in danger, but I’m guessing that won’t be the case with this show. I’m guessing that most everything will be preplanned and made as safe as can be. Yes, yes, that’s fine. I mean, I don’t WANT to see someone get hurt. It’s just that when these shows market the notion to you that everything really is dangerous when we know it’s really not, well, it just has the whiff of fast food.