Surviving The Survival Shows … Or No, You May Not Do That And I Don’t Care If They Do It On TV

Nov 3, 2011 by

Or maybe the title should be a quick primer on some of those “survival” shows.

As you know, the SONS of Thunder and I are one with fire. And pretty much one with various knives and basically anything that involves the woods, burning things and sharpening sticks.

We are becoming, as the Little Black Dress points out, gear and survival junkies. For The Dress, “survival” means no lipstick – or high heels. But I digress.

And, we’re pretty much experts on the whole “you are playing the role of a couple of really, really stupid tourists who decide to wander around in the Amazon jungle with nothing more than a toothpick, a left shoe and some gum” shows – the ones where you take said implements and somehow start fire, build a canoe and kill a hippo.

There are three main shows relating to said “I’m a tourist trying to survive” shows: Man Verses Wild, Dual Survival and Man, Woman Wild.

And based on which show you prefer, I can pretty much sum up your entire life history and personality.

Let’s start with the original one – Man Verses Wild featuring Bear Grylls. He already gets points for his name – Bear. And let’s face it, he does fall into the “stud” category. He climbed Everest at the age of 23, broke his back parachuting, and circumvented the United Kingdom on jet skis.

He’s also a former Special Air Service member, which as near as I can tell is the equivalent of our Navy SEALS. Except they take a break from fighting for afternoon tea.

Bear started off well, but let’s just say he’s sold out to the commercial world. He’s now teamed up with Gerber – not the baby food, but knife company – and has all kinds of Bear Grylls’ survival knife, fire starter, glow-in-the-dark compass, all-in-one survival kit and just fill in the blank.

When he starts a clothing line at K-mart, I am definitely done.

He’s also become more of a “don’t try this at home” type. Like he’s standing at the top of some waterfall and for some reason the only way to get down is to jump 60 feet down into a 3×4-foot pool of water. Or, he jumps across a gorge by leaping 30 feet into the air and smashes into a tree, with his weight pushing him and the tree to the other side. Did I mention said gorge is about 500 feet down?

And every time he does one of those stunts The Dress looks at the SONS and says “If you even think about …”

He’s becoming too commercial, too perfect, too daring, too …

“Eye candy,” The Dress says.

And there you go.

The newest member of the survival shows is Man, Woman Wild.  This basically involves Mykel, another one of those SAS guys, and his wife, Ruth, a TV journalist. They happen to be married. Trust me, it shows.

I had high hopes. Think about it, The Dress and I out in the woods, surviving with what’s in our pockets, just hanging out together while the SONS bring up coconuts they scrounge off the beach, watching the sunset …

And then I always wake up.

In a nutshell, here’s how it goes. Mykel will go into this long explanation about something involving the equinox and tidal currents and how that somehow relates to building a fire. And Ruth will do something, or not do something, and Mykel goes “now honey.”

And Ruth will call Mykel a horse’s arse. She says that because she’s English, but it sounds funny and is not nearly as powerful as the American version. And then Mykel gets mad and puts on his helmet cam with an extended pole for the video camera and goes out to kill an elephant. And that pretty well kills the show. Because Mykel can probably decapitate you with a credit card, but when he puts on the helmet cam, you’d laugh in his face – even knowing he can decapitate you with a credit card.

And in the meantime Ruth starts playing journalist and gives us the history of how the Incas used to take acorns and smash them up to make a pie, but first they had to leech them to get rid of some weird something in said acorn. And Ruth does the whole leech thing with a sock.

And then Mykel comes back and they both say they love each other and kiss. And the SONS go “ugh.”

The Dress does not like this show. And she always asks why I watch this show and I simply say: Eye candy. Ruth that is.

And then there’s Dual Survival, which is the favorite of the SONS and I, and even The Dress likes this one. It’s probably because they don’t wear helmet cams, leech acorns in socks or leap over tall buildings in a single bound.

It features Dave, an Army-trained Scout and sniper, and Cody, a primitive skills expert. That’s what the bios say. To cut to the chase, Dave is from the backwoods and drank too much moonshine, Cody is a hippie who experimented – a lot – with peyote.

And they are like an old married couple. Cody plays the wife, gathering wood chips and snails to eat, building the “home” back at camp and muttering to himself. Dave is out hunting for meat and beats his chest will bring back a wildebeest. Cody is mellow; Dave is an ADD poster child.

But these guys are good. Dave can make fire from a rain cloud. Dave can take a boa constrictor and squeeze it to death.

And what I admire is they’ll look in the camera and say “don’t try this at home.” And they’ll look at each other and say “and we’re not trying it either.” And they don’t have a clothing line at some Big Box Store In The Sky and don’t say “arse” and would kill any producer who tried to make them wear a helmet cam.

At least, not yet.

And there you go.






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