Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Bear Grylls: Egomaniac vs. Wild

Is it just me, or is Bear Grylls the most obnoxious, egotistical host of an outdoor program to have ever been on TV. Yes, this is the same Bear Grylls that created a scandal when it was discovered that he was holing up in cushy hotels at night, after giving the impression that he was roughing-it in some of the most extreme elements while filming for his show.

In case you’re still not familiar with him, Grylls is the host of Man vs. Wild, an outdoor series on the Discovery Channel that demonstrates survival techniques in some of the wildest and most remote locations on Earth.

No doubt Grylls has the credentials to host a show of this genre. He’s a former Combat Survival Instructor in the British Special Forces and, at age 23, became the youngest Brit to ever summit Mt. Everest.

The problem is that Bear goes over-the-top with his pomposity every time he gets in front of the camera. He also gives out a lot of bogus tips, some of which are just downright foolish and even dangerous.

I recall an episode where Grylls was descending a mountain in the Costa Rican rain forest when he arrived at a fifty-foot high cliff with a waterfall running over it. For whatever reason, instead of going back upstream to find a safe crossing, he decided to scale down the cliff - while traversing the waterfalls. Who in their right mind would do this, especially in a survival situation?

And what’s up with him urinating on himself all the time? I mean, I’ve never seen anyone so eager to do so, and for no apparent benefit. During the first season there was an episode where he was trekking through the Moab Desert in Utah. He demonstrated how urinating on his shirt, and then wrapping it around his head, would cool him off as he continued walking in the mid-day sun. Now, we’re talking warm pee, in 100+ degree temperatures, in the arid southwest. How long did that cooling benefit last? A minute?

On this past Friday’s episode he was on location in Siberia. He purposely froze a knife to his hand. He said that pulling it off would rip his skin off, so he urinated on his hand to let the warmth separate the cold metal from his skin. How about just sticking your hand underneath your coat for a minute?

I won’t go into some of his other antics such as when he actually drank his own urine, or how he squeezed both elephant dung and partially digested food from the stomach of a dead camel into his mouth for water.

Yes, there are probably a lot of survival techniques to be learned from his show. However, the show probably has the opposite effect of its intended purpose. If the average weekend warrior followed all of Grylls advice, he/she will probably end up doing some stupid things in certain survival situations.

If you want to be entertained and learn some practical survival skills, you’re probably better off watching Survivor Man.



Anonymous said...

Bear Grylls is awesome. He is a great entertainer and has definitely made a lot of people interested in the outdoors. Exciting, riviting TV. I even bought his knife on this knife site. Survivor man is a slow moving boring old fool who deserves to be placed after Big Brother re-runs.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said... has the knife bear grylls uses - all 6 of them.