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Quality TV turns into a game of survival

By Mark Messing

It is a well-known fact at Quicken Loans that I can’t steer a canoe. I can’t sanitize water with half a pop can, and I probably couldn’t stomach raw fish guts, even if it meant my life.

However, there are people who can do these things.  And some of these people will even videotape themselves doing it just so us regular, everyday Joes can “learn” how to survive. There are two shows of this nature: “Man vs. Wild” (hosted by Bear Grylls), and “Survivorman” (hosted by Les Stroud).

And now, as with all similar things, my initial reaction is to critique them against each other to see who is the DIFF. I have come up with 5 sure-fire criteria to make this decision once and for all:

1)The Name: Bear Grylls vs. Les Stroud

Lets face it. This isn’t even close. Bear’s checks weep in fear every time he signs his name on them. That is how tough his name is.

Les really needs some help here. The following is a list of suggested names for Les Stroud that are guaranteed ratings boosters:

Polar Bear Stroud (Lets one up the competition)
Sturgeon Force
Iron Wound
Flint Hunter
Rapid Hiss

They can also double as band names if his career goes in an unexpected direction.

Point goes to Bear.

2) The Most Extreme (Action): Who has done the craziest thing in the name of survival?

Bear Grylls intentionally threw himself into quicksand. Then he intentionally struggled (even something us non-survivors know not to do), just so he could demonstrate how to escape. This leads me to think of an actual bear struggling in quicksand, and that kind of makes me sad.

Les once went to relieve himself in the trees, and spotted a leopard looking right at him. He rushed to a nearby tribe, which was surrounded by bamboo walls. The people there said he had most certainly been followed back, and when they went up to the wall, you could hear the leopard growling on the other side. So technically he outran a leopard. However, we are left to speculate how far away the leopard actually was.

Point goes to Bear.

3) The Most Extreme (Ingestion): Who has consumed the craziest thing in the name of survival?

Bear once drank liquids derived from elephant dung. ‘Nuff said.

Les once drank his own urine, however he first sanitized it through a solar still. What’s more, Bear has also used his own urine for hydration, and it wasn’t put in the solar still first.

Point goes to Bear.

4) Complete Coverage: Who leaves the viewer with the best chance of survival?

Both shows cover the same type of situations using essentially the same type of equipment. And so, as far as the physical aspect of surviving, it is hard to tell who is the winner.

However, Les definitely does a better job of covering the psychological aspects of surviving, and to me that would seem like the hardest part. He goes as far to bring a “trusty harmonica” on every survival, as it means he will never be alone. Harmonica sales must be skyrocketing.

Point goes to Les…and Hohner.

5) Legitimacy: Who is most likely to actually be surviving?

Well, there is one thing right off the bat. Bear has a camera crew travel with him everywhere he goes. Les only has a crew for the introduction day, and after that he carries all of the equipment by himself, and shoots all of his own footage.

As if that isn’t enough, It has been reported that Bear received help from his camera crew without admitting it on several occasions, and there is even speculation that he spent a few nights in a hotel room when he was supposed to be bedding next to bugs. “Man vs. Wild” has started admitting when Bear uses the camera crew for assistance, as to cover up for any wrong-doing.

That said, it is very hard for me to believe anything from “Man vs. Wild” anymore. I doubt he performed his quicksand escape without help, I doubt his name is even Bear.

Point goes to Les, 2 point penalty for Bear. Les wins: 2-1. I’m just as shocked as you are.

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  1. This is hilarious. I’ve never seen either show, but I would like to see someone throw themselves into quicksand, real or not.

    Posted by: Kel L | December 20, 2007
  2. For Kel L:
    Here you go. Now you get to see it. You decide if he faked it or not.

    Posted by: Mark | December 21, 2007
  3. I saw Man vs. Wild when I was on vacation and I couldn’t believe it. The only question I have is: aren’t the camera people having as much trouble and just as tough and crazy as Bear is? I mean, they are doing the same thing he is and they are lugging a camera around…
    But it’s a great show. The one where he’s in the Panama mangrove swamp totally freaked me out. That would be a fate worse than death.

    Posted by: Clayton | December 24, 2007
  4. Thats a good point Clay.
    That is why it is so crazy that Les films all of his own stuff. When you think about it, he travels twice as far. He has to set up a shot, then walk back to get the cameras and stuff. That would be really hard if you were climbing mountains or something.

    Posted by: Mark | January 2, 2008

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Monday, January 22, 2018