Bear continues to get my Goat

Dear BG,

"You're tacky and I hate you."


OK, hate may be a strong word. I mean, how can I hate a guy who provides countless hours of entertainment as he laughably plays out over-the-top stunts and gives completely incomprehensible and illogical (and often dangerous) advice in his one-man outdoor version of Fear Factor? I suppose so long as we can agree that Man vs. Wild is a shock-comedy moreso than it is a wilderness survival series, than we can agree that it's good TV.

To be completely honest, I love to watch the show. I mean, my survival skills and understanding of nutritional needs are marginal at best, but sitting through an episode of "What Ridiculous Thing Will Bear Do (yes that image is from a MvW staged scene)/Say/Eat Next?" makes me feel like an authority on the subject. For example...

Monday night was my first opportunity to view the Louisiana episode (originally aired 8/27/08). Although I did miss the first few minutes, I have to say, I wasn't even sure at first that it was a new episode. I mean, how many times can you do a show about southeastern US coastal swamps without rehashing the same subjects?

First of all, we have learned that Bear loooooves protein. You might say he likes it more than your average man. Perhaps he sometimes forgets that bears (little b) are omnivores as well. Or maybe he just has an unnatural...well, we won't go there, he's a married fellow. What's my point? Well, lets take his selection of an alligator for his meal. Simply from an energy standpoint, probably not the best choice. Bear correctly ruminates on the lean, high-protein qualities of alligator (along the lines of chicken or fish...but not quite either or both). Excellent news if your priority is keeping your slim figure and muscle tone. Of course, if you're trying to fuel yourself out of a dangerous situation...well, carbs and fat are a good thing. Both are converted to energy much more quickly and at much less cost than meat. And generally speaking, carbs are easier to find. But hey, lets not bust him up too bad. If you're hungry and you got a shot at a 6' gator, you should take it, right? The equation is simple, Bear>Alligator. Everyone knows that. What could possibly go wrong if, lost alone in the swamp, you choose to fight an alligator that's relatively the same size as you, only much stronger, quicker and has more dangerous weaponry? Not to mention the fact that Bear states outright that once he had become engaged with the gator, there was no backing down. Yes, much safer to jump on his back and really piss him off rather than carefully move away and let him continue to be slightly irritated.

Well, I guess he did end up getting a lot in return for his risk. Probably could have pulled 40 lbs of meat off that gator if he wanted. What he would have done with it...who knows. Risk life and limb and kill 150 lb gator for a pound of gator meat and some "cordage." Yup. Smart.

Of course, even if you think wrestling a gator for some meat is a good idea, it's tough to support his next foraging attempt. Noodling? As a survival technique? Are you kidding me? All episode he's been playing up the dangers of these gator-infested swamps (which failed to deter him from tangling with one). And yet, he decides to feel around below-water tree cavities that he can't see, all the while commenting on the dangers of snapping turtles, snakes (which he later antagonizes in an old shack), and the "tooth-filled mouths" of the catfish themselves. He was afraid he might scratch himself on a nail while preparing his raft (in itself, another issue) and open himself to infection, but has no qualms about potentially losing a finger, hand, or worse in search of yet another protein-rich meal.

Listen, I'm not here to badmouth noodling. For some people it's a passion, and worth the risk. Fine. But if you're talking about survival, you live by the standard code of not making things worse. Nobody in their right mind would go blind-noodling in a survival situation.

Of course, it wouldn't be an episode of MvW if Bear didn't get an opportunity to urinate either on- or into-himself. Naturally, he gets stung by the catfish, and claiming to feel the effects of the venom, he goes with the sure-fire cure-all...whiz. Assuming the prick did prick the Prick, and said Prick did feel the sting of the venom (not just the pain associated with a prick, er, puncture wound...), how is whipping out his prick going to benefit anyone other than Mrs. Prick?

I know what you're thinking. Pee works for jellyfish stings, of course it works for catfish.

I'll let you in on a little secret. It doesn't. When a jelly stings you, it actually leaves lots (technical term) of little injectors (another technical term) that may or may not immediately bombard your skin with toxin. In fact, sometimes the jelly is already gone before you ever feel it. And, sometimes it may take minutes...even tens of minutes...for all the "injectors" to "fire." The ammonia in your urine does not alleviate the effects of the toxin. And even if it did disrupts any "unfired injectors" from firing, thereby saving you additional pain from a jelly sting, believe it or not, catfish venom, when present, is not particularly similar to jelly venom in either makeup or method of delivery. Pissing on a puncture wound might work better than washing it in swamp water in terms of preventing infection, but it is not going to take the sting out.

Oh yeah...and that was not a 20 lb fish. I'm calling bullshit.

His attempt at a raft...also laughable and equally pointless. At least he decided to abandon it rather than pretend like he really could construct a seaworthy craft. Enough on that.

Ahhh...then there's the loft he builds. Let's start with the gator-skin lashing. My first thought was..."that's gross...won't it attract bugs and animals?" Then he grabbed the Spanish moss, stating outright that as long as you pull it directly off the tree, it will be free of pests. There's no way in hell I'm about to believe this statement. First of all, what makes hanging moss any less attractive to pests than moss sitting on the ground? Pests can't inhabit or climb trees? Well, obviously they can. And on top of that, he directly contradicts the advice given by either himself in the Everglades episode or by Survivorman's Les Stroud (not sure which, but I remember one of them saying it; if BG is gonna have a survival show, he should at least pay enough attention to the competition to not make an ass of himself...I'm sorry, as much of an ass of himself). There are too many conflicting statements on whether hanging Spanish moss really does harbor pests for me to sort it out, but why take a chance? (USDA says it does...that's good enough for me) I hope he went back to the hotel room infested.

Well, maybe I'm being a little too hard on the ol' Bear. Come to think of it, the alligator and catfish meals must have been the right choice. I mean, at the end of the episode, after battling the elements, wildlife, floating deathtrap swamps, exhausting bog grasses, rivers and his own lack of smarts, he still had enough energy to monkey-climb around the rigging of a "deposited" shrimping boat and effortlessly Tarzan back to earth from a rope pulley.

Here's to you Bear Grylls. I sincerely hope you can manage to continue outdoing yourself with ridiculous stunts in the name of "survival."


Miss Margaret said…
i'm glad you can find the humor in this show. i get so grumpy and annoyed with him when the hubby innocently turns it on that said hubby invariably ends up leaving the room. (of course i find it rather "Bearish" that he doesn't just change the channel again.)

i'll admit that i have absolutely no outdoor survival skills, yet i have enough common sense to realize that inviting Bear on a camping trip would be like asking Aunt Connie to help remove a barbed hook from the back of your son's hand.

one more thing: why do so many girls have a crush on this guy and may i smack them?! seriously any protein-obsessed, pissing on himself, guy that uses any excuse to detour and show us his "skills" is a serious pain in the ass. NOT ATTRACTIVE. i'll take mike rowe over bear any day. sure he gets grossly dirty for fun, but at least he's not an arrogant idiot.

(ummm, yeah....i guess i have some strong feelings about bear. possibly closer to hate than you.)
Flying Ties said…
I agree with just about everything you said regarding his survival skills and the show in general.

I knew he was full of it when he began drinking his own urine. I understand that it may save your life, but he isn't in a life or death situation with a safety crew and film crew with him at all times.

The show is, however, entertaining. Its fun to see him do stupid things in the name of entertainment but thats all it is - stupid things in the name of entertainment.

I am a much bigger fan of Les Stroud and Survivorman. I understand why he didn't get the prime spot that MvW got (because he's actually educational) but I miss new episodes of it. I'm not sure if the Science Channel dropped sponsorship or what.

Great post
FoulHooked said…
MM - There's a simple reason for your're meaner than I.

FT - I thought Survivorman was just starting to get interesting (admittedly, though it does contain better information, it was really lacking on the entertainment in the beginning).

Drinking urine won't save anyone's life. If you're really well hydrated, you might get one re-use out of it. Then again, if you're really well hydrated, why are you drinking urine? It'll kill you quicker than it could possibly save you. It's a matter of the simplest principle of biochemistry there is...osmosis. No reputable source reccommends drinking urine to survive and any evidence of a benefit is, to my knowledge, anecdotal.
Flying Ties said…
Maybe I'm just a dork, maybe not.

I like the educational aspect of Survivorman - that is the entertainment for me. Especially when its related to outdoor survival.

Only if I could find the time to get out camping. A [local famous river] camping trip and late night fishing sounds like a lot of fun.
FoulHooked said…
Hey, I'm a survivorman fan too, for the same reasons.

I'm thinking about doing a weekend trip in the next few weeks to some ponds...not far from you...3-4 miles in if you're interested. Might be a good way to close out the open season...might even get some trout to eat.
Flying Ties said…
That sounds pretty awesome - once things get solidified for you let me know what the plans are and I'll see if I can make it. I've been wanting to fish those same ponds as well so it'd be fun. Just gotta make sure I'm available is all.

You may just have to slow the hike down. I haven't hiked 3 or 4 miles in a year or more. Hah!
Miss Margaret said…
you need an update. seeing, "you're tacky and i hate you" as i check your blog every day is damaging my self-esteem. (yep. it's always all about me.)
Murdock said…
Great post. I watched the same show and had most of the same questions. I just knew he was getting snake bit when he started pulling lumber out of that old shed for his "raft".

Les is best.


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