Nov 2, 2009

Wild Bear in Iceland

... or, a latter-day Lord Dufferin?

My son Gabe alerted me to the Man vs. Wild series, specifically the one shot in Iceland. Of course the rest of the world discovered this series back in 2006 when it first aired. Since we avoid reality TV, and TV in general, we wait for everything to come out in Netflix. Sometimes we wait longer than that.

So in keeping with the philosophy "better late than never," here's my superficial take on the macho Bear Grylls, British Special Forces Soldier Extraordinaire. Keep in mind that my assessment is based on just two shows. Two was enough.

Thoughts on Bear in Iceland. First, it's a stitch hearing him pronounce glaciers "glassy-ears." Second, what's not to like about a guy who makes the sign of the cross before hurling himself out of an airplane at 4,000 feet, to parachute down to a glassy-ear. Second part b, what's not to like about a guy who names one son Huckleberry, and another Marmaduke? Third, what's with the lack of a hat in sub-zero temperatures? (Of course we know the answer to that: so TV audiences can eat up his craggy looks). Hey, the scenery is awesome and scary, Bear jumps into a glacial melt river because he is confident that he can make it to the steaming hotpots in the distance without a) freezing, and b) boiling himself like a lobster once he gets there. You get to watch him get undressed and you get to watch him get dressed. Go Bear!

Vote for the most macho:Bear Grylls, or Lord Dufferin?

Thoughts on Bear in general. The formula for the shows is simple: Bear is catapulted into an extremely inhospitable environment, somewhere far from all civilization (except for cameramen), and by thinking quickly he manages to stay alive until the next time. In the two shows I've seen (hence all of his shows, in my world view) Bear suffers under the delusion that he is being pursued. Like the Special Forces guy he is, or was, or whatever, he is always running while in a crouched position, looking over his shoulder (try doing that at home). Along the way Bear tells us fun facts (an average of 3 people per day are rescued in Iceland; 60 people needed to be rescued last year in the Scottish Highlands, ...), and shows how to trap, skin, and eat wild animals. Or, dead animals left by the locals for the purpose of demonstration. Sure some of it's staged. Seriously, though, you learn a couple of useful facts in each show, both about the country he's up against, and about survival skills in general.

Check out the Bear. He's got an entertaining website too. Fun fact: Bear once "rowed naked for 22 miles in a homemade bathtub ... " (Wikipedia)


Professor Batty said...

I guess I now know what my itinerary will be for my next Iceland trip!

Rose said...

No! No bathtub trips for you! Auuuugh

Janet said...

See if you can rent the episode of Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern when he goes to Iceland...I loved it. It was a few years ago.

Rose said...

Thanks, Janet; I haven't seen that yet.

Janet said...

I saw Bear's book for sale today at Border's and thought of you!

Rose said...

I can't BELIEVE no one voted!