Funny, I was thinking about these two shows and the difference between Survivorman and Man vs Wild when I saw someone mentioned Les Stroud and Bear Grylls in the comment section of the Alaska Experiment post.
I like both Survivorman and Man vs Wild.
Bear Grylls and Man vs Wild
Any way you cut it, Bear Grylls is one tough hombre. Ex British Special Forces and climbed Mount Everest when he was 23. One of the youngest Brits to do so. That's after he broke his back in a training exercise with the British Special Forces.
The main reason I watch Bear Grylls and Man vs Wild is for entertainment. Just watching his facial expressions when eating something disgusting sends me over the edge laughing my butt off. Or some of the stuff he tries that doesn't work, like building a bamboo ladder to get across that Ecuadoran river. He pushes it over and when it hits the other side it busted to pieces. That was too funny.
I do pick up some survival tips from his show although they are few and far between.
Bear has been criticized for staging some of the scenes in his show. Personally, I don't know a "reality" type show out there that doesn't have staged scenes and that includes "Deadliest Catch".
So what if he slept in a motel or at campground. It's obvious if you watch the show the dude doesn't get into all those situations on a 7 day outing.
I do think he's a bit dramatic. I mean, I don't think there was a real reason to strip off all his clothes and swim that Siberian river in the dead of Winter. I also don't think it's necessary to show him eating everything he comes across raw. But I do understand that this creates buzz which creates viewers who tune in to see what he's going to eat next.
Here are some Bear Grylls truisms I just love. All done with that British accent while making a grimace.
- "God that's horrible"
- "I have no idea what this is going to taste like"
- "It's like an explosion of puss in my mouth"
- "It taste like a Sausage casing filled with baby poop"
I also laugh at the way he says "Vitamins". It's more like "Vetimens".
Les Stroud Survivorman
To me, Les Stroud is more like the average Joe. There's no doubt he could not win an endurance or physical test against Bear Grylls. The dude just doesn't have enough lead in his pants! But I bet both could get out alive if they got lost in Montana hunting Elk. And at the end of the day when you're lost in the woods, that's what counts.
Survivorman is a lot more dramatic than Man vs Wild if you ask me. Take for example the episode I watched today with Les on the African Plains. If he said "Black Mamba" once, he must have said it a hundred or more times! Black Mamba this, Black Mamba that...
Geez, okay Les, we get it, there are snakes in the grass!
I also like the fact that Les pretty much cooks most of his food. That's a plus for me. I'm not sure how many of us would eat a Yak's eye raw or a giant grub worm raw.
I also like the fact that Les Stroud tapes his episodes himself. Not that I have anything against taking a camera crew along like Bear Grylls does. We get to see a lot more stunts out of Bear because of the Camera crew. Makes you wonder what you're missing on Survivorman.
Les also takes along things that a normal person would and employs them in his week long survival outing. Some of the stuff he makes is pretty crude and I wonder if it would work, but none the less, he does go about trying to show us how to use what we have. After watching him smash up an old VCR camera, I knew then what I needed to do with my old RCA Video camera!
It's TV, Don't Take It Serious Dude!
As I said earlier, both these shows are over the top in one way or another. I think most of us who spend any amount of time in the woods put more in our "Survival kit" than these two guys do. I've never seen either one whip out fishing line, hook or sinker. Or even aluminum foil!
The people I know carry enough things in their Survival kits to get them through if they get lost, plus most know how to use the kit. Even if I'm hunting or fishing close by, I always carry a little pouch with waterproof matches and some line and other goodies to help me if I have to spend a night in the woods. You just never know!
As for the two shows above, remember, at the end of the day it's still TV and they can edit a lot for a show. Don't take either one very serious, they're meant for entertainment and selling commercials.
If you want to learn real Survival skills, join one of those Survival Schools. If you want to sit back and be entertained, watch Survivorman and Man vs Wild!