I know we’ve had a few threads on Man vs Wild and Survivorman, but I didn’t see anything about this. There are reports that some of the things Bear did on the show were staged or done by someone else. I like both shows, but I think Les’s method (no camera crew) makes for a better show. Any fans of MvW disillusioned by this or was it sort of expected?
…well… that sucks. I really liked the show and the show as-is is still good but this kind of ruin it.
I’m a MvW fan, but recently started watching Survivorman. It always took a bit of effort to ignore that he was surrounded by camermen, but I was able to do so since the show and concept were so darned fun. But if he really is sleeping in hotels and eating prepared food instead of huddling in the rain under a stinking deerskin, well, that would significantly decrease my interest.
I’m not really surprised. In the first episode, I believe, he talks about how hard it is being out there alone, as it’s usual to be climbing with a friend, and so on. When obviously he’s not alone, and while perhaps the crew aren’t supposed to help him, you can’t experience the depths of despair true isolation brings when there are several people following you everywhere, now can you?
Then in the Hawaii lava fields episode, I was thinking they must scout out his route ahead of time, looking for interesting opportunities and obstacles, and making sure he’s truly heading for civilization.
I’m a bit disappointed to find it’s a step beyond that, more survival-education theater than a real survival challenge, but not really shocked. I do think they should be more upfront about it - if he slept in a hotel and had pancakes, he shouldn’t be going on about needing protein from grubs and millipedes. Isn’t it enough to say, “if you were out here for days, you’d have to get protein wherever you could find it” and go ahead and eat the grubs to show how cool and tough you are?
That’s the sad thing - what we see him actually do on camera (not to mention his history) shows he truly is incredibly badass, but trying to falsify the conditions of the show is going to overshadow that.
I’m thinking of a Monty Python sketch…
Then again, I’ve roughed it out in a few subpar motel/hotel rooms over the years – suspiciously dirty-looking bedspreads… cigarette odors… dirty ice machines… loud thumping music from the lounge… dismal view of the parking lot… ghastly “artwork”… uninspired breakfast buffets…
Totally doesn’t surprise me. There was just something about the whole setup that screamed “Setup!” to me. Especially that bit with the “wild” horses. I don’ t know anything about horses, and even I could tell they weren’t wild.
I loved the quote:
How exactly does one explicitly not do something?
Unauthorized Cinnamon summed things up pretty well to echo my feelings. I still enjoy the show and I think Bear is an entertaining guy to watch, but I think I’d have been equally pleased to watch the show without the overt deception. That said, I’m not going to go so far as to call the entire show a farce. This article doesn’t exactly claim he always stayed in hotels or that nothing on the show is authentic. If he stayed a few nights in the wilderness, and over the course of the week he ducked into the hotel for the latter nights simply because it was repetitive, I can live with that. If there was a particular scene they wanted to get and couldn’t do it because of special equipment needs or weather and recreated something and he stayed in the hotel with the crew while they waited, I’m cool with that.
If we come to find that every detail is staged, then I might start to care. If they tried using stunt doubles, that’d cross the line. Overall, so long as he’s genuinely putting himself in harms way and using his toughness and resourcefulness to demonstrate survival tactics, whether they are practical or not, I find the show interesting enough to watch. I don’t think I need to see him battling nature in a war of attrition, in many ways him surviving exposure and hunger makes for some pretty dull TV in contrast to him floating down rapids, climbing waterfalls and hopping lava flows.
Plus, having Survivorman on as a contrast makes this more tolerable. In a way, the fact that they are less similar with this knowledge is a good thing.
Agreed. He’s an entertaining host and his qualifications as a badass (ex-SAS, climbing Everest) aren’t in question. The purpose and presentation are different than Survivorman, where Les (as far as we know) goes in solo and lives off the land for seven days. The part about the horses makes me feel a bit deceived though.
I’ve always thought there was something off about the show. I felt very strongly that every time he “catches” something with a snare made by his shoe lace it’s staged. I’ve liked MvW for the most part. He does some crazy shit on there, with or without the hotels, but I prefer Survivorman to MvW mainly because I believe that LS is really alone and roughing it for the duration, as evidenced by his almost total inability to catch anything substantial to eat, yet BG catches live critters nearly every episode.
My favorite episode of either series was LS in the arctic. He looked f**ing miserable and you could tell he was hating every minute of it.
I agree with whoever said that you can tell by looking at BG that he hadnt really slept all night in a cave or tree or whatever. He was way to fresh and peppy the next day.
Ditto. And the frequency with which he has to eat something really disgusting seems out of whack. I mean, you’d think that in a given setting he’d have more success catching/foraging something not gross to sustain him. Of course, him always finding papayas and tilapia might not make for compelling TV.
I don’t remember which particular survivor-guy show it was, but I saw an episode filmed in Utah where the host admitted he couldn’t make it and gave up. Bear finished up his trial there by spotting a ranch house and swimming across the Colorado…
I always smelled a rat when he’d be in a situation that the camera crew couldn’t possibly shoot without a lot of preparation.
But I’ll continue watching it because he’s cute. Same with House.
Agreed on both counts. I hadn’t thought about it terribly much, but it is clear that they are staging things camera-wise. Obviously they have Bear climb up or down something with the camera coming behind, then they’ll have a shot of him with the camera ahead, so either there’s quite a crew, or they’re climbing, shooting, resetting, and climbing and shooting again. Hell, even Les does that, but it’s way more impressive because he has to set it up all by himself, traipsing back and forth extra times to do it.
Still, Bear is incredibly charismatic and fun to watch. I’d say without reservation that Les is much more hardcore, but I find myself enjoying watching Bear more. Again, I wish they’d just been more upfront about how they shoot the show - it wouldn’t have detracted from it.
Considering how the show is basically “see Bear get naked and muddy/dirty/wet” or “see Bear eat something really disgusting,” it’s not really that surprising that it’s staged in some ways. I’m disappointed but I will probably still watch it, because he’s cute, has a soothing voice, and goes to some neat places.
I always looked at it this way: If I was driving through a post-Apocalyptic Australian Outback, searching for the precious juice and dodging the Humungous, I’d want to be with Bear. If I was stranded in the actual Australian Outback, and just wanted to survive to be rescued or find my way out, I’d want to be with Les.
I bet he made those hotel stays as extreme as possible, like he didn’t flush the toilet until the last day, used only one of those tiny soaps, went out to eat instead of getting room service, didn’t bother calling downstairs if the other guests were making noise while he was trying to sleep, stuff like that.
Himself (from a beekeeping family) twigged to the setup thing when they showed him getting honey from “wild” bees in a hive that wasn’t anything like what bees in the wild really make.
Let me make this perfectly clear- if you do what Bear does, but in a *real *survival situation, you will die.
Do not perform weird acrobatic stunts, suited to a SAS dude with full ground support. Do not eat weird food.
Find a place with shelter and water so that dudes can see you from the air. Make a fire and hunker down. Do not attempt to walk/climb/stunt out.
Now, there are some good tricks shown on how to make a fire and make a survival shelter. Consider the rest entertainment.
Survivorman is much more real and realistic.