Let’s talk for a minute about one of the biggest disappointments in television. No, we’re not talking about the cancellation of Game of Thrones. Not talking about the substitution Matt Smith for dowdy old Peter Capaldi on Doctor Who.
Man vs Wild. That’s what we’re talking about. For seven seasons, we watched as Bear Grylls, the Everest climbing, Atlantic-crossing, parachuting adventurer led us to believe that he was surviving in the wild with nothing but the tools in his backpack.
We watched as he drank water from sweat socks and crafted shelters from random flotsam. We cheered as he created desert go-karts from broken planes. Women fell in love with his adorable accent, and men envied him because their women were swooning.
But all the while, we were having trouble suspending our disbelief. “Man vs Wild – is it fake? That can’t be real…” Bear Grylls was our answer to the ridiculousness of shows like Survivor, and we hadn’t yet gotten to know Les Stroud of Survivorman.
But there was just something about the show that led us to believe all was not as it seemed. Was it his exorbitant pep? Who the hell could be that peppy after staying so long without food on an island? Were we thrown by the camera crew? Obviously, he wasn’t entirely alone, right? So we asked the internet: Is Man vs Wild fake?
Is Man vs Wild Fake?
Yes, it’s fake. Okay so some of it’s real. He really does eat bugs and chow down on zebra carcasses. Nom nom. And in all reality, he’s a very smart man with covetable survival skills. We want him on our team in the zombie apocalypse.
But after a bit of research, we found out that Bear Grylls, Chief Scout and SAS soldier, was staying in hotels. Did you hear? Hotels. Even the kids on Naked and Afraid don’t stay in hotels. They huddle together in caves like the other cool people.
Now, of course we understand that it’s television. And with television, everything’s got to be just a bit scripted. But the fact remains that we are sorely disappointed in our correct assumption that the show was just a show. We wanted so badly for Bear Grylls to be our survivalist hero.
Bear Grylls and the Motel
Alright, so now you want to know what happened. Well, back in the mid-2000s, we could find Bear Grylls on a number of shows. One of these was Born Survivor, a series which aired on Channel 4 in the UK. During the first season of this show, Bear parachuted into the Sierra Nevada area.
The episode was supposed to show stranded hikers how to survive in the area. Grylls showed us where to find food, how to behave around wild horses and how to create a raft from naturally occurring stuff.
As it turns out, it wasn’t real. He wasn’t sleeping out in the elements, he was snuggled under blankets at the Pines Resort at Bass Lake, eating blueberry pancakes for breakfast. They were probably even grocery store blueberries.
But wait, there’s more! Those wild horses were real, right? Nope again! Bear Grylls told us that after watching him coax a wild mustang, we’d know just what to do when faced with the same dilemma. But those horses were fake, too. They were real horses, but they were driven in from a trekking station nearby. They were trained horses, guys. Like the survivalist version of Mr. Ed.
The raft was a lie, too. Bear Grylls had a team assemble a raft for him. Then, like pouring salt in a wound, the raft was disassembled so that the camera crew could show Grylls assembling it on television. We feel that if he was going to show us how to assemble something, he should have at least built an IKEA bookshelf.
It wasn’t only this one episode, either. Grylls admitted to having slept in hotels (resorts, really) many times over the course of the series. The networks which aired Grylls’s shows made no apologies about it. They stated that nothing in the show explicitly stated that Bear Grylls wasn’t allowed to check into the Super 8.
What is Bear Grylls Doing Now?
After the show was outed in the media, it got a lot of attention. To be honest, no one really probably cared that Bear Grylls was a real person. We all need blueberry pancakes sometimes. But for the show to market itself like that was just unfair. And Bear Grylls was such a respectable guy! A military man with scout cred.
Anyway, Bear Grylls is no longer doing Born Survivor. He’s not doing Man vs Wild anymore, either. He was fired by the Discovery Channel after he refused to participate in two contracted episodes of the show. But he’s certainly not got a lot of spare time on his hands. And, quite frankly, he’s still revered by some. Did you know that there’s such thing as a Bear Grylls simulator?
We are angry that Bear Grylls lied to us. We now doubt our faith in humanity, and would probably quit television altogether if it weren’t for Les Stroud and Crocodile Hunter reruns. Rest in peace, Steve Irwin.
But if you’re not persuaded by the utter fakery that Man vs Wild was to boycott Grylls, you can still catch him elsewhere. He’s written twenty books, including the bestselling “Mud, Sweat and Tears.” Recently, he created a live arena show called Endeavour.
You can still stream episodes of Man vs Wild on apps like Netflix, Hulu and YouTube. But if you want our completely unbiased opinion, we recommend that you watch Survivorman instead. Les Stroud doesn’t have an adorable accent, but at least he’s not a big fat liar. His harmonica skills are pretty hot, too.
Off screen, Bear Grylls is still trekking. He takes his kids along with him on adventures, and has gotten some bad press in the news because of it. Grylls is married to Shara Grylls, and together they have three children. Their kids’ names are Jesse, Marmaduke and Huckleberry. And that’s not fake.