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Commentary: July 30, 2007

We’ve been deceived in the most profound manner

Man vs Wild macho man Bear Grylls checked into hotels during his survival adventures and had his crew help out in difficult situations:

But this British adventurer is now the subject of an investigation by U.K.'s Channel 4, which already has confirmed that Grylls checked into motels on a few occasions when he was depicted on TV having slept under the stars. Other allegations have been made suggesting that the crew that records Grylls in action isn't as hands-off as it might appear to viewers.


For all its self-professed realism, "Man" always required some suspension of disbelief. Grylls often commented on the painful loneliness of being alone in the wild, but unless his camera crew was staffed by bears, he did have some company out there.

In retrospect, Grylls' preternatural unflappability in even the most dire of circumstances always seemed a bit too good to be true. In one episode, he made an interminable slog through hip-deep snow drifts in the French Alps. Braving the frigid conditions, his frustration was evident only in the following comment: "I'd really murder for a cup of tea."

For all we know now, perhaps he was sipping English Breakfast on fine china between takes.

Perhaps at this point we should pause and question the legitimacy of educational/nature reality shows in which the actors unnecessarily risk life and limb in a portrayal of bravery and survival tactics. Do we really expect to a person to purposefully put themselves in a dire situation so that we can be thrilled by their eventual survival?

Posted by tim at July 30, 2007 5:47 PM

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