Amateur Hour on Bear Grylls's New NBC Show
Climb a mountainside, build a slingshot and create a fire—the survival challenges in Episode 2 of Get out Alive with Bear Grylls read like a Boy Scout’s checklist. It's not meant to be a cheap shot at scouts; more like a clear indication that NBC won’t be baiting amateurs into attempting the kinds of death-defying escapes their host is famous for. It's a practical move, to be sure, but the lukewarm challenges don’t always make for captivating television.
The most dramatic action scene of the episode was set up with a premature sigh of relief after the contestants successfully scaled a mountainside.
"We're going downhill, so we should be able to keep a good pace and not have to take so many water breaks," one contestant says.
Right on cue, Donna, the warm motherly figure, lets out a scream as she starts tumbling head first down the hill. When a clearly rattled Donna finally gathers herself, the camera dramatically cuts to her daughter Canden looking on with disgust.
“Don’t make excuses,” Canden coldly tells her crying mother.
This back-and-forth reveals the true intention of the show—not to captivate an audience with high-stakes action, but to focus on the mental challenges imposed by a wilderness survival experience, especially as fatigue sets in.
With stomachs growling and tensions high, Bear drops by to give the teams a yummy wilderness delicacy—earth worms. As the creepy crawlies squirm around by the handful in the contestants' hands, he assures the wary contestants that they are loaded with protein. Yum.
The final survival test challenge this week was learning how to improvise a simple weapon in the wild to hunt with. In a yawn-worthy twist, the contestants don’t actually go on the hunt, but are charged with making a slingshot and shooting two deer skulls off of a fencepost.
Contestants Ryan and Madeline win and get to reap the glory of the feast pit. This week, the pit is a smorgasboard of goodies including burgers, lemonade, toothpaste and deodorant. The lucky couple even gets to bathe in a man-made hot spring.
At the end of the show, Bear reminds the contestants that half a million dollars is on the table, which should make it easier to deal with the pain.
When it comes time for elimination, Bear catches Esmeralda with a blank look on her face, clearly not paying attention to his critique of the day’s events. After puking in the first episode and giving a lackluster effort in both weeks, Esmeralda and her husband are eliminated for their poor mental toughness.
Hopefully things pick up in next week's Episode 3, or this blundering, sniveling group of Scouts might just lose our attention. This week's episode can be watched here: