The CH3 Eye on TV: Survivorman
September 30, 2012
We’ve had several complaints directed toward the CH3 Entertainment staff about our lack of TV coverage this year, so let’s get right to it:
Yer right, of course.
Television has become nothing more than an appliance:
We check into yet another moldy motel room in yet another grouchy city, and we flick on each light, harsh yet supposedly green in its twisty fluorescent garishness.
We toss the guitars on the beds, their spreads decorated beyond their original paisley swirls with suspect biological stain.
And, with a sigh, it’s TV on, as the soul yearns for the glow of the hearth, yeh?
Then it’s an meandering journey the unfamiliar channels, looking for Sportcenter , which has become the soothing common thread that unites this wide continent.
But surely, with this discriminating American intellect there must be tonnes of worthy programming on the ‘ol box these days, am I right?
Let’s take a quick look, shall we:
Ah, reality television:
Just what is this shit?
People like to blame the Europeans for the Big Brother template and the Japanese for their grotesque game shows, but the finger always comes back to us for the The Real World and Cops, two shows that are probably still on the air for all I know.
But you’d be hard pressed to find them,as it seems every other show is a reality these days……
Kim Kardashian shaving her Persian bush?
A Father and Son living a fake feud while building the fucking ugliest motorcycles ever?
This is Television?
To what do we owe this stream of excrement?
The high production cost of the scripted show?
The lack of any new ideas from the sea of young writers raised on a steady diet of music videos and Playstation?
No, it’s the proliferation of cable networks–and the need to fill those hours with cheap and mindless fluff:
No snooty writers necessary here, brother!
Oh sure, there probably is some quality stuff out there—we couldn’t make it through the week without our Good Eats or Top Chef, and yeah, a lot of you wags out there like to hold us up to Anthony Bourdain as a reference point.
Yeah yeah, boozy snide comments and fatty snacks–we get ya!
Sadly, Ant B has lost a lot of credibility in our eyes this new season–
I mean, how can you go from the smoking, boozing cook that hangs out with fucking David Johasen, Bill Murray, and-seriously!-Jim Harrison!– to barbecuing at SXSW with the hideous Sleighbells?!
But the number one badass pimp out there in the reality landscape has got to be our man Les Stroud:
Have you seen the show?
No no, not Survivor, where the whiny contestants merely try to outlast each other as if they were annoying people sharing adjoining cubicles, ratting each other out to HR and pissing in the coffee pot.
No, this is motherfuckin’ Survivorman, where Les heads out to a harsh landscape by himself for a week, armed only with a backpack full of cameras and a stick of beef jerky.
Yeah, the easy comparison is to Man vs Wild, but we now know about camera crews and luxury hotels employed by that show, as well as the suspicious manscaping
Nah, ol Bear (Bear!) Grylls is far too dapper for us, with his rock climbing shoes and jaunty way of crawling into a planted moose carcass to spend the night—yeah right, like that’s how I’m gonna get through a night after I’ve lost my car keys- again! in Jumbo’s Clown Room.
No, not some sexy ex British Special Forces, our man Les is just yer ordinanry Canuck shlub.
He always looks hungover and ill-prepared for the task at hand, which is perfect when ya think about it.
I mean, are you really gonna be wearing your Columbia outer wear and packin’ 200 ft. of five strand nylon braid when you get caught off guard?
No, probably like us, you’ll be wandering around the woods outside a Jersey rest area in your Converse high tops and a Hawaiian shirt, nothing more than a Starbucks card and 2 Xanax in your pocket, an orange House of Blues all access around your neck.
But Les shows us how it’s done, how to rip the stuffing out of your car seat to make ear muffs and how to kill a badger to extract your own personal lubricant.
And when he inevitably makes a fire by any of a dozen different wacky methods, the money shot on any episode, the joy in his eyes is contagious.
But most notable is no camera crew!
What many of the idiotic viewers of these so called reality shows forget, is these people dealing with their solitary struggles are actually surrounded by 5 camera guys, 2 lighting men, a grip, sound man and assorted Israeli makeup guys—-come on!
Ah, but Les is on his own, man:
And he has to set up the goddamn cameras, walk away from them for that artsy man in the wilderness shot, then come back and pack it up!
How very punk rock in his diy ethic is our boy, humping the gear up and down hills, setting it up and then breaking it down.
It’s like nothing so much as loading a Marshall half stack up and down the stairs at Cathay de Grande when ya think about it!
But the show is falling into the common rut, so I’d propose to shake things up on the next season’s adventures:
Maybe Les has to live in Silverlake for a month without wearing Ray Ban Aviators or a lame beard, and has to keep on schedule with his Student Loan payments.
Or maybe we set Les loose into the wilds of Manhattan, seeing if can survive the week on nothing more than 200 dollars a day!
And he has to not only eat decently, but also get passable seats to Book of Mormon and fuck a mid-level runway model.
In fact, it would be a great episode if they put Les on the ultimate survival adventure: a Summer on the road with an aging punk rock band….
We’d see if Les has what it takes to travel hundreds of miles a day in a poorly air conditioned SUV with spotty cell reception, surviving on only greasy corporate fast food and poorly attended shows.
He’ll have to sit behind the merch table while the rest of the band eats burritos and drinks shots of Jameson on the patio, and we’ll make him deal with the sad promoter at the end of the night.
And then we’ll see who really is Survivorman !
Watch Survivorman on the Discovery Channel, 4pm Wednesdays PDT