Bear Grylls’ new reality show tests Average Joes on willpower in the wild.
At BuzzFeed, you can read my latest feature, “Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls: Contestants Drink Own Urine In Series Premiere.”
Bear Grylls has some fierce competition this summer for reality TV on wilderness survival, especially with Discovery Channel’s batty Naked and Afraid. (The show, which premiered in June, pairs up a man and woman in each episode, completely in the nude, and has them fend for themselves without any modern conveniences.) In Grylls’ newest adventure on NBC’s Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls, he takes his Man Vs Wild mentality and sprinkles in some Survivor, Fear Factor, and The Amazing Race to the mix. The show, however, will need some shock value and enough drama to keep viewers interested. After all, Naked and Afraid shows so many bare butts.
In this competition, ten pairs of contestants—ranging from best friends and couples to newlyweds and father/son duos—work together in larger teams to complete different tasks for survival in the wild, and one team is eliminated each week through Grylls’ own choosing—the pair that he deems wouldn’t be able to “get out alive.” The prize is $500,000, and throughout the pilot episode, each team discussed the adversities they’ve faced—such as the recovered crystal meth addict and the team with a family member with MS. One of the most peculiar contestants on the show is Jeff, who survived a life-threatening motorcycle accident just a few months prior and suffered from broken bones and internal injuries. Although he is still recovering, he became a contestant to prove to himself that he can do anything. Shouldn’t he work on healing? Another ridiculous moment was when one woman from Chicago likened her reality TV experience to her brother’s deployment in Iraq.
Each team selected a knife—like drawing a straw—to find out which larger group they would join. The groups were focused on survival tactics: shelter, food, fire, and obstacles. The “Obstacles” team successfully led folks across the fast-current and icy, glaciered river, and the “Food” team went in search for a deer carcass hidden in a cave. One of the contestants from Los Angeles said, “I’m a vegetarian,” as he looked at the deer—his only food source.
Luckily, this reality show airs at a 9 p.m. slot—way past dinner time. Spending time with Grylls means experiencing some gross-out memories. What has been seen cannot be unseen. He passed along a bowl of large fish eyeballs, getting each contestant to eat them because they’re “hydrating” and “full of protein.” This activity felt forced, but most likely will be helpful for these teams as they may have to use this knowledge in their future activities. In a shocking segment, Grylls had the contestants drink their own urine. (He doesn’t waste any time!) The teams urinated in bottles, boiled it with muddy water to reach 95 degrees (in order to sterilize it), and then allowed it to cool to 60 degrees before guzzling it down. It’s as if there was a reality cooking show thrown into the mix!