Saturday, January 14, 2006

As The Shepherd Said...What The Flock?

I’m confused.

In fact, I’m almost as confused as the time I went out drinking in Liverpool and woke 3 days later in the small mining village of Raintop-Bell, wearing a lavender crimplene nightie, a World War One Spanish Generals frockcoat, carrying a cigar smoking stuffed penguin under one arm and holding a Passport belonging to one Ms. Talulha VaVaVoom-Mcdougle…in a bag.

Yeah…that confused.

I’m talking about the Discovery Channel series “Survivorman”.

Here’s the basic premise, and this bit makes sense. Some guy, (The overly macho-named ‘survivorman’), puts himself into survival situations, takes a camera along and shows you what to do.

Seems simple enough, right?

In the episode I saw, the scenario was that his plane had crashed in the sow covered forests of Canada. They even had a mock-up of plane wreckage.

Here’s where I started to get confused.

You see, despite the fact that the plane was completely totaled, Survivorman, for some reason, assumed he would get through a horrific plane crash completely unscathed.

Task One : It’s bloody cold, build a fire.

So Survivorman, henceforth known as ‘The Tit.’ Showed a great way to start a fire. Taking some aviation fuel from the plane’s tank, and using his huge, oversized fur lined mitts, (that he just happened to bring along), he poured a healthy dose of this fuel onto some wood. Then he used two bits of metal from the plane, and shorted the plane’s battery to make a spark.

Ok, anyone spotted the mistakes yet?

One, he’s lighting a fire within 3 feet of a crashed plane with a compromised tank, that it real life would be drenched with aviation fuel.

Two, He’s shorting a large battery, which could very easily explode.

Three, he thought to bring gigantic insulated mitts with him, but didn’t think to bring matches or a lighter.

Four, Crashing a plane so badly that it’s ripped in two, and walking away from it without so much as a twisted ankle? What the fuck ever!

Task Two : Build a shelter.

What a surprise! Despite the fact that the front of the plane is completely destroyed, the tail section just happens to be completely intact, making a nice windproof shelter. Oh, and he also managed to crash on a nice flat bit of land, with gigantic trees less than 10 feet away, that just happened to shelter the plane from the prevailing winds and most of the snow!

Lucky, huh?

Again, he’s surrounded by woods and snow. Build an igloo? Make a ‘lean to’ shelter? No thanks! The aviation fuel soaked, fiery death trap of a plane…now less than three feet from a roaring fire, will do him fine.

So, if stranded in snowy, mountainous territory, just shelter in your miraculously preserved airplane tail section. You don’t need to worry about how to build an actual shelter. The tail will always survive, and be just big enough for you to fit snugly inside.

Task Three : Do something Macho.

Obviously, he thinks he’s making things a little too easy for himself, so he decides to fake an injury. He shows how to make a sling, using only material from the aviation fuel soaked deathtrap (sorry, plane), , and he straps up his left arm. (Lucky, considering he’s right handed).

So what’s wrong with this?

Well, basically, the sling made things a little too hard for him, so he took it off a few hours later.

So boys ‘n’ girls, if you’re ever in a plane wreck and break your arm, the solution is to remove your makeshift sling, and your arm will be completely fine again. Better still, don’t break your arm. If your arm can break from a simple 10,000 foot plunge into the foothills of a mountain, you’re obviously a big sissy girl.

Task Four : Get something to eat.

This bit was fairly useful. He showed how to make snare traps from the wiring from the plane, where to set them up and how to maximize your chances of catching a rabbit.

Unfortunately, after he cooked his rabbit (Incidentally, you don’t have to worry about knowing how to actually skin, gut and prepare a rabbit, it’ll magically appear on a spit, skinned and cleaned), he points out that you can’t live entirely off rabbit, because it’s completely lean and has no fat on it, so eating too much, or living off a diet of just rabbit, will give you protein poisoning.

He then eats the rabbit. With nothing else. Or even mentions what else you can eat in his situation.

So, boys and girls, again, if you’re stranded, just catch a rabbit. It’ll skin and clean itself. Eat the rabbit, and don’t worry about protein poisoning, because you know you’re not really stranded and you’ll be in a nice hotel room by the end of the week.

Task Five : The hike back to civilization.

He shows how to make a makeshift sled from parts of the plane and starts walking.

Obviously, you’ll know exactly where you are when you crash in the wilderness, know exactly which way to walk, and won’t be disoriented or injured in any way, It’s obviously a bad idea to stay with the plane, so the rescue teams will know where to find you. Oh, you don’t even need to know how to find north. Don’t worry, you’ll automatically know which direction to head in.

Oh, and on your travels from your shelter, fire, food supply and last known location, you can also start a fire by banging a rock against your axe to make a spark. It doesn’t matter which rock, you’ll know what to look for.

Don’t forget that despite the fact you never even considered packing any survival equipment on your quick jaunt in your Cessna, always remember to bring your giant bloody axe with you. You know how useful a great big axe can be in a small plane.

However, the thing that really made me laugh with this show is that he didn’t even make it, and the film crew came and got him in a helicopter.

Yup, there’s a survival tip for you. Make sure to have a full film crew on standby that know exactly where you are at all times, with instructions to come and get you if you don’t show up within a pre-designated time limit.

Basically, this is a survival show that isn’t realistic, the ‘Survivorman’ shows incredibly stupid ways to do things. Gives advice on the things you certainly shouldn’t do…then does them.

The other big thing is that the premise of this show is that the guy is left somewhere, and has no human contact with anyone for a week, so he’s really ‘doing it’.


Case in point: There are too many texture shots in the show. One shows him as a tiny blip on the horizon, slowly dragging his sled through the snow. So you know what that means?

It means that after spending a week alone in the sub-freezing temperatures, having eaten only a single rabbit in all that time…he suddenly decided to leg it a hundred yards in the snow, set up his camera, leg it back to were he started, walk forlornly another hundred yards until he went from right to left in the frame…then gave it toes back another hundred yards to retrieve his camera and carry on walking.

Yeah, because that’s what a guy who’s been living for a week in those conditions would do, just to make the show about 0.0001% more interesting.

So either he had a camera crew with him all the time…or he had access to a lot more food and heating than he was letting on.

I bet he had an electric blanket, a microwave and a space heater in that plane of his.

So I’m confused. What was this show supposed to be? How NOT to survive? How to blow yourself up within three seconds of crashing? How to wander through the forest instead of waiting by the wreckage of your plane, where the rescue services have more chance of finding you? That breaking your arm makes things hard, so don’t do it?

I’ll start my own survival show. Here’s my advice for show one:

When crashing your plane in the middle of a desert, just pull out your handy air-conditioned tour bus, your 240 Watt generator with 500 gallons of fuel, your freeze dried rations (1 years supply), and don’t forget your microlite aircraft, radio and last but not least, your film crew, who can sneak you KFC Crispy Strips.

Survivorman? More like Complete-fucking-idiot-shouldn’t-be-allowed-on-a-boy-scout-camping-trip-never-mind-giving-survival-advice-man.


OzzyC said...

Another shining example of how the line between reality and entertainment is becoming ever more blurry.

MC Etcher said...

At the very least, you can learn what NOT to do from this show.

rayray said...

ah yes:the joys of Hollywood