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Man vs. Wild
A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this TV show.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this riveting adventure show depicts a trained survival expert escaping from dangerous natural locations. Viewers see him attempting dangerous maneuvers while describing the reasons for his choices, as well as the proper technique for achieving success. His actions are never rash, though at times he takes risks to demonstrate something particularly interesting, like how to escape quicksand. Occasionally Grylls appears naked, but his genitals are always blurred and the nudity is never sexual.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In MAN VS. WILD, survival expert Bear Grylls helicopter drops into some of the world's harshest terrain and then fights his way back to safety. With only a few basic instruments, Grylls demonstrates survival techniques and teaches skills like finding water in the desert, climbing out of quicksand, catching fish without a pole, and fighting hypothermia after falling into a frozen lake. The idea is to provide help to adventure tourists who might find themselves stranded in inhospitable circumstances and would otherwise die or create a search-and-rescue nightmare. Throughout Grylls' adventures, he relates recent real-life tragedies of people stuck in similar situations.
Is it any good?
The combination of gorgeous locales -- like Utah's Moab Desert, the Costa Rican rainforest, and the Swiss Alps -- and Grylls' considerable British charm make Man vs. Wild a pleasure to watch. Whether an average tourist could recreate some of his feats (his first name is Bear, after all) is disputable, but it's certainly nail-biting to watch him scale a slippery desert wall and swim across the swift Colorado River. Throughout each gnarly adventure, Grylls is able to narrate his experience surprisingly well.
Tweens and up will enjoy Grylls' adventures, though parents may want to do a reality check with younger viewers to make sure they know that Grylls is highly trained -- and that kids shouldn't try any of his techniques, even for fun, without checking with an adult first (frying an egg on a rock is probably harmless, but catching a snake with a rock and a stick, not so much).
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about dangerous situations. What's the scariest place that parents and kids have ever been in? Has there ever been a situation you wondered how you'd get out of? What did you do? Have you taken any training to prepare for dangerous situations (first aid, self-defense, wilderness training)? What would you do if you found yourself in one of the situations that Grylls demonstrates?